ORLANDO, Fla.—What can America learn from Israel? David Rubin, former mayor of Shilo, the modern settlement close to the ancient site of Israel’s Tabernacle Tel Shiloh, survived a Palestinian terror attack and urges the U.S. to take seriously the axis between radical Islam and the American Left.
Speaking to The Daily Signal at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention in Orlando on Monday, he outlined attacks “from those on one hand who want to make the world secular, the hardcore leftists that you saw rioting during the George Floyd riots, and at the same time, you have it coming from the other side, from the Islamic radicals who want to bring down both of our houses, the Jews and the Christians.”
“They want to bring down both of our houses,” he reiterated, “and that’s why it’s important for us to be standing together in these times.”
Rubin wrote a book, “Confronting Radicals: What America Can Learn from Israel,” outlining the terror attack he suffered and what the U.S. should learn from Israel about confronting the leftist-radical Islamic axis. He is launching a “Confronting Radicals” documentary here at NRB on Wednesday.
The former mayor recalled the horrifying attack that he and his 3-year-old son survived in 2001.
“When I was driving home from Jerusalem one day, with my 3-year-old son sitting behind me in the baby seat, the car was hit by a terrorist on the side of the road, a Palestinian terrorist from the Palestinian Authority, with AK-47 assault rifles,” he recounted. “I was shot in the leg, my son was shot in the head, and the car was dead; we couldn’t get away from the terrorist.”
“I hit the gas and overturned the ignition, tried to get the car to start; I couldn’t get it to start,” Rubin added. “Then suddenly it started, as if it had never had a problem starting before. I drove 110 miles an hour to get to the community up the road, where I got an ambulance and we were taken to the hospital. And we survived, thank God.”
The attack inspired Rubin to help other children who suffer from terrorist attacks.
“So as a result of that, I started the Shiloh Israel Children’s Fund for the purpose of healing the trauma of the terror-victim children who’ve been so wounded emotionally, psychologically by the terrorists,” Rubin said. “We’ve created a magnificent therapeutic educational center in the heart of Shiloh for all of the children of Samaria that have suffered so much from the terrorism.”
The former mayor warned that the threat of radical Islamic terror traces back to the “core of Islam.”
“The threat of Islamic terrorism comes from the core of Islam, which, with some notable exceptions, is very violent and very intolerant, unlike Judaism and Christianity, which come from love and, we have an expression in Hebrew, wehabta lareaka kamowka: You should love your fellow as yourself,” Rubin explained (English transliteration for Leviticus 19:18b).
“It’s all about love, it’s all about bringing people close to God with love,” he added. “In Islam, it’s different. In Islam, there is the violence, they have to conquer the world by the sword, and that’s what it comes from. So it’s a very hard thing for Israel to deal with, it’s a very hard thing for the West to deal with.”
“When I saw what had become known as the George Floyd riots in America, there was something going on that struck me as being particularly analogous to what we in Israel have been through,” Rubin warns in the trailer for the “Confronting Radicals” documentary.
The documentary claims that Israel offers “answers” to the West on this challenge.
Rubin cited prophecies that predict Israel will be “a light to the nations,” and he claimed that in its 75 years, since the founding of Israel in 1948, the country has shifted “from being a secular, socialist nation” to “the true biblical nation that God chose for all of his glory.”
He expressed hope that Israel is growing into that vision.
Rubin’s organization, the Shiloh Israel Children’s Fund, aims to further that vision. He noted that the organization seeks to equip and empower families whose children have been scarred.
“We’re a faith-based, family-based operation, we’re not an orphanage,” Rubin said. “We work very closely with the families, even children who have had both parents killed in terrorist attacks. We get them into either uncles’ and aunts’ or grandparents’ families or foster families; we do not ship them off to an orphanage. We work together with the families.”
“So by helping Israel to return to its roots of the traditional family, to return to its roots of faith in God, we’re at the same time redeeming Israel and redeeming the world,” he added.
Listen to the podcast below or read the lightly edited transcript:
Tyler O’Neil: This is Tyler O’Neil, managing editor at The Daily Signal. And I’m joined by David Rubin, former mayor of Shiloh, yes, that is the Shiloh in Israel and the Bible, and founder of Shiloh Israel Children’s Fund. It’s an honor to have you.
David Rubin: Well, thank you, Tyler. Good to be with you.
O’Neil: So, David, I’d like to ask, just to clear things up at the beginning, you were the mayor of Shiloh, what I understand is a modern city near Tel Shiloh, the ancient site of Israel’s early sanctuary where the tabernacle rested. How does the modern city relate to the ancient site, and what did your tenure there teach you about antisemitism, antizionism, and how the Left operates across the world?
