False teachers and heresies – 2 Peter 2
2Pt 1:19-21 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto you do well that you take heed, as unto a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
2Pt 2:1-3 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who secretly shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with deceptive words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingers not, and their damnation slumbers not.
secretly – sneaking in
pernicious – destructive, having a harmful effect, especially in a gradual or subtle way
Peter warns of false teachers in the churches just as there were false prophets in Israel. Such teachers and prophets bring in ‘destructive heresies’ to divide and to destroy the unity and the faithfulness of the people and children of God from walking in the truth, and worshipping the Father in spirit and truth.
Paul writes about false teachings in the last days, including those of forbidding marriage and of eating certain meats; Yeshua tells us that false teachers will come dressed like sheep, but inside they are ravenous wolves; Paul also told the leaders in Ephesus that after he leaves, false teachers would come from within the church to make disciples for themselves; Paul also wrote that the time would come when people will listen to that they want to hear, but that we are to preach the truth of what God says. (1Tim 4:1-4, 7; Mt 7:15-16a; 2Tim 4:1-4; Acts 20:27-31)
Heresy comes from the Greek word hairesis, meaning ‘choose, factions, and division’. These false teachers ‘sneak in’ their destructive teachings, because they know they are not in accord with sound doctrine, as revealed and taught by God to the apostles and the other writers of the Scriptures.
Historically, there have been churches with their own dogmas that were not necessarily in line with what the Scriptures teach. For an example, some of the churches baptize infants. When the Anabaptists understood that the Bible teaches that believers are to be baptized, they were called heretics. (Anabaptists may have other issues, but on the baptism teaching alone, they were considered heretical.) The words—their messages—of the false teachers and prophets are destructive to one’s faith and relationship with God. “Denying the Lord” does not necessarily mean they deny that He lived or died or that He is God, but that their words and conduct are opposed to who He is. Their lives deny any close contact with Him. Of course, it it also that some simply deny the Lord completely, and speak evil of Him and of His way. These are apostates, not simply heretics.
Peter does not define heresy, but he does single out one – sexual immorality, and in particular, homosexuality. Paul condemns heresy as one of “the works of the flesh.” (Gal 5:20) It may be translated “sects” in your Bible, but Paul says that people who practice such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God! (Gal 5:21)! We need the fear of the LORD in this very serious matter!
In the ordinary course of secular life, heresy was of little consequence; one person’s opinion or choice about most things in life is just as good as another’s. A person can be given any number of alternatives, any one of which he may be perfectly free to believe. However, in the faith of the true God, we are dealing with revelation, with God-given truth, with absolutes. When God’s truth comes to men, we either have to accept or reject it. Thus, a heretic is a man who believes what he wantsto believe instead of accepting the truth of God that he ought to believe. (taken from John W. Ritenbaugh)
Some heresies have been around for a long time, and are still taught as an acceptable understanding of the truth. There is nothing new under the sun, and the heresies of long ago are back again today. We will look at some of them. I will not give their names, because what is important are their errors, and the consequences of believing them. Not all disagreements are over heretical teaching, and not all heretical teaching means that the teacher is not a real believer. In most cases, though, the teacher and the teaching are opposed to the holy faith handed down to us by the fathers. A heretical teaching does not line up with the plain teaching of the Word of God.
–“YHVH is not the one and only true God, and God Most High.” (Is 43:10-13) Before there ever was the Bible, YHVH had revealed Himself to angels and to mankind. The Jewish people and Christian are called to be His witnesses, that there is no God but Yehovah – God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The God of the Old Testament is the same as the God of the New Testament.
