Will The Jews and The Arabs Ever Be Reconciled?

by George F Spall

"Keep not silence, O God: hold not Your peace, and be not still, O God. For, lo, Your enemies make a tumult: and they that hate You have lifted up the head. They have taken crafty counsel against Your people … They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation: that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance. For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against You …".

A list of ten confederate Arab nations who helped the children of Lot against Israel follows: "the tents of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab and the Hagarenes; Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assyria also is joined with them: they have helped the children of Lot" (Psalm 83:1-9).

The accounts in Genesis 25:20-34 and 27:1-46 as well as the Scripture above show that way back in Bible times there was real enmity between the two peoples, and that animosity began in the personal relationships of the founding fathers, Ishmael and Isaac. It also shows that these feelings had a spiritual source and that modern history demonstrates the continuing reality of the quarrel.


The complex basis of the Arab-Jewish problem began in the weak human nature of men, beginning with Abraham and Sarah's efforts to 'help' God fulfil His promises to them by introducing Hagar, and through her Ishmael and his descendants; by Jacob's and Esau's rivalry; by Lot's folly and his daughters' sin. Much family plotting and inter-family scheming resulted.

The Arabs are not one people. Lot's two sons commenced two nations, the Ammonites and the Moabites, some remnants of which are probably part of today's Jordan. Ishmael fathered twelve more Arab tribes who moved into the Arabian Peninsula and quite possibly today are to be found in the various oil states like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, and may include Iran and Syria. Esau commenced the people known generally in the Bible as the Edomites (Idumeans) to be found in today's Jordan and certainly in Saudi Arabia. Mt. Seir, mentioned in Genesis seven times and in Ezekiel chapter 35, is the hill country south of the Dead Sea and to the east. Petra is in Edom. The old Moabite country is in Jordan and the old Ammonite country is north of Jordan and into the Golan Heights.

The Jewish people are not united either, but their divisions are rather sectarian than ethnic, and to an extent political.

A study of the above-mentioned Scriptures gives not only the ethnic origins of the Arabs, but their spiritual origins also. Jacob's acquiring from Esau his birthright and the blessing began the dissension, and we read in the Letter to the Hebrews (12:16-17): "... lest there be any fornicator or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For you know how that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing he was rejected: for he found no way of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears" , a very necessary commentary about all this.


The promises God made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, found in Genesis 12:1-8, 13:14-17, 15:18-21, 17:7-8, 26:2-3 and 35:12, all had to do with the land of Canaan, the Promised Land, its boundaries clearly delineated and the subject of such controversy through the centuries, even to the present day.

When we're told that Israel must give up the West Bank because they acquired it by an act of aggression, we must realize that this simply is not true. The U.N. Commission for the partition of Palestine in 1947 acknowledged that it was Israel's historic right to be in the territory given to their fathers, so when in 1948 the Arab nations attacked Israel, Jordan captured the West Bank by an act of aggression, and Israel simply retook in 1967 what she had lost nineteen years earlier, the Old City of Jerusalem included. The Golan Heights and Gaza were likewise Israel's possession from Joshua's time.

Water has been a bone of contention between the two parties too. The River Jordan is necessary to both Israel and Jordan; indeed, much of Israel's arable land is the Negev, which needs Jordan water, and a pipeline has been constructed to achieve this goal. Should Jordan attempt to divert the waters of the Jordan as she has threatened in the past, this could well trigger off a conflagration.

Land ... Water ... What of oil? Surely here is the biggest source of controversy. By using oil as a political blackmail weapon, the Arab nations have put pressure on nations big and small to boycott Israel and so submit to their threats in order to ensure a steady flow of the precious black 'gold' so necessary for their survival.

The Koran teaches that Ishmael and not Isaac inherited the covenant God made with Abraham; Ishmael and not Isaac was offered on the altar. Moslem Arabs therefore deny Israel the right to the land at all.


There is a refugee problem. The Arab nations have eighty times the area of available land resources that Israel has, but have refused to resettle any refugees. Even those who are alleged to have been dispossessed by Israel in 1948, over forty years ago, have been used in the meantime for political purposes, and have been fed hate for the sole purpose to keep the problem alive. It is deliberate. Israel has taken in her own refugees these many decades regardless of age, infirmity or means, and has offered to do the same for the refugee camp victims as well!

There is a BIG POWER problem. The strategic nature of Israel's position as a land bridge between the three continents because of sea lanes through the Suez Canal, access to oil, air fields for inter-continental flights, access to the Indian Ocean are all factors which lay Israel open to be a mere pawn in the game of chess the Big Powers play, often pitting Israel against the Arabs in the process.

