Policy Positions List

My Facebook friends are in the thick of the political debate.  My son and daughter have spoken their concern to me to not be too politically involved.  However, so many of the Facebook posts I receive are responding to the present battle between the Republicans under President Trump and the Democratic leaders with Joe Biden.  I think the intensity of the present political situation is such that this will continue with both sides among my friends until after the election.   I have found that many do not deal with the policy issues, which to me is crucial. What are the policies professed and what is the likelihood that the professed policies will be pursued and implemented?  Though our primary thrust is the power of the Gospel to change lives and societies, we do have an important civic responsibility, especially in a democratic republic.  Many only debate about how bad a person President Trump is or that he is not such a bad person or does do the right things in policy. For those who think he is terrible, it seems to supersede concern for policy issues.  

The place to find the policy is in the Democratic policy platform. One should also look up the agreement between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.  Some are denying that this has any weight for what a President Biden would do.  But if not, then he has been lying about his intentions with Bernie Sanders and his followers. 

The place for the Republican policy is the 2016 platform and the professions of Trump and the Republican leaders on their plans, though there is no platform. 

My greatest issues are:  1.  abortion policy including the appointment of judges.  2.  Israel issues.  3.  Lifting the black underclass and overcoming the intergenerational poverty and underclass situation.  4. Religious liberty and liberty for educational choice for religious reasons would be the fourth.  

Test yourself.  Do you know what the parties’ views are on these issues below?  Do you know what the issues are and where you stand?  I do not favor one party or the other on all of these. 



  1. Abortion restrictions 
  2. Appointment of Federal and Supreme Court Judges
  3. Religious liberty and education 
  4. Education including Private school vouchers and charter schools
  5. Environmental issues including Global Warming/Climate change and the Green New Deal.  The use of fossil fuels, renewal energy tec.  International accords. 
  6. Medical and hospitalization system; coverage and costs, disclosure of hospital and doctor information, pre-existing conditions. Socialized medicine (Medicare for all or something else?)
  7. Police reform and funding
  8. Tax policy and economic growth and job growth (connects to international and trade policy). 
  9. International trade policy, free trade, tariffs, and fair trade etc. 
  10. NATO and commitments and contributions
  11. International Anti-Semitism concerns. 
  12. Overcoming the intergenerational underclass situation of the black community. Welfare policy and the underclass. 
  13. Dealing with crime in the black community and the drug wars
  14. MS-13 type gangs, drugs and crime
  15. Immigration policy: Legal immigration and illegal policy, sanctuary cities etc. Border wall and v-verify, dreamers policy.
  16. Hi-Tech monopolistic corporations 
  17. Levels of wealth and influence from super-rich
  18. Monopoly and information domination from a few tech companies 
  19. The politicization of the universities and colleges. 
  20. The media and control by liberals etc.
  21. Criminal justice reform
  22. Drugs and legalization and fighting organized crime
  23. Surveillance of citizens and privacy concerns   
  24. Military policy and spending



  1. China policy, military, trade, and espionage and domination issues. 
  2. Iran, terrorism, and nuclear danger.  
  3. Russia and responses to their actions.
  4. Israel and the peace process. Jerusalem, settlements, and the Land.  
  5. Turkey and its new thrust for domination in the Eastern Med and the Middle East. Her involvement in Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Northern Cyprus. 
  6. Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Kurds
  7. Africa policy
  8. Latin America policy and Venezuela 
  9. Religious freedom and American responses to oppressive regimes 

Is Donald Trump a Narcissist?

Some of my Trump-supporting friends concede that President Trump is a narcissist.  Just about all of my anti-Trump friends argue that he is a dangerous narcissist.  And that is the issue of issues for them.  This presses me to Scripture for how to approach those in power and government and the biblical teaching on how to deal with those in government power.  But first, there are real problems in this claim.  It also shows an arrogance that can bring us into disfavor with God.

1.  If one is to claim this on the grounds of professional psychology, then one should know that it is not ethical to make a diagnosis from afar, without a clinical evaluation in a clinical setting.

2. There are too many people close to Trump that remain friends after many years for this to be true.  Some behavior indeed may be like such a person, but how do I account for his wife, what his x wife says, his children and friends. These friends of decades and include the great black football player Herschel Walker and the social justice warrior Geraldo Rivera.  And so many more can be named.  It includes men and women.

So it seems to me that the issue is that humans have amazing ability to compartmentalize in mind and behavior One part can be good and compassionate and another part may be immediately violent and vengeful.  One part may be generous and the other part so defensive when criticized.  As a pastor, I have seen this so much fo so many years in people.  We have to address the whole person and see every thought come into conformity to Yeshua. We are to pray for our President to come into all that God would desire. I so prayed for Obama and do also for Trump, and regularly. 

However, according to the standard of the New Covenant, we are warned consistently to not vilify and rail against leaders.  Unless a leader is fostering genocide or terrible crimes, we are to pray and be humble in speaking correction.   I think it is valid in to raise character questions, and to raise policy and voting records and even conclude that policies are radial.  But cursing the personhood of the leader or vilifying can bring judgment to the person who does this.   Here are the texts that should guide us.

I Tim. 2:1   “First of all, I urge that requests, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be made on behalf of all people–for kings and all who are in authority–so that we may live a peaceful and quiet life in all godliness and respectfulness.  This is good and pleasing to God our Savior.” 

