Israel: Miraculous and Complex
Do the complexities of Modern Israel and the Middle East confuse you? In this video recorded on location in the northern Golan Heights of Israel, Nic Lesmeister summarizes the last century of the region’s dramatic geopolitical history—and why it still has biblical importance today.
So we’re up here. We’re in Israel. When we look over here to my left, you see Syria. it’s only about maybe two miles.
Syria and Lebanon, which is just right over here and Israel all converge in this place right here.
And what this represents really in modern Israel is an area that’s very contested.
Well, why is that? This is a part of the conflict, a part of the complexity of the land of Israel.
And the Lord said to Abram… for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever. Genesis 13:14-15
We’re in the Golan Heights. The amazing point of being on Mount Ben Tal is what you can all see all around us, the view.
We’re looking behind us at Mount Hermon.
Right in this area is where Paul was walking going up to Damascus, arresting the Jewish believers in Jesus, when Jesus (Yeshua) appears to him—right here. It’s really unbelievable to think about that! That this happened there and changed the course of history!
When we look over here to my left, you see Syria. Right over here, you can see a radio tower.
That is the area of Qunaitra. As frequent as a few years ago, this is where ISIS was.
If you drew a line straight from the Northern border of Israel right here all the way down through the Sea of Galilee, the whole area to the East would be a contested or disputed area. It’s called disputed territories. Why is that?
After World War I was over the Ottoman empire fell and the superpowers at the time, France and Britain, decided what would be the fate of the middle Eastern portion of the world that was under Ottoman rule.So, they drew a lot of different boundary lines. Syria was created. Jordan was created. This area in Israel, became the British Mandate, Palestine.
1948 arrives…Israel declares its independence and is immediately attacked by all of its Arab neighbors after the Palestinian delegation rejected a peace plan in 1947 for the creation of a Palestinian and an Israeli state.
So what does Israel do? They push everybody, all of the attacking armies, out. So there’s dotted lines around your maps. these are armistice agreement lines from 1949. So everybody lived within those boundaries for a while until when? 1967.
1967 arrives and there’s rumors of war in the air again. Israelis are being invaded by Syria, Egypt, Jordan and everybody moves in and so this Six Day War kicks off. The Israelis, in six days, push them all back out and they take control of this land that we’re on right now, the Golan Heights.
It doesn’t end there. In 1973, after border disputes and the Syrians still not happy about Israel being here, they do a surprise attack.
On Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. It’s the holiest day in modern Judaism, a day where you fast for 24 hours. You don’t go anywhere, you don’t work. The Syrians have a surprise attack.
They come across the border with hundreds of tanks and race into the Golan Heights. And Egypt is attacking on the other side. What does Israel do?
They throw together a force. They drive around in the streets because everybody’s at synagogue and they say, “Hey, we’re being attacked.” And they call up their reservists and they come up and they essentially wage an ugly war, a tank war, right here in the Golan Heights.
And so they pushed them back into artillery range of Damascus. Finally, the Syrians say, “Okay, we’ll stop.” So this area has been contested ever since.
The whole Golan Heights was never recognized internationally as Israeli territory. It was called Israeli occupied territory. There’s no final status on it because there hasn’t been a negotiated peace treaty even though Israel has tried at different times to negotiate peace with the Syrians on this.
This all changed when President Trump made America the first country to ever recognize the Golan Heights as Israeli land, And that now Israel has safety and security to these borders right here. And there’s no more threat of Islamic extremism right up on the border anyway because Israel took care of it and really made life better for everybody in this area.
In 2015, the Al-Nusra front, which was working closely with ISIS, had driven the United nations observer force out of this Qunaitra checkpoint. The Israeli Jewish state said, “We’ll take care of this and we’ll stand up and do it.” Israel then started going into Syria and bringing wounded people that were in the Syrian civil war into Israel quietly.
People would show up at hospitals and they would ask doctors, “Who’s this person? What’s going on?” And they would just say, “You don’t need to know about it.” Treating hundreds of wounded Syrians bringing them into Israel and giving them medical care here in the northern part of Israel.
It’s great to be here to stand with Israel. You get to see how really Israel has been a miracle nation. They’ve never had anyone in their corner, hardly. They’ve had to fight against oppressors on every side, sometimes outnumbered five to one, and somehow they survived.
Somehow they’re still here and they bring peace to the land. They bring prosperity to the land.
I think it’s an amazing thing to be able to see all of this. And to know that we’re a part of that in this day and age, that we are alive to see that.
Judah will exist forever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation. Joel 4:20