–“Yeshua is not the only way to the Father.” Yeshua says that no comes to the Father but through Him. (Jn 14:6) He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
–“The Bible is not the authoritative written Word of God to Israel and to the world.” This heresy allows man’s understanding and knowledge to have more authority than God Himself. It might be called philosophy; or, it might be called science. It is idolatry if it puts man’s wisdom above YHVH, God of Israel, Creator of the Heavens and the Earth, and all that is in them. It is another spirit, not the Spirit of Truth. God will fulfill His Word, according to His understanding, knowledge, wisdom, and power. God’s Word abides forever, and not a word of it will fall without accomplishing His purpose. (Mt 24:35) We are strictly warned: ‘do not add to or take from these words…”; “all Scripture inspired…”. (Dt 4:2;12:32; Prov 30:6; Rev 22:18-20; 2Tim 3:16-17) Moses did write, by the Spirit of God, that someone would come after him, to whom we must listen. This ‘someone’ is Yeshua/Jesus, the Messiah. (Dt 18:15-19; Acts 3:22-23)
–“Jesus is not both God and Man”. This is another Jesus/Yeshua than whom God witnesses to throughout the Bible. As the early church grappled with heretics of various sorts, the leaders were united on the absolute necessity of the full deity and full humanity of Jesus Christ. They realized that only God Himself could rescue us from our separation from Him, and that only a man could “earn back” what the first man had lost. (Jn 1:1-18; Rom 5:12-21) Thank and praise the Lord for His becoming incarnate for our sake!
–“Jesus was not fully human (did not come in human flesh).” It is to make Him a deceiver, only acting as if He ever felt any physical pain: in His crucifixion, He did not feel physical pain, because God can not feel physical pain, for God is a spirit. Jesus did not physically resurrect in the body, but only had a ‘spiritual’ resurrection. This teaching about Yeshua not coming in the flesh (real human flesh and blood) is the antichrist teaching. (1Jn 4:3) Yeshua came as not only the Son of God, but also as the Son of Man, in order to know our sufferings and redeem us, and to be a sympathetic High Priest for us. Jesus also promised His disciples that He would come again, and the angels told them that the same Jesus that they saw ascend into Heaven would come again [at the appointed time set by the Father].
–“Jesus not fully God, because He subjected Himself to God His Father, and because He was limited in space and time while in the body.” Brothers and sisters, this is the mystery of the Godhead!: “God was manifested in the flesh….” (1Tim 3:16) It is something only our amazing God can do, and has revealed to us. No created being would invent such a doctrine and expect any one to believe it.
–“God has finished with the Jews and with Israel as a nation in the promised land.” God has not rejected His covenant and promises to Israel – or, for that matter, to anyone else. To teach otherwise is to dishonor the Lord and to make His promises ‘not promises’. His Name is at stake in His keeping His covenantal promises to the seed of Jacob/Israel, and to David, and to Levi. (Rom 11; Jer 31:35-37; 33:17-26; Ezek 36:22-28) God has not cancelled, annulled, or done away with the Law and the Prophets. Yeshua confirms that every jot and tittle of them will be fulfilled. (Mt 5:17-20; Rom 15:8-13)
–“Gentile and Jewish believers must keep the “Torah” in order to live as Jesus lived, and, therefore, be righteous”, even if it is said by the false teachers on this subject not to be a salvation issue, and that we are saved by our faith in the name of the Son of God, the Lord Yeshua the Messiah. They are teaching another gospel, sowing confusion and division. This is heresy, which made the Apostle Paul very upset! (Acts 15:23-29; Gal) This is not the same as someone, for the sake of the gospel, living in a manner acceptable to an ethnic population or a religious group, in order that they might be more open to listen to the gospel. But Paul was also free among any people group for that very reason, and always under the law of Messiah. He never went against God’s word and wisdom in order to appeal to sinners. “Torah-keeping” does not promote the one new man in Messiah; and the Law of Messiah by His cross is the ‘one Law’ that all believers as a new creation live under.
–“We are to have all of the blessings promised in the world to come… now.” Prosperity, health, dominion now for believers. To be sick or poor is a sin. Brothers and sisters, Yeshua told us that the poor would always be with us in this world; we are to pray for the sick; Paul had an eye problem that was not fully healed; Timothy was told by Paul to drink some wine for his stomach ailment; believers also die. How can we comfort the poor or sick if we believe that poverty and sickness is against the truth of God’s purpose now? (1Cor 4:8-13)
All of these heresies we know are taught and believed on here in Israel, and even within some of the congregations. Although teachers may be teaching truth, not all of those hearing may believe it, but prefer to believe the lie and error, even without them telling us. We must not be either naïve nor ignorant of the power of deception and of what ‘sounds good’, but isn’t. It may be that some of you hearing or reading these words of mine may think that it is I who am heretical by my positions taken on these issues. It is your honor to check the Scriptures to see if what I am teaching is of the truth or not. We must all remain correctible and teachable. The Holy Spirit is still at work to lead us into all the truth. When the Word of God convicts us of sin and wrong-doing, we can repent and confess that God is right, that His Word is truth, and thank Him for forgiving us.
