Don’t keep your hands to yourself—How to heal the sick
In 1989, I was working selling copiers. We had a big office with many people and the office manager had just given four ibuprofen to the secretary, who happened to be Jewish. I asked why she was about to take so many pain relievers and she told me how badly her head hurt. I asked, in front of a few others, if I could pray for her. I did and she turned to the office manager and returned the ibuprofen! She was healed.
No, it was not cancer, but it did cause this young lady to be open to hearing about Yeshua.
There is much written about our calling to healing evangelism in the New Testament. In Mark 16, Yeshua lists five supernatural things that we are to do as believers. One of them is to lay hands on the sick and, it says, they will be healed!
Why are we to lay hands on people? Because God has used this to symbolize the transferring of spiritual power and authority. A leader who sins is to lay hands on a goat before it is sacrificed. (Lev. 4:24) The priest laid hands on the goat during Yom Kippur.
He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites—all their sins—and put them on the goat’s head. (Lev. 16:21)
The Bible talks about having clean hands and that this is akin to having a pure heart. (Ps. 24:4) If God was for you, His hand was with you. If not, the Lord’s hand was against you.
We see this more clearly through Yeshua’s ministry. We read that when they arrested Yeshua, they tied his hands (Matt. 27:2). Why? Maybe because they, too, understood, both from Jewish history and from Yeshua’s ministry, that the power of God was released from one to another through the hands.
- Through Yeshua’s hands, He healed the sick. (Peter’s mother-in-law, the leper in Matthew 8)
- He raised the dead by taking the hand of a young girl who had died and by touching a dead boy’s body.
- He took the fish and loaves in His hands and fed 5,000 people.
- He made mud with His hands and put it on the eyes of the blind man, healing him.
What faith it took to touch the man with leprosy! It was a contagious, horrible flesh-eating disease. I am reminded of the story of John G. Lake and bubonic plague. Lake was a missionary in Africa during a time when scores of people were dying from the plague. People were afraid to bury the bodies for fear of contracting the disease. When doctors asked Lake what he was using to protect himself, he replied:
“Brother, that is the ‘law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.’ I believe that just as long as I keep my soul in contact with the living God so that His Spirit is flowing into my soul and body, that no germ will ever attach itself to me, for the Spirit of God will kill it.”
He asked the doctor to put the foam that was coming out of the mouths of the corpses in his hand. When he did so, and then put Lake’s hand under a microscope, he could see that upon contact with Lake’s hand, the disease died.
That same power is in you! Take a look at your hands. The Spirit of God can be released to the sick through your hands.
A Drunk Man Made Sober
Once I was in Port Jefferson, New York, with a team sharing Yeshua. A young man who was quite drunk was not so interested. I told him, “If you let me pray for you, God will make you sober!” He thought it was a joke and allowed me.
Suddenly, he started going crazy, shouting, “What did you do? What do you do? I am sober!” He seemed quite scared by the encounter.
You can do MORE than Yeshua!
One of my favorite verses is John 14:12. Yeshua says,
“The things that I do, you will do and greater things than these will you do, because I am going to my father.”
Yeshua doesn’t say we can merely do what He did—but even greater things! Why? Because he has gone to the Father.
What does that mean, because He has gone to the Father?
- He has risen from the dead and conquered sin and death!
- We are now born from above.
- He has sent the Holy Spirit to us.
- He lives to make intercession for us. (Heb. 7:25)
Think about that…when you go out to share the gospel or pray for the sick, the Bible says that Yeshua – that great intercessor – is praying for you. Check out this verse:
“Messiah Yeshua who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” (Rom. 8:34)
What a joy to know that Yeshua is at the right hand of the Father—you can’t get any closer than that—praying for us, right now! We are immersed in the Holy Spirit to be anointed to do the works of Yeshua before unbelievers. Two of the gifts of the Spirit are healing and miracles.
Why Are so Few Being Healed?
So, why don’t we see more sick people healed? One reason is that most people don’t pray for the sick. Like anything else in life, you have to do it a lot to become good at it.Michael Jordan didn’t wake up one day to find out that he was the best basketball player in the world. No, he practiced…day and night, before games and after games.
