17Twenty

E157 || Stuart Rothberg || Understanding the Israel-Hamas Conflict

November 13, 2023 Season 4 Episode 41
E157 || Stuart Rothberg || Understanding the Israel-Hamas Conflict
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17Twenty
E157 || Stuart Rothberg || Understanding the Israel-Hamas Conflict
Nov 13, 2023 Season 4 Episode 41

This week our special guest is Stuart Rothberg, the Interim Sr. Executive Director - Pastoral Care at Sagemont Church in Houston, Texas.  Mr. Rothberg has an extensive amount of knowledge, information, understanding, and love for Israel; this week we delve into the intricate history of Israel, and the complexities and controversies surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

From the Biblical history of the region to the Zionist movement leading to the United Nations Partition Plan, we work to unravel the threads of history and current events of the region, reflect on the command to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and discuss how Christians should respond to the global narrative. 

This episode is an invitation to an open dialogue on faith, scripture, and global affairs and we look forward to your thoughts, dialogue, and conversation on this one.

Keep moving mountains! 

We'd love to hear from you! Send us a text message here!

|| Connect with Us ||

Check out all our episodes on all major streaming platforms, and further engagement with the 17Twenty crew on social media at:

https://17twenty.buzzsprout.com/
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https://www.instagram.com/17twentypodcast

Grab your copy of the Mountain Mover Manual: How to Live Intentionally, Lead with Purpose, and Achieve Your Greatest Potential, by Kevin Carey

Originally in print:
https://amzn.to/441OPeH

And now available on Audible:
https://adbl.co/45YIKB2

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

This week our special guest is Stuart Rothberg, the Interim Sr. Executive Director - Pastoral Care at Sagemont Church in Houston, Texas.  Mr. Rothberg has an extensive amount of knowledge, information, understanding, and love for Israel; this week we delve into the intricate history of Israel, and the complexities and controversies surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

From the Biblical history of the region to the Zionist movement leading to the United Nations Partition Plan, we work to unravel the threads of history and current events of the region, reflect on the command to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and discuss how Christians should respond to the global narrative. 

This episode is an invitation to an open dialogue on faith, scripture, and global affairs and we look forward to your thoughts, dialogue, and conversation on this one.

Keep moving mountains! 

We'd love to hear from you! Send us a text message here!

|| Connect with Us ||

Check out all our episodes on all major streaming platforms, and further engagement with the 17Twenty crew on social media at:

https://17twenty.buzzsprout.com/
https://www.linkedin.com/company/17twenty
https://www.instagram.com/17twentypodcast

Grab your copy of the Mountain Mover Manual: How to Live Intentionally, Lead with Purpose, and Achieve Your Greatest Potential, by Kevin Carey

Originally in print:
https://amzn.to/441OPeH

And now available on Audible:
https://adbl.co/45YIKB2

Stuart Rothberg:

If you believe in the God of the Bible, then you also have to believe in the Satan of the Bible, because the same book tells us about both. So there's a Savior but there also is a Satan, and Satan hates Jesus, the Savior, because Satan desires to be worshiped but he's not worthy of it, so he decides to undermine the character of God. Now, if God made promises to Jews, but there are no longer any Jews, how good were those promises.

Stewart Shurtleff:

There you go. Every single individual has a story to tell and they're great stories that need to be heard. I want every listener to know they have the ability to change the world. Welcome to the 1720 Podcast. What's up Mountain Movers? Welcome back to the 1720 Podcast.

Stewart Shurtleff:

This week we are tackling an issue of like what's going on in Israel and I know that has been in the news a lot. It's on the Internet, it's on the Twitter, it's everywhere. And as I start thinking, man, I don't know what to think about this, a good friend of mine, stuart Rothberg, did, and so let me bring you in here, mr Rothberg, and just say, hey, thanks for joining us, glad to be with you, yeah. And so I don't even know if you know this, but I was clicking around the other day just trying to figure out what to think about all this and ended up on a YouTube video that you had done with someone from your church there in Houston, and as you were talking through it, I was like this is perfect, I've got to reconnect and we've got to do this. Do you remember the video I'm talking about? I do. Let me, before we get going, let's give a little context, if you will to who you are and I could introduce you, but it's going to be as this is my buddy, tim's father, stuart.

Stewart Shurtleff:

I've known Mr Rothberg since 2000, 99, perhaps 2000,. When we bumped into each other at like the Student Union at HBU and I, as I recall, made fun of you then for spelling your Stuart wrong. And then we hung out a lot. I spent a lot of time at your house and Tim and I were growing up and finishing a college and eventually Mr Rothberg presided over Ashley and I's wedding back in 2005. And so a good friend. We had a great opportunity to reconnect. But I'll let you tell a little bit of your story as to how you have some expertise around what's going on, israel and your grow up and stuff like this. So tell me a little story about you.

Stuart Rothberg:

Thanks, stuart. I remember the wedding, by the way, it was on the beach in Florida, pretty beautiful, yeah, yeah, and I was glad to be invited and privileged to officiate. So I'm a New Yorker, I'm a Yankee and I was raised in an Orthodox Jewish background. So we observed all the dietary laws and were members of a synagogue and I had a bar mitzvah and quite traditional.

Stuart Rothberg:

And when I got to be a crazy rebellious teenager at about the age of 17, I found my religious experience to be burdensome. We know the 10 commandments, but in Judaism our rabbis have identified in excess of 600, approximately 613 commandments as offshoots of the basic 10. So I began to think, as a 17 year old, good night on a good day, I'm not getting good grades with God. Yeah, yeah, 613, not suggestions, commandments. So what all of that did was to conjure up in me a persistent sense of shame and guilt, and so I decided this is just not a winning proposition for me. So I went to my parents and told them look, I'm still Jewish, but I've had it with Judaism. They were upset. But what are you going to do when you have a 17 year old kid? So I thought from that point on I had no interest in spiritual things whatsoever. But I was wrong. I actually did. What I didn't have an interest in was organized religious things, but I had a keen interest in spiritual things. If you define them as a quest for meaning in life, sure, yeah, for the non-material, so sure, I was interested in spiritual things and I did what a famous predecessor of mine, solomon, had done. I experimented Wine, women and song, basically.