Acts 23:5   “Paul said, I did not know, brothers, that he was the high priest  for it has been written, ‘You shall not speak evil of a rule of your people.”

Judah (Jude) “But when Michael the archangel, disputing with the devil, was arguing about the body of Moses, he did not dare to render a judgment against him for slander, but said, “May the LORD rebuke you.”  But these people slander whatever they do not understand.”

How does this apply?  We can strongly disagree with policy and should try to represent the policies we criticize fairly.  We can point to behavior that shows character issues.  However, we should not curse the identity of the person.  We must avoid arrogance and cursing the person, “He is a narcissist, he is an evil predator, She is a Jezebel, etc. etc. ”    There has been way too much arrogance in the debates and way too much lack of understanding the positions of the other, way too little engaging.  Do we understand the position of the other to their satisfaction?

And finally, for those on this page who follow Yeshua, do we really believe that the future depends on this election, or do we believe that repentance and revival are the only things that can turn things around, yielding the spirit of love and compassion as the motive for seeking justice?   As the U. S. spins out of control in our cities, I still am looking from Israel and waiting for that great contingent of spiritual leaders of all colors and ethnicities to stand together with thousands and thousands calling for love and reconciliation, who will preach the Good News of reconciliation. 


On Passing the Trump Test in How We Treat Fellow Believers in Yeshua (Jesus)

In Mike Brown’s book on Will Evangelicals Pass the Trump Test, he argues that one key to that test is how we treat those who will vote for and against Trump (if they expose themselves and engage in debate). If we do not treat them with love and respect and credit that they have reasons we err. While I think the reasons on platforms and all else favor the Republicans, I well know that there are some good counter reasons. Some very precious people in my life will vote against Trump, including one best friend of 56 years, the retired Pastor of the Church where I was a charter member in 1966, the wonderful Pastor of a Presbyterian Church who took my courses at the King’s University when it was in Van Nuys, California. I will not arrogantly treat them as moral idiots though I see such darkness coming much more from the Democrats. Soon, in a few years, the proof will be in no matter who wins on the basis of what happens.

My daughter pointed out the arrogance of people and was very disturbed by my Facebook page at the amount of arrogance on both sides. Not the majority, but enough posts show this arrogance. If you are not in agreement, you are a moral/ethical idiot. I have had posts where some say that if you vote for Trump you can’t be a believer. Others, especially on the abortion issue, that if you vote against Trump you are a moral idiot. Yet these folks are anti-abortion and want to fight it by the Gospel and not by legislation. I think they are wrong, but they are not idiots.

One thing that is very disturbing is the painting of the other side like Hitler. Both sides do it. Yes, there is the cancel culture and some of the things Antifa is after is totalitarian. Then we hear that Trump is like Hitler. First, I think this violates the command of Scripture to not vilify our civil leaders. We can speak correction but with humility. Scripture is very clear on this. Secondly, as one historian of Hitler said in Germany recently, this is a terribly wrong comparison. There is no evidence that Trump seeks ethnic cleansing, and Hitler revealed this all along. Jews should especially be offended that such a comparison is made when Hitler and the Holocaust has no comparison. To draw such comparisons is such slander against all those who have reasoned positions to vote for him. If Trump is like Hitler, then a Bonhoeffer needs to rise up and assassinate him. If the volant protesters and cancel culture is like Hitler, then we need to rise up a militia and kill them off like the Jewish resisters in Warsaw. I have posted on what I think is the outlandish behavior of the left. Do my friends understand that when you bring in Hitler comparisons you slander all those who support their side as such moral idiots that they are supporting a Hitler and are as dumb as can be? I can give a list of the most fine and sensitive people who are supporting Trump, including Blacks, Whites, Hispanics, and Asians. I can point out the years of ministry integrity of some of his supporters, including pastors, evangelists, and rabbis. Most of the most sensitive people in the prophetic that I know, support, Trump. What does it say about all of these people to say they support a Hitler. I also can make a list of fine people, best friends, sensitive people who are totally anti-Trump. What does it say about them if we accuse them of supporting a Hitler like direction or that they are supporting Bolsheviks? It really is accusing them of being moral/ethical idiots. So, let’s stop with the arrogance. Let’s stop with the incendiary rhetoric. Let us accept that each side has at least some good reasons. This is a challenging time for all of us. In Mike Brown’s book, again, the key issue in passing the Trump test is how we treat those who don’t agree with us among the believing community and how we prosecute our cases. If we stoop to vilification and treating the other side as “a basket of deplorables,” God help us. And as Mike also argues, let us never think that the solution is in the political realm despite our civic responsibility and its importance. Our hope for people is in the Gospel, so let’s not make an idol of politics. For many who are not committed to God, politics is their religion. We must not go there. By the way, Mike is measured and gracious. He gives the reasons against voting for Trump. I think he left out some key policy issues where I disagree with Trump. However, I strongly recommend his book because he passes his own Trump test.

The Israel Political Crisis Never Ends

Israel has two moderately conservative newspapers that for many years were quite positive to Prime Minister Netanyahu.  That has changed. Why?  There are several reasons. and the issues they write about now take us to another crisis.