Malcom Gladwell, in his book Outliers, speaks of a study that says it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert at something. No, I am not suggesting that you pray for people for 10,000 hours, but merely that the more you pray for the sick, the better you will get at moving in the Spirit.
Get Out of the Building!
Another reason we might not see so many healings is that we pray for believers only. It is so much more fun to pray for unbelievers! What is the first healing we see in Acts? A crippled beggar (Acts 3) receives new legs. Philip goes to Samaria (Acts 8) and casts out demons and does miracles—and the people believe. Our playing field is not inside the congregation but outside – at work, in the university, at the store, etc. God loves to heal unbelievers. Most of the unbelievers I pray for are healed instantly.
If we have such a great gift as healing, why do we keep it to ourselves? There is a story in 2nd Kings where four lepers decide to surrender to the Assyrians. They are dying anyway and wonder what they have to lose. When they arrive, they find the Assyrians gone and all their supplies still there. Food, gold, silver, iPhones!
As they are enjoying the spoils, they come under conviction.
“What we’re doing is not right. This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves. If we wait until daylight, punishment will overtake us. Let’s go at once and report this to the royal palace.” (2 Kings 7:9)
In the same way, we cannot keep this great gift to ourselves, but must share it with the lost. It is time to stop keeping our hands to ourselves!
This article originally appeared on Messiah’s Mandate, January 4, 2019, and reposted with permission.
Ron and wife Elana make their home in Tel Aviv. He serves on the pastoral team of Tiferet Yeshua—the Glory of Yeshua—a Tel Aviv-based, Hebrew-speaking Messianic congregation. Ron is a published author with Destiny Image Publishers, having written books like “Identity Theft”, “Leave Me Alone, I’m Jewish” and “The Jerusalem Secret”. Ron is a sought-out conference speaker and shares passionately about the Jewish Roots of the New Testament and God’s broken heart for His ancient people Israel.
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2 Peter 3: The day of YHVH is coming
Peter begins this chapter by reminding his brothers and sisters in the faith of what both the prophets during the Old Testament and also the Apostles of the Lord and Savior in the New Testament have spoken: “knowing this first”, that scoffers [among even the people of God] will come in the last days, living according to their own lusts, and saying that there are no indications/signs that the Lord is coming; nothing has changed since the creation of the world. If Christians and Jews do not believe in their heart that the Lord and Judge is coming, why should we expect others to take the matter seriously?! If believers are not praying the last prayer of the Bible – “Even so, come, Lord Jesus”! – why should we expect Israel to say “Blessed are you, Lord Jesus/Yeshua, who comes in the name of YHVH!”?
The scoffers are secure in their own unbelief and evil (in God’s eyes), and make light of the coming again of Jesus, who is going to judge them and their lifestyle. Peter writes that these scoffers willfully forget (willful collective amnesia) the flood in Noah’s day, when Godintervened directly into human affairs, judging and destroying the world as it was then. And God has promised by His word to again judge and destroy the world as it now is, this time by fire, on the day of judgment – the Day of YHVH – to put away ungodly people and subdue evil, and to rescue and save the righteous. The God of Israelwill vindicate and sanctify His holy name, and glorify His people. By faith, we, according to His promise, look beyond the Millennial Kingdom for the perfect New Heavens and New Earth to come (the present Heavens and Earth are “very good”) (Gen 1:31; 1Cor 13:10; Rev 21:1-4), in which righteousness dwells. (2Pt 3:13)
The scoffers have accepted or been heavily influenced by the teaching of evolution, which, in essence, claims that the Biblical record and testimony do not stand up to human wisdom. (And they can also be negatively influenced by numerous false prophecies about the end times and rapture that have already been proven to be false.) They add much and take away much of what is written in the Scriptures, as inspired by the Holy Spirit. Peter writes that they willfully forget that YHVH judged the world by the flood, and that Jesus is coming again to judge the world in righteousness. Evolution teaches that death was happening long ago without sin as being the cause; whereas Yeshua and the Apostles affirm that death came in because of sin through one man, Adam. In evolution teaching, there may have been a flood that covered the Earth, but it was not a judgment from the Creator. Evolution is more than just a teaching about length of time for things to be what they are. Yeshua came to save us from our sins, from the liar Satan, and from death and Hell. This is the gospel message!
