Josh Reinstein believes passionately that the world’s view of Israel has long been, and largely remains, blinkered. To take the perennial Israel-Palestine dispute as an example, most world leaders have perceived it as a purely political issue, and a variety of political solutions have been attempted. They fail, Reinstein believes, because a vital element is invariably missing from the analysis – the biblical dimension. In considering Israel and the issues that affect it, few political leaders or commentators ever add the religious to the political perspective. In Titus, Trump and the Triumph of Israel, Reinstein makes the case for viewing the history of Israel through this enhanced lens. Only by doing so, he maintains, can Israel and its situation be brought into focus.
Together with belief in God, the significance of the Bible as the word of God has been greatly eroded over the past century. With loss of faith, the Bible has become irrelevant in the lives of huge segments of Western society. The loss, Reinstein asserts, is theirs. The truths lodged within the Bible are unaffected.
In short, the fact of the Jewish people returning to Israel after millennia in exile is, Reinstein asserts, based on something much more meaningful than international agreements or UN resolutions. It is essentially tied to the Bible. There can be no proper understanding of this event without the religious perspective. Lack of it leads, as Reinstein puts it, to “terrible mistakes politically.”
In his campaign to optimize the return of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel, Reinstein has found massive support from the world of Bible-believing Christians. Evangelical Christians are a major force in US politics ‒ they make up something like a quarter of all Americans, according to some calculations. All Evangelicals, whatever differences there may be between various sects, believe in Biblical inspiration. As a result, as Reinstein points out, such verses as: “He that scattered Israel will gather them and watch over them as a shepherd does his flock” (Jeremiah), or “And the Lord your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you will possess it” (Deuteronomy) resonate and have not only power, but meaning.
Referring in detail to the covenant between God and the people who chose to fulfil his commandments and become a “light unto the nations”, Reinstein traces the story of the Jewish people, from its defeat by the Romans, the extravagance of Titus’s triumph and their expulsion from their promised land, through the millennia of exile and persecution, to their return to a resuscitated State of Israel, and its subsequent success in becoming a world-class technological hub exporting its know-how across the globe.
Reinstein perceived that Bible-believing Christians, aware of God’s promise to Abraham (“I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse”) were, through their faith, natural supporters of Israel. He relates how in 2004, together with Yuri Stern, a member of Israel’s parliament, he started the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus, a body dedicated to promoting faith-based diplomacy. He broadened this initiative three years later by joining Rabbi Benny Elon to form the Israel Allies Foundation, aimed at encouraging faith-based support for Israel among elected members of legislatures worldwide. Today, it coordinates the efforts of 50 Israel Allies Caucuses, with some 1,200 members in parliaments across the globe, to garner political support for Israel. Reinstein writes: “the battle for Israel is, at core, a spiritual one. The passion of those who support Israel, and of those who resist it, often stems directly from their view of the Bible.”
In considering the pro-Israel steps taken by Donald Trump during his presidency, Reinstein sees faith-based politics in action, stemming in large measure from the huge support-base Trump enjoyed within the evangelical Christian community. In turning to the endemic hatred that radical Islamists manifest towards Jews in general and Israel in particular, this too he sees as at root religious ‒ a “threat to their ideology,” or in other words “just more links in the long chain of hostilities that have existed since 610,” the year from which Islam dates its foundation and its calendar.
Reinstein also identifies a range of worldwide threats to Israel from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement to Iran, from Muslim claims on Jerusalem to left-wing antisemitism. Salvation he sees in the approach of the Trump administration towards resolving the Israel-Palestine dispute. He places his faith in Trump’s “Deal of the Century.”
Titus, Trump and the Triumph of Israel will not satisfy readers who cannot share Josh Reinstein’s profound belief in biblical prophesy. Nor has he much to say about the situation or prospects of Palestinians living under occupation, beyond commending the Trump peace plan. Nevertheless, granted the book is a perceptive statement of the right-wing case for Israel, it contains a detailed account of the miracle of Israel’s rebirth, development and achievements calculated to inspire pride in any Israeli heart.■
Titus, Trump and the Triumph of Israel: The Power of Faith-Based Diplomacy
Gefen Publishing House, 2020
249 pages; NIS 80/$18.95
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