First, the editors did not think an indicted Prime Minister should run for Prime Minister or be in office of P. M.  The Supreme Court ruled that he can do so.  The issue is as the editors stated, that his attention would be diverted, and that he would develop policy directions tainted by the upcoming trial and then during the trial.  This seems to be exactly what is happening.  One of the issues is that in Israel it is possible for the Knesset to pass a law that a Prime Minister cannot be indicted but only removed by the Knesset. However, passing that law after an indictment is problematic indeed.  We recall that Prime Minister Olmert stepped down when indicted and afterwards was convicted and served his time.

After the last election, Netanyahu did not have enough votes to form a coalition without the centrist Blue and White.  The negotiations were hard, but hardly anyone in Israel wanted a fourth election in so short a time.  A new election did not seem to favor Bibi.  So, after hard negotiations, it was agreed in the coalition agreement that they would pass a two-year budget.  When a government cannot pass a budget, the government falls, and elections are required.  The two-year budget assured that this would not happen.  The agreement also stipulated that in November of 2021 there would be a rotation and Benny Gantz would become the Prime Minister.  The Knesset agreed to all this.  The ultra-Orthodox Sephardic party, Shas, said they would guarantee the agreement and would not support moves by Bibi to get out of it.  Now in only a few months Bibi wants to scuttle the agreement on the two-year budget.  Shas said they would not support this move.  Bibi’s excuse is that the virus makes a long-term budget unfeasible.  But the virus was here when the agreement was made.   It looks to almost everyone that Bibi wants a one-year budget and then to go to elections before Gantz has his turn.  Then he can pass the legislation that lets him off the hook with the court.  If the polls look good, he would want an election right away to get out of the court case.  This is the most manipulative political wrangling that I have ever seen.  So, what does Bibi do with Shas?  He offers hundreds of millions in shekels to the ultra Orthodox Yeshivot (religious Talmud study schools) to buy them off to gain their acceptance if he goes to elections for a fourth time.

Bibi has done very, very, good things for Israel. The news editors I referenced say so as well. However, they think things are now over the top.  There is as I write now only 48 hours to avoid an election and pass a budget extension, but that will only delay the problem.  If Likud, Bibi’s party, changed their leader, I think they would do well.

Meanwhile, Bibi’s direction is losing votes to Naftali Bennet of the new Right Party, not to Blue and White or Yesh Atid, the two recent biggest parties opposing him   This is due to Bibi taking sovereignty for the West Bank in part or in whole off the table for the peace agreement with the UAR.  Bennet also sees the integrity issues.  Likud’s Gideon Saar also would like to replace Bibi due to the integrity issues.  However, the Likud members will not yet vote to replace him.   What will happen?   We don’t know, but we are in a political crisis again.  It is a crisis totally created by Bibi.   We are still fighting a spike in the Corona virus.   The new Corona Tsar, Dr. Roni Gamzu, seems very solid and balanced.  In the midst of this, to spend hundreds of thousands of shekels on unnecessary elections seems unconscionable.  As for the budget issue, a two-year budget could be passed and adjustments could be passed later if necessary.   So again, we need much prayer.

Complexity of Political Terms and Left and Right

THE GREAT  COMPLEXITY OF POLITICAL TERMS LEFT AND RIGHT, AND EXTREME LEFT AND RIGHT, AND RADICAL LEFT AND RIGHT, AND MODERATE LEFT AND RIGHT makes our discussion of issues difficult.  We use these terms to show that there is a cohesion in identifiable groups of people.  However, as I learned in philosophy, no term is circumscribed with clear lines of demarcation, and terms only describe areas of meaning with fuzzy lines.  My friend Eitan Shishkoff responded to my post on selective compassion where I speak about the far left and radical left and was concerned that I would alienate unnecessarily people who would think they were being pigeonholed.  So, I want to just give some definition.  I want to introduce this by noting that the center hardly exists today in American politics in the sense that there are really people that are almost in the middle between the great parties.  Joe Biden used to be such a person, what we would call moderate left or left of center, but he now seems to be embracing more radical policies that he used to eschew.  Also, Maine Senator Susan Collins would be considered moderate right, very centrist.

No issue has been so clearly a dividing issue than abortion.  There used to be pro-choice Republicans, but now only Susan Collins is known for that stand.  There used to be pro-life Democrats, but now only Senator Casey from Pennsylvania and a conservative pro-life Democrat from the South hold to such positions.  Pro-life people consider the Democratic party to itself have become radical since they do not support limiting abortion to the early months of pregnancy and now almost universally support abortion at all stages of pregnancy for any reason, even up to the point of birth.  The Virginia governor even spoke of letting the baby die after being born alive though the baby could be saved.  No issue has been more polarizing and due to this, many pro-lifers now will not vote for Democrats.  To think that 60 years ago the Democrats were the favored party of Evangelicals, many of whom like my Norwegian family, loved Franklin Roosevelt. Most were pro-life.

