Myths About Israel

The Major Political and Theological Myths

By Dr. David R. Reagan

Myths About Israel

[read in Lamplighter (pdf)]

There are two kinds of myths that exist today regarding the Jewish people and their state of Israel. There are the terrible theological myths that have been conjured up by Christian theologians, and then there are the political myths that have been fabricated by the political foes of modern day Israel.

The Temple Mount

The Temple Mount in Jerusalem, looking northeast. The Western Wall, or Wailing Wall, is in the center, beneath the Muslim shrine called the Dome of the Rock. (i-Stock photo.com)

The theological myths are grounded in what is called Replacement Theology. They consist of such allegations as:

1) God has washed His hands of the Jewish people because of their rejection and murder of Jesus.

2) God has replaced Israel with the Church.

3) God has transferred all the promised blessings of Israel to the Church.

4) God has no purpose left for the Jewish people.

All four of these allegations are patently false. All four are total myths, and I have addressed these myths in my writings, especially in my book, The Jewish People: Rejected or Beloved?

The Jewish People

A Fundamental Truth

The first point that needs to be firmly established about these myths is that they are no accident. They are firmly rooted in Satan’s obsessive hatred of the Jewish people. He hates them because:

1) They are the chosen people of God.

2) It was through them that God gave the world the Scriptures.

3) It was through them that God gave the world the Messiah.

Satan further hates the Jews because of promises God has made to them. He has promised that:

1) A great remnant of the Jews will be saved in the end times at the Second Coming of Jesus when they repent and accept Him as their Messiah (Zechariah 12:10).

2) The Jews will then be regathered to their homeland in belief (Deuteronomy 30:1-5).

3) The nation of Israel will be given all the land promised to them in the Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 15:18-21).

4) The Jewish state will be the prime nation in the world during the Millennial reign of Jesus (Isaiah 2:1-4).

5) The blessings of God during the Millennium will flow to the nations of the world through the Jewish people (Isaiah 62:1-7).

6) The world will respect the Jewish people so much that when a Jew walks by, ten Gentiles will say, “Let us walk with you, for we know that God is with you.” (Zechariah 8:23)

Satan does not want to see a single one of these promises fulfilled, and thus he is determined to annihilate the Jewish people. That’s what the Holocaust was all about when one-fourth of them were killed. And it is the reason that he will seek to annihilate them once again during the Tribulation when he will manage to kill two-thirds of them (Zechariah 13:8).

But Satan is destined to fail because it is God’s will to bring a remnant of the Jews to repentance and salvation. And He is determined to fulfill every promise He has made to the Jewish people. The Apostle Paul affirmed this when he wrote these words:

Romans 3:1-4

1) Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the benefit of circumcision?

2) Great in every respect. First of all, that they [the Jews] were entrusted with the oracles of God.

3) What then? If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it?

4) May it never be! Rather, let God be found true, though every man be found a liar…

For two thousand years the Church has answered the question posed in verse 3 above with a resounding,”Yes!” The Apostle Paul answers it with a definitive “No!” Commenting further on this subject, Paul wrote:

Romans 9:3-5

3) For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh,

4) who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises,

5) whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Messiah according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.

These words were written after the establishment of the Church, and as you can see, Paul is affirming that God still has a relationship with Israel and has not negated His promises to them. In Romans 9 through 11, Paul makes it crystal clear that God has not washed His hands of the Jewish people and the Church has not replaced Israel. Jesus Himself said He would not return to this earth to reign until the day when the Jewish people are willing to say, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Matthew 23:37-39).

But despite these promises of God, Satan persists in his madness toward the Jewish people because he has deceived himself into believing that he can outwit God — and there is no deception worse than self-deception.

And thus, Satan is now orchestrating all the nations of the world to come against the tiny nation of Israel thru the perpetration of myths concerning the Jewish people and their nation.

Paradoxically, in the process, Satan is fulfilling Bible prophecy, for the prophet Zechariah stated 2,500 years ago that in the end times the whole world would come against Israel (Zechariah 12:2-3).

Myths about Israel

The Major Political Myths

Since I have already written extensively in this magazine and my books about the myth of Replacement Theology, I want to devote the rest of this article to some of the major political myths about the Jewish people and Israel that exist today.

These political myths have been perpetrated by the world’s political leaders in an effort to turn the nations of the world against the Jewish people, with the goal of ultimately destroying their state.

The media is loaded with these myths about Israel, and they have proved to be very effective in generating worldwide hatred toward the Jewish people and their state.