The Holy Places are a problem. The Orthodox churches often claim that Israel does not safeguard the holy places, whereas the opposite is the case. Israel does itself a disservice in that it has given to the Muslims the control of its own most holy place, namely the Temple Mount, and Israeli soldiers guard the sanctity of this most holy site where the two great shrines of Islam are situated: the Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock.


The New Testament makes it clear that Esau's attitude to his birthright was a spiritual problem, (Scripture quoted above), and this confirms Genesis 25:34: "Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentils; and he did eat and drink, and rose up and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright."

It is obvious that Satan tried to sidetrack God's plans for the coming of the Messiah through God's chosen line, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and if Satan can, he will have Jerusalem destroyed before the Lord Yeshua comes. The present interest in rebuilding Babylon will be linked with this. Revelation chapter 18 teaches that such a rebuilt Babylon will be destroyed, so here is a spiritual issue.

But will the two parties ever be reconciled?

Reconciliation with Edom (Idumea)? God's Word gives the answer as we see in snippets from Isaiah 34:5-16, Jeremiah 49:17, Ezekiel 25:12-14, and Joel 3:19: "For My sword shall be bathed in heaven: behold, it shall come down upon Idumea, and upon the people of My curse, to judgment. The sword of the LORD is filled with blood … for the LORD has a great slaughter in the land of Idumea ...for it is the day of the LORD'S vengeance, and the year of recompense for the cause of Zion."

"Also Edom shall be a desolation: everyone that goes by it shall be astonished and shall hiss at the plagues thereof." "Thus says the Lord God: Because that Edom has dealt against the house of Judah by taking vengeance, and has greatly offended, and revenged himself upon them ... I will stretch out My hand upon Edom, and will cut off man and beast from it ... and I will lay My vengeance upon Edom by the hand of My people Israel: and they shall do in Edom according to My anger and according to My fury; and they shall know My vengeance, says the Lord God." " ... Edom shall be a desolate wilderness, for the violence against the children of Judah, and because they have shed innocent blood in their land."

Reconciliation with Ammon? Hear God's Word through the prophet Ezekiel (25:2,3,6,7,10): "Son of man, set your face against the Ammonites and prophesy against them, and say unto the Ammonites, Hear the Word of the Lord God: Thus says the Lord God: Because you said, Aha, against My sanctuary when it was profaned; and the land of Israel, when it was desolate, and against the house of Judah when they went into captivity ... because you have clapped your hands ... and rejoiced in heart with all your despite against the land of Israel; behold, therefore I will stretch out My hand upon you for a spoil to the heathen; and I will cut you off from the people and I will cause you to perish out of the countries: and I will destroy you; and you shall know that I am the LORD ... that the Ammonites may not be remembered among the nations." Amos, too, repeated the same judgment 1:13-15.

Reconciliation with Moab? Apart from the earlier judgments upon Moab (Isaiah chapters 15 and 16) there is a future time of God's judgment on Moab when God Himself makes "unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined ... He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of His people shall He take away from off all the earth: for the LORD has spoken it. And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him ... and Moab shall be trodden down under Him even as straw is trodden down for the dunghill" (Isaiah 25:6-10).

The prophet Ezekiel (25:8-11), too, gives the sorry story, and Zephaniah has this to say about both Ammon and Moab: "I have heard the reproach of Moab, and the revilings of the children of Ammon, whereby they have reproached My people, and magnified themselves against their border. Therefore, as I live, says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Surely Moab shall be as Sodom, and the children of Ammon as Gomorrah ... a perpetual desolation ... This shall they have for their pride, because they have reproached and magnified themselves against the people of the LORD of hosts. The LORD will be terrible unto them ..." (2:8-11).

Today's Saudi Arabia and Jordan together with Syria could well turn on Israel. If they do, it will be the end for both the Edomite countries, as far as their national identity is concerned. However, Daniel teaches that Moab, Ammon and Edom are to escape Antichrist's terrors in the future, and so it is likely that these territories will be the 'wilderness' into which Israel flees for safety to be Divinely cared for during the great tribulation (Revelation 12:13-14). "And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him (the Antichrist): and the king of the north shall come also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon" (11:40-42).

It would appear from all the foregoing that the important question is not so much whether the Jews and Arabs will ever by reconciled, but rather whether their relationship with God will be one of submission and reconciliation! This alone is the prerequisite for a lasting reconciliation between them.