One of the problems in dealing with the issues of right and left is that the terms do not mean what they did just a few years ago.  More and more of the people in the Democrat party, in my view, no longer are left of center but are really on the left fully.  Some of the same people who would have been moderate left have moved more to the left.  We also see the more moderate left losing elections to the radical left candidates.  I will speak of this more. Abortion is only one such issue. But we can list many more such issues.   Here are some other key other issues on which Democrats are united.  The Democratic party as a whole embraces the LGBTQ agenda fully.  A few years ago, Barak Obama said he was not in favor of gay marriage.  Now they accept the idea of pregnant men in the men’s barracks (an Obama regulation).  Joe Biden used to support the Hyde amendment that did not allow spending tax payer dollars for abortions.  This is an accommodation to pro-life religious conviction.  Now he has dropped his old position.  This is a position of the left.  The idea that religious conviction for charities is overridden, and they must support health services (like contraception) is the position of the Democrats now.  (This was recently overturned by the Supreme Court, thank God.) The idea that Catholic adoption agencies after so many successful years can no longer partner with the state since they want to place children in homes with mothers and fathers, has been accepted.  The idea that nurses and doctors should not be able to opt out of abortion services in hospitals due to conscience is strongly held.  Democrats used to support charter schools but with the pressure from the teaches union, they are mostly now dropping that support. On the issue of private artistic business being required to be accomplices to gay weddings, what they would consider sin, is a Democratic position (the Supreme Court rule against the Democratic position. They now talk about packing the Supreme Court to get their agenda established.  In issue after issue, the mainstream Democrats have moved more and more left.  They used to be anti-Socialist but desired more spending for the welfare side of the State.  There is now a very strong anti-religious bent now to former party of the Evangelicals.  On the environment, they seek to avoid the answer to the green house issues in natural gas as a transition and nuclear (a best solution) for fantasies of wind power.   They have adopted more of the radical green new deal (AOC) which they used to reject.  I do not think we can talk about moderate Democrats today.  There are a few and some may privately think in more moderate terms, but they have been pushed left.  I now say the Democratic party is leftist with strong socialist influence.  But this is not the same as what I mean by radical or extreme leftists.

What do I mean by extreme left or radical left.  The radicals have embraced a host of directions that align them more with types of revisionist Marxism.  In some ways what is being put forth is more like Hebert Marcuse’s later book on Revolution written in 1969.  Here are some aspects of this.

  1. A fully socialist agenda
  2. Cancel culture.  Those who espouse conservative views are to be canceled and not part of the discussion. Religious and political views that used to be within normal dialogue and debate are now to not be permitted.  Free speech is questioned.  The Constitution is not valued. This will lead to religious persecution.  In today’s Jerusalem Post, Zalman Shoval spoke out strongly against this and worried that this orientation is totalitarian and leads usually to Anti-Semitism.  He gave several examples.  Ben Shapiro, Jordan Peterson, and Denins Prager are only a few that are sounding the alarm.
  3. Traditional religious moral teaching on sexuality and marriage is defined as hate speech.  You can see this with the radicals that last night burned Bibles in Portland.  Also, former presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke’s called for Churches that do not support LGBTQ lifestyle legitimacy to lose their tax exemption.  (He was not speaking about civil rights, but about what the churches are allowed to believe and teach).
  4. The doctrine of intersectionality where all oppressed people are one and their oppressors are to be identified together.  This includes vilifying white men as oppressors of women and minorities, white women called karens who do not fully embrace the cause, seeing Israel as the oppressor of the Palestinians which is leading to Anti-Semitism (witness Congresswoman Ilhan Omer), ending the favoring of the hetero-normal nuclear family.  Then there is demanding minority hiring to the percent they have designed (23% black hiring in Seattle), defunding the police, allowing criminals to be released form jails, even if violent).
  5. Legitimizing violence in the protests for racial justice.  Note that 81% of Blacks polled said they want more police presence or at least the same amount.  The anti-police radicals do not represent the Black community.
  6. Claiming that America was born in sin and America is from first to last an evil nation. They claim that the founders were not good people even though some founders were abolitionist.  They have torn down statues of Washington and Grant!  There is an anti-American thrust that is painful to watch. All nations are mixtures, more or less, of good and evil.  Selective research can make any nation into evil incarnate.

One sees this sweeping the college campuses and also popular culture. Teen Vogue just had an article calling for abolishing private property.  One sees it in the response to Heather McDonald, the researcher on statistics for how police treat blacks, banned on social media.  She may be wrong, but she is a serious researcher who does not think the racism with police is as great as claimed.  She should be part of the debate and the questions do need more research.

What is sad is that the former moderate Democrats are not speaking out strongly against the radical leftist views.  And in addition, the racial leftists are winning primaries against the mainstream.  Somehow the mainstream Democrats are now less mainstream and do not speak out firmly against those in the protests that are violent, against Antifa, against police defunding.  Any words have been mere qualifications, tepid, almost as if they need the radicals as part of their vote.  The university campuses have largely been lost to  radical views.

I think the country is in very bad straights.  So due to all of this, I have concluded that only mighty spiritual revival can stem the tide.  The darkness is very dark right now, but as promised to Israel in Isaiah 66:1,2, the light can arise and has before in history in times of great darkness.

Selective Empathy And Biblical Compassion

A family relative is a strong supporter of the Black Lives Matter protests and has played down the violence and riots that come more from the mostly white radicals that have hijacked the movement.   My daughter in law wrote a response.   Then she was taken to task for not agreeing with the millions of aggrieved black people but pointing out problems with the protests.  Then my daughter in law wrote a response, and it was brilliant.  She noted that she is a person of color, from Guatemala with Sephardic Jewish, Spanish and native American roots.  She knows well about discrimination.  She was being treated as if she was from white privilege!  How bizarre was that?  She shared personal information on the trials of growing up, coming to America for high school and then becoming an overcomer.  Then she married my son. She gave a valiant defense of her experience, knowledge and right to speak up as a minority person.  Of course, Yeshua made all the difference.  However, the essence of her post was a critique of the selective empathy and rage that ignores the suffering of others that do not fit into the political agenda of the left.  It was brilliant and inspired this post of mine.