Myth #1

The first is that the Jewish people have no claim to the land of Palestine.

In response to this myth, I think I should begin by pointing out that the word, Palestine, is not a biblical word. You will not find it anywhere in your Bible except as a label on maps in the back of your Bible.

That label is totally incorrect. What came to be called Palestine was the land of Israel for over 1,500 years — the period of the biblical judges and kings. The land did not become known as Palestine until after the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in 70 AD and began to disperse the Jewish people worldwide.

The word, Palestine, is derived from the Roman word for Philistines. So, to humiliate the Jewish people, the Romans renamed the land after their enemy.

Now, as to whether or not the Jews have any rightful claim on that land, the answer is absolutely yes!

The Biblical Right to the Land

The God of the Jewish people is the One who created the universe, and Psalm 24:1 says He owns all of it. He therefore has the right to give any part of this earth to whomsoever He pleases.

And it pleased God to give a large section of the Middle East to the Jewish people. This gift occurred 4,000 years ago when God appeared to Abraham and gave him and his descendants a land grant as pictured below, stretching from the Mediterranean Sea to the Euphrates River (Genesis 15:18- 21).

Israel's Borders

This is a land grant that has never been fully realized, but will be during the Millennial reign of Jesus. A small portion of this grant is what is currently referred to as Palestine. At the time that Abraham was promised the land, the area was called “The Land of Canaan.”

The initial promise of this land to Abraham and his descendants was specified in general terms in the Abrahamic Covenant contained in Genesis 12.

Genesis 12:1-2,7

1) The LORD said to Abram, “Go forth from your country… to the land which I will show you;

2) And I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great…

7) To your descendants I will give this land.

This promise was reconfirmed to Abraham six more times and was spelled out in detail in Genesis 15:18-21. In Genesis 17:7, God declared the promise of the land to be “an everlasting covenant.” The promise was reconfirmed to Isaac and to Jacob, and it was reconfirmed through King David in Psalm 105 when he wrote:

Psalm 105:1,8-11

1) Oh give thanks to the Lord…

8) For He has remembered His covenant forever…

9) The covenant which He made with Abraham, and His oath to Isaac,

10) Then He confirmed it to Jacob… and to Israel as an everlasting covenant,

11) Saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan as the portion of your inheritance.”

The fact that the Jews were dispersed from the land for 1,878 years — from 70 AD to 1948 — does not in any way mean that God invalidated their deed to the land. For, you see, God had a second covenant with the Jewish people concerning their land.

The first covenant was a Land Title Covenant given through Abraham. It was unconditional. The second was a Land Use Covenant given through Moses. It was conditional.

In the Land Use Covenant God told the Jewish people that their enjoyment of the land would be dependent on their obedience to His Word — if faithful, blessings; if unfaithful, curses.

And He made it clear that if they became disobedient and persisted in that disobedience, the ultimate judgment He would place on them would be exile from the land. But the land would still belong to them. Let me illustrate this:

Suppose you give your teenage son a car and put the title in his name. But you make it clear that as long as he is living at home, under your authority, there will be rules for using the car. If the rules are broken, depending on the seriousness of the offense, the car will be locked up in the garage for a period of time. The car will still belong to the teen, but the enjoyment of it will be lost.

The crucial point here is that although the Jewish people were dispersed from their land in discipline, they were not dispossessed of their land. The title to the land remained in their name.

Political Right to the Land

Now, the world, of course, could care less about the Jews’ biblical and eternal title to the land. So let’s take a look at their right to the land from a political and legal standpoint. The fact that they have a legal right to the land can be easily established.

In November of 1947, the United Nations officially and legally authorized the creation of the modern state of Israel.

Prior to that time the land had been a League of Nations Mandate, established after World War I. Britain had been entrusted with this Mandate, the purpose of which was to prepare the people living in the area for ultimate self-rule.

In 1947, when the British announced that they were ready to surrender the Mandate, the United Nations approved a division of the land between the Jews and the Arabs. That division is illustrated in the map below. The three light orange areas were to be the Jewish state; the three purple areas, the Arab state. Jerusalem was to be internationalized.

UNSOP's Majority Proposal 1947

The Jews reluctantly accepted the proposal and proceeded to establish their state. The Arabs refused to accept the UN action and resorted to war.

No one can truthfully claim that the Jews have no right to the land. It belongs to them both biblically and legally.

Myth #2

The second myth I want to consider is the one perpetrated by the Palestinians and mindlessly repeated by the world press. It is the claim that the Palestinians were forcibly and unjustly evicted from their state by the Jewish people.

