In a brutally honest interview with the Israeli newspaper Olam Katan, Dr. Chagi Ben Artzi, Prime Minister Netanayahu’s brother-in-law, called on Israel’s leadership to repent and return to the Bible. The eminent historian is convinced that in order to end this war, the State of Israel must acknowledge three sins it has committed in the last thirty years. “We sinned greatly, and according to the greatness of the sin is our suffering.”
“In analyzing the current situation, I always start with the Bible,” says Ben Artzi, a student of the Bible for more than seventy years and a Bible teacher for about fifty years. “I grew up with the Bible, which is the road map of the Jewish people. It is an outline that shows us the way and helps us understand what happened, why it happened, and how to fix it.”
Ben Artzi cited Solomon’s exhortation in Kings, which is repeated in the Book of Chronicles. “When Your people Israel are struck down before the enemy, because they sin against You, and shall turn again to You, and praise Your name, and pray and make supplication to You in this house. And You shall hear in heaven, and forgive the sin of Your people Israel, and bring them back to the land which You gave to their fathers” (I Kings, 8:33-34).
According to Ben Artzi, Solomon’s words are very clear. When Israel suffers in war at the hands of its enemies, it is always the result of national sin. It follows that the only way to correct the sin and be redeemed from suffering is through repentance and correction of the sin that led to it.
What sins is Israel guilty of? Ben Artzi believes the Israeli government sinned in three ways over the last thirty years by ignoring the rabbis and God’s commands in the Bible.
The first sin is the Oslo Accords of 1993, which gave the murderous Palestinian Authority control over most of Judea and Samaria, Israel’s biblical heartland. The Oslo Accords were opposed by all of Israel’s leading rabbis.
“The Oslo agreement destroyed the country. If it weren’t for the Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria, we wouldn’t have a country today. The secular public was enthusiastic about the agreement, they mocked [Israel’s religious community that opposed the agreements] for being people of the “old world.”
The second sin was Israel’s abandonment of the Gaza Strip in 2005, which allowed Hamas terrorists to take over the region.
“Following the Oslo Accords, the Second Intifada broke out, which led to thousands of deaths, exploding buses, and more. But instead of dealing a crushing blow to our enemies, throwing out the murderers, and ridding the country of them, we gave them the Gaza Strip as a reward. We destroyed 22 Jewish settlements, a flourishing region, which we gave them as a gift. Here, too, the rabbis were opposed to the government’s abandonment of Gaza. This was the second time that the State of Israel rejected God and said to all the rabbis, ‘You are of no interest to us – we will carry out this plan and we don’t care how angry you are.’”
The third sin was when Israel freed thousands of murderous Hamas terrorists – including Yahya Sinwar, the current leader of Hamas – in exchange for Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier abducted by Hamas. “Not only did we release thousands of murderers, in this deal we released their leadership, who were in prison, and who now carried out the massacre of October 7th.”
“It turned out that the rabbis were right and the generals were wrong because the people of Israel are God’s people and must follow God’s word.”
Nevertheless, Ben Arti is encouraged by the religious awakening of the people of Israel in the aftermath of the massacres of October 7th.
“There is an awakening. A revolution often comes from the bottom up. It is difficult for the elites to say ‘we were wrong’. Today dozens of soldiers are being killed in Gaza because we left Gaza [in 2005]. Before we left Gaza, we were shocked by a terror attack in which six soldiers were killed there, and so we ran away from Gaza. Today, the price [in blood has] doubled and quadrupled. The soldiers and the public for the most part understand and feel this, and this makes me optimistic. Everything that is written in the Bible will be fulfilled, and in the end, there will be a Messiah son of David and the people of Israel will repent, ‘and all the nation will flow to Jerusalem’, and the whole world will return to God’s Torah.”
“We are in the time of the final redemption, after which there will be no more exile. The question always is what is the price we will have to pay along the way. That depends on us. The faster we wake up and return to faith, the Bible, and God, the faster and more joyful will be our path to redemption.”