Friday, June 19, 2009

Praying for Iran and the Hand of God

Ha'aretz columnist Bradley Burston has an interesting column today, "I Never Thought I'd Be Rooting for Iran." He writes:

I am in awe of the courage of the people of Iran.

They are giving the world hope. They are teaching a shocking lesson about truth. They embody freedom. And, perhaps hardest to grasp, for those of us who live in the Middle East, they are putting their very lives on the line not for the sake of some ferociously sectarian End of Days, but for the most profoundly radical notion of all - a better life. Every person who has taken to the streets to demand what their government promised them, free and fair elections, did so knowing that police or secret police could arrest them, act to cripple their careers, or outright gun them down.

Imagine saying these words just a week ago.

OK, now here's another switch. I'm beginning to see the hand of God in all this. Yes me. Mr. "Fundamentalists are Dangerous." I've always shied away from the apocalyptic visions that saw God's hand in current events, like theory that God protected Israelis from Scud missiles during the Gulf War. We've seen how the messianic euphoria that followed of the Six Day War led Israelis into delusions of chosenness as they went out to settle the territories.

But here, just in the nick of time, just as Iran's evil (yes, it is possible to use that term, where it applies) leaders were about to become drunk with nuclear power, their own people are doing what no Israeli jet could. They are draining the madness from the maddest place on earth. They are going straight from medieval to post modern. They are fundamentally changing the map of the middle eastern mind. And in doing so, they are changing the world.

All I can say to that, is "thank God."

I share the wariness that even the moderates in Iran could be as dangerous to Israel; and had the election been decided in favor of Mousavi last week, that would likely have been true. But to say that even these moderates developed the Iranian nuclear plan a decade ago is to ignore the forces of change that have been unleashed over the past weeks, and in particular this week (After all, Shimon Peres developed Israel's nuclear program and is now known for his dovish inclinations).

Something is happening here. We look back at 1948, 1967, Entebbe, yes, the Gulf War, the suicide bombings, all the horrors Israel has faced...and this Iranian threat seemed to be the most lethal of all.

We are far from the finish line. The dangers are great. I am the last to assume that I know God's ways. But how can one not see history tilting toward freedom and - at the very least - shake your head in amazement.

I too am praying for the Iranians.

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