When people respond to Black Lives Matter by saying All Lives Matter or Blue Lives Matter, they are vilified.  The right answer instead of vilification might be to say, “Yes, all lives matter, but we are highlighting the injustice done to blacks.”  That would be a valid response.  Then we can look at the stats to see the evidence for how bad the police treatment of blacks is.  We can also examine prejudice otherwise in education, jobs, housing, (not on the basis of stats that show disparate levels of attainment or imprisonment, etc. but on the basis of unfair treatment compared to other people of races in parallel situations of crime or qualification for work, etc..  We will find problems.  What offends some is the callousness toward some who are suffering due to the violent aspects of the protests that do not fit into the narrative of the leftist agenda.  Where is the empathy for the small business people whose businesses have been destroyed by the rioters, and this includes black and other minority business owners?  Where is the empathy for the police who have been killed in the rioting, and indeed this includes black police?  Where is the empathy for their wives and children?  The left media mostly ignores this.  Where is the empathy for those who were employed by some of these businesses and now have lost their jobs?!!  There is also little empathy for those who have been killed in black on black violence including innocent children, 7,500 per year!  Those in these neighborhoods cry out to not defund the police who protect them, even if they sometimes act wrongly. In some cities now there are many black police, in Atlanta a majority but still they are attacked.   Why?  The radical left seeks revolution and reject the black police as part of the evil establishment.

I have noted the very selective empathy of the left for a long time.  Has anyone noticed that the leftist movements are really very self-centered?  For example, it is a good thing that women are free to pursue opportunities according to their gifts and desires, but that the feminist movement does not care about the oppression of women in Islamic countries.  Only Christianity is accused of stifling patriarchy when such stifling patriarchy was historically the case in most cultures and worse than in the West.   Is there concern about the oppression of Hindu religion that keeps the poor in their poverty as their just deserts in reincarnation.  Who cares about the persecution of Christians because they have liberated these people form their oppression?  We could go on and on.  Or who cares about the terrible suffering and persecution of Christians in many lands?  Not on the news!

One of the amazing aspects of the teaching and modeling of Yeshua is the empathy for all who are suffering and in need.  The prophetic thrust of God being with the poor, the widow and the orphan (the marginalized) is given the strongest support as Yeshua brings supernatural healing, deliverance and hope to them.  However, He also can show love for the oppressors.  He heals the servant of the Roman soldier.  The Roman soldiers are the oppressors.  He tells his followers to turn the cheek to the Roman soldiers and to carry the load a second mile when they are conscripted for the task.  This shows the love of God to the oppressor.  He not only eats with prostitutes, who are very wounded, abused and deeply damaged, but eats with tax collectors, collaborationists with Rome and despised by most.  Yeshua taught the way of love and reconciliation but in a context that called for repentance and forgiveness by all.  All hatred was to be renounced.  In the present situation of protests, much of it driven by atheists according to a recent poll, we believers have a special opportunity.  Followers of Yeshua are called to stand for justice but in a context of biblical love that is not selective in empathy.  That empathy is given to all who are suffering in the present, the protestors including the peaceful and violent who are so deceived, those who have been ruined by the violent rioters, and finally to show love for those who oppress, for the oppressor destroys him or herself.  We call upon all to repent and submit to the Gospel and then join in love and reconciliation.   Only the Gospel has the answer, and it is the only world view where real justice can be advanced.  We are not to show selective empathy but do emphasize reaching the marginalized as the first priority.

Annexation and the Return of the Zealot Party

Under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, it is near certain that Israel will annex 30% of Judea and Samaria (West Bank) including the Jordan Valley.  This is in line with the Trump peace plan.  What is so important is the realism of the Trump plan.  I have noted this in past posts but will repeat.  Before the Oslo peace plan, both liberal and conservative governments in Israel supported creating towns in the disputed territories.  The main reason was to have more territory controlled by Israel so that Israel’s strategic depth for defense was increased. Yes, the right-wing with P. M. Begin hoped to see a permanent annexation of the territories, but that was not pursued and was politically not feasible.  The hope was that the Palestinian areas could be ceded to Jordan or that the Arab residents could be residents in Israel but citizens in Jordan.   

With the Oslo peace plan and the idea of a two-state solution being revived (this was the original U. N. plan from 1947) the issue became how to draw the border.  Israel’s government, during the time of the hopes of the Oslo plan, was seeking to cede most of the territories for a Palestinian State. In the P. M. Olmert plan, the Palestinian’s would be given 95% of the territories in Judea and Samaria (West Bank) and Israel 5% to preserve the larger settlements.  When the Palestinians walked away from this plan, the left as a power in Israeli politics was destroyed.  This is why today we have a large rightwing group of parties, and a centrist group of parties but no significant left-wing power (despite Bibi calling the center parties left-wing!)   