We must have the word of Messiah dwelling in us richly, so that we will have the armor of God on our hearts and minds, to defeat all of the lies of the enemy, and to guard our own hearts from greed or bitterness.
We have become accustomed to being tolerant. But, from what is written in II Peter 2 and in Jude, it is clear that God is not tolerant of this kind of thing. He is long-suffering, but as Peter writes, the judgment of these false teachers, and of those who stand with them, will come, and will be swift. We are tolerant because we have lost, or we never had, a sense of the grave danger of Satan’s false teaching and lies. It leads people to their deaths! As a people, we have become dulled to the distinction between good and evil, not only in terms of right and wrong in behavior, but also in terms of theology and thought.
Peter tells us that these false teachers/prophets and false teachings do two things:
–Those who teach them, and those who agree with them are in danger of eternal loss;
–They cause themselves and many others – both believers and unbelievers – to speak evil of the way of truth. They accuse God and His Word of being wrong, and even bad, rather than right and good.
Remember: the devil is the prince of this world, and he is running around like a roaring lion seeking to devour whom he can. He will be in this role until the coming again of the Lord Jesus Christ to put him away for the duration of the 1000-year rule and reign of Yeshua and of the saints, over Israel and the other nations. Therefore, this world can never be ‘better’ from God’s point of view until the Son of God returns and sits on David’s throne, the throne of Messiah’s glory. We can influence the world for good to some extent, but it is always partial and temporary. When Jesus comes to establish the Kingdom of God/Heaven on Earth, His kingdom of righteousness and peace will never pass away! Hallelu-Yah! Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
Howard Bass is the congregation pastor/leader of Nachalat Yeshua (Yeshua's Inheritance) in Beer Sheva, Israel.
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Prosperity without freedom is the worst kind of slavery
The Bible is a book filled with blessings, teachings, words of encouragement, and warnings. Many times a single verse can carry within it each of these categories and more. One example of such a verse is Exodus 1:7:
Yet Bnei-Yisrael were fruitful, increased abundantly, multiplied and grew extremely numerous—so the land was filled with them.
At first glance, the words of this passage can be viewed as a blessing. We read these words and see that over their years in Egypt; G-D has allowed the Children of Israel to become prosperous in every way. We can also see within the text expression of encouragement as we clearly see that the Children of Israel had seen an abundant increase both financially and numerically.
Yet many people reading these words do not look beyond the outward so that they can see that these words were provided to us for teaching and as a warning. Remember what 2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us:
All Scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for restoration, and for training in righteousness, so that the person belonging to God may be capable, fully equipped for every good deed.
To put this verse into context, the Children of Israel moved to Egypt to survive a famine that lasted 7 years. Yet by the time, we read about them in Exodus they had continued living in Egypt for over 200 years. In Egypt, they had grown from 70 people to millions of people. They had gone from starving in a famine to becoming wealthy. Yet in all of their outward prosperity that were living outside the Promised Land and outside the Covenant Promises of G-D. When viewed in context Exodus 1:7 reads a lot like Revelation 3:17:
For you say, ‘I am rich, I have made myself wealthy, and I need nothing.’ But you do not know that you are miserable and pitiable and poor and blind and naked.
Or even Matthew 16:26:
For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world but forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
You see the Children of Israel had over the years exchanged their faith in G-D and His blessings for faith in Egypt and the riches they had acquired there. They had become so assimilated into Egyptian life that they forgot that their covenant blessings and promises were connected to the land of Canaan (Israel). Life in Egypt had become comfortable they had become a large people within the boundaries of Egypt. They had become prosperous in earthly goods. Yet somehow they failed to see that even though by worldly metrics they were blessed they were not free. It wasn’t until the Egyptians reminded them who they were by physically enslaving them they didn’t realize that they have voluntarily placed themselves in bondage.
This lesson is vital especially for those of us who live in the United States and much of the Western World. The body of believers has for many years grown and prospered in the metrics the world uses to denote prosperity. However, we must be careful that we don’t trade our freedom in G-D for the riches of the world. We cannot allow ourselves to forget who we truly are and what real prosperity is.
