But wait for Me—says Hashem— For the day when I arise as an accuser; When I decide to gather nations, To bring kingdoms together, To pour out My indignation on them, All My blazing anger. Indeed, by the fire of My passion All the earth shall be consumed. Zephaniah 3:8 (The Israel Bible™)
A historic conflict between two ancient nations is heating up as several Turkish politicians threaten to invade Greece and blows have actually been exchanged. One rabbi notes that the Biblical identities of these nations is still relevant and old debts from long-ago sins are still part of the political equation.
A video last week captured what appeared to be an attempt on Turkey’s part to provoke an outbreak of conflict with Greece when a Turkish Navy patrol boat rammed a Greek coast guard vessel.
Greece did not take too kindly to the event. “If there is another act of Turkish aggression on Greek territory, there will be a response and there is no other way for us,” said Greek government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said in a statement to the press.
This incident comes after a spate of Turkish violations of Greek airspace, most notably two weeks ago when there wee 138 violations in a single day. It even took on the tone of a bar fight when Yigit Bulut, one of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s chief advisers, issued a direct threat to Greece on Turkish television after the ramming.
Bulut said that Greece would “feel the anger of Turkey, worse than that in Afrin,” referring to a region in Syria where Turkish troops are currently fighting Kurdish forces.
“The things we have done so far [pale in comparison to the] even greater attempts and attacks [we are planning for] the coming days, inshallah [Allah willing],” Bulut said in a follow-up to comments he made earlier in the month to the press.
“We will break the arms and legs of any officers, of the prime minister or of any minister who dares to step onto Imia in the Aegean,” Bulut said, referring to Greek islands Turkey is aggressively claiming as theirs.
Balut’s reference to the Greek Islands is an apparent threat that Turkey is prepared to repeat previous military campaigns against Greece and Greek nationals. In 1974, Turkey invaded a part of Cyprus and and expelled more than 200,000 Greeks from their homes. Turkey claims territory on several Greek Aegean islands and has the world’s largest fleet of landing craft standing ready.
Rabbi Lazer Brody, an American-born Hasidic rabbi and teacher, believes that this territorial dispute is part of an end-of-days judgement that will go badly for Greece.
“The Talmud said that when it comes time for the redemption, Hashem will call in the markers from the nations that have sinned against Israel,” Rabbi Brody told Breaking Israel News.
In Greece’s case, its ancient empire conquered of Israel during the Second Temple period, and as Hellenistic idol-worshippers, the Greeks stood in direct opposition to the Jews. The Jews suffered horribly under the Greek rule, and Antiochus IV desecrated the Holy Temple in 168 BCE, leading to the Maccabean Revolt.
“Greece and Italy are still the same,” Rabbi Brody emphasized. “Even though the present day countries seem far removed from their past incarnations, they still have the same spiritual root and many of the Biblical conflicts are still being played out today.”
Dr Efrat Aviv, a specialist in Turkey and lecturer in the department of Middle Eastern Studies at Bar Ilan University, believes that this current growing dispute between Greece and Turkey is merely a result of current geopolitical factors. .
“There are clear geopolitical goals in this conflict, and Turkey has an interest in asserting its identity as an economic and military power in the region,” Dr. Aviv told Breaking Israel News. “Though the border disputes have their roots in the Ottoman Empire, Erdogan is establishing his place as a modern leader.”
Dr. Aviv admitted that the ancient identities still have relevance in modern politics. She referenced an anecdote about a Turkish student touring Greece. When asked where he was from, his answer ‘Istanbul’ was received with open antagonism and the Greeks corrected him, referring to the city by its ancient name of Constantinople.
“The city became an Islamic center over 500 years ago, but until then, it was the center of Greek culture and Christianity,” Dr. Aviv said. “This is still powerfully rooted in the people’s minds. The conflict is modern but the ancient motivations are still relevant.”
Rabbi Brody noted that the city of Istanbul is the subject of a prophecy concerning the War of Gog and Magog. In 2014, Rabbi Brody was the first to publicize a prophecy attributed to Rabbi Elijah of Vilna, the preeminent Torah scholar of the 18th century known as the Vilna Gaon who was well known for his contributions in understanding the Messianic process. The Vilna Gaon’s statement was transmitted orally and kept secret until it was recently revealed by his descendant, Rabbi Moshe Shternbuch, a respected rabbi in the Orthodox Jewish community.
The prophecy stated, “When you hear that the Russians have captured the city of Crimea, you should know that the times of the Messiah have started, that his steps are being heard. And when you hear that the Russians have reached the city of Constantinople [today’s Istanbul], you should put on your Shabbat clothes and don’t take them off, because it means that the Messiah is about to come any minute.”
“Of course a conflict between Greece and Turkey will focus on Istanbul,” Rabbi Brody said. “It always has. And now that Russia is involved, everything is in place.”
Dr. Aviv was skeptical but intrigued by the prophecy.
“Of course, a rabbinic teaching of this nature is not something to consider as a factual statement or a basis for understanding the conflict,” Dr. Aviv said. “But in this particular case, it is logical to consider that a regional conflict between Greece and Turkey involving Russia and arriving at Istanbul is actually very close to materializing.”