Evolution teaches, generally, that there is no God, at least not YHVH, and if there is a God, then He is not good; no judgment; no Heaven, and no Hell (but, if there really is the God, they want to usually be in Heaven after the judgment that they do not fear, with the Lord whom they deny). This teaching undermines the Biblical testimony of the LORD Himself, who has revealed to us what He has done, when He has done it, and why He does it. Therefore, it, too, falls into the category of “destructive teachings”, or heresies, having come out from the household of faith. God also tells us that human beings are unique among all other created things, in that we are created in His image and likeness. That is why we are commanded to live in holy conduct and godliness. Charles Darwin (accredited for popularizing evolution as a world-view) knew that if he was right, then Genesis is wrong, and the whole Bible becomes discredited as the primary source and authority about origins and purpose; it becomes only a mythology of the Hebrews. In his theory, the strong survive (survival of the fittest). Jesus, and the writers of the Scriptures, tell us that the meek and righteous shall inherit the Earth and the Kingdom. (Ps 37:11, 27-34; Mt 5:5)
(Parents, pastors, teachers, we have an obligation to know and to show from the Bible why evolution is wrong. We do not have to understand how our God could create everything as He said He did. Neither can anyone explain how evolution is right. We either believe our Father, who has revealed to us what only God knows, or else we reject that and put this world’s wisdom above God’s Word. “Has God really said?!” We want to worship Him in spirit and truth.)
In these last days, Peter informs us by the Holy Spirit that people live in unbelief, without the fear of YHVH. We can see lawlessness increasing, with more violence and brutality as a consequence. They live as if God does not exist, or else, if so, that He is irrelevant. “God is dead”. Yeshua tells us that “as in the days of Noah, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” (Mt 24:37-39) People will be living as everything will continue to be as they always have, not expecting the return of the Lord. The Scriptures are united in their witness and testimony. The “scoffers” do not believe in their heart in the living God, or in the signs which He has given us to prepare and be ready of Jesus’ return. As disciples of the true Messiah, we need to renew our minds, and not be conformed to this world, and the spirit of it.
The Day of YHVH corresponds to the Day of Atonements in the redemptive calendar which God gave to Israel. On that day, either the Jewish Israeli people accepted the sacrifice that He provided for their atonement, or they did not. If they do, He dwells among them (full-filled realized during the Millennial Kingdom, corresponding to the Feast of Booths/Tabernacles). If they refuse, they cut themselves off, and YHVH will see to it. (Lev 23:26-32; Lev 16; Zec 12:7-14; Heb 9:11-28) The 1000-year reign of Messiah, and the saints with Him, is the Sabbath rest for this creation – the seventh 1000-year period since the Creation, according to God’s Word. (Heb 4:1-11; Rom 8:18-25) All of the covenantal promises of God to Israel and her people and land are ‘yes’, and ‘amen’ in Messiah Yeshua, and will all find their fulfillment during those times of restoration of all things pertaining to this world, which will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD. (Acts 3:19-22; Is 11:9; 2:17)
God has been long-suffering before this long-awaited Day comes. He wants people to be saved, having their sins forgiven and wiped away, and to live with Him for eternity! (2Pt 3:9) It took Him about 1700 years after Adam and Eve to judge and kill all of the wicked, but saved Noah and his family in the ark. Peter is also telling us that God is not slow to put away the evil, but long-suffering, wanting as many as possible to repent and be saved. So Peter, by the Holy Spirit, references Ps 90:4, in which Moses writes, by the Holy Spirit, that 1000 years is like yesterday to God. Moses goes on to write that our life expectancy is 70 years, and with strength, 80 years. (v 10) In other words, a normal lifetime is between 70-80 years. (In Israel today, the average life-span is about 83 years; Israel today, as a nation, is approaching 71 years.)
