Israel and the Religious Far-Right. With friends like these...
Here is an odd piece of news..
US TV host sorry for Sharon slur
US TV evangelist Pat Robertson has apologised for saying Israeli leader Ariel Sharon's stroke was divine retribution for leaving the Gaza Strip.
Earlier this week, the ministry's spokesman Ido Hartuv said Israel would no longer be signing a contract with Mr Robertson to build a biblical theme park by the Sea of Galilee.
The actual thing he said was:
"You read the Bible: This is my land, and for any prime minister of Israel who decides he's going to carve it up and give it away, God says no, this is mine".
Now this is not odd for who said it. This kind of outburst is entirely within character. Only last year Robertson had to apologise for urging the US to kill Chavez.
No, what is odd is this - a Christian is dictating to Israel how they should carry out their own policy and not on political grounds but on religious grounds. That is God owns Israel [OK so far - any Christian can happily announce that God must have some stake in every part of the Earth they believe he created]. But it goes on... God created the state of Israel, drew the 1967 border of Israel, put Jews in charge of this and threatened them to keep that border on pain of death. Worrying.
This is part of the interpretation of the Bible that is sweeping around some Right-wing Religious circles in America. Creationism is only the thin end of this wedge. The basis of the theory is taking the Old-Testament very literally. From interpolating the dates ( e.g. taking days to mean years) in the Bible you come to the date of the creation of the Earth by God at around 3900 BC. Now according to an even more literal interpretation of Daniel [8:13,14] it predicts that non-Jews will take over Israel for 2300 years and then the Jews will take it back. If you take the defeat of Darius by Alexander the Great in 330BC as the start of non-Jewish rule of Israel - you are surprisingly close to the date of the 1967 War 2300 years later. Hence proof (!) of the Bible.
Pat Robertson is therefore tying the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, where Israel annexed the West Bank and Gaza Strip to living proof of the Bible. Now if Sharon was so stupid as to give bits of Israel to the Palestinians this would go against the proof Bible and hence God will be a little miffed to say the least.
Here is the ominous part; if you take 1967 as a biblical event then you will also come to the conclusion that the Rapture is around the corner. Rapture sounds like a nice word but it isn't - just try Googling to see what I mean. Here is the basic story - all the Christians will be taken for a seven year holiday in Heaven while God stops suppressing Evil and lets the Devil rake bloody vengence on the whole world. The Jews would be given a chance to convert first or perish with the rest.
Now one should be rather worried given that such theories are bouncing around a little too close to the man with his finger on the American Nuclear button and his Defence Secretary and Israel really ought to be more selective on what kind of people it encourages to build theme parks.