Stuart Rothberg:

And he concluded I should have learned from him. But I didn't. He concluded you know what? Everything is empty. Everything under the sun is vain. By under the sun, he meant apart from the creator of it all. And he said you know what's good? It's good for a man to enjoy his food, his drink and the fruit of his labor Just a simple things in life. And then he said but this, I concluded, is from the hand of God. It just got me that God would be the source even of the capacity to enjoy the simple things in life. But I was apart from that. God did not know how to build the bridge to get back to him until I ran off and joined the military and became friends with someone who was a Christian.

Stuart Rothberg:

I don't think I was a Christian. I don't think I ever was that close to an actual Christian. He was fairly normal, much to my surprise, and we played tennis and basketball and ate pizza, just normal stuff. His name was Mark. I said, mark, what makes you tick? He said what do you mean? I said, well, you just have something I don't have. You seem to be at peace. I don't have that. Have you discovered some drug? I don't know about that. That's what I asked him, because this would have been the 70s, presumptively something.

Stewart Shurtleff:

This is 73. Yeah, yeah, exactly right, and he said no, it's not a drug.

Stuart Rothberg:

Let me tell you about my experience. And he told me how, as a college student in Colorado, he came to know this Jesus as his savior. He's sharing this with me and I'm thinking, oh my goodness, my life is complicated enough without this Jesus. But he was my friend, so I cut him some slack. I didn't want to encourage him, but I went out to a store and bought a Bible because I wanted to investigate the claims of Christ, but I didn't want Mark to know about it.

Stuart Rothberg:

I read it through cover to cover in three weeks Genesis to Revelation and I got two things out of it. When I concluded one, I knew it was God's word. How, I have no idea. I knew it on a deeper level than cognition. That's all I can tell you, not a very scientific, persuasive thing. I'm just telling you what happened. I just knew it was God's word.

Stuart Rothberg:

Second, I became persuaded that this Jesus was the source of an abundant life. That's what it says. I came to give life and give it abundantly. I had no interest in eternity. I was looking for a reason to get up tomorrow. Don't talk to me about eternity. So I didn't know any of that stuff. I just knew I was apart from this Jesus and therefore I couldn't have the life he offered to give. So I became a Christian September 5, 1973. Went to seminary. Pastor Churches became part of an organization called the Navigators, a disciple-making organization. Went to Germany of all places to work with American military personnel with the Navs. Came back to the States, ended up in Texas. After a meandering path I was a Christian counselor in the medical center here in Houston, texas. I was invited to go to the church I've been on staff at for almost 30 years. That, in sort of 50 words or less, is like that, yeah.

Stewart Shurtleff:

Like I said, I've known you for quite some time. There's parts of that story I didn't know but they're very interesting. That moment where you're like, "not this Jesus guy. I could feel the tone. Not this Jesus guy.

Stuart Rothberg:

He's the only Jew in the history of the world who would ever entertain the idea of affiliating with Christ. I mean, I'm Jewish. Jews, don't do that Right. Until I found out that, no, I was born a Jew. You can't get unborn a Jew. And accepting Christ was addition, not subtraction.

Stewart Shurtleff:

Yes, so it's some point along the way and I forget when but I added to my bucket list an unchecked box which is to go with you to Israel, and Tim and I talk about it every time this trip's come up, and Ashlyn and I talk about it in like well, it's not a good time, we can't make it, or whatever. But it's just so you know it's on my bucket list but at some point you become, you go to Israel and become. I put words in your mouth and you kind of fall in love with Israel and begin learning and taking trips and tours, and so you have a lot of expertise from my perspective as to what's going on there now, why it's being caused, what the Bible says about it and stuff like that. So walk me through how you ended up going the first time and the trips that you're leading, and through some of your expertise around the region.

Stuart Rothberg:

First time I went I was invited by some folks at Houston's first Baptist and they asked me to go as a Bible teacher. And that's how I got introduced to Israel. And, you're right, I did fall in love with it because as a follower of Jesus, I got to be on the sites where he was and it was overwhelming to me. I could read about him in the pages of the Bible, but to actually be on the Mount of Olives, sail on the Sea of Galilee and those places, just imagine him being there and returning, was absolutely overwhelming to me. So I knew nothing about Israel. I'm a New Yorker and so that's the Middle East totally foreign, and I don't think I had any preconceived notions of the various people groups in the area, the tension, the conflict, nothing. Since then I've kind of developed a pretty good first-hand experience with the land and the various people groups in the land. So I've come to certain conclusions.

Stewart Shurtleff:

Sure, yeah. Well, that's what we're here to talk through some of the stuff. A foundational statement here the state of Israel that we hear about on the news right now that is not correct me if I'm wrong. That is not like the historic state of Israel. This is a. These lines were drawn by humans, right? And so how did we get to where those lines needed to be drawn? What's the historic overlay? I'll say so. We got to a spot where those lines got drawn, and maybe I'll try to use that as a catalyst for talking points around what we're fighting over and how we got there.

Stuart Rothberg:

If we looked today to the biblical boundaries of Israel, as mentioned in the Bible, israel would presently possess land even as far as Iraq Tiger's Euphrates River. Israel never in its history has had full possession of the land, from my perspective, bequeathed to it unconditionally by God Never, why not? Disobedience and rebellion. So Israel, in my opinion, has been given title deed to the land by the God, who has authority to give it to whoever he wants, but she's never fully occupied the land and in fact, has been largely out of the land, though there's been a continual Jewish presence for 3,000 years. And then, after the Holocaust and six million Jews were slaughtered, the world community, even though they might not have had a real affinity for Jews, their sympathies were aroused, and so the Zionist movement picked up steam, and behind it was impetus for Jews to return to their ancient homeland, which was Israel. And so that movement, hot on the heels of the Holocaust, picked up a lot of steam, and the United Nations came up with something in 1947 called the United Nations Partition Plan, where the existing land, known then as Palestine, would be divided. It would be a two state solution. Solution in quotes yes, right, two state solution. Part of the land would be given to Arabs part of the land to Jews. The part of the land that Jews would be getting was the most unfavorable, probably 60% of it desert, negative desert, unproductive, unfruitful. But the Jews accepted the offer. Why not? Well, beggars can't be free. Beggars can't be choosers. I mean, you just lost 6 million people. You don't know what hit you. You've lost all family ties. You have no roots, no mooring points. Where's your country? So, yeah, we'll take it. So the Jews agreed to the terms. Jerusalem would be kind of an international city, that was the arrangement and the Arabs would have what's today called the West Bank and Golan Heights, gaza. In the news just a tad bit of late yes, yes, israel would be in the middle of West Bank and Gaza and south, mostly negative desert. Israel accepts the terms. The Arabs refuse the terms. Israel becomes a state May 14, 1948, and the very next day, about five Arab nations attack.