Moses also wrote that that we should want God to “teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom”. (v 12) Hosea the Prophet wrote that Israel should return to the LORD, for YHVH has punished them, but will heal them. He has stricken them for two days, and on the third day He will raise us up, that we might live in His sight. Let us know and let us pursue the knowledge of YHVH. (Hos 6:1-3) These two days were not 24-hour days, but these completely align with Peter’s prophetic counsel to believers in Jesus in the last days – which began since Yeshua died and rose again, ascended to sit at the right-hand of the Father, and the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the 120 disciples. (Acts 2:16-21) We are living in the end-times of the last days, marked by the reestablishment of the Jewish people in the land of promise. (Mt 24:32-35) (Interestingly, even in the Talmud is a reckoning of history into three 2000-year periods, for the six days of history following the Creation: 2000 years of no Law; 2000 years of Torah; 2000 years of the Messiah. http://www.come-and-hear.com/zarah/zarah_9.html ) (With evolutionary thinking, there are no reliable time-markers.)
Yeshua rebuked the multitudes of the people in His day that, although they could discern the signs about the weather, they could not discern the times about His having come to them, the Messiah and Lord that the prophets had foretold them. (Lk 12:54-56; Acts 3:17-18) Do we want Him to say the same thing to us? The Scriptures are written for us living at the end of the age. (1Cor 10:11; Acts 3:19-26) And what was the context in which Paul wrote that to the believers in Corinth?: they were walking according to their own lusts, just as Israel had done, warning the believers not to become idolatrous like unbelievers who live according to the lusts of the flesh. This is what Peter is saying to us, as well, nearing the end of the age: that since God is going to judge all these things, we are to live in holy conduct and godliness, waiting for and hastening the day of God (the day of YHVH). (2Pt 3:11)
The Father has set a Day in which He will judge the world in righteousness, and Yeshua is that Judge. (Acts 17:30-31) No one can know in advance precisely that day and hour; but, we are told to watch and pray concerning the signs which the Lord and the apostles and prophets have given us. Then we can be prepared, and not be taken by surprise when the Lord returns as a thief in the night.
How do we hasten a day that the Father has set and no one can alter?: by faithful obedience, and by love. If we are busy with what our Lord and Savior has given us to do, we will be blessed in Him, and the “work day” will not seem so slow and long. He has commissioned us to take the gospels to all peoples, and that when the fullness of Gentiles have come in, then all Israel will be saved. And if we really love Yeshua, then we will be continually desiring to see Him, even as we go about His work, loving others, and He will comfort us by His Word and Spirit that He will come for us. We will “feel” that the time is going by faster, thus, hastening the Day. (Mt 24:36-51) As we read the whole counsel of God, we see that there is a unity and an agreement within the Bible that reinforces what He would have us to hear and understand and do. We are His children; we are His servants; we are His friends; we are His witnesses; we are the Lamb’s beloved Bride.
Peter, the Apostle to the Jews, commends his brother Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, but who was also commissioned by the Lord Yeshua to speak to the Jewish people and to kings. Paul had rebuked Peter when Peter had acted hypocritically regarding his lifestyle and teaching as a believer: he was eating with Gentiles, and free to eat whatever was put before him (if he wanted), giving prayer and thanks to God for it. (1Tim 4:3-4) But when leading Jewish believers who were still keeping certain traditions that were no longer required of believers in Messiah Yeshua, he acted like he was, too. His example influenced other believers, and Paul rebuked him for bringing confusion into the truth of the gospel – to the Jews first, and also to the Gentiles. (Gal 2:11-21) Peter humbled himself, and accepted the rebuke, and now, in his second epistle, commends Paul and the wisdom which he had received from God. He adds that those who twist Paul’s words and teachings – though some are very challenging to understand — do so with all of the Scriptures! (2Pt 3:14-16)
This third and last chapter of Peter’s second epistle to the Messianic Jewish believers in Yeshua focuses on how believers – whether Jewish or not – should live in light of the falling away from the true faith in the true God, in order that disciples of Jesus can be overcomers in the Day of YHVH, after which there shall be a regenerated Heavens and Earth during the Millennial reign of Messiah with His saints co-ruling over saved Israel and the nations. (Is 65:17-25; Rev 20:4-6; Dan 7). Yet Peter takes us beyond the last 1000 years of this creation – which will pass away (Mt 5:17-18) — to the New Heavens and New Earth “in which righteousness dwells”. (Rev 21:1-8) God has called us by “glory and virtue”, given us “exceedingly great and precious promises” – all this that we would be motivated to strengthen ourselves in God to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”. (2Pt 1:2-4; 3:11,18) Are you ready for the Day of the LORD? Or are you thinking that everything will just continue as they always have seemed to? What kind of people should we be in the light of that Day? Yeshua gives us attributes of God’s character in the Sermon on the Mount; and Paul gives us the fruit of the Holy Spirit in Galatians. Let us aspire to become more like our heavenly Father, in His image and likeness. We should look forward to these things, and be diligent to be found in peace, without spot, and blameless when He comes.
