Peace in Jerusalem? We’d All Love to See the Plan!
A terrorist attack, just days before my visit, impressed on me how fragile life and peace are. What will it take for real peace?
It’s jarring, eerie even, to walk through an airport lobby knowing that if you had been there only 12 days before, you would have been stepping over the bodies of more than 100 people, killed or injured by grenades and guns.
At least I could keep walking on that Sunday, June 11, 1972. I thought of the 17 Puerto Ricans on their dream trip to the Holy Land who only made it a few steps into their pilgrimage. Eight Israelis and one Canadian also perished that day, May 30, in Tel Aviv.
Bullet holes still pocked the airport’s walls. Jumping into my mind were news photos of the blood and bodies lying where I was now standing. For a fairly naïve 20-year-old American, the Lod Airport Massacre was a sobering wake-up call to the reality of life in the Middle East, especially in Israel.
This carnage was the work of some strange bedfellows. The three terrorists—who had deplaned, unpacked their weapons and started killing anyone they could—belonged to the Japanese Red Army (JRA). Why would anyone from Japan get involved in this conflict halfway around the world?
The JRA was a small faction of anarchists whose goal was to overthrow the Japanese government and then lead a world revolution. Another group with totally different aims, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, persuaded the JRA to relocate its base to Lebanon. From there, this tiny band became, for a short time, one of the world’s most-feared terrorist groups. It finally faded away, only to have other demented “revolutionaries” arise.
A revolutionary’s most difficult question
Four summers earlier, with their hit song “Revolution,” the Beatles had weighed in on all the political turmoil going on. A couple of their lyrics stuck with me then and still do: “You say you want a revolution, well you know, we all want to change the world” and, “You say you got a real solution, well you know, we’d all love to see the plan.”
That’s always the big question, isn’t it—what’s the plan? What is going to solve humanity’s problems?
In 1976 Patricia Steinhoff interviewed the lone surviving terrorist from the Lod Airport Massacre, Kozo Okamoto. Steinhoff wrote, “When I asked him what kind of a world he envisioned after the revolution, he smiled and said, ‘That is the most difficult question for revolutionaries. We really do not know what it will be like.’”
So they, like many revolutionaries, succeeded in doing little more with their absurd “revolution” than inflicting grief on a lot of innocent people. Indescribably sad.
Peace in Jerusalem—what’s the plan?
Our summer in Jerusalem passed without incident, thankfully, but we learned how tranquility there hangs by a slender thread.
Last June, 44 years later, I again walked through the Tel Aviv airport, now renamed Ben Gurion International.
I told some friends about the Lod Airport Massacre. They didn’t remember it. So many terrorists, so many attacks—the memories blur.
Retracing my steps through Israel over the next two weeks, I felt those old tensions resurface, especially in “the Holy City.” One can’t help it when you walk by the Damascus Gate, for instance, and stand where civilians were recently stabbed. Some things never change.
Or will they?
King David lived just down the street, and some 3,000 years ago he wrote, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” It’s amazing that this most remarkable city has even survived since then, given how humans have run the show. Have we learned yet that only God can bring about the peace that Jerusalem so desperately needs?
God says He’s got a real solution. Would you love to see the plan? Then read this issue’s cover article, plus the article “Longing for Home: The Life of a Sojourner.” They explain, from God’s Word, the past, present and glorious, peaceful future of Jerusalem.