The first thing that needs to be considered here is that there was never such a thing as a Palestinian state. Palestine was simply a geographical name that was given to a section of the Middle East that was always under the control of some foreign power.

Between 1517 and 1917 — a period of 400 years — it was a part of the Ottoman Empire, whose capital was Istanbul. There was never a sovereign Palestinian state. There was never a Palestinian indigenous population with its own language and culture.

By the beginning of the 20th Century, Palestine was a desolate, barren land that was sparsely populated. Most of it was owned by absentee landlords. The people who lived there would have identified themselves as Syrians. In fact, the Arabs who lived there did not even begin to call themselves Palestinians until the mid 1960s.

But the major point that should be made is that when the Jews began returning to their homeland in the 1890s and early 1900s, they purchased the land from the Arabs at exorbitant prices. In fact, the prices quadrupled! Again, the Jews did not steal the land, nor did they evict the Arabs. They bought land that already rightfully belonged to them.

And it was a desolate land. All the trees south of the Sea of Galilee had been cut down. The valleys had turned into malaria infested swamp lands. It was a land no one wanted except the Jewish people.

The Bible had prophesied that the land would become desolate when the Jews were evicted, and it also prophesied that when they returned, it would once again become a land of milk and honey. Here is the prophecy concerning its desolation:

Deuteronomy 29:22-23

22) Now the generation to come, your sons who rise up after you and the foreigner who comes from a distant land, when they see the plagues of the land and the diseases with which the LORD has afflicted it, will say,

23) “All its land is brimstone and salt, a burning waste, unsown and unproductive, and no grass grows in it, like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah…”

Here is the prophecy concerning the reclamation of the land when the Jews returned:

Ezekiel 36:34-35

34) The desolate land will be cultivated instead of being a desolation in the sight of everyone who passes by.

35) They will say, “This desolate land has become like the garden of Eden; and the waste, desolate and ruined cities are fortified and inhabited.”

And that’s exactly what happened, and so the newest myth the fertile imaginations of the Palestinians have conjured up is that the land was as wonderful as it is now when the Jews “stole it” from them!

Palestinian refugee camp in Jordan

Palestinian refugee camp in Jordan.

Myth #3

The third myth for us to consider is a tragic one because it has resulted in a terrible abuse of the Palestinian people by their own leaders. It is the myth that Israel has kept the Palestinian refugees of the 1948-49 War of Independence in miserable refugee camps for over 70 years by refusing to allow them to return.

It is true that there was a massive eviction of Arabs from Palestine during Israel’s War of Independence in 1948 and 49 — but they were not forced out by Israel.

They fled at the request of the five Arab armies that invaded Israel after its Declaration of Independence. They were told by the Arab leaders to flee to safety while the attacking nations “made the Mediterranean Sea run red with the blood of the Jews.”

Approximately 650,000 fled the land. After the war ended, the Arab nations refused to absorb these people. Instead, they herded them into refugee camps along their borders with Israel and started using their plight to rally public opinion against Israel.

Today, there are only 30,000 of these people still alive, but the Palestinians argue that there are five million refugees because they count their children and grandchildren and great grandchildren.

In contrast, following the War of Independence, all the Jews in the Arab states — a total of over 800,000 — were forcibly expelled and their properties were confiscated. The tiny state of Israel absorbed 550,000 of these refugees. The rest were absorbed by Western nations, primarily the United States.

In August of 2018, President Trump announced that the United States would no longer recognize as refugees those Palestinians who fled Israel in 1948-49. He also announced that the UN Relief Agency, which exists solely for the purpose of sustaining these people, will no longer receive the annual $300 million donation from our nation.

Hopefully, this will force the Arab nations to absorb these people and stop using them as political pawns.

Myth #4

The fourth major myth I would like to consider is the claim that the Palestinians are the true indigenous people of the land — like the American Indians — and that the Jews are colonialist invaders from Europe.

This is one of the fundamental contentions of the BDS Movement — the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement — that so many American corporations and churches have bought into.

For a long time the Palestinians argued they were descendants of the Philistines. But when it was brought to their attention that the Philistines originated in the Greek Aegean Islands and came to Israel in about 1,300 BC when the Greeks expelled them, the “indigenous people” argument was changed, and the Palestinians started claiming to be descendants of the Canaanites!

