Glimpses of Israel - Sinai

by Joseph Hunting

Israel really never did 'possess' Sinai in the same way that she was given the land of Canaan, the Golan and the West Bank as her possession. Their sojourn there following the exodus from Egypt was very temporary. It really served as a staging camp whilst the Eternal gave to them His Law.

Israel 's presence in the Sinai during the past thirty-four years of statehood has been precarious. Following their spectacular victory over Egypt in the four-day Sinai campaign of 1956, President Eisenhower prevailed upon Prime Minister Ben Gurion to hand back the spoils of war to Egypt under U.N. surveillance.

In 1967 Egypt sealed off the straits of Tiran situated at the tip of the Sinai Peninsula in an effort to prevent Israel from obtaining much needed oil from Iran, thereby ensuring a swift military victory. Israel again swept Egypt from the Sinai in the amazing Six Day War. Who does not remember the astonishing victory at the battle of the Mitla Pass?

And now Israel has paid the biggest down-payment for peace that has ever been made by any nation. Certainly there was some haggling in the initial stages, but Israel honoured its part of the agreement, and paid up -- on time, and in full!

Those of us who have had the privilege of traversing the Sinai from east to west and from north to south remember the burned-out tanks and vehicles left as stark memorials of the price paid to possess this land of desert sand and somber granite mountains. We have seen the oases that once gave water and respite to another generation of Israelis who had known only slavery, until their God made bare His holy arm on their behalf and set them free.

Now the debates are finished and Egypt again occupies Sinai. Only the future will reveal if the peace will be enduring. But Sinai was never included in the land God promised to His covenant people. The same God who led Moses through Sinai to the Land He promised them has also promised to preserve Israel though all nations rise against her. Has not the Eternal promised: "Jacob shall return, and be in rest, and be quiet, and none shall make him afraid. For I am with thee saith the Lord to save thee: though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee." (Jeremiah 30:10)