Stuart Rothberg:

How did Israel survive? Well, look, I have to tell you, divine providence. There's no other explanation. They have no army, they have no armament. You tell me how they survived. I had the hands of five invading Arab armies. I don't know how, but they survived. When this took place, arab leaders told their citizens leave the land of Palestine temporarily, we will drive the Jews into the sea and then you'll come back. So 700,000 Arabs left the land, went to Jordan, to Syria, to Iraq, to other places and, lo and behold, there's no coming back, because Israel wins the war, the war of independence. How that happens again, I have no idea. So today you have many Arab people who are insisting on what they call a right of return. They want to come back, not only the 700,000, but all of their progeny over the years, a total of millions. If that was allowed now, the 7.5 million Jews in Israel would be absolutely overwhelmed. It's not going to happen. So that's how modern-day Israel came to be, but that's always been the geography from the time of Abraham Isaac and Jacob.

Stewart Shurtleff:

You said it a moment ago, but I want to interrogate it a little bit more, because you said and maybe I'm paraphrasing you said something in the fact that the Jews have never fully inhabited the land that was promised to them by God and what you have is just attack after attack after attack. You could work through the Bible and then you could work through modern history of countries, people, groups, however you want to categorize that just trying to take that away from them, and I think the reason you said earlier the basis of that is because of the sin of the nation of Israel. But what does that mean from your perspective, or is there more? Unpack that a little bit, because it just seems like everyone is I'm overstating, this is hyperbolic but everyone is always trying to take out the Jews. If you look through the history of time, it's like why? What's going on?

Stuart Rothberg:

That's really a great question, and the mere fact that you're asking implies that the hatred towards Jews is irrational. It's like of Jews within normal limits, gotcha. But the kind of hatred of Jews that leads intelligent people to design the most cost-effective way of exterminating them, as in the Third Reich, nazi Germany, I mean that defies reason. So your question is legitimate. Why such animosity? For instance, if you don't like Hebrew culture, you don't like the way Jews talk, walk, joke, you don't like their foods, ooh, don't marry one. Don't let them into your country club, even Whatever. Don't move into their neighborhood, but put them in a gas chamber. See, that's like a big step. So the mere question implies irrational hatred towards the Jews. Now I'll give you a theory which is not going to be palatable to those who don't have a biblical worldview, but I can only answer from that worldview because I think that's the one I embrace. So I'm not trying to preach to any of your listeners. You made the mistake of asking the question. I'll do my best to answer.

Stuart Rothberg:

Look, god chose the Jews. He did not choose them because of any inherent virtue, in fact the opposite. So if you read scripture, god will clearly say I didn't choose you because you were better than anybody else. In fact, you were weaker and smaller in many respects. God chose them simply to manifest his gracious character, stuart, as a Christian. That's why God chose you. What did you do to merit your redemption and your inclusion in the family of God? You didn't bring anything to the table, friend. You just brought needs and sin. God said cool, we got a deal. You're needy, I'm willing to meet your need.

Stuart Rothberg:

So, that's kind of how it is on a national scale with Israel. God chooses Israel unconditionally and he gives them a land, promise which is reiterated all through scripture. It's not couched in one passage of scripture which is subject to debate. It's all through scripture. Well, if you believe in the God of the Bible, then you also have to believe in the Satan of the Bible, because the same book tells us about both. So there's a savior, but there also is a Satan, and Satan hates Jesus, the savior, because Satan desires to be worshiped, as we all do, by the way. So he desires to be worshiped, but he's not worthy of it, so he decides to undermine the character of God. Now, if God made promises to Jews, but there are no longer any Jews?

Stewart Shurtleff:

How good were those promises.

Stuart Rothberg:

There you go. And that was God a liar. And if God could be made out to be a liar, then people like you Christians have put your faith in Jesus in vain. Right, I see, I see. So that's why the irrational hatred towards the Jews. Get rid of the Jews. That's why, in Nazi Germany, perhaps the most industrialized country on earth at the time, populated by absolutely brilliant German scientists, what would move them to use their intellect in capacity Just to design means to commit genocide against a people group? It's satanically motivated. Once again, get rid of the Jews. God has proven to be a liar. Your faith in him is in vain. That's what's behind it. Hence we're brought to the modern day.

Stuart Rothberg:

People think the conflict in Israel is over land. Israel took our land, say the Palestinians. I Can prove to you it has nothing to do with land. First Let me just declare the statement it has nothing to do with land. How can I say that? I Mentioned to you the first two-state solution in 1947. What are the Arabs do with it? They rejected it right.

Stuart Rothberg:

Since then, there have been numbers of similar deals, whether it was with President Clinton, camp David accords, whether it was Carter, whether it was with Obama, and these presidents brought the leader of Israel and the leader of the Palestinians together, offering the Palestinians a very viable two-state solution. Each offer has been rejected, down to this very day. And why? The Palestinian Charter does not call for a two-state solution. It calls for a Jew free Palestine. Therefore, they will settle for nothing less than the total extermination of Jews. That, to me, is a Satan, a Satan inspired plan, and consistent with my theory that Satan's Inclination is to dispose of the Jews so as to detract from the credibility of Almighty God If he didn't keep his promise to them, an eternal covenant which proves to be not so eternal. Then you're eternal, then your confidence in him, for your eternity is in vain. Yeah, so what we're talking about is is cosmic, it has nothing to do with geopolitical interests, it's spiritual.

