Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Vietnamese Deputy Premier Tran Luu Quang Attend Signing of Israel-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement in Jeruslem on July 25,2023
It’s not all bad news in Israel
While the world (and Israeli) press have been focused on the hyperbolic claims of “imminent collapse of democracy” and “civil war” in Israel, life here proceeds as normal.
I believe that part of weaning Israel off of a supply chain based in China, we have been forging stronger economic ties with alternative countries. Vietnam is a case in point with whom we signed a “free-trade” agreement to encourage greater exports and imports between the countries.
China has dominated the electric vehicle market in Israel in the last year.
It’s no coincidence that part of the ceremonies around the “free trade agreement signing” was Vietnamese car manufacturer VinFast showing its vehicles in Israel for the first time at a special event in Tel Aviv.
Vinfast cars will be imported to Israel later this year.
Also included is an agreement on a visa waiver program and direct flights between the two countries.
Overshadowing the deal with Vietnam were the negotiations for a Peace Agreement with Saudi Arabia which would allow civilian direct overflights to the far east from Israel. The argument in Israel is, “what price will we have to pay to get peace with the Saudis?”
In a normal world, mutually beneficial agreements have no unrelated side conditions (as in our deal with Vietnam). With Saudi Arabia, many people in Israel fear they will demand that we build no new settlements in Judea and Samaria, or cede more territory to the Palestinian Authority.
Moses’ Warning About “Agreements” with the 7 Nations
As the Nation of Israel is about to enter the Land after 40 years in the Desert, Moses delivers his “warnings” to the Nation in the entire book of Deuteronomy just before he dies.
Among the warnings is how to deal with the 7 idol-worshipping nations who are living in the Land at the time…
When your God brings you to the land that you are about to enter and possess, and [God] dislodges many nations before you—the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, seven nations much larger than you—and your God delivers them to you and you defeat them, you must doom them to destruction: grant them no terms (brit – peace agreement) and give them no quarter.Deuteronomy 7: 1-2
Why deal with them so severely?
The next two verses gives us an answer…
You shall not intermarry with them: do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons.For they will turn your children away from Me to worship other gods, and God’s anger will blaze forth against you, promptly wiping you [from the Land].
The Almighty understands the power of assimilation when Nations with foreign value systems live next to, and among us. Assimilation is a death sentence to the Jewish People.
We have lost more Jews in the USA to assimilation and intermarriage after WWII than we lost to Hitler’s ovens during WWII.
Does the Prohibition Apply in Our Days?
Our Sages discuss the issue of the prohibition of signing “Peace Agreements” in our day. Does it apply only to Idol-Worshiping Nations? All non-Jewish Nations? Only in the Land of Israel? World wide?
A full discussion of this topic is beyond the scope of this article.
However, the Sages do bring up the example of King Solomon cutting a deal with Hiram (I Kings 5:26).
And the majority conclude the prohibition applies to idol-worshipers in the Land of Israel (i.e. the original seven nations).
Even if that is the case, we have to be constantly on the alert of the power of assimilation to destroy us.
We are meant to be …
“… a people that shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations”(Numbers 23:9)