The Apostle Peter’s reminder and counsel to us is similar to Hosea’s: pursue the knowledge of our God and Savior. Grow in knowing God – our Father, our Lord Jesus Christ whom He sent, the Holy Spirit dwelling within us joining us as one Spirit with our Creator and Redeemer. This is eternal life, which we possess already if we are born again from Above, and which we long for in fullness in the resurrection of our bodies.
To God be the glory both now and forever!
This article originally appeared on Streams in the Negev, January 5, 2019, and reposted with permission.
Howard Bass is the congregation pastor/leader of Nachalat Yeshua (Yeshua's Inheritance) in Beer Sheva, Israel.
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How can you not be Jewish if you’re born to a Jewish father?
Who decided that Jews born to a Jewish father are no longer legally Jewish?
If that’s true, we’d better rethink whether Ephraim (son of Joseph, born of a non-Jewish mother) and Gershom (son of Moses, born of a non-Jewish mother) are legitimately part of the tribe! Kind David had two non-Jewish women among his ancestors (Rahab and Ruth). Is he a non-Jew?
Throughout the Tanach, heritage is through the father. When did that change? The scriptures take pains to refer to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; what rabbinic scholar came up with the idea that this was a mistake and should rather be the God of Sarah, Rebecca and Rachel? While the history of the Jewish people included much tragedy, including the rape of many Jewish women, today’s Jewish mothers almost always know who the father of their child is. Isn’t it time that we returned our biblical heritage to its rightful owners – the fathers? If not, we are guilty of removing the true biblical birthright, which denies those who rightly are and should be recognized as legal Jews!!!
Terri is the wife of the founding elder of Poriya Congregation
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The Gideon phenomenon
What is the Gideon phenomenon? It is the amazing six encounters that Gideon had with God in the book of Judges in chapters 6 and 7. In this blog we are just going to look at two of the encounters that Gideon had with God that are real life lessons for us!
Our encounters with God are supposed to be these special moments when we connect with Him, and through this connection, something is transferred to us by Him. In this transfer from God, something can be learned about Him. For example we can experience His peace, His love, His power. He can give us a word which can encourage us. It can also give us a direction in our life. Encounters are being created for us all of the time, because God desires to have interaction with us. The problem is that many times we are just too busy to notice these encounters, or our hearts are too hardened to perceive the moment. Gideon’s first encounter in Judges 6:11-16 seems to be the kind of encounter which Gideon could have missed but, didn’t! Let’s look at v. 11. It says, “the angel of the Lord came and sat under the oak”. God didn’t show up as a burning bush, he wasn’t floating in the sky. He came as a man sitting simply under a tree. Sometimes we expect only the fiery bush encounters instead of the everyday occurrences where God is also reaching out to us. God is always there, He is alway around us and always speaking to us.
