With the final pre-election polls in the Israeli national election indicating that a victory was imminent for the coalition of parties which opposed Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud bloc, I’ll bet the gleeful anticipation at the Obama White House was palpable. With the deep-seeded ill-will between US President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu being an oft-reported item in the world media, I’ll bet the White House staff already had written a speech in which Obama would congratulate Netanyahu’s rival for being elected, hailing a “new era” in US-Israeli relations, etc. The champagne must have been chilled and ready to open. Then something unexpected happened.
Whether the pre-election polls had always been wrong or whether Netanyahu’s last-minute campaigning turned Israeli opinion around at the last minute, the Israeli voters handed Netanyahu’s conservative nationalist bloc a resounding victory (first link and second link). It wasn’t even close. The gloom at the White House must have been very deep. The readied victory champagne probably was sent back to the White House kitchen’s storage racks. Obama administration spokespersons after the Israeli election couldn’t hide their disgust and disappointment at the Israeli election result. “Sour grapes” comments were common. However, Israeli politics are held in a complicated parliamentary system, and the Israeli election involved many other internal factors besides the Obama-Netanyahu rift. The third link offers an Israeli analysis of the election results.
Obama, unable to hide his anger at the Israeli election result, hinted darkly that his administration would stop backing Israel at the UN to punish Netanyahu for winning (fourth link). The New York Times pondered whether it was even possible to patch up relations between the Netanyahu and Obama administrations (fifth link). However, let’s look at this in a broader context. There is no rift at all between the American people and the Israeli people. When I was in Israel in August 2000, I felt so welcome it was like I was visiting the 51st American state. There is, based on the heartily warm reception Netanyahu received during his recent speech to the US Congress, no rift between the US Congress and the Netanyahu government. The rift exists solely between the Obama administration and the Israeli government led by Netanyahu. Even as the Obama administration seethes over the Israeli election returns, the “love affair” between the US Congress and the Netanyahu government continues. House Speaker John Boehner will soon be leaving for a trip to Israel where he will, no doubt, be warmly received by the Netanyahu government (last link).
I will admit that if I had been an Israeli voter, I would have voted for the Likud slate of candidates. Given the fact that Iran is developing nuclear weapons and that the Iranian-aligned Hamas terrorists still want to destroy Israel as well, I would have voted Likud based on the pressing national security issues facing Israel.
Let’s consider this in a biblical context. Daniel 4:17 declares that God puts “whomsoever he will[s]” into positions of power over nations and empires. It also soberly adds that sometimes God puts “the basest of men” in power to accomplish his will, but the Bible also has examples where God has put good rulers in power over nations to give them a respite from bad rulers and/or national degeneration. It is my view that God is “hands off” on the process of selecting leaders in many nations, but he surely focuses on putting into power people who will implement his will and prophecies for specific nations at given times. Covenant nations descended from the ancient tribes of Israel are especially likely to have God involved in their leadership results. The Israeli nation, descended from the ancient Israelite tribe of Judah (see my article, Four Reasons the Jews are Judah) is unquestionably in that category. Zephaniah 2 prophesied it would be God’s will that there would be a Jewish nation in the old Promised Land during in the latter days, and Zechariah 12:1-9 prophesies that God will defend Judah (the Israelis/Jews) and the Jewish city of Jerusalem during the latter days even if all nations turn against the Israelis (verse 3). You can’t ask for a stronger and more faithful ally than the Creator God.
Genesis 49:8-10 is a prophecy about the nation of Judah in the latter days. It foretells Judah will be an aggressive and lion-like, victorious nation even though it is a small one (it is likened to a lion “cub”–a small lion and Israel is a small nation). The wording of Genesis 49:8-10 indicates it will be blessed with victories in its wars. Because God has latter-day prophecies about the Israeli nation in the Bible to fulfill, God will surely put in power those who he feels are best suited to fulfilling his biblical prophecies about “Judah”‘ in the latter days. Bibi Netanyahu is a tough-minded, Israeli nationalist who can be counted on to use force if necessary to ensure that the Jewish nation survives and defeats its foes (whether the rest of the world likes it or not). He sounds like the kind of leader who fits the mold of the prophecies about Judah in Genesis 49 and Zechariah 21.
Maybe God had the final vote in the Israeli election.