The Trump plan still holds out hope for a Palestinian State on the 70% of the land plus Gaza.  However, if the Palestinians will not come to negotiate, President Trump has made it known that Israel can then go ahead and annex these territories as long as Israel coordinates mapping with the White House.  Bibi is very thankful to President Trump and the President is popular in Israel.  He has recognized Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights and moved the embassy to Jerusalem, recognizing Jerusalem as the capital.  His peace plan is the only realistic one.  Why? Because the other plans require removing some of the towns of the territories.  There are over 400,000 Israelis in these towns.  Any government that sought to remove even part of them would face stiff resistance, bloodshed, and even civil war!  Trump’s plan does not require removing any of the settlements.  A Palestinian state is still very unlikely, and quietly some really hope for a return to the Jordanian citizenship idea in the years ahead so as to avoid a Palestinian state and a claim of apartheid. This declaration of annexation, probably in July or August, will probably lead to much world rejection and maybe a new Palestinian uprising (intifada).  It may threaten the peace treaties with Jordan and Egypt.  It would also risk relationships that were growing with other Arab nations.  However, Bibi sees this as a once in a lifetime opportunity with Trump as President, and he will take the risk.  He has the votes to do it.

However, the leader of the settlement council and the Jordan Valley communities, David Elhaynai, seeks to thwart the plan for two reasons.  First, he and his followers will not countenance the idea of a Palestinian state at all.  They want all the territory without full rights for the Palestinians (not by the choice of the Palestinians but by Israel’s fiat).  They do not want to even say they accept the Trump plan in theory.  Bibi wants the loss of a Palestinian state to be blamed on the Palestinians. He, therefore, accepts the Trump plan.  He is a realist and politically very savvy. Secondly, Elhaynai is upset that 15 small settlements, some of which were illegal but have been since legalized, will not be in contiguous connection to the new Israeli 30% territory.  For this, he also rejects the plan.  Why would he be so extreme and zealous?  It is hard to know. He is not part of the super right-wing religious though he has to represent them as part of his constituency.  These latter folks believe that taking all the Land is a Messianic mandate that precedes the coming of the Messiah.  Whatever his reasons, he has to represent them and is himself a maximalist for other reasons.  My concern in all of this is that these zealots are of the same spirit that Yeshua warned about and noted that their direction would lead to the destruction of Jerusalem.   He said if only they had known the way for peace.   We cannot say that Israel today, mostly not committed to Biblical standards and faith, would have the favor of God to reenact the conquering of Joshua.  There is no prophetic voice of leadership for this.  We cannot hope for or depend on God’s favor for such radical recommendations.  We are not a righteous nation though comparatively more righteous than many.  This settler leader has even lambasted Trump as not a friend of Israel.  He has drawn the rebuke of Bibi for this and rightly so.  I believe that this is the same spirit as the radical zealots of the first century, and they must not be allowed to scuttle the progress that has been made due to President Trump.  A way for the Palestinians to find justice while Israel realistically can claim the territory of the settlements is the realistic way forward.  Netanyahu is taking a terrible risk. I hope it works out.  But the settlers are asking him to go beyond risk toward a probable disaster. 


Avoiding Foolish Arguments about Donald Trump

As much as possible I want to avoid involvement in foolish arguments about President Donald Trump.  I have responded to friends who are very anti-Trump and tried to bring considerations that could moderate their position, but to no avail.  I am glad to answer those with sincere questions but at this point this is rare.  Here are some reasons why this is so difficult in this.  First, I learned as a philosophy student in epistemology (the study of how we come to know, indeed as well to know that something is real or true) that decisions about the truth that are not mundane and trivial and commitments that follow therefrom are not based on the right processing of information in the mind which then comes out with the right conclusion.  Rather, the whole person weighs evidence and makes decisions. The person is influenced by deeply held values, orientations to life, and psychological factors. Some of these factors are not conscious.  I think voters, including my friends who are followers of Yeshua, break down into five categories.  After the first year of the Trump Presidency, the stand of most people in four of these five categories is not likely to change.  Those who engage in arguments among people in the different categories go round and round and get nowhere.  The reason for the categories is that in the deep consciousness of people, various things are given very different weight.  It is almost on a religious level for some.  And we know how hard that is!!  Only the Spirit can bring conversion.  Of course, there are those on the border lines of these categories and there is always a continuum but generally, people fit into one of these five.  Though there are some friends who are liberal Evangelicals, conservatives are included in all five of these categories. 