So, the angel of the Lord appears to Gideon under the tree, as he is threshing out the wheat in a wine press. Gideon was terrified of the Midianites who would raid the Israelites and take their harvest. That’s why he is in a winepress instead of threshing in the open air. The Lord says to him in v. 12 “The Lord is with you, O valiant warrior”. When Gideon heard God’s statement I don’t think that he believed God. Gideon didn’t believe that God was with him or Israel and he certainly didn’t feel like a “valiant warrior”. If God was with Israel why were the Midianites raiding Israel and taking all of their harvest? Where was God’s protection? Also, Gideon didn’t believe himself to be a valiant warrior as he threshed the wheat in a wine press instead of the open air. In this encounter, we see God expressing how He actually saw Gideon! God is not even entertaining the thoughts that Gideon had about himself. You see, Gideon was behaving like a terrified man but, that was not who he actually was. God’s view of Gideon and of us is very different than the way that we see ourselves! God knew the potential that was in Gideon and what he could do if he believed God. If we look at v. 14, “The Lord looked at him and said, “Go in this your strength and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you”? “Your strength” didn’t mean that Gideon was powerful but, whatever strength he had it was enough because the Lord had sent him on an assignment. Gideon then goes into a “pity party” telling the Lord how his family is the least in Manasseh and he’s the youngest. But, the Lord says something really important to Gideon. He says, in v. 16 “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat Midian as one man.” All of us, just as Gideon, struggle with the confidence to believe that what God says about us is true. If we look at Exodus 3:11-12 we see Moses having almost the exact same dialogue with God! This is also our dialogue with God when He gives us an assignment and we can’t see how we can do it. Notice, that in both verses God says, “I will be with you”. When we encounter the living God that knows what our purpose is, what we have been created to accomplish, He accompanies us to fulfill the assignment that He has given us. He does not abandon us!
The next encounter we’re going to look at is in Judges 6:25-27, 30-34.
In the evening, the Lord speaks to Gideon and tells him to take his father’s two bulls and pull down the altar of Baal and the Asherah pole that was beside it. He builds an altar to the Lord and sacrifices one of the bulls on top of it. Gideon takes ten men to help him do this and he does it at night. Then the men of the city wanted to kill Gideon but, his father, Joash, argued for his son. He said, “If he is a god, let him contend for himself, because someone has torn down his altar.” Then on that day Gideon’s name was changed to Jerubbaal (let Baal contend against him). This is a very interesting encounter with God that Gideon had. First of all notice that Gideon along with his family and all of Israel were committing idolatry. The idolatry was everywhere. Israel was not worshipping God and they had taken up the worship of foreign gods. Gideon had grown up not knowing his God. This encounter that Gideon had with God was going to show them all that not only was He going to achieve a military victory but, He was going to bring them back to worshipping the one true God. Only God could save them not an idol. How many times do we fall into this trap? We place our idols in the place where God belongs. God had Gideon start with his own house before he could fulfill the plan that God had for him, he had to clean up his own house. Isn’t that what God does with us when we encounter Him? He shows us the idols that we have made and then we mourn how we have forgotten Him. There has to be that turning point from our idols to the living God. Even though Gideon was afraid (that’s why he tore down the Asherah and altar at night) he was still obedient to the Lord. In v. 32 we see that Joash renamed Gideon to Jerubbaal. A name is usually changed because God wants to establish a new identity through that person. Through this encounter with God, Gideon was going to have a new identity. But wait, God has more! Right after his name is changed the Midianites and Amalekites assemble to fight the Israelites. Then, in v. 34 it says, “So the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon;” This is an extremely important gift that God is giving Gideon. The word in Hebrew for “came upon” is “labash” which means to put on, wear, clothe, be clothed. God is infilling Gideon so that he can be an instrument of obedience and a vessel for God. The Lord is equipping him with exactly what he will need to perform the task that the Lord is sending him to do.
Gideon’s encounters with God gave him exactly what he needed to accomplish the will of the Father. May we encounter God each and every day so that we may be his servants to accomplish His will.
Diana Levine is the Rebbetzin of Kol Mashiach Messianic Synagogue in Melbourne, Florida. She has spoken at national conferences, regional conferences, women's retreats and bible studies. She is also the co-founder of the Daughters of Righteousness Conference.
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[Israeli Politics 101] Understanding Israel’s outpost and settlement phenomenon
In order to understand what an “outpost” is, it’s helpful to have some geographical background concerning settlement communities which are located in Judea and Samaria, more commonly known as Israel’s West Bank, as well as other disputed areas including East Jerusalem and, finally, the Golan Heights, seized from Syria as a result of the 1967 Six Day War.
