Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The Iranian threat and imaginative debates, but doomsday will still have to wait - by Dr. Reuven Berko

...At the moment, however, the Mahdi is still far off. While Iran's atomic Shiite train trudges on, powered by missiles on their dark "nighttime journey" toward the apocalyptic crossroads we now face, Israel's controls remain in capable hands, despite the contempt from within and doomsday rhetoric from without.

Dr. Reuven Berko..
Israel Hayom..
13 March '18..

Earlier this week, a friend of mine from Hebron told me that recent developments in the Middle East – the collapse of Arab states, the millions dead and displaced, everyone warring with everyone within Islam – have sparked imaginative debates among Muslims concerning how the omens of our time foreshadow the imminent fulfillment of doomsday prophesy, specifically the anticipated coming of the Mahdi (the "guided one" who will rule over the Muslims and bring justice in the years before Judgment Day, identified in Shiite Islam as the rightful heir to the Prophet Muhammad), Gog and Magog and the other prophecies concerning the end of days.

Fueling these speculations is the rise of the Iranian evil empire, which poses a threat to the Arabs, on one side, and Israel's unprecedented strength on the other, on a collision course with each other.

In light of U.S. President Donald Trump's foreign policy (garnering him the nickname "Big Satan" in Iran), particularly surrounding the relocation of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the angry Palestinians, who had banked on international pressure on Israel, are now calling the redheaded president a false messiah. In Islam, this figure is called the "Dajjal," cursed with copper-colored face and hair according to the Shiite mystic book "Al-Jafr," attributed to the fourth caliph, Ali ibn Abi Talib, who was Muhammad's cousin and son-in-law. This is an image Hamas and Islam are certainly ready to adopt.

Trump indeed put the Palestinians in their rightful place – on the sidelines and margins of Armageddon – by declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel. In doing this, he also quashed another blatantly anti-Semitic Palestinian-European lie by making a point of choosing a united Jerusalem as our capital, according to the ancient aspiration of redemption in the Bible.

When dreams don't come true, mysticism comes in and fills the void. That is precisely what happened to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who called for the destruction of Israel because of its "corruption" in his commentary of Surah 17. This surah, known as Surat al-Isra or Surat Bani Israil, is the chapter in the Quran that speaks about both the Isra, or the "nighttime journey" of the Muhammad to Al-Aqsa before his ascent to heaven, and the role of the Jewish people in Islamic eschatology. Abbas' new twist was that he interpreted the prophecy of Israel's destruction (due to our corruption) as being delayed a bit.

At the end of the chapter, the Quran predicts the Israelites (Bani Israil) will be gathered in their land from all corners of the world for God to destroy them. The Muslims await this eventuality, refraining from bothering the Jews, allowing the Jews to "corrupt" Palestine. The Jews, left to their own devices, will build their own prison, as mandated by Allah.

Indeed, a glance at the relationship between Israel and Arab and Persian Gulf states shows that the Arab wish to destroy Israel has been put on hold for the time being. For now, all are focused on the shared enemy - Iran. From a mystical point of view, the Iranian threat – starting with Haman during the reign of Ahasuerus in ancient Persia to today's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei – is reason for the whole region to be concerned. The Arabs are no longer buying into Iran's lies. Their claims that they are building up their military power only "to liberate Jerusalem from the Zionists," are not very credible. By now, it has become clear that Iran's imperialist expansion and its aspirations for regional hegemony are part of an apocalyptic vision of annihilation, under the guidance of the Hidden Imam, that would unleash a nuclear confrontation as a means of "liberating" Mecca and ensuring the Shiite Mahdi global power.

In this fateful reality, the implication of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's recent messages in the U.S. is clear: The threat posed by Iran and its proxies is not just an existential issue for Israel, and Israel should not be combating it alone (thereby depleting and weakening itself and exposing itself to renewing threats from its more "tolerant" neighbors). Fighting Iran should be an imperative for all the world's Arabs as well.

In the meantime, the Palestinians are adhering to their interpretation of Surat al-Isra, awaiting the destruction of Israel and searching for signs of corruption as proof that it is imminent. Over the course of Muslim history, the Jews were described as "prophet killers" and persecutors of thousands of them. If so, this is already a sign of corruption. How is this reflected today?

The Palestinians observe the Israeli media and they see countless reports on corruption and how the Jews are turning on their own leaders. They find this extremely encouraging. To them, the fact that Israelis are fighting rampant corruption is an indication that the corrupt Jews are going after their leaders despite whatever achievement and positive changes they have made, indicating the Jews imminent destruction. As the Arabs say, "When the camel falls, the knives multiply."

At the moment, however, the Mahdi is still far off. While Iran's atomic Shiite train trudges on, powered by missiles on their dark "nighttime journey" toward the apocalyptic crossroads we now face, Israel's controls remain in capable hands, despite the contempt from within and doomsday rhetoric from without.

Amid this danger, there are weak people among us who abide by the Arab saying: "In the absence of a noble warhorse, mount birds on dogs." Both those abroad and at home will have to wait indefinitely for the end of days.

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