Rubin: OK, well, that’s a big question. The tabernacle didn’t just rest in Shiloh, the tabernacle stood in Shiloh for 369 years, which is longer than, just to give perspective, longer than the age of the United States of America. So it was by far the longest capital for Israel other than Jerusalem.
Having said that, jumping about 3,500 years in advance, we are now in the rebuilt Shiloh, or as we call it by the Hebrew pronunciation of Shiloh. And the rebuilt city of Shiloh was rebuilt 11 years after the Six-Day War, when Israel was attacked by all the Arab armies from all sides. And in six days, we recaptured the biblical heartland of Israel, where Shiloh is located, the heartland of Samaria and Judea, otherwise, often known by the fictional term the West Bank.
And that is now a symbol of the rebuilding of the land of Israel, of the rebuilding of the people of Israel, and the overall change in Israel’s status from being a secular socialist nation, which is how it was in 1948 when we were first reestablished, to being the true biblical nation that God chose for all of his glory.
O’Neil: And can you expand a little bit on that transformation, what it means. Because I often think of Israel as the Jewish state, as naturally, the people, but also impacted by that history, that deep culture, and being God’s chosen people.
Rubin: Well, there’s always been a bit of a conflict in the reborn state of Israel. The conflict between the Jewish state and the state of the Jews.
So the secular population has always wanted it to be the state of the Jews, just a place to escape antisemitism. The religious population, the religious Zionist population of which I am part, has always been determined to rebuild Israel, that we’ve returned to the land of Israel according to the prophecies of Israel, the prophecies that we read about in Ezekiel Chapter 36, Jeremiah, and others, that we are going to rebuild the land of Israel according to prophecy, that the state of Israel was rebuilt and Jewish sovereignty in the land of Israel in order to be a light unto nations, according to prophecy.
So that’s what’s happening in the land of Israel today. There is a conflict between those two poles, so we in Shiloh and especially after what I’ve been through, I’m very passionate about it, because I was wounded by Palestinian terrorists.
When I was driving home from Jerusalem one day, with my 3-year-old son sitting behind me in the baby seat, the car was hit by a terrorist on the side of the road, Palestinian terrorist from the Palestinian Authority, with AK-47 assault rifles.
I was shot in the leg, my son was shot in the head, and the car was dead, we couldn’t get away from the terrorist. I hit the gas and overturned the ignition, tried to get the car to start, I couldn’t get it to start. Then suddenly it started as if it had never had a problem starting before. I drove 110 miles an hour to get to the community up the road where I got an ambulance and we were taken to the hospital and we survived, thank God.
So as a result of that, I started the Shiloh Israel Children’s Fund for the purpose of healing the trauma of the terror-victim children who’ve been so wounded emotionally, psychologically by the terrorists. And we’ve created a magnificent therapeutic educational center in the heart of Shiloh for all of the children of Samaria that have suffered so much from the terrorism.
O’Neil: Where do you see that terrorism coming from? What are the roots of it? And what should Americans look for? Because from what I understand, you view this threat as a global threat to some degree.
Rubin: Oh, absolutely, and I’ve written about this in many of my books, including my most recent book, “Confronting Radicals: What America Can Learn From Israel.”
Look, the threat of Islamic terrorism comes from the core of Islam, which is, with some notable exceptions, is very violent and very intolerant, unlike Judaism and Christianity, which come from love and, we have an expression in Hebrew, wehabta lareaka kamowka [English transliteration of Leviticus 19:18b], you should love your fellow as yourself. And it’s all about love, it’s all about bringing people close to God with love.
In Islam, it’s different. In Islam, there is the violence, they have to conquer the world by the sword, and that’s what it comes from. So it’s a very hard thing for Israel to deal with, it’s a very hard thing for the West to deal with.
But basically, we had this struggle happening, and that’s what I wrote about in “Confronting Radicals,” that we have a struggle going on between those on one hand who want to make the world secular, the hardcore leftists that you saw rioting during the George Floyd riots, and at the same time, you have it coming from the other side, from the Islamic radicals who want to bring down both of our houses, the Jews and the Christians. And when I say the Jews, I’m talking about those who are religious and who speak from Jewish heritage.
They want to bring down both of our houses and that’s why it’s important for us to be standing together in these times.
