The 2013 General Election in Israel last week ended with a surprise. Unlike what the polls indicated prior to the election, an unexpected party arose to win the second largest amount of seats in the Knesset.
The Yesh Atid Party led by former Journalist Yair Lapid reportedly won 19 seats while the winning Likud Party, headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, came up with 31 seats. The outcome of the election was tagged as “the largest surprise of the elections” after the pre-election polls were reported to give the Yesh Atid Party only 11 seats.
The significance of the Yesh Atid Party coming in second is that its platform is in marked contrast with Netanyahu’s party. The main difference is that Lapid and his party is more centrist whereas the Likud Party is right-wing. The Yesh Atid Party favours a two-state solution to peace with the Palestinians but the Likud Party generally opposes the establishment of a Palestinian State or at least requires certain stringent conditions that, so far, have been rejected.
Lapid and his Yesh Atid Party have gained popularity among those Israelis who apparently place more interest on the domestic side of Israel’s policies. The party’s emphasis is on changing priorities in regard to the conditions of the middle class, education, housing, and the like.
The Yesh Atid Party’s emphasis on domestic issues and the fact that it came in second in the election, seems to show where many Israeli’s prefer to be heading in the future. Interestingly, Yesh Atid is translated, “There is a future [party].” They apparently see themselves playing an important role in the nation’s future.
Given this situation, it will be most interesting how Netanyahu will deal with the Yesh Atid party as he spends the coming weeks forming a coalition for a new government. Most have concluded that with more of a centrist influence, this will pull the new government more to the centre than to the right like the previous situation was in the Knesset. As it stands, the right-wing/Orthodox bloc will apparently have a much narrower majority of seats in the new government. On top of that, the Labor Party, which came in third with 15 seats in the general election, allegedly has good relations with Yesh Atid which means it could cooperate to form a center-left government bloc.
We shall see in the coming weeks how all of this will play out, what kind of coalition is formed in the Israeli government, the mood and attitude of the Israeli’s in general, and decisions that are made, particularly in foreign affairs.
We shall also see how all of this affects the Israeli-U.S. relationship as President Obama continues to press Israel for peace on his terms. Logically, any clashes or disagreements there are between the two leaders lie mainly in the fact that the more liberal Obama has a much different philosophy than the right-wing Netanyahu has in regard to Israeli policies and the peace effort. But if the prime minister is pressured to move more toward the centre due to the outcome of the elections, perhaps there could be some changes forthcoming in Israel that we haven’t witnessed before.
Wherever Israel is heading in the near future, there seems to be an either/or situation down the road that we need to keep our eyes on as Bible-believing Christians. Either both Israel and Palestine will finally decide to come together and achieve peace through certain negotiations that will actually turn out to be a false peace but, in reality, will be a prelude to the great tribulation and end- time events. Or, some major conflict in the Middle East will be triggered as the result of flawed government decisions, poor economic conditions, and international pressure, which leads to a treaty, which leads to the breaking of the treaty, which leads to the final war at Armageddon, which leads to the coming of the Messiah.
In other words, things can only go so-so for so long until some earth-shaking event occurs for the pieces of the prophetic puzzle to fall quickly into place. As many Bible experts point out, the Middle East is the proverbial ticking time bomb just waiting to go off. It’s not a matter of if but when.
Keep in mind, Israel is known as God’s prophetic barometer. As God’s chosen nation, we continue to watch Israel in order to measure the conditions which point to the nearness of Jesus’ second coming. Jesus said, “At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When you see these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near,” (Luke 21:28, New International Version).
Whether or not last week’s elections will prove to be a major factor in regard to prophecy remains to be seen. We do know from the Bible, however, where Israel is ultimately heading and what it means for the rest of the world. We also know that the time is getting closer as God is setting up the leaders who will bring about his plans. And we are reminded of our need to be ready for that wonderful Day.
Good News to You!