In the book of John 8:31-40 Yeshua (Jesus) is having a conversation with some Judeans:
Then Yeshua said to the Judeans who had trusted Him, “If you abide in My word, then you are truly My disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free!” They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s children and have never been slaves to anyone! How can you say, ‘You will become free’?” Yeshua answered them, “Amen, amen I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now the slave does not remain in the household forever; the son abides forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed! I know you are Abraham’s children; yet you are trying to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. I tell of what I have seen with the Father; so also you do what you heard from the Father.” “Abraham is our father,” they replied to Him. Yeshua said to them, “If you are Abraham’s children, do the deeds of Abraham. But now you are seeking to kill Me—a Man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God. This Abraham did not do!
Notice the context of this conversation deal with two things first, freedom and second the covenant G-D made with Israel through Abraham. Yeshua tells them that they need the truth to set them free. But because of their blindness, they could not even admit that Israel had been slaves in Egypt or that at that moment they were servants of Rome. Yeshua reminds them that slavery is first spiritual and then it becomes physical. He also lets them know that just as the Children of Israel had been blind breaking the covenant G-D made with Abraham (by remaining outside of the promised land) they had become blind to their being outside of the covenant with Abraham by not accepting the freedom He was offering to them as we read Genesis 22:18 Yeshua is the seed of Abraham spoken of in this verse.
“In your seed all the nations of the earth will be blessed—because you obeyed My voice.”
While we may not be under Roman authority today or living in the slavery of Egypt these words still speak to us today. We cannot ever allow the successes of the world to become more important than the covenant freedom provided through the covenant G-D made with Abraham. Prosperity without freedom is the worst kind of slavery.
Eric Tokajer is author of With Me in Paradise, Transient Singularity, #ManWisdom, OY! How Did I Get Here?: Thirty-One Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before Entering Ministry, Jesus is to Christianity as Pasta is to Italians, and his most recent book God Has No Plan "B".
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PARASHAT VE’EIRA (AND I APPEARED)
SHEMOT (EXODUS) 6:2–9:35
Our Scripture (Torah) portion this week opens with a wonderful reminder of who God is, His faithfulness and His endless love and grace (Exodus 6:2–13):
God spoke to Moses and said to him, “I am the LORD; and I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name, LORD (YHWH), I did not make Myself known to them. And I also established My covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land in which they sojourned. And furthermore I have heard the groaning of the sons of Israel, because the Egyptians are holding them in bondage; and I have remembered My covenant. Say, therefore, to the sons of Israel, ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from their bondage (Labor). I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. I will take you to Me to be My people, and I will be your God; and you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. And I will bring you to the land which I raise My hands to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and I will give it to you as an heritage; I am the LORD.” Moses spoke thus to the sons of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses on account of their despondency and cruel bondage.
Now the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Go, tell Pharaoh king of Egypt to let the sons of Israel go out of his land.” But Moses spoke before the LORD, saying, “Behold, the sons of Israel have not listened to me; how then will Pharaoh listen to me, for I am unskilled in speech?” Then the LORD spoke to Moses and to Aaron, and gave them a charge to the sons of Israel and to Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt.
As I read the above verses, I took great comfort in the knowledge that, at the end of the day, everything will come together for those that belong to Him. What a great comfort it is to know that, in spite of the mountain we may face, the challenges, discomforts, and struggles that God sees, knows and cares. He is right here beside us. He will bring it all together in the end for our good.
Be encouraged that even Moses (who literally spoke with the Almighty God!), had moments of doubts and disbelief. Moses knew God’s entire plan of redemption for the children of Israel; yet, we see that Moses many times struggled to have faith that God would do what He said He would do, and he always tried to give an excuse for not doing that which God asked him to! We see that Moses – the great Moses – was human just like you and me, full of fears and struggles. Yet, at the end of the day, he was obedient and followed God’s call on his life.
To us followers of Messiah, He has also told the entire story of redemption. And we know the end! Let us take courage in that, and press on in doing that which He called us to. Let’s not grow weary in honoring Him. Be encouraged and take courage!
This article originally appeared on Hope for Israel and is reposted with permission.