These communities which were not only obtained as the spoils of war but also territories which are historically recognized as being Jewish land, are situated beyond the Green Line (Israel proper) and almost exclusively inhabited by Jewish citizens. The controversy of this area and the houses on them stems from the ongoing international dispute as to whether or not these are Palestinian territories which were illegitimately taken but which, nonetheless, have been in Israeli hands for over five decades. This is the very claim by those who refer to this as the Israeli “occupation.”
However, it’s also important to understand that a great number of these communities exist both with the full support and backing of the Israeli government which has even subsidized and developed the areas which have been deemed strategically important to Israel. For example, Gush Etzion, a cluster of Jewish settlements located just outside of Jerusalem’s southern border, is expected to grow to half a million people within the next decade and has enjoyed construction expansion with the full blessing of the Housing Ministry. There is a beautiful, modern mall, major tourist attractions such as ATV rentals, a Heritage Center, museums, first-class winery, a myriad of eateries and even French patisserie. All this development has been accomplished with the full knowledge and sanction of the Israeli government in order to make it a desirable place where Zionistic citizens will choose to live.
Then there are areas which neither have the backing and support of the Israeli government nor the planned strategy to officially claim them and develop them at this time. It is, typically, those areas which attract Zionist activists – oftentimes young people, to, overnight – in the dead of darkness – suddenly establish a structure, be it a caravan or makeshift temporary housing unit, claiming it as Israeli Jewish property which is now being claimed by them and homesteaded.
Such was the case in the hilltop area known as Amona where police recently cleared out two mobile homes which were illegally built, resulting in the injury of four citizens and 23 police officers when 300 settlers mobilized to stand their ground. Rioters hurled stones, burned tires and threw heavy iron bars at the police. In the end, tear gas had to be employed in order to disperse the activists.
In cases like this, there is often a claim that such outposts are undeniably legitimate since the land was legally purchased from the original Palestinian land owners, and here it’s important to note that any Palestinians discovered to have sold land to Jews are subject to prosecution by the Palestinian Authority for having committed a crime which can be punishable by hard labor, imprisonment or execution even though there has not been an execution since 2006.
However, even if the land was legitimately purchased, there is a required permit which must first be obtained before anyone can make claim to the land and place a housing structure on it. In addition to that important detail, perhaps, the greatest impediment to these kinds of overnight housing claims is that, in this particular area of Amona, the IDF closed off the area, turning it into a military zone – meaning that anyone who would attempt to override such authority would be deemed to openly rebel against the Israeli armed forces and the government itself which expects the military to enforce its policies concerning settlements.
Israel’s highest court ordered the demolishment of the community of Amona in 2017, claiming it had been situated on private Palestinian territory. Knowing this, those responsible for this latest outpost, yet again, petitioned the courts to allow them to remain in their mobile home, but the request was met with a 48-hour deadline to remove the outpost and evacuate the area.
For now, much to the dismay of many young Zionist activists, the Israeli government maintains a policy of not allowing any new settlements on what they consider to be privately owned Palestinian land.
Outposts are considered to be illegal and unauthorized settlements which are not sanctioned by the government unlike planned Israeli West Bank neighborhood settlements which do have the authorization and backing of the government.
It’s also interesting to note that some outposts have eventually been given legitimization by the government after they received a new designation as being an adjunct of an existing legal settlement. Such outposts often enjoy the security of Israeli troops who end up protecting those areas.
It’s, therefore, easy to understand the frustration by individuals who promote the outpost/settlement ideology, because they feel that government authorization lacks a certain consistency or protocol. They claim that when it suits the government, there will be a justification to appropriate whatever area they choose to recognize as lawful, but when it doesn’t suit the government, an order to vacate is immediately set in motion.
While this may be true, one Israeli politician made it clear that anyone who attacks Israeli security forces attacks our country. The rule of law simply has to be observed whether it’s appreciated or not.
Chava Stein, the granddaughter of Jewish European immigrants to the U.S., made Aliyah to Israel in 1993. Married to an Israeli, they live in the center of the country.