Stewart Shurtleff:

What's I? That's very sound logic. Put on you'll love this, but put on your Palestinian hat, because they are not that you have one to wear. But like they're saying, this is about land, what what's there? I mean, I understand the biblical approach, the biblical understanding, I understand all the things you're saying, but like I don't need to agree with what the Palestinians would say about this or the Arab nations would say about this, but what are? What is their dialogue around this? Is it land-based, is it like? What is their dialogue?

Stuart Rothberg:

Sure, uh, if. If you're interviewed, they'll speak. If you interview Palestinian leadership, they'll speak about the definite article Occupation. These Jews have encroached upon our land, they are occupying it. They've stolen our lands.

Stuart Rothberg:

It's never ceased to be Jewish land and archaeology points to evidence of a Jewish presence for 3000 years and Before Israel became a state in 1948. No Arab leader ever expressed any interest in making Jerusalem the the capital. Very few Arab leaders ever visited it Was of no interest whatsoever. There was no talk of a Palestinian state. In fact, the very technical term Palestinians didn't even exist. There's no such thing as a Palestinian language, palestinian food, palestinian culture. Palestinians are Arabs. They were known as Arabs. They took on this separate identity as Palestinians because they were motivated to do it by people like Yasser Arafat, the founder of the now deceased founder of the Palestine liberation organization, in order to rid the land of a Jewish presence. There's always been a Jewish presence there.

Stuart Rothberg:

What Arab land are they talking about that the Jews took? Was it Gaza? Wait a second. Gaza was in their, was in the hands of Egypt, right? What are you talking about all this stuff? And then it came to me in the hands of the united nations partition plan, the Ottoman Turks and all the rest. Israel never took Gaza. What are you? What are you talking about? So, in fact, when, when there were were wars in israel, like the 67 and the 73 war, not a one of which was Initiated by Israel, all won by Israel, but not a one of which was inaugurated. Anyway, israel took possession of Gaza, but in 2005 they gave it away right land for peace. In fact, they extracted bodily 8000 of their own citizens Jews 8000 from there's no Jewish presence in Gaza now they pulled them out and allowed self determination by the Palestinians.

Stuart Rothberg:

What did they do with Gaza? Steward, it could. It's waterfront property. Are you kidding me? It's beach. It could be beautiful.

Stuart Rothberg:

What did they do? Israel is being blamed for subjugating these poor people to ghetto like conditions Walls. It's? It's a prison. What are you talking about? That didn't exist until Hamas was voted in by the Palestinians as their governing authority and they started to use money to build, buy and fire off rockets at an innocent Israeli population in that area. Israel had a protected citizenry. Before then there were those things a border crossing. You freely move from place to place.

Stuart Rothberg:

What have the Palestinians done with the land given by Israel? What have they done with the west bank? What have they done with Gaza? What have they done with jericho? What have they done with Bethlehem? Israel gave all these places Up. What are you talking about now?

Stuart Rothberg:

Is it true that the palace Stinian Klyte is significant? Absolutely. 47 percent of Palestinians living in Gaza are unemployed, 80 percent below poverty level. Understand that. Well, why don't we blame Israel for that? Okay, convenience scapegoat. But that's not true. Do you know?

Stuart Rothberg:

The Palestinians are the recipients of more money From the United States and other nations than any other people group in the history of humankind Billions and billions of dollars. Why haven't it? Haven't those dollars been used to build up an infrastructure in Gaza? Roads, hospitals, potable water? Uh, all the rest? Well, we know now, because it's been used to construct 300 miles of underground tunnels and and all the rest. And we know the top three Hamas leaders. They're pooled financial resources 11 billion dollars. B Three top Hamas leaders. Where are they now? In Gaza? No, their people are dying in Gaza while they're in a five star hotel in Qatar or Qatar, depending on how you or turkey.

Stuart Rothberg:

Well, why don't we blame all that on the plight of the Palestinians, on Israel? Well, because Jews are a convenient target, let's do it, but from a factual basis. They're being preyed upon by their own Hamas government, which they elected in 2006, 2000 and, uh, 2007. So, and I know world opinion now has swung pretty significantly against Israel once again After october 7th and again the arousal of world sympathy. Now everyone is turning against Israel. In my opinion, the victim now made out to be the perpetrator, but it's Hamas. It listen, uh.

Stuart Rothberg:

Israel dropped millions of leaflets, make phone calls in um in arabic. Uh set up a safe roadway for gossens to evacuate from the north to the south Because Israel is coming in with ground troops to encircle Gaza city headquarters of Hamas. While they're doing it, hamas representatives come out of the tunnels and shoot their own people. Why well will you? You lose the propaganda advantage If there are no civilians who can die Uh as collateral damage as a result of israeli Uh bombing. They use their own people as human shields. How did someone put it? Hamas Protects their bombs with their people. Israel protects their people with their bombs. Totally different Core value, right culture of death From Hamas. It's a culture of life on Uh from the israeli perspective. Let's get the Jews Listen.

Stuart Rothberg:

When we were attacked on 9 11, stuart, I didn't see world opinion turn against us when we retaliated, and I didn't see us given a deadline at the end, at the conclusion of which we would be obligated to impose a ceasefire. I mean, good night. We sent our troops all the way over to Afghanistan and further to root out the cause. Well, israel doesn't have all that land area to protect them. Their enemies are, you know, from from here to there. They're just in the same neighborhood.

Stuart Rothberg:

Israel is the only army that has to fight by a stopwatch. The world community is saying get your stopwatch is real, because at a certain time we're going to put pressure on you to stop. What is that? What we did now? As far as innocent loss of life, of Palestinian loss of life, of course, folks, it's cold war, it's horrific. If your heart doesn't break for Palestinian children who are dying and and the humanitarian crisis, then I don't know what kind of person you are. And a Jewish soul is not worth more than a Palestinian soul. By no means. The creator of life values all life. So I, of course, our heart breaks, but you know to be crass. Who started this?