Mahmoud Abbas

Mahmoud Abbas

Mahmoud Abbas, the current Palestinian leader, has heavily emphasized this nonsense in recent years. You might keep in mind that he also makes some other absurd claims, such as:

1) Jesus was a Palestinian.

2) The people Moses led out of Egypt were Muslims.

3) There was never a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.

Additionally, he is also a Holocaust denier. In his doctrinal dissertation, he argued that the Holocaust is fiction, created to generate sympathy for the Jews. So this man lives in a world of lies.

The idea that the Jews in Israel today are colonial occupiers is completely absurd. There has been an uninterrupted Jewish presence in the Holy Land for 4,000 years. Even during the dispersion of the Jews after 70 AD, there continued to be Jewish people living in Jerusalem and in the Galilee.

And the Jews who have returned to their homeland have not just returned from Europe. They have come from over 100 countries scattered all over the world. There is just no way they can be considered a European “colonial force.”

Nor can the Palestinians be considered descendants of the Canaanites. There is simply no genealogical or genetic evidence that connects the Arabs to the extinct Canaanites.

In reality, the Palestinians in the Middle East are Arabs who migrated to the area from places like Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Egypt. Yasser Arafat, for example, was born and raised in Egypt. And notice this revealing quote of his:

“The Palestinian people have no identity. I, Yasser Arafat, man of destiny, will give them that identity through conflict with Israel.”

In 2012, the Hamas Minister of the Interior and of Security, Fathi Hammad, stated that “half the Palestinians are Egyptians and the other half are Saudis.”

Myth #5

The fifth myth I want to take a look at is the assertion that Jerusalem is the historic capital of the Palestinian people and is the third most holy site in Islam.

This is what President Trump would call “fake news.” I call it “baloney.” The truth is that Jerusalem has never been the capital of any nation except Israel. Period!

When David conquered the city 3,000 years ago, it was a tiny rural Jebusite village. It was made the capital of Israel and served in that capacity for more than a thousand years.

It has never been the capital of any other nation — none! The Roman capital of the Holy Land was Caesarea Maritime. The Crusader capital was the port city of Akko. The capital of Palestine during the 400 years of Ottoman rule was Istanbul.

The mythical claim that Jerusalem is the third most holy site of Islam, after Medina and Mecca, is a manufactured political ploy to make an unjustified claim on the city.

  • Jews pray toward Jerusalem. Muslims pray toward Mecca.
  • The city of Jerusalem is mentioned more than 700 times in the Hebrew Scriptures, either as Jerusalem, Zion or Ariel.
  • Jerusalem is not mentioned once in the Quran.

The Muslim claim to Jerusalem is based on the legend that Muhammad rode his flying horse to the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem where he was taken up into Heaven for a visit. They base that claim on a statement in the Quran that says that Muhammad rode his horse to “the farthest mosque.” That was a mosque located in Saudi Arabia that went by that name.

The passage in the Quran could not be referring to the Al Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, as Muslims now claim, because it did not even exist during Mohammad’s lifetime! Mohammad died in 632 AD. The Al Aqsa Mosque was completed in 706 AD, 73 years after Mohammad’s death.

Myth #6

The sixth myth I would like to highlight is the assertion that for 70 years, Israel has been preventing the right of the Palestinian people to create a state for themselves.

The first thing to consider here is the absolutely irrefutable fact that the Palestinians already have a state!

It is called Jordan.

In 1921, Winston Churchill, acting as the British Colonial Secretary, issued a declaration in which he granted two-thirds of Palestine to the Arabs, creating a state called Transjordan, which today is simply called Jordan. He did this to curry the favor of the Arabs due to the large oil reserves that had been discovered in Arab lands.

This left the Jews only a small sliver of land 260 miles long by 70 miles wide located along the Mediterranean coast. They felt betrayed, but they swallowed hard and began looking forward to the day when they could convert that sliver of land into the state of Israel.

Palestinian State in 1921

The British created a Palestinian state in 1921 when they gave two-thirds of Palestine to the Arabs and named it Transjordan.

The UN Vote

But then, in November 1947, the UN voted to divide the sliver into two states — one for the Jews and one for the Arabs, thus creating a second Palestinian state.

Once again, the Jews felt betrayed, but they accepted the UN resolution and established their state in May of 1948, when the British ended their League of Nations Mandate over the land.

Now, here is the crucial point that is never told by the press and is certainly never mentioned by the Palestinians: On the very day the Jews met in Tel Aviv and declared the existence of their state, the Arabs could have assembled in Ramallah and declared the existence of a second Palestinian state.

