The Geopolitics of Israel: Biblical and Modern

Strafor Global Intelligence has an interesting analysis of how Israel’s geographical realities have affected its political situation in biblical times as well as today. It’s an interesting read. The article begins:

The founding principle of geopolitics is that place — geography — plays a significant role in determining how nations will behave. If that theory is true, then there ought to be a deep continuity in a nation’s foreign policy. Israel is a laboratory for this theory, since it has existed in three different manifestations in roughly the same place, twice in antiquity and once in modernity. If geopolitics is correct, then Israeli foreign policy, independent of policymakers, technology or the identity of neighbors, ought to have important common features. This is, therefore, a discussion of common principles in Israeli foreign policy over nearly 3,000 years.

The article discusses the importance of the Levant as a land bridge:

The Levant in general and Israel in particular has always been a magnet for great powers. No Mediterranean empire could be fully secure unless it controlled the Levant. Whether it was Rome or Carthage, a Mediterranean empire that wanted to control both the northern and southern littorals needed to anchor its eastern flank on the Levant. For one thing, without the Levant, a Mediterranean power would be entirely dependent on sea lanes for controlling the other shore. Moving troops solely by sea creates transport limitations and logistical problems. It also leaves imperial lines vulnerable to interdiction — sometimes merely from pirates, a problem that plagued Rome’s sea transport. A land bridge, or a land bridge with minimal water crossings that can be easily defended, is a vital supplement to the sea for the movement of large numbers of troops. Once the Hellespont is crossed, the coastal route through southern Turkey, down the Levant and along the Mediterranean’s southern shore, provides such an alternative.

There is much more, and I recommend the article to students of geography. I might also point out a few critical geopolitical principles that the author neglected to mention.

“Woe to those…who do not look to the Holy One of Israel…the Egyptians are men and not God” (Isaiah 31:1).
“If you fully obey the Lord your God…the Lord will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you” (Deut 28:1,7).

Judean hills near Debir, Khirbet Rabud, tb030407777

“I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1-2).

2 thoughts on “The Geopolitics of Israel: Biblical and Modern

  1. Todd,

    Ever vigilant … once again, thanks for sharing.

    You know, if one assumes that the 'land' of Israel was actually 'selected' by design; by the God of Israel? Then it follows that the Holy One foreknew the importance and centrality of the Levant within the context of global geography and the future ages of human history.

    That the 'place' He chose; where His eyes would be forever, (2 Chronicles 7:16 and 1 Kings 9:3) and that this particular land was 'designated' by Him for the descendants of Israel forever, (Genesis 17:8) reveals that His 'choice' was for both the LAND and the PEOPLE of Israel. Yeah? They are BOTH essential to global redemption and the self-revelation of the Almighty.

    Fascinating topic. Thanks.

  2. Daniel,

    I might summarize God's selection of this particular plot of land, at this strategic junction of the nations, this way:

    God chose this land because it was the perfect place for his people to rely completely on him in order to magnify his name throughout the world.

    And I think that these verses are helpful in seeing God's intention:

    Deuteronomy 4:5–8 (NIV) — 5 See, I have taught you decrees and laws as the LORD my God commanded me, so that you may follow them in the land you are entering to take possession of it. 6 Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.” 7 What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the LORD our God is near us whenever we pray to him? 8 And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today?

    The flip side is spelled out in Ezekiel 5:5-8.

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