Moran is the Founder and Executive Director of Hope for Israel, which is a service and resource-providing ministry that aims to bring the hope of the Messiah back to Israel. It is also a resource center for current and timely news updates concerning Israel that provides daily prayer alerts, Bible teachings, and weekly blogs in order to help believers across the world understand what God is doing in the Land, how to pray for Israel and filter everything through the Word of God.
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The blood of Amir Simachon
Late one evening just over fifteen years ago, Tuesday July 13, 2003, to be exact, Amir Simachon sat with Shalhevet Okashi, a woman friend from the Tel Aviv municipality where they both worked, on the Jaffa promenade overlooking the moonlit bay and shore. About 1:40 AM a crazed terrorist ran up behind them, shouted “Alla Akhbar” and stabbed Amir in the back with a 30-centimeter (that’s one foot; twelve inches long) blade knife.
Amir managed to stand to his feet as the terrorist raised his knife to stab Shalhevet. Amir lunged forward between them, embracing Shalhevet as the knife stabbed the second time into his back. As the terrorist ran off, Amir turned to Shalhevet and said, “I feel faint.” He died a few hours later in the emergency room at Wolfson hospital. The terrorist was later captured and underwent interrogation.
Shalhevet’s response to journalists was simply, “He hugged me, and his hug saved my life.”
A Life Saving Hug
I can’t stop thinking about that embrace. An act of self-sacrificing love saved her life. Amir volunteered to have himself pierced by a satanically-inspired terrorist in order to save Shalvevet. How like Yeshua’s act of sacrificial love on the cross for us!
As Amir embraced Shalhevet, his blood from the double stabbing spilled onto her. She’ll never be able to forget the impression of that mortal, precious, scarlet, steamy blood of her co-worker. In one moment, the blood of Amir changed Shalhevet’s life for eternity. Not only saved, but changed.
Amir was a handsome young man of 24, who often volunteered for civilian guard duties. His parents’ response was, “As Amir was in his death, so was he in his life – always sacrificing himself for others – that’s just the way he was.”
What a challenge that is to us! Yeshua’s death on the cross was not an isolated incident, but rather the culmination of a lifetime of sacrificial love, service to others and absolute obedience. The blood of Yeshua not only saves us, but influences us to change. We are in Shalhevet’s position, being embraced by Yeshua’s outstretched arms on the cross.
His blood not only erases our sins, but motivates us to live a lifestyle like Him – a lifestyle of love, faith and integrity. As the imprint and impression of the blood of Amir will haunt Shalhevet every moment for the rest of her life, so are we to be traumatized and transformed by the blood of Yeshua every day. The power of the blood of Yeshua is not just in the one-time historical event of 2,000 years ago, but in the constant and continual, internal and eternal, re-recurring reminder of His sacrifice. As Shalhevet said, “He shielded me with his own body.”
One difference of course is that three days later, Yeshua rose from the dead. Imagine the shock for Shalhevet if Amir had come back to life and appeared to her saying, “Come follow me. Let us make a covenant together. Not only have I saved your life in this world, I have the power to give you eternal life in the world to come. Will you trust me? Will you lead a life of purity and love for my sake? Will you receive my spirit in you?”
Yeshua also had a few last words on the cross. The power in those words comes from the witness that his blood had been poured out. In some ways, all of the gospels are Yeshua’s final words to us that are backed up by the power of his blood. What if Amir’s last words to Shalhevet had been a request? – Such as, “Watch out for my parents.” Or “Donate some money to charity.” Do you think she would have fulfilled that request? I’m sure she would have.
Perhaps Amir’s “I feel faint” doesn’t sound that profound. On the other hand, it makes me think of Yeshua’s statement, “I’m thirsty.” Sometimes we get caught up in the theology of the cross so much, we miss the raw physicality of the event, the humanity, the guts.
By the way, why did the terrorist kill Amir? For one reason alone: he was a Jew. Again I am reminded of Yeshua, that the stated crime that He was crucified for was being “King of the Jews.”
One of Yeshua’s blood-backed declarations on the cross was for us to be forgiven of our sins. You see, we are not only like Shalhevet, in some ways we are like the terrorist. It was for our sins that Yeshua was crucified. We are like the jailed terrorist to whom Amir-Yeshua might come to say, “Even you I am willing to forgive.” Or suppose Shalhevet had been his wife who had committed adultery, to whom he would say, “I forgive you, go and sin no more.”
