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Comment By Torchlight

Rome-Israeli tension

A historic meeting between the Pope and the Israeli Premier, Mrs Golda Meir, took place at the Vatican in January last. Vatican sources said that the meeting was "probably one of the biggest psychological tests the Pope has faced during his reign". A Vatican statement after the talks indicated that among the subjects discussed was Rome's attitude "towards the holy places and the sacred and universal nature of Jerusalem". The Pope told Mrs Meir that he was praying far the internationalization of Jerusalem. During the talks Mrs Meir made it clear that such a policy was totally opposed by Israel, and firmly stated that Jerusalem would remain in Israeli hands.

The Israelis were said to be depressed by the Pope's attitude. After the talks Mrs Meir disclosed that her meeting with the Pope was marred by moments of tension. It is traditional that precise wards and feelings expressed at a Papal audience are "off the record", and her disclosures are said to have shacked and offended Vatican officials.

These disclosures underline that while Israel is prepared to negotiate with her neighbours an the territories occupied during the 1967 six-day war, the occupation of Jerusalem will be no part of those negotiations. Its possession is the cornerstone of Israeli national aspirations.

We know from the prophetic ward that Jerusalem will be the focal paint of world tension at the end-time. She has a glorious future:

"Behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in My people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying

saith the LORD" (Isaiah 65:18,19,25).

Olive's mount awaits His blessed feet: but until that glorious day Jerusalem will be

"... a burdensome stone for all the peoples; all that burden themselves with it shall be sore wounded; and all the nations of the earth shall be gathered together against it" (Zech. 12:3).

Vietnam - "fragile" peace

The long-awaited ceasefire in Vietnam came into effect at midnight on January 27. The complex agreement reached after many months of negotiations was stated by President Nixon to be a "fragile" peace. Similarly, Sir Alex Douglas-Home, the British Foreign Secretary, warned against easy optimism and referred to this "precarious peace". The agreement applied to Vietnam only but it was expected that there would also be a ceasefire in Laos and Cambodia in the near future.

At the time of writing (Feb. 9) an international conference of 12 powers including Britain, France, China and the Soviet Union is being convened in Paris to give moral support to the peacemaking force provided far in the agreement. Now has begun what has been described as "the battle of the peace". Enormous and complicated problems remain.

The political implications of the long-drawn-out struggle are not our concern here, but it will be the continuing earnest prayer of all Christians that the peacemaking force will succeed in its task, that the terrible sufferings of this sad people will be speedily ended and that the 'work of rehabilitation will proceed.

A few days before the ceasefire agreement was announced came news of the death of the former American President, Lyndan B. Johnson. There is widespread belief that the cares of office and the struggle to resolve the Vietnam problem were a major cause of the broken health which precipitated his early death. This is a touching example of the crushing burden carried by such men, and a reminder that prayer an their behalf should not be mere formality but heartfelt supplication.

His Name

Jehovah-Rohi - The Lord my Shepherd

Jehovah-Shalom - The Lord my Peace

Jehovah-Rapheca - The Lord my Health

Jehovah-Tsidkenu - The Lord my Righteousness

Jehovah-Shammah - The Lord my Companion

Jehovah-Nissi - The Lord my Banner

Jehovah-Jireh - The Lord my Provision

"Thy Name is as ointment poured forth" (S. of Songs 1:3).