Stewart Shurtleff:

I'm sympathetic to the analogy of 9 11. Like when, when you think about what the world has said, about what Israel is doing right now, but you trans transpose that against what happened in America 9, 11 and the sentiment and the support, the global support, that was like you know what, go get them. Like this is we're all behind you. If you need our space, come sit in our space. If you need our land, come train our troops. Like, let's go get the people who did this. And I can't do math on the fly, or even not on the fly, but you know, from a percentage basis, you know, my guess is that the numbers that are affiliated with the attack into Israel on, was it? Oh, is that October the 7th? Is that the date that this? Yeah, yes, those numbers are, if not much greater, similar to the 9 11 numbers, I'm sure it's great.

Stuart Rothberg:

That would be the equivalent of us losing 50,000 American citizens in one day. Yeah, so it's significantly greater order of magnitude, greater they're 1400, based on their population, would equate to our 50,000 Americans. What would we do, you tell me?

Stewart Shurtleff:

I know exactly what we would do. We did it, we've done it before and the global sentiment doesn't necessarily, doesn't seem to. Eventually it wanes because the because we, you know, we don't need to get into that, but in this particular instance, we're 40 days post 9, 11. I'm using, you know, chris, crossing this analogy. Yeah, there's still work to be done, because I would say, israel is going to buy all you know, buy all information I'm reading. They're going to root this out.

Stuart Rothberg:

You know they're going to go find an Israeli citizens will not allow the government not, will not allow the government to have disease fire. I'll tell you what I mean. For years and years since I must took over in 2007, let's say it's been nothing but chaos rained upon the Israeli citizen ring outside of Gaza. So Israeli military, the IDF, has moved in surgical operations, dealt with the area where the rockets are coming from. Hamas says, okay, white flag will be good boys. Israel pulls out, hamas resupplies, rearms, gets reconstituted. A few months later they do the same thing.

Stuart Rothberg:

But we live that way as American citizens? No, I mean, I was over there and on one of the, the key boots, which is kind of an agricultural collective in Israel, a man shows me shrapnel and that they pick up in their front yard from these rockets, and he shows me how his bed was built up almost on stilts because his four daughters sleep under the bed there to terrify, to sleep in their own rooms. How'd you like to live that way? Well, finally, israel is at a point where they say no, we cannot, especially in light of what they did on October, october 7. That was not. I mean, that was such a violation of any code of ethics in the military. I mean, it just defies to me understanding that anyone would participate in a pro Hamas rally today. And yeah, we have folks in our government who are, who are doing that that very thing, even if Israel is responsible for injustice in some measure, and of course they are the.

Stuart Rothberg:

Israeli government is like our government for crying out loud Human, flawed, inadequate for the task. Sure, I got all that, but does it justify pulling the baby out of out of the arms of its watching mother, eating up the stove, putting the baby in the stove and burning it alive? See, that's a far cry from stating your cause for civil rights. The Palestinians are worthy of civil rights and fair treatment, absolutely To me. They just invalidated the quest by what they did on October 7. Yeah, that just puts in a different realm. That's evil. And what do you do with evil? You do not negotiate, you root it out. By the way, how do you negotiate with a people group that does not recognize your right to exist? Israel has one precondition for peace talks, one Will you recognize our right to exist? The Palestinians have never agreed to that fundamental basic human right. I just want to live, oh, exist. They've refused to recognize that. So how do you expect Israel to come to the peace table and negotiate a two state? By the way, the two state solution is a myth. I'll tell you why. Which Palestinian entity would be governmental, would be given governmental authority right in the in the Palestinian state? Because Hamas and Fattah each other. Hamas is in Gaza. Fattah is in headquarters in Ramallah in the West Bank. They ate each other. So you'd have to have a three state so called solution. And, by the way, the Hamas Charter and the Fattah Charter, as I mentioned earlier calls for a Jew free state. What if Israel rewrote its constitution tomorrow and said Israel now is going to be an Arab free state? I mean, the world community would justifiably be up in arms. And yet Hamas and Fattah, the Palestinians, are allowed to have that in their charter. On the Palestinian map of the land, there is no Israel, it's Palestine.

Stuart Rothberg:

Stuart, listen, as a Jew, there are 22 Arab countries, 50 Muslim dominated countries. In almost none of those could I be a citizen. I certainly couldn't vote. I certainly couldn't be part of the government. Now Israel is accused of being an apartheid state. What an insult to those who, in South Africa, lived under an apartheid governance in Israel. Arab citizens of Israel are full citizens, full access to schools, to hospitals, all the infrastructure. Can be members of the Knesset, which is the equivalent of our Congress. In fact, there's an Arab party in the Knesset now who hate Israel and yet in a democracy, they've been voted in by their constituency and they're there One of the Israeli Supreme Court members. Their Supreme Court is more powerful than ours. Just imagine it is an Arab Muslim. A few years ago, the head of the National Elections Board in all of Israel, the one person who had oversight over elections of prime minister and everybody else, was an Arab, israeli Muslim. Does that look like an apartheid state to you? It's not it's not.

Stuart Rothberg:

It's easy to say those things, but it's sheer nonsense. If you go to Israel, you'll see a Catholic church on this corner, a Mormon church on that corner, muslim mosque here, there and everywhere. Greek Orthodox here, Russian Orthodox there. True freedom of religion. Show me that in a Muslim dominated country.

Stewart Shurtleff:

One of the things along that line, along the line of like, where we have it is, Israel has ceded some of CEDC, ceded some of its land for peace and has, like, compromised some of its places to try to broker some sort of deal is I can't remember who it was. It actually might have been Tim was telling me that like in and is it Solomon's simple, the holiest of holies, like we, the Israelis, have said, this is our holy place, but you can have it if we'll, and we'll just share it because you think it is to and we'll. I'm probably paraphrasing and butchering some historical overlay to this, but there seems to be multiple instances where the Israelis have said what we're trying to like who exists here, but it's just, it's impossible. When your charter says I have to go, it's impossible.

