Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Israel Problem

Israel, until recently, did not exist for 2800 years. One would think that Netanyahu would, at least as a student of history, wonder why this is so?

Biblical scholars know the story. King Solomon the Wise, to pay for his conquests, had for years imposed a foolishly heavy taxation upon the ten northern tribes, known collectively as Israel. Those tribes felt they could no longer bear the heavy burden of Solomon's taxation, and gathered about one of Solomon's generals, Jeroboam, who led them in revolt.

The revolt failed and Jeroboam fled to Egypt.

After King Solomon the Wise died, his son Rehoboam, backed by the two loyal southern tribes of Judah and Benjamin, traveled north to Shechem to obtain Israel's allegiance to him. Jeroboam, hearing of Solomon's death, returned to be present at Shechem.

Rehoboam sought counsel, first from the elders, then from his court companions who had grown up with him as to what to do about the Israel Problem.

The elders advised Rehoboam to accede to the people's demand for relief, for a more liberal and just policy towards the ten northern tribes. If he acted graciously, and "speak good words to them they will be thy servants forever".

The youngsters suggested that his would be viewed as weakness, that he should make no concessions, and in fact should double down on the heavy-handedness of Solomon.

"And thus shalt thou say to them: 'Whereas my father laid upon you a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke. Whereas my father chastised you with whips, so I shall chastise you with scorpions".

I can imagine Rehoboam turning backwards to his compatriots, winking and grinning, and they all smiling and nodding and giving him the thumbs up.

The response was not the one he anticipated.

Livid with rage, the men of Israel seceded from the House of David. Israel appointed Jeroboam their king, and Rehoboam and Jeroboam waged a constant war. All the territories David and Solomon had conquered, Moab, Edom, Ammon, and others to the east and north to Syria, were lost.

Eventually the Assyrians conquered Israel, and the ten tribes were scattered from their lands forcibly dispersed.

Later, the kingdom of Judah was conquered by Babylon, and they too were exiled.

I wonder if Netanyahu, with his double-down policy towards the Palestinians can see a pattern there?


  1. And why is Netanyahu worried about Iran, when Pakistan, with REAL nukes and missiles, can nuke him at any time they feel like it?

  2. It just doesn't get any better than this piece John. Much more impressed with you than I am with myself!