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Why another blog about Israel?

– By:  Cliff Keller – 

In about one quarter of a second, a web search will currently return an astounding 191 million links in response to the query, “Israel blogs.” It would take nearly seven years to check them all if one were able to scan at one link per second, working day and night. And the diversity of topics we find, focused on tiny Israel (which occupies but 4/1000 of 1 percent of the earth’s surface), is stunning. Among countless others you’ll find Dutch-Jewish Israel blogs, Aussie-Israeli blogs, high-tech-, falafel-, wine-, coffee-, dates- and halvah-blogs, blogs about Dead Sea salt, the Negev “craters” and Israeli art.

And at least one entitled, “A Goy’s Guide to Israel.”

So the question naturally arises, aren’t the millions of existing on-line journals more than enough to keep an Israel well-wisher fully informed? Perhaps, depending on one’s interests, but they could not possibly be all-inclusive. The Promised Land, unlike London, Paris, Beijing, New Delhi… all the world’s other great hubs of civilization, despite their rich and fascinating histories, remain the limited works of man.

But Israel, the place, its people and its promise, provides mankind with this planet’s only tangible tie to the infinite. In Israel, we not only step through unbounded time, mystery and circumstance while walking her well-worn paths—the Old City’s St. James Street (on our way to the Jewish Quarter), the Roman Cardo and Weste- rn Wall—but we are also immersed in the nature and history of the restored Jewish Homeland in Israel’s every other feature and activity, whether part of the lofty substance of wars, Aliyah and politics or other, more mundane pursuits; a lone soldier’s urgency at doing his or her weekend laundry, for example, or families hustling to prepare for Shabbat on Friday morning at Jerusalem’s famous Shuk, or noting that the Israel Railway’s path to the sea from Jerusalem’s Malcha Station lies along the route almost certainly taken by Philistine warriors, three millennia earlier, to confront King David’s army in the Valley of Rephaim (2 Samuel 5:18).

Unlike any other earthly place or condition, Israel is an infinite study. Shortly after making Aliyah and settling in Jerusalem eight years ago, my wife Marcia and I sat in a new friend’s sukkah one pleasant evening during Sukkot and learned an irrefutable truth. Everyone who has made his or her way to live in Israel has a story, a tale often bound in mystery, always fascinating and always uncannily resonant with the words of the prophets and the fact of Israel’s continuing restoration.

Each account adds to the depth of our comprehension of an ultimately incomprehensible Whole.

It’s a personal blessing to be able to share with regular visitors to The Messianic Times website not only my thoughts about and insights into Israel’s challenges and struggles in the context of war, peace, politics, G-d’s plan and survival, but also to share thoughts inclined toward the lives of vintners, goatherds, bus drivers, university students and the millions of ordinary men and women who, in following G-d’s call to return, have confidently abandoned their former homes to pitch their tents in the Land.

In the end, in Eretz Israel, the profound is often mundane and the mundane replete with meaning. In expanding upon that theme, my hope is that this journal will amount to much more than just another blog about the Land.