Stuart Rothberg:

So Israel is attacked in one of the many attacks against it, and they succeed in rebuffing the attack and they come into possession of the temple mount for the first time in centuries and centuries. The temple mount is the structure on which the first and second temples were built, the holiest site in Judaism, the site of the temple and its holy of holies. They have it in order to make a good faith offer of peace. They give it up and even to this day, the Muslim waqf W-A-Q-F it's called they're in control of the temple mount. If you, as an American tourist, want to go up on it, you better hope they're in a good mood on the day you want to visit. They have total control of who's on it and who's not on it. It's known by a very prominent architectural feature today the dome of the rock, beautiful golden domed Muslim, very important site. It's not actually a mosque, it's over what's called the dome of the rock because it's thought to have been built over the rock on which Abraham was willing to offer up Isaac in sacrifice until God provided a lamb as a substitute. Only Muslims say no, it wasn't Isaac. Abraham was offering. The Quran teaches he was Ishmael Right, but Israel had that and gave it up as a good faith offer.

Stuart Rothberg:

Land for peace has failed because, as I mentioned earlier, it's not about land Right, it's about eradication of the Jews. And I'll tell you why. I don't think we understand enough that this is a religious conflict. So, for instance, when our troops are mobilized I was in the military, so I know this when our American troops are mobilized, our war cry is not to Jesus be glory. What are you talking about? But from a Muslim point of view, and you see it now, the war cry at rallies here in the United States and Europe and across the world, and especially in the Middle East Allahu Akbar, allah is great, god be great. It's a religious campaign, why the Quran only gives two options to infidels. By the way, you are an infidel.

Stewart Shurtleff:

That's good news.

Stuart Rothberg:

Under this set of circumstances. That's good news. You have two options you convert or you be killed. Islam is not a religion of peace. If you did a survey on the verses of violence in the Quran, you'd be quite amazed. Anyway, because that's the teaching of Islam, there's a mandate you must make all lands set apart for Allah and His great prophet, muhammad. Now the land of Israel in relatively recent days was under Islamic control, under the Ottoman Turks, for instance. Well, as circumstances came about and I think God's providence, israel's back in the land. That is an insult and slap in the face to Allah, because the Quran teaches land that was once in the hands of Islam must always remain in its hands. If it is forfeited, at all costs you must take it back. So this has nothing to do with land. It has to do with introducing a worldwide caliphate. Please forgive my voice. I got.

Stewart Shurtleff:

I like the boys to men. Look here, it's fine. I could tell you're wrestling through the coughing and whatnot, but it's perfect, you're good.

Stuart Rothberg:

So the purpose of it all is to establish, when Muhammad's successor comes, a worldwide caliphate, a world under the teachings of the Quran. In other words, that's what's at stake. That's why all these threats given by the US and even Israel to Iran back off. Be good boys, or this thing is going to lead into something much bigger than you think. That is not a deterrent for Iran and its brand of extreme Islam, because their brand of Islam teaches there must be world cataclysm as a precursor for the return of the next caliph, muhammad's successor. So peace talks with Iran is not going to happen. It's a joke. They want to bring about world cataclysm again because their brand of Islam teaches it must happen before the next caliph returns.

Stewart Shurtleff:

Educate me a touch on their brand of Islam. I feel like there's a dialogue or at least I hear this dialogue of what Hamas wants. That is, an extreme form of Islam. That's not what Islam really teaches. I've not done the survey, but I'm confident you have based on a few things you just said. Are you saying that there is not a peaceful form of Islam, that this categorizing it as a form of extremism is like a misnomer?

Stuart Rothberg:

So I'll give you my very not politically correct response. I'll take it I do not believe every Muslim is a terrorist and out to kill an American or a Jew. In my neighborhood there are wonderful Muslim families with whom we're quite friendly. They just want to live like we all do and support their families. The folks I'm thinking of just super wonderful and think of better neighbors. So don't misunderstand what I'm saying. However, here's my politically incorrect statement. If you are properly applying the teachings of the Quran, you will either impose your religion on the infidel or you will kill the infidel. That is the teaching of the Quran. Why doesn't every Muslim embrace it? Well, because not every Muslim is properly applying the book they consider to be their authoritative holy book.

Stewart Shurtleff:

It's like the theological inverse of saying that Christians are hypocrites. Well, not every Christian is applying all of the tenets and principles of teachings of Jesus, but it's operating in sort of an inverse or parallel universe there to illustrate your point, like, yes, they are Muslim, but not following the teachings of the Quran, because if they were, then they would be acting in those two veins. Is that kind?

Stuart Rothberg:

of what you're saying. Here's one of the teachings of the Quran, really horribly paraphrased, but it says essentially All you followers of Allah, look for the Jews hiding behind rocks and trees, Find them, kill them. It's not a religion of peace, friend. So here's the deal. The Quran teaches that Jews and Christians are called people of the book. Jews are people of the Old Testament, part of the Bible. Christians, Quran teaches, are people of the New Testament. Hence we're both people of the book, only different parts of it. And then the Quran furthermore teaches that the people of the book, the Jews and the Christians, have failed to live up to God's standards and therefore he has replaced them and transferred all of the promises given to Jews and Christians to followers of Allah. That's why, if you go to Israel today, the Dome of the Rock I mentioned previously is a higher architectural structure than two other holy places. One down the block is called the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. It's a very holy site for Christian groups. And beneath the Dome of the Rock is the wailing wall, or Western wall, very holy site for Jews. Interestingly that the Muslims built this Dome of the Rock and it is elevated above the Jewish holy site and the Christian holy site so as to depict quite graphically that God has replaced the Jews and the Christians with followers of Allah. They have superseded Him.

Stuart Rothberg:

Therefore, for Israel to prosper as it is is an insult to Islam, and Israel is, I guess we can say, almost literally a land of milk and honey. When they were given this very unattractive part of the land that I mentioned in 1947, mostly desert, a mosquito-infested swamp areas what did they do with it? Well, they literally made the desert bloom. I hope you get to go there someday, Stuart, so you know I'm not making this up. I mean, they developed techniques like drip irrigation you may be using it on your front lawn. That was developed in Israel, and so they have date palms growing in the negative desert. Now They've turned swamp, mosquito-infested land into very fruitful agricultural areas. Israel actually exports fruits and vegetables and even tulips. Israel is a major exporter of tulips, of all things, behind Holland. So what did the Arabs do over all these years when they were in possession of the land? Not a dagonth stinking thing.

