It’s no secret that Israel’s Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is not one of my favorite humans. I am not a fan of militaristic Israeli hardliners any more than I am of violently militant Palestinians. Violence begets violence and violence is always wrong. But I am filled with sadness over the news of Sharon’s declining health. In case you haven’t heard, he is lying in a hospital intensive-care unit, heavily sedated and on a respirator, after suffering a massive stroke on Jan. 4. Doctors say his prognosis isn’t good.
The news throws the Israel-Palestine peace process – including Israeli withdrawal from Gaza – into chaos. And Israel’s government is awhirl: While a temporary PM has been chosen, there are many questions over what the new leadership will do in terms of peace. And no one knows what will be the fate of Kadima, the new political party for which Sharon ditched his former Likud Party.
Whatever one’s politics, this is sad, sad news. Prayers for Sharon’s recovery are surely being sent all over the world. But in the midst of all this sadness, someone has to behave like a jerk. And it isn’t surprising that it’s right-wing fundamentalist-Christian televangelist, media tycoon, and diamond magnate Pat Robertson.
The good reverend spoke about the Sharon situation this morning on CBN’s 700 Club:
I have said last year that Israel was entering into the most dangerous period of its entire existence as a nation. That is intensifying this year with the loss of Sharon. Sharon was personally a very likeable person. I am sad to see him in this condition. But I think we need to look at the Bible and the Book of Joel. The prophet Joel makes it very clear that God has enmity against those who, quote, “divide my land.” God considers this land to be his. You read the Bible, he says, “This is my land.” And for any prime minister of Israel who decides he going carve it up and give it away, God says, “No. This is mine.” And the same thing — I had a wonderful meeting with Yitzhak Rabin in 1974. He was tragically assassinated, and it was terrible thing that happened, but nevertheless, he was dead. And now Ariel Sharon, who was again a very likeable person, a delightful person to be with. I prayed with him personally. But here he is at the point of death. He was dividing God’s land, and I would say woe unto any prime minister of Israel who takes a similar course to appease the EU, the United Nations or United States of America. God said, “This land belongs to me, you better leave it alone.”
If this wasn’t unsettling on so many levels, I might actually laugh. What’s worse is that Robertson obviously knows what he is saying is vile — why else would he take such pains to say over and again how “likable” Sharon and Rabin were, how “terrible” their demises? He anticipated media criticism of his statement!
Let’s move past the decidedly un-Christian comments and cynical spinning of a human who gives new meaning to the phrase “false prophet.” As Sharon lies gravely ill, let’s pray for his health and his grieving family, for our sisters and brothers in Israel and Palestine, and for peace. And add a prayer or wish for Pat Robertson to find a heart and a clue.