  • The Never Trumpers.  For these people, President Trump’s egregious bad behavior outweighs all other considerations.  The personal demeaning, the past life of sin, the exaggeration, and lies about some situations, have caused untold damage to the country.  He is probably a racist.  He is not a true conservative but is acting so for political power.  He is probably a sociopath-narcissist.  Any professed follower of Yeshua who supports President Trump is discrediting their faith and is a hypocrite.  Any good that Trump has done is far surpassed by the evil he does.  As their heart weights his tweets and his blatantly sinful language against others, they weigh the stand against the President as a ten and compared almost to a zero for anything good.  In addition, Trump has been inconsistent in policy to North Korea, to Russia, and has undercut international trust.  Some say he is not concerned about the environment. Those in this category will point to new outlandish statements, but they are really nothing new but just an example of the pattern well established.  They are aghast that believers in Yeshua can support him.  
  • The Always Trumpers.  All the bad that Trump has done is downplayed by the always Trumpers.  The good things he has done and is doing makes the negatives to almost be of no consequence.  They wonder why the negatives should be a concern. The negatives may even have a positive effect. Yes, maybe he should not tweet somethings, but so what?  He has appointed scores conservative judges and two conservative Supreme Court justices, has moved the embassy to Jerusalem, created enterprise zones in the cities to life the poor, has had judicial reform for the sake of non-violent criminals that mostly affects blacks, is working to make immigration legal, has released states from funding planned parenthood, has removed the pressure from the nations re: U. S. aid to foster homosexual marriage and abortion while supporting the decriminalization of homosexuality, has restored religious liberty that was being eroded, has removed standards for accommodating pregnant men in the men’s barracks in the army (transgender) has confronted North Korea while negotiating, has confronted China, has rebuilt the military, pulled out of the disastrous Iran deal, is shaking up a corrupt bureaucracy, and more.  He is bringing jobs back to the United States. To even bring up Trump’s sins is looked at as such hypocritical foolishness and shows that these people are majoring in the minors.  Besides, those in this category who believe in the prophetic gift point to amazing prophetic predictions of the Trump presidency and what it would be like.  Some of these people even enjoy Trump’s bad-boy behavior. They are the most enthusiastic at his rallies. 
  • The Qualified Trump Supporters.   This is a much larger group than most realize.  I am in this group.  Many of us did not support Trump in the primaries.  He was our last choice.  Our vote for him was more a vote against Hillary Clinton. Those in this group usually agree with the list of good things that Trump has done, but we are concerned that his bombastic style and gross sin in speech and vilification of others undercut him and loses him support that he would otherwise have.  There was much division before Trump, but those of us in this category really believe that he has unnecessarily exacerbated the division in the country and that despite the gains of his presidency, this could be very dangerous to the country.  We are concerned that the backlash after Trump could be terrible and would that even if division can’t be overcome, that our President would speak in the most unifying way possible to the nation.  We do not believe Trump is a racist but think his sometimes terrible rhetoric gives credibility to people think he is.  Of course, Democrats accuse all white Republicans of being racists. Some of us credit the prophecy of those who have this gift at a high level, and this has helped us. We do also see policies that we do not support.  Trump speaks of our enemies as ones with whom he has a good relationship.  Little Rocket Man is one with whom he now has a good relationship.  We pray for Trump to have an encounter with Yeshua so that he might repent of his sins and change.  However, when we compare Trump to Hillary Clinton and what she would have done with the courts, religious freedom, and Israel we are still glad she lost to Trump.  The greatest writer in this category that I know is Dr. Mike Brown, a very incisive social critic, who says we are not hypocrites if we support what is right but prophetically speak out on the wrong.  If we do not speak out when he is wrong then we sell our souls for his defense. His book Donald Trump is not my Savior is an excellent read on this approach.  In addition, it is most alarming to us to think about what today’s Democrats would do if they were in power.  We might have preferred Nikki Haley or Mike Pence, but we did not have this choice.  It seems that this is God’s doing. On a one to ten scale, they give being a supporter on the basis of the good maybe an 8 and the negatives maybe a 4. 
  • Category four is the Trump opponents who credit the good things he has done but believe that the harm from his over the top vilification of others and sinful rhetoric outweighs the good. Some of them think it would have been better to have taken our lumps with Hillary Clinton and at least not to be seen supporting such a vein and vile man.  In their view, this has undercut the Gospel. These people are conflicted because they do know that Trump does good things and they generally are alarmed at the thought of a Hillary Clinton presidency.  However, they still cannot bring themselves to vote for Trump. 
  • Category five is undecided.   These are the people who go back and forth.  When Trump is acting bad, they lean to category 4.  When he is doing good, they lead to # 3.  They are a key to Trump’s approval going between 44% to 49%.  They may determine the next election.   They are probably about 5%.  They keep quiet and do not get into the arguments.  


The next election will be determined by who can best bring out their base and the 5% that go back and forth.  The category people are in is quite fixed now.  It will not be changed by fruitless Facebook arguments back and forth.  Mike Brown makes all the right points in my view, but I am not sure if he has convinced anyone who is a Never-Trumper.  Maybe some on the edge of being a non-supporter could change his or her view.  The deepest inner values and psychology is partly why people come out where they do.  It is how things hit people at a visceral level.  This is why I want to opt-out of Facebook arguments on this.  It is not getting us anywhere.  We have repeated ourselves again and again like a broken record. I have tried to argue with my never-Trump friends that the danger of the left to believers is terrible but to no avail. 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Dock

The trial of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Bibi) for bribery, fraud and breach of trust has begun.  There are three cases against him and not all are of equal weight.  It is not important for our readers to know the details.  If you want to know the details, you can find it easily on the internet through an internet search/  There are numerous detailed articles describing the charges and the evidence.

I think that there are a few important things to understand that can inform your prayer.  Bibi and part of his rightwing party (Likud) members are engaging in a propaganda campaign to discredit the investigators and the Attorney General, Avichai Mandelblit, who brought the charges.  They claim that this is a campaign of the left to remove the right-wing government.  They also are on a campaign to discredit the court as an activist court and to also discredit the Supreme Court.  I believe this is very dangerous.  Yes, as in the United States, the Court here has been too activist at times, but this is a criminal trial not a matter of activist legal interpretations.  The campaign to discredit the Court by Netanyahu’s closest allies in Likud is wrong and again dangerous to the country.  Not all Likud members are in on this campaign.  Several higher-ups in Likud have perceived themselves to have been betrayed by Bibi and remain quiet.   One other matter is disturbing.  They brought up a case from 10 years ago where the Attorney General was investigated to find if he covered up a case for General Gabi Ashkenazi who is now the Foreign Minister in the Unity Government and part of Benny Gantz’s Blue and White Party.  This was dismissed a decade ago. 