Instead, they encouraged the five Arab states that attacked Israel because they wanted all the land, and they did not want a Jewish state of any size in their midst.

So, on the very day that Israel celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2018, the Arabs could have been celebrating the 70th anniversary of their state. They have no one to blame but themselves.

Camp David in 2000

Nor was 1948 their only opportunity to establish a state. They have had several opportunities, one of which was in the year 2000 at the Camp David Conference that President Clinton convened. At that conference, President Clinton convinced Ehud Barak, Israel’s most liberal Prime Minister in its history, to agree to 95% of the Palestinian demands.

When these incredible concessions were made, Yasser Arafat’s response was to get up from the negotiating table, walk out of the room, fly back home and start the First Intifada, or Palestinian uprising.

Why? Because he knew if he agreed to any compromise with Israel, he would risk his life. And furthermore, the Palestinian demands were nothing but window dressing for what they really want, which is the annihilation of Israel.

The best summary I have ever heard of the long, sordid history of Palestinian leadership is the one phrased by Abba Eban, Israel’s articulate ambassador to the UN from 1949 to 1959. He said, “The Palestinians have never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”

Even some Arab leaders are getting fed up with the Palestinians. For example, the Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammad bin Saliman, recently said:

For the past 40 years, the Palestinian leadership has missed opportunities again and again, and have rejected all offers it was given. It’s about time that the Palestinians accept the offers and agree to come to the negotiating table — or they should shut up and stop complaining.

Myth #7

The seventh and final myth I want to address is the most important one that the Palestinians and their allies are using today to rally world public opinion against Israel. It is the one being used on our college and university campuses to enlist young Americans against Israel. I’m speaking of the myth that Israel is an Apartheid state.

For those of you who might not be familiar with the term, Apartheid, let me pause to explain that it was the term used to describe the policy that prevailed in South Africa for many years that required the strict separation of races.

This claim against Israel is a classic example of the truth espoused by Hitler’s propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, who said, “If you tell a lie big enough and often enough, people will believe it.”

The truth is that there is absolutely no Apartheid in Israel. None whatsoever! In fact, the truth is that the only Apartheid that can be found in the Middle East is in the Arab nations where Jews are not even allowed to live!

Israel has 1.7 million Arabs living within its borders. They are not separated from Israelis in any way. They enjoy complete citizenship rights, including the right to work with unemployment, medical and welfare benefits. They also have the right to vote — even the right to serve in the Israeli Parliament. There is no segregation in Israel in its theaters, buses, hotels or any other place.

The only way Arab citizens of Israel are treated differently is that they are not required to serve in the military, whereas Jews are required to do so — both men and women.

Well, I hope you are getting a clear picture of what hogwash it is to accuse Israel of Apartheid. Yet, the world’s political leaders continue to make the claim like mindless zombies.

The only Apartheid that can be found in the Middle East is in the Arab nations which will not even tolerate a Jew living within their boundaries. Yet these are the very hypocrites who shout the loudest about Israel being an Apartheid nation!

Yet, many American denominational leaders have bought this myth — hook, line and sinker. And that’s because they are either completely deluded, or else they are motivated by anti-Semitism, and therefore they want to believe a lie.

American church leaders protesting against Israel

American church leaders protesting against Israel.

Conclusion

The only other political myth about Israel that comes to mind is the allegation that Israel is the major obstacle to peace in the Middle East.

That absurdity can be dismissed quickly with one observation from Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu — an observation that cannot be denied:

“If the Arabs would disarm, there would be peace in the Middle East. If Israel were to disarm, Israel would cease to exist.”

There are, of course, other myths that could be discussed, and Satan is motivating the creation of new ones all the time. But Satan is going to lose this battle big time.

God is on His throne. He is in control. He has the wisdom and power to orchestrate all the evil of Satan and Man to the triumph of His will in history. “He who keeps Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps” (Psalm 121:4).

According to Psalm 2, He sits on His throne in Heaven and laughs at His foes. He’s not laughing because He doesn’t care. No, He is laughing because He has it all under control.

And He’s also laughing because the day is fast approaching when He will unleash His fury and pour out His wrath by sending His Son back to reign over all the earth from Mount Zion in Jerusalem.

And on that glorious day when Jesus returns to the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, the Jewish remnant will repent and cry out: “Baruch Haba B’Shem Adonai!” (Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!).

Meanwhile, I’m going to continue shouting every day in my heart, “Maranatha! Maranatha! Maranatha! Come quickly, Lord Jesus!”

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