O’Neil: And you talk about the prophecies in Ezekiel, I think of that tremendous, extremely long prophecy. Every time I’m reading through it, I’m just like, all right, you’re talking about the land dedicated to this tribe, this tribe, and how it expands from the temple. How do you see the fulfillment of these prophecies with the temple still not being reconstructed, and some of those very in-depth visions that God gave to these prophets? Are those set to be fulfilled later? Were they partially fulfilled by the return of the Jewish state? How does that stand in your mind?
Rubin: Well, the prophecy in Ezekiel speaks about, first, the physical return. Actually, even before the physical return, it speaks about the exile, and how God is going to exile the Israelites from the land of Israel, that we’re going to be scattered around the world, that we’re going to know no peace and that at the same time that the land of Israel will lay barren while we are gone, which is what happened.
Mark Twain visited Israel in the late 1800s, and he spoke about a barren, forsaken land where there’s hardly a tree, hardly a person, hardly a plant. And now, we see the land of Israel today, in fulfillment of the prophecies of Ezekiel, being rebuilt. We see fig trees and pomegranate trees, and that is the surest sign of the redemption of Israel in our times.
And where is it going from here? Well, what’s happening now is mostly the physical return of Israel. But Israel is also a country that, as opposed to the West right now where a lot of the young people are leaving religion, a lot of the young people are being given this gender confusion and this anti-God belief, the atheist religion—well, in Israel, we’re just the opposite.
In Israel, the traditional family is stronger than ever. People are having more and more children per family. The return to God is palpable, even among the secular populations where they’re inquiring to us about God, about connecting to their heritage. And that’s a big thing that’s happening in Israel today.
So it is totally aligned with the prophecy of Ezekiel because he talks about how he’s going to put his spirit in us, and that comes after the physical, in gathering the exiles, then he’s going to put his spirit into us, his spiritual light, and that will help us to rebuild Israel. That powerful spiritual light will be so strong that the whole world will be demanding that we rebuild that temple.
And then all of the nations, in the continuing fulfillment of prophecies, like in Isaiah, all the nations will come to the land of Israel, they will want to help the Jewish nation, they will want to stand with us, and they will proclaim the name of the Almighty God. And that proclaiming, we’re going to do all together.
O’Neil: Wow. Well, that’s inspiring, I want to see it happen. You talk about that difference in education, where in Israel the family is thriving, and I want to know, we’ve seen a lot of turbulence in Israel recently with the protests against [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu’s government and the judicial reforms, with the alliance between Iran and Russia and engagement with China as well, how do you see things on the ground? At the 75th anniversary, there’s a lot of really amazing stuff and then a lot of turmoil. Could you break that down a little bit, what you’re seeing there?
Rubin: Sure. Well, in the writings of the prophets, it’s very clear that it doesn’t happen in one day. The holy temple doesn’t come down from the sky just like that and all of a sudden, everyone’s proclaiming God’s name. It doesn’t work like that. We have a concept of the redemption, of the Messiah coming on a donkey. It happens slowly. It’s a process that is revealed through our day-to-day lives.
So, when I was talking about the trends, I was talking only about trends. I’m not talking about how Israel is this God-loving, family-loving country. I mean, we are, but it’s a process.
So while we have the overall trend toward the traditional family, while we have the overall trend toward God, we also have a parallel trend, which is pulling away and moving further to the left. And there you have the anti-family movement and the LGBTQ+ movement. So there is that at the same time. And you have the Jews who don’t really identify strongly as biblical Jews.
But it’s a process and it’s a process which we are winning, it’s going to happen over time. But it’s amazing to see the process happening in real life in Israel and at the same time to read about it in the prophecies. It’s amazing because it’s happening, it’s real. And ultimately, it’s for the whole world.
O’Neil: And how has your experience with the Shiloh children’s fund shined a light on those trends, on combating the terrorism and perhaps giving you hope for the future?
Rubin: Well, the Shiloh Israel Children’s Fund is all about healing. There are basically two things that I point to. One is that it’s all about healing, it’s about redeeming. We’re a faith-based, family-based operation, we’re not an orphanage.
We work very closely with the families, even children who have had both parents killed in terrorist attacks. We get them into either uncles’ and aunts’ or grandparents’ families or foster families, we do not ship them off to an orphanage. We work together with the families.
So by helping Israel to return to its roots of the traditional family, to return to its roots of faith in God, we’re at the same time redeeming Israel and redeeming the world.
Now, we have people who are involved with us, I get so many donations from Christians. And if you look back to another period in Shiloh, at the end of the Book of Judges, there was a lot of division, we had this refrain. And there was