May 6, 2009
Steve Collins
In an unusual development, the Vatican has demanded control (de fact sovereignty) over a number of sites on Israeli soil (see first link below). The Vatican has demanded control over Mt. Tabor, and the Mt. of Beatitudes by the Sea of Galilee, three church sites in Jerusalem and also a building it thinks was the site of the Last Supper. Mt. Tabor is the site where Barak and Deborah rallied the tribes of Zebulon and Naphtali to throw off the oppression of the Canaanites under Jabin and Sisera (Judges 4:6). Why the Vatican thinks it should control Mt. Tabor is not specified in the link.
Understandably, this has created a firestorm of controversy amongst the Israelis. In a bizarre twist, Israeli President Shimon Perez is “pressuring Interior Minister Eli Yishai to sign away [the] six properties demanded by the Vatican.” Shimon Perez has long been the “go to” Israeli leader used by leaders of other nations whenever they need the Israelis to surrender something. It is my opinion that Perez long ago forgot whose side he was supposed to be on. Not surprisingly, the Vatican/Perez proposal has stirred up strong opposition which is detailed in both the first and second links. The second link reports that the Israeli Chief Rabbinate strongly forbade the surrender of the named Israeli sites to the Vatican. It is hard for me to understand how the Netanyahu government could survive in office if it were to ever surrender to the Vatican demands. Herein may lie the real motive for the Vatican demands. It is no secret the rest of the world wanted Netanyahu to lose the last Israeli election so the Israelis would have a Prime Minister who would be submissive to world demands for Israeli surrenders. It is likely the rest of the world is trying to make domestic political  trouble for Netanyahu. However, the Vatican’s demands are so brazen that their attempt is likely to backfire by rallying more Israelis to support Netanyahu.
If the Israelis were to surrender to the Vatican request, one can be sure that it would set an existentially-threatening precedent to the survival of the Jewish nation. If the Israelis appease the first Vatican request, the Vatican may have an even longer list of Israeli sites it will demand control over in a follow-up ultimatum. The Palestinians and Arab nations would see any Israeli surrender of territory to the Vatican as justification for their demands for portions of Israeli territory (no doubt the UN would support any such demands). It wouldn’t be long till the Israelis would have demands upon all their territory by other powers and peoples.
This new development comes at a time when the Obama administration has turned strongly against its old Israeli allies. A previous blog reported that the top Israeli defense chief had to leave Washington, DC early because Obama’s top officials snubbed him. The world is turning hostile to the Israelis. This was prophesied to occur. Zechariah 12:2-3 prophesied a time would come at the end of this age [the term  “in that day” in Bible prophecy refers to the “Day of the Lord” as in Zechariah 14:1] when Jerusalem would become “a cup of trembling unto all the people” and that Judah and Jerusalem would be under “siege.”  God adds that he will shape world events so Jerusalem becomes a “burdensome stone for all people” and that He will defend it “though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it” (Read Zechariah 12:3-10).
I think the Israelis have a right to feel like they are coming “under siege” as then rest of the world pressures it into making decisions that are harmful to Israeli interests. However, Zechariah 12 promises that God will step into the breach as the Israelis’ defender when/if the rest of the world abandons it. I hope the Israeli Chief Rabbinate has given Prime Minister Netanyahu the encouragement God has placed in Zechariah 12!