Stuart Rothberg:

That is not a racist statement. That's a factual statement. Rude me wrong and I'll say I'm sorry, it's just simply not true. So this is a slap in the face, not only of the Palestinians, but all Islamic people, all the Islamic nations surrounding Israel, these people who are supposed to be infidels. Let me tell you something it doesn't look like God has forsaken them. It looks like God has blessed them. Israel's the size of New Jersey we hear this again and again For capita. They have more Nobel Prize winners, more chess grandmasters than any other people group in the world. They have a Silicon Valley that rivals ours. Their aerospace industry can compete with ours. Their air force can compete with ours. That doesn't look like God has forsaken them. Can you see when I say this is a religious matter? It has nothing to do with land. If Islam is supreme, why does it look like these non-Islamic nations, these non-Islamic infidels, are prospering? We've got to get rid of them. That's what's going on.

Stewart Shurtleff:

So tell me then and I'm going to butcher this idea, but I think the word is from an eschatological perspective, Eschatological. Okay, I dropped a syllable on there, but I was really close. You did pretty good for a Gentile guy. Oh, I approve of that joke. What I think is the theological study of end times. Am I close enough to get us talking? Is that what this is? Generally? Yes, so we hear there will be wars and rumors of war in the end times. We're thinking you start to hear is this going to spark something that ends all of humanity? Is this what's going on? Well, let me ask a question differently what's going on right now in the Middle East? Into some biblical eschatological context, if applicable at all, Like where does this sit there?

Stuart Rothberg:

It's very applicable. So another dogmatic statement we are in the last days. That is not a Rothbard statement. The last days is a technical term. It's the period of time inaugurated in Acts, chapter two, pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came upon people and the church began. Technically, the last days is the period of time from Acts, chapter two, until the return of Christ, or the church age. Those are the last days. That's why I can say with confidence we're in the last days. What I cannot say with as much confidence is this Does that mean we're in the last days of the last days? I don't know. Yeah, and not a date setter.

Stuart Rothberg:

All I can tell you is what's happening, not just in Israel, but worldwide, sure seems to be preparing the way. For instance, you have China meeting privately with Russia, meeting privately with Iran meeting privately with North Korea. Listen, these people hate each other. What are they meeting about? Well, what they have in common is the hatred of Israel and the hatred. Israel is considered the little Satan and we Americans yay, we beat them, we're the great Satan. Yes, those countries hate Israel and they hate us. In almost overnight, the balance of world power has shifted. We are not the big guy on the block. I'm sorry to have to say that, under previous administrations and present, we've left the leadership void in the Middle East and it has been filled by Russia, iran, china and so on. Well, those are all the nations the Bible speaks about playing a key role, a key anti-God role in the end times. So the mere fact that we have this rearrangement of world alliance tells me wow, we are moving closer to the return of Christ. We have to be very careful about date setting.

Stewart Shurtleff:

Well, help me fact check that. I'm not disagreeing with you. But if a listener says where in the Bible does it talk about China, russia and blah, blah, blah, where do I go to fact check that idea?

Stuart Rothberg:

Read Ezekiel. In fact, we're going through Ezekiel at our church in the Bible study I teach Stuart. I mean it reads like today's headlines. It's fascinating. It is very effective. Anyway, there you can find about those nations playing a role in the end times.

Stewart Shurtleff:

Okay, Other places as well, but that's a good place to start. Yeah, that's awesome. I can't tell you the last time I've I don't flip anymore. You probably are still paper Bible, but I'm a tablet Bible, so I can't say really flip.

Stuart Rothberg:

I don't know the last time I flipped through around or Well, buddy, I got a Bible app, and once I figure out how to use it, it's going to be really great.

Stewart Shurtleff:

That's a funny story as I trans-list into like the next little segment of questions here. But when we first started attending watermarking, they have these the risers or the slides or whatever they call them on the side, where it kind of has theater seating and you can see everyone out there. If you're up on the slide as the teaching pastor for those, they'll turn with me or whatever, and you look across and everybody's just on their phones. And early on Ashley and I looked at each other and I can remember who said it, but it was like why is nobody paying attention right now? And then it dawned on us that just nobody has a paper Bible anymore. They were all on the Bible app following along, and then we digress a touch.

Stewart Shurtleff:

Okay, so sort of the last point to make here this is all very, very, very helpful. The last point to make here is, as we're reading headlines or seeing what's going on, or listening to the global narrative or whatever, like what's the from a Christian's perspective? Like how do I, what should I do? What should I be? What's the right version of thinking around this? What should I praying about? Those sort of things like help us or help listeners I should, I won't me frankly. What should I be doing about what's going on, if anything?

Stuart Rothberg:

I've asked myself the same question what do I do? What is my responsibility as a, as a Christian? And I think the one answer is given in Psalm 122, verse 6. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. May they prosper who love you. Jerusalem is the only city in the Bible for which we are commanded to pray. I'm not saying God is unconcerned about Rome and Mecca and Washington DC, but here's a clear command to pray for Jerusalem. By extension, all of Israel. Pray for the peace, the shalom of Jerusalem. By the way, jerusalem is the city of peace.

Stuart Rothberg:

You can hear a form of the word shalom in it Jaru Salem, city of peace, has experienced a little peace throughout its history. Hence the exhortation pray for shalom to befall the city of shalom. Now, what does that mean? Does it mean the absence of military strife? Yes, but not entirely. The Jewish word shalom really means a state of well being, not just the absence of conflict, of a political kind state of well being. I think, therefore, when we're told to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, we're told to pray that the gospel of peace would meet with open hearts in Israel, so that when the prince of peace, jesus, returns, he's welcomed into the hearts of the people. So what I'm praying and I would invite your listeners to as well, if they can buy this is that this terrible time for all people, groups in the Middle East would provide opportunities for the gospel of peace to go forth and find its riddiness in receptive hearts. Jewish receptive hearts, sure, but also Palestinian arts, arab hearts, muslim arts and this is a stretch even the arts of Hamas members. Right, because Jesus died for them as well. And we're not allowed the luxury of hate as Christians we're not. So we pray that the gospel of peace would go forth.