What repentance, what forgiveness, what freedom, what victory, what consecration, what empowerment there is, when we completely identify with the blood-soaked embrace and the life-changing message of Yeshua on the cross.
People Just Didn’t Get It
Some people did not take note of the story of Amir. They were too busy with politics and economics. But others saw in that story the most important event of the week – so important in fact that nothing else might seem to matter. Let us put ourselves in Shalhevet’s shoes: nothing else matters. Nothing else will ever matter – only that embrace, only that blood, only that life-saving sacrifice.
This article originally appeared on Tikkun Ministries International, December 30, 2018, and reposted with permission.
Asher Intrater is the founder and apostolic leader of Revive Israel Ministries, and oversees Ahavat Yeshua Congregation in Jerusalem, and Tiferet Yeshua Congregation in Tel Aviv. Asher was one of the founders of Tikkun International with Dan Juster and Eitan Shishkoff, and serves on the board of the Messianic Alliance of Israel and Aglow International.
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[Israeli Politics 101] Making sense of the four legal cases against PM Benjamin Netanyahu
How did one of Israel’s most successful and long-time prime ministers end up facing the imminent possibility of being criminally indicted for corruption including bribery and fraud charges? It’s not an easy web to untangle, but here is a background composite of what contributed to these astounding developments:
In the investigation labeled” Case 1000,” the prime minister is accused of having received gifts from wealthy and powerful individuals, one of them being an Israeli Hollywood producer and another being a casino mogul, who in exchange, received personal favors or special status, despite the fact that Netanyahu denies the personal gifts/return favors connection.
In yet another investigation labeled “Case 2000,” it is alleged that Netanyahu traded regulatory favors to Bezeq, Israel’s leading telecommunications company in exchange for favorable media coverage on their Walla news website also owned by them.
These charges of fraud and breach of trust extend to his wife Sara who is also being accused of improper use of public funds at her personal residence and also having received personal gifts which are illegal for government officials and their family to accept.
Two other cases include “Case 3000” and “Case 4000.” Case 3000 centers around the sale of German submarines to Israel through corrupt means including a conflict of interest as Netanyahu’s personal lawyer became the legal representative of the accused businessman who allegedly bribed government officials to facilitate the negotiation of the sale.
Case 4000, concerns Israel’s director-general Minister of Communications, personally appointed by Netanyahu, illegally allowing Bezeq to buy shares in Israel’s satellite cable provider YES.
All of these legal woes come at a time when Bibi is fighting desperately to finish out his political term amidst a growing sea of discontent amongst many secular Israelis who are fed up with the Netanyahu government coalition which always grants too much power to the ultra-orthodox, allowing them to control much of Israeli day to day life as they would prefer. The lack of Jewish pluralism as held by many other streams of the faith, which are not recognized as valid expressions has certainly helped to fuel the desire for early elections and a change in the status quo.
Consequently, Netanyahu remains vulnerable to lose his power and his control which he has enjoyed off and on for the last few decades. He was elected prime minister in 1996 and served until 1999. He returned to that role in 2009 and has been there ever since. But as these charges continue to hound Netanyahu, the once beloved and respected Prime Minister could be headed for sure political demise.
Although he continues to tout his innocence and forcefully state how he is merely a victim of his political enemies and rivals, multiple recommendations have been made by the Israeli police chief to indict within the next few weeks. This comes before the already scheduled April 9th elections and will surely impact the political landscape quite dramatically.
Back in October of this year, HaAretz, one of Israel’s well-known daily newspapers wrote: “The seriousness with which top politicians are handling the idea that Netanyahu could be immune from prosecution demonstrates how Israel has gone off the rails.” (Yossi Verter, October 12, 2018)
Likewise, Bloomberg Opinion stated, “Many of Netanyahu’s critics see this as golden opportunity to bring him down. But I think they are too optimistic. For one thing, the prime minister is popular, more so than any of his key rivals. For another, it is not certain that he will be indicted before the election. And finally, even if he is, that may not stop him from running and winning.” (Zev Chafets, December 11, 2018)
But that was then, and this is now. It all rests in the hands of Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit who will make the final decision whether or not to indict Netanyahu. Undoubtedly, Israel’s citizens are waiting anxiously to see the outcome, because, for them, this may end up being the most important election in decades – one which could turn the tide and direction of the country in a massive way.
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.