Sometimes even the scientist, if he is truly as open-minded as scientists claim to be, must open his mind and look beyond.
Almost precisely a year ago, Egypt announced that it would cut the amount of natural gas it would sell to Israel.
And little more than a week ago, production began at the Tamar offshore natural gas field. And just two days ago, a German newspaper reported that the estimated capacity of the Tamar field has been raised, by a full trillion cubic feet.
Natural gas fields, of course, do not develop overnight; the process takes literally millions of years. Is it not interesting, then, that these fields (Tamar and another, Leviathan), having lain hidden beneath Israel’s territorial waters through 2,000 years of occupation by Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Turks, and Englishmen, were to be discovered by and exploited only after the Jews’ return, and precisely at the moment Israel needed them?
I am not a religious man. But I am not a great believer in coincidence, either. Which got me thinking of the Torah — specifically, Genesis, chapter 12, verses 1 and 2:
Now the LORD said unto Abram: “Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto the land that I will show thee.
And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and be thou a blessing.
So God says that He will make of the Jews a great nation. But He doesn’t say when.
Could the time be now?
The major obstacle to the “two-state solution” which so enthralls Western liberals is not land, but the Arabs’ refusal to recognize the Jewish People as a people and Israel as the state of the Jewish People. But another obstacle, less remarked upon, is Israelis’ growing realization that the conventional wisdom — that a greater Palestinian Arab birthrate would eventually cause Arabs to outnumber the Jewish population between the Mediterranean and the Jordan — is wrong. And as the fear of a Palestinian demographic landslide vanishes, the motivation for Israel to accept a Palestinian state vanishes with it.
In fact, most of the Arab states and Iran are experiencing a drastic decline in their national birth rates at the same time as the Jewish population continues to benefit not from a decline, but from a 17-year “robust surge” in her birth rate — one which shows no signs of slowing. How dramatic is Israel’s rise? In what one could fairly characterize as the ultimate irony (emphases mine):
An Israeli fertility rate of nearly 3 births per woman exceeds the industrial nations’ norm by such a wide margin that… Israel will have more young people than Italy or Spain and as many as Germany by the end of the century if fertility remains unchanged. A century and a half after the Holocaust, that is, the Jewish State will have more military-age men, and will be able to field a larger land army, than Germany.
And in the Middle East, we see an Egypt that has become an economic basket case, suffering from shortages of food, fuel, and cash. Syria, as we all know, is engulfed in a civil war, her death toll exceeding 70,000 and still climbing. Thus, today, Israel’s two strongest neighbors no longer pose a serious military threat. Only Iran, which shares no border with Israel, poses a credible threat, and then only if she acquires an atomic bomb, which, this writer is confident, no Israeli leader, least of all Netanyahu, will allow to happen.
Which brings me back to the Torah. Genesis again:
And I will bless them that bless thee, and him that curseth thee will I curse; and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.
And again, in Numbers 23:19 and Numbers 24:8-9:
God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent: when He hath said, will He not do it? Or when He hath spoken, will He not make it good?
God who brought him forth out of Egypt is for him like the lofty horns of the wild-ox; he shall eat up the nations that are his adversaries, and shall break their bones in pieces, and pierce them through with his arrows.
… Blessed be every one that blesseth thee, and cursed be every one that curseth thee.
On the positive side of the ledger, has there ever been a greater nation than the United States of America — or a nation that has blessed the Jews more?
And on the negative side, the great powers who have cursed the Jews throughout history, from ancient Egypt to modern Egypt, from the Roman Empire to the Ottoman Empire to the Nazi Empire: where are they now?
Coincidence? Perhaps, but even the most rigorous (read: closed-minded) scientist has to admit: that’s a lot of coincidences.
Perhaps an experiment could resolve the question. In the Middle East, today, we can see the results of “cursing Israel.” Since the moment of Israel’s rebirth — indeed, from the moment God revealed Himself to Abraham — what have the Jew-haters gained from their Jew-hatred? Namely, nothing. So the proposal to Israel’s Arab neighbors should be simple: since you’ve gained nothing and lost much by cursing Israel, why not try the opposite approach? Instead of cursing Israel, why not try blessing her, as America has, and see if you don’t get a better result?
Try making peace — a true peace — with Israel. Acknowledge the Jewish People as a people. Recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish People and Jerusalem — all of it — as their capital. Trade with Israel. Invite her to share her advanced technology with you, especially in agriculture, where the Israelis can, and would, do so much to alleviate the devastating food shortages from which the Egyptians currently suffer. Send your young people to study in her universities. Invite her teachers to teach in yours.
What have you, Israel’s neighbors, to lose by doing these things, except the destruction you’ve wrought upon yourselves through millennia of Jew-hatred? Conversely, think of what you can gain by blessing, not cursing Israel and the Jewish People: a peaceful and prosperous future for you, your children, and your children’s children.
And when that time comes, if it ever does, that all the peoples of the Middle East have “beaten their swords into plowshares” and are enjoying the fruits of peace, if people want to claim that God played no role in the rapprochement between Jew and Muslim, let them. For in the end, whether one is a scientist or a theologian, it is only the result that matters. And if the result is a peaceful and prosperous Middle East — whether through our agency or His — that will be good enough for me.