Bibi is innocent until proven guilty, but it does not look good for him, though I hope he would be found innocent.  I have evaluated Bibi in the past in my postings.  He has done some really great things and not so great things!  One key thing to keep in mind is to understand who Avichai Mandelblit is.  He is a conservative Attorney General that was appointed by Bibi!  If one was following the investigation and the prosecutors, it seemed as if Mandelblit was doing everything possible to not indict Bibi.  He was an ally of Bibi.  However, the force of the evidence was so great to him that he could not avoid it.  History would record the evidence and if he did not go forward, he would forever be remembered by history as a compromised political hack.  So now Bibi seeks to discredit his own pick for the Attorney General, his former ally. Again, I hope Bibi is innocent and found innocent, but the evidence, even as reported in the conservative Zionist press, is that he is guilty.  (not in the Bibi newspaper Yisrael Hayom

One sad thing about the complexity of legal processes here is that this could all take form 18 months to 3 years to finalize.  There could be appeals to make it even a longer time.

Photo credit: Haim Zach (GPO)

Can we Figure out what Prime Minister Netanyahu Desires for Peace?

Two of the most important things to note about the new unity government in Israel is that Blue and White under Benny Gantz will not prevent Prime Minister Netanyahu (Bibi) from annexing the settlements (cities and towns) in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and the Jordan Valley.  This will probably happen with the acceptance of the Trump administration.  The world will scream, and will not recognize it, but Israel will not turn back.   The U. S. will recognize it with a few other countries. 

The second thing to note is that Yamina under Naftali Bennet, the rightwing religious party, is not in the government with Bibi.  Bibi could have offered them a greater role, but I think he intentionally did not, though he professed to want them in the government.  Bibi is one of the most amazing political manipulators ever.  I think he really did not want them in the government.  Bennet’s past behavior greatly irritated Bibi since he would publicly criticize Bibi though in his cabinet.  Imagine a cabinet minister in President Trump’s government publicly criticizing him or the cabinet ministers in the times of former presidents.  Yes, it is a coalition of parties in Israel, but in most Parliamentary coalition governments, once the government is formed such public criticism ends.  And what was his critique?  It was usually that Bibi was not moving forward to annex the territories or that he was too weak on defense issues. 

These two facts now give Bibi flexibility and maybe revealing his end game with the Palestinians.  If Bennet is in the government, he will push Bibi to reject a Palestinian state. Bibi does not want to do this, at least not publicly. If there is no such state Bibi wants the Palestinians to be blamed for not attaining one. Yesterday at the time of this writing, the Settlers voted to reject Donald Trump’s Peace Plan because if gives the Palestinians 70% of the West Bank and Gaza for a state.  Bibi has said he fully accepts the Trump plan. He prefers to not have Bennet in the government making public criticism from his right flank.  

There are three plans that now are possible.  The old plan for a Palestinian state with the ’67 ceasefire lines as the border is not one of the possibilities that anyone can now be considered.  The first Is the Carolyn Glick One State Solution which is the name of her book.  In this solution the Palestinians living in the West Bank (not Gaza-which would be released to be on its own or part of Egypt) are given full citizenship in Israel.  Glick is a contrarian with regard to her views on population trends.  She thinks that the Palestinians would never then be more than 1/3 of the population.  It does not appear that Bibi has accepted this view.  He thinks, I believe, that absorbing so many Palestinians would be dangerous. 

Then there is the Bennet plan which is to eventually, but in stages, annex the whole West Bank and give the Palestinians some level of residency and autonomy but not citizenship. Some go father and want to pay the Palestinians to move away.  The world will call this apartheid.  Bibi is too smart for this solution since this would lead to world rejection and boycotts.  It would end progress with the Arab world.  Some think the Palestinians could have residency in Israel but citizenship in Jordan.  Jordan is not interested.  Boogie Yaalon wanted to see no change but to just live in the status quo until there is a change of heart.  This direction would also be seen as apartheid. 

The third option is the Trump plan.  It is the plan of realism.  It gives Israel the boarders and territory they need to make their state larger and more defensible.  However, it also provides a Palestinian state and solves the problem of the challenge of absorbing the Palestinians as citizens.  Israel cannot be said to be apartheid since the Palestinians can have their own state.  Indeed, if they declare a state and are recognized by the world, then there is a border dispute not a dispute on apartheid.  Bibi wants to move fast and gain the Jordan Valley and that 30% of the West Bank.  My view is that Bibi really does embrace the Trump plan and would accept a Palestinian State under the Trump terms which are the terms of realism.  But with the Palestinians rejecting this, Bibi can blame them for not having their own state.  He can live with the status quo on no Palestinian State and just say it is up to them. 

The present unity government is the best opportunity Bibi could imagine for doing what he wants to do.  If he does annex, the Yamina people in the Parliament will vote for the annexation.  They will not vote for a Palestinians State, but that will not be up for a vote this summer!


Photo Credit: Haim Zach/GPO