Stuart Rothberg:

Let me give you for instance. I spoke to an Israeli friend last night, our time eight hours behind theirs. His time was about four in the morning. He called me crying. A relative of his was just killed, lost his life in Gaza, a young Israeli soldier.

Stuart Rothberg:

So what I want to do, and invite your listeners to do, is pray that that terrible tragedy would lead to the softening of hearts, not the hardening of hearts. So believers there are, jewish believers and Arab believers in Israel right now would, with boldness, find opportunity like never before to talk to people about ultimate peace by being reconciled to Jesus, the Prince of Peace. That's the number one and, by the way, I'm on good ground. Referring back to Ezekiel. It wasn't Hamas, it was the Babylonians who were doing these things at the time, and the oft repeated phrase in that book is this that they may know that I am the Lord. I've allowed the Babylonians to do all this, that they, the Jews, will know I am the Lord. Just substitute Hamas. I've allowed Hamas to do this. That they, the Jews and all others, would know I am the Lord. So that's the way to pray, it seems to me.

Stewart Shurtleff:

What are the other? I mean conversationally. Right, you strike up a talk at a dinner party or you're I mean, were there other like key talking points or thoughts or ideas that you think like this is like if you have, if you get put on the spot and you have to say something, think, think it through this lens, or I mean I know we've been talking for about an hour or so, but any sort of like poignant things there at the end of like yes, tell.

Stuart Rothberg:

So here's the deal, stuart. Israel is going to win this war. They will deal with Hamas and they'll neutralize them. There's no doubt Israel's going to win this war, but they're already losing the war. For public opinion, they're. They're losing that desperately.

Stuart Rothberg:

So, around the dinner table, encourage people to get their facts before from reliable journalistic sources. And so, for instance, a hospital in Gaza City you know about this, yes, yes Took a missile and it was reported that five to eight hundred innocent people seeking refuge there were killed. Within hours, cnn, al Jazeera, reuters, msnbc published that it was an Israeli missile that did this damage. Well, it so aroused the world, arabic and Muslim community. Good night, we might have World War three right there, only to find out it was a misfire not by Hamas, by Pij, palestinian Islamic Jihad under the umbrella of Hamas. They fired a rocket from a cemetery near the hospital, didn't even hit the hospital, hit the parking lot. People lost their lives, five to eight hundred. Doubtful. All these reports 10,000. Gazans been killed. That comes from the Gazan Ministry of Health, which is run by a mass. Do you? You think that's a credible source of information? So, anyway, world opinion turns against Israel Almost overnight, only to find out. All the evidence points to the fact that it was an errant misfire. By the way, 30% of the rockets fired don't get to Israel. They land on their own people. These are primitive rockets Right Many of them. So as an example, look you can. You can be against Israel. You don't have to support Israel. You can hold Israel responsible. Everything's cool. Just make sure your position is driven by facts. So I would just challenge around the people Where'd you get your information?

Stuart Rothberg:

One of the members of the squad is there, called in Congress Elon Omar, something like that, I think her name is. She showed pictures a month ago or so of Arabic little girls slaughtered, saying it's bad, what happened is really kids, but this is what they do Arab kids. Only soon thereafter to find out it was a picture taken 10 years earlier in Syria little girls killed at the hands of Bashar al-Assad, the cruel dictator of Syria, who killed his own people. She since removed it, but issued no public apology In the meantime. Can you imagine the damage for people's minds that that that photo, that photo did? And today, in this day of AI, good night you could put anywhere, at any, at any place, at at any time. So Hamas and Islamic Jihad and these radical groups. They're not going to beat up on Israel, but they are winning the war for world opinion, and it is largely based on absolutely nonfactual information. So that's the big deal. Get the facts.

Stewart Shurtleff:

Yeah, I think that's really great. Advice is because we all in this, in 2023, headed into 2024, we still love a good headline read or something sensationalized or something that's going to like rile up an emotion or something, and I think patience is probably the greatest virtue around all. This is just like getting the facts, understanding what needs to be understood, and not jumping to conclusions and just believing what's blasting on the bottom of the scroll or on whatever channel you're watching.

Stuart Rothberg:

This is your stock and trade deposition. Discovery before trial Right. So we asked people to do that before you put Israel on trial and render a verdict. Yet the facts.

Stewart Shurtleff:

Yes, yeah, this is all fantastic dialogue, information, thought processing, biblical over all of it is fantastic in an area that I've been wrestling to find some truth in and get some information for myself, so hopefully this is valuable to listeners. Before I wrap us up, any parting shots or last conclusive ideas or thoughts or theories or anything we want to that we missed along the way here.

Stuart Rothberg:

I'm very grateful for the opportunity you've you've given me, admittedly, to share my point of view. There are others and the listeners have to, you know, have to adjudicate.

Stewart Shurtleff:

Well, that's what makes our country so wonderful.

Stuart Rothberg:

Come to your own conclusion.

Stewart Shurtleff:

Anyway, I'm really grateful for the opportunity you've allowed me to wait on this Well thanks, thanks for doing it, as with all the stuff we put out like this is. This is a dialogue, and so if you guys have thoughts, questions, ideas, concerns and impact disagree, that's great. You guys know how to get in touch with me and Kevin and we would love to have the opportunity to like talk through some of this with you. And if we don't know the answer, I know how to get in touch with Mr Rothberg. We'll we'll bring them in and we'll just show this together as you'll sort of pursue truth along these issues. So thanks again, stuart, for hanging out and until until next week we'll see you guys out there.

Israel and the Jewish Perspective
From Shame to Spiritual Journey
Israel's History
The Conflict in Israel
Israel and Palestine Challenges & Controversies
Last Days and Middle East
Praying for Peace in Jerusalem
Open Dialogue About Ideas and Concerns