See this page for links to articles on OpEdNEws that articulate both sides on the issues in the middle east. It is the goal of OpEdNews to air opinions from both sides to stretch the envelope of discussion and communication. Hate statements are not accepted. Discussions of issues and new ideas for solutions are encouraged. ."Bush and the Republicans have been Israel's best friend," an Orthodox Rabbi recently told me.
It seems that his words reflect the perceptions of a majority of Orthodox Jews and possibly a large number of Israelis.
It's simple, really. The Bush administration has been the most permissive, through it's policy of almost totally ignoring the middle east and middle east diplomacy. The ORthodox Jews and some Israelis read this as signs of being Israel's best friend. I disagree, but I'll get back to this in a few paragraphs.
First, I want to explore a phenonmenon that Orthodox Jews and Israelis are not aware of-- rapture Christianity. Tens of millions of fundamentalist Christians are fervently praying for the "rapture" to arrive, as soon as possible.
The "rapture" is a scenario that these fundamentalists believe is predicted by the bible. It is preached about routinely, promised by ministers. When the rapture occurs, people who have "taken Jesus into their heart" will be instantly whisked up to heaven "in Jesus' arms." They'll simply disappear from the earth-- both the living and the dead-- to find themselves in heaven.
These tens of millions of "rapturists" believe that, for the rapture to occur, other biblically predicted events must occur. There must be great turmoil and conflict in the middle east, and then, once the turmoil and conflict reach the worst levels, the "antichrist" will come.
The new phenomenon of Christian Zionism is based upon these rapture beliefs. The strong support that evangelical fundamentalists give to Israel is based on these beliefs.
Let's spell it out clearly. For the rapture to occur, Israel must be engulfed in war, massive, violent, hellfire and damnation war, with huge losses of life. This is the vision the rapturists are praying for, that they yearn for. When the rapture occurs, and Jesus "raptures" the people to heaven, hundreds of thousands of Jews will die and the rest of the people on the planet will be "left behind."
There is a "LEFT BEHIND" book series with movies already made. Over 50 million books have been sold. This is a huge phenomenon. Bush's support for Israel, the Republican party's support for Israel are based upon rapturism.
There was a Twilight Zone story, by Rod Serling, that told of a visit to earth by aliens from another planet who had a book, titled, To SERVE MAN. Earthling, learning of the book, warmly welcomed the aliens. THousands of earthlings accepted the aliens' invitation to travel to their planet. Then, a translator discovered-- TO SERVE MAN was a cook book.
The Bush, Republican and Christian Right's support of Israel is just as predatory, equally malignant in intention.
Could it be worse? Yes. Let's look at the last disaster-- Israel's failed Lebanon adventure. This was done with the permission and, at the least, tacit encouragement of the Bush administration. Now that it's over, it's clear that the winners were Hezbollah and Iran. But Bush also won.
The Bush administration used Israel like a stick, poking the Israeli stick deep into the Iranian hornets' nest, stirring up anger, hate and most useful to Bush, the drumbeats of war among the media.
The prospects for war with Iran are seeming more and more likely. This may be attractive to the most macho warhawks. But most people, including Israelis I've spoken to, believe that any war with Iran will produce massive casualties in Israel-- because Iran will lash out at any attack by bombing Israel, not with small katyusha rockets, but with major missiles aimed at major cities. Casualties will be in the tens or hundreds of thousands.
When Bush and his rightwing Republican and Democrat rubber stampers in congress initiate an attack on Iran, Israel will truly find out what kind of a friend Bush has been. I fear the insight will come at a terrible price.
Let's tackle the Bush administration's "friendship" with Israel from another perspective. It's generally agreed that Bush has left Israel alone to do as it wanted in dealing with its neighbors, giving Israeli a longer leash, more freedom than any other administration in US history.
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