ISRAEL’S OPPOSITION HEAD BENNY GANTZ WINS SUPPORT TO FORM GOVERNMENT
Israeli President Reuvin Rivlin has given retired Israeli army general Benny Gantz 42 days to form a new government after he received 61 of the 120 parliamentary votes in another tight election earlier this month. While the result does not guarantee that the centrist leader will be Israel’s next prime minister, it does give him the upper hand in parliament, as he and his supporters look to push legislation to prevent current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from forming a government, due to an ongoing corruption case against him. Mr Gantz would be able to replace Mr Netanyahu with the formation of a minority government formed possibly out of a coalition with mostly Arab parties, which Mr Netanyahu claims are “terror sympathisers.” In the midst of growing concern about the coronavirus in Israel, Mr Netanyahu has proposed the two leaders form a unity government, which he would lead, or the formation of a plan that would allow him to serve as Prime Minister for two more years before Mr Gantz would take over. Mr Netanyahu’s opposition has accused him of using the health pandemic as a way to stay in power.
From a Christian perspective, it is important to note that the Israeli political landscape is like an onion with multiple, and complex layers. There will always be various, and sometimes conflicting perspectives to any political developments in the country. There are Messianic Jews (Jewish followers of Christ, who number between 15,000-20,000 in Israel) who have been praying for a shake-up in the Israeli government for quite some time, as they have faced increased government opposition and persecution, especially from more Orthodox and Ultra-Orthodox sectors, which Mr Netanyahu’s party has strongly aligned with in recent years. The current government’s refusal to issue occupancy permits to Yeshua and Messianic congregations has led many local churches to pray for a new government that “aligns more with the Word and allows them to live in peace with their neighbours”. Most Christians living permanently in Israel are Arabs (approximately 2% of Israel’s population profess Christianity). Other Christians are concerned that a new government under Mr Gantz will favour secularism at the expense of some of the unique benefits currently enjoyed by the Ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities. In the midst of conflicting perspectives one can reflect on the words of ancient Rabbi Gamaliel, in Acts 5:38-39 where he asserts: “…For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”
Pray with us for the following:
- For the Lord to have His way in who should lead Israel in this upcoming season, that His Kingdom may be advanced
- For increased and improved relations between the diverse inhabitants of Israel
- For believers to be encouraged as they seek new ways to share their faith with family and neighbours across various groups
Image: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN