The Jerusalem Channel salutes the prime minister of Israel for putting a priority on Bible study.

Israel Today reported that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hosted his sixth open Bible study at the official Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem since re-establishing the practice two years ago.

The Bible study was attended by dozens of leading rabbis and academics, including members of the current government.

Participating in the round-table discussion was Education Minister Shai Peron.

Peron cited the famous 11th century Jewish sage Rashi, who taught that the Bible begins with the story of creation to demonstrate that the whole world belongs to God, and He gives lands to whomever He wills.

There are many in the world today who do not accept Israel’s divine appointment to the holy land, Netanyahu said, and who seek to defame the Jewish people and deny their birthright.

Although the prime minister’s open Bible studies are not held weekly, the prime minister holds weekly private family Bible studies. In fact, Netanyahu’s younger son, Avner, who won the National Bible Quiz for Youth in 2010, often leads their home sessions, according to the prime minister.

Israel is about the size of the small American state of New Jersey.  Yet Israel and its capital city Jerusalem increasingly occupy the world’s attention. The subject of the prime minister’s open Bible study–to whom does the land of Israel belong– is not a political issue but a spiritual issue.

Psalm 132:13 states, “For the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His habitation.”  In the Torah in Leviticus 25:23, God spoke to Moses on Mt. Sinai and said, “…for the land is mine; for you are strangers and sojourners with me.” Thus God is the owner and he it leases to the people he selects.

In Genesis 15, the Lord visited Abram in a vision: “In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates.” Therefore, these are  covenant boundaries.

In Genesis 17, the Lord appeared again to Abram when he was 99 and reaffirmed His covenant. Abram received a new name – Abraham, the father of many nations. God promised that Abraham’s wife Sarah, who had been barren, would have a son. But Abraham deeply loved Ishmael, his son by the servant Hagar, and asked that Ishmael would inherit the “promise.” God did promise to bless Ishmael and that nations would come from him.

But in Genesis 17:19, God told Abraham he would have another son and his name would be Isaac. God said, “I will establish My covenant with him (Isaac) for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.”  God’s covenant was established with Isaac, not Ishmael. Therefore it is the Jewish people who are rightful heirs to the land of Israel, not the Palestinians or the Arab people.

Does God love the descendants of Ishmael? Absolutely!  God blessed the descendants of Ishmael and God’s son gave His life on the Cross for the sins of world, including the Palestinians, the Arabs, and everyone else.

The Jerusalem Channel does not blindly endorse every policy of Israel’s government. But we do recognise Israel’s right to exist and Israel’s place in the land and plan of God.  Israel are  His chosen people through whom came the Word of God and the Messiah Saviour.  Therefore every believer must pray for the peace of Jerusalem and support Israel’s existence against her enemies.  We must not fight the God of Israel through anti-Semitism!

The following additional information was supplied by the Prime Minister’s official Facebook page:

The tradition established by Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, was continued in the Office of Prime Minister Menachem Begin, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu renewed it also two years ago.

The evening was also attended by Education Minister Shai Piron, and the parents of the three boys who were kidnapped and murdered by Hamas.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said: “We are going to finish on Simchat Torah the Torah reading and start fresh. The cycle of Torah reading and start again from scratch, also symbolizes the renewal of our people in our country. Despite all attempts to divide, we build ourselves, really deep Jewish roots, but also grow the tree called Israel, with deep roots and branches turn upward.

“I’m always excited for this class. . . . in this House we continue to study Bible; we learn that at least once a week. It’s part of our being a. . . the Department is named after my father-in-law, Shmuel Ben-Artzi, who imparted it to generations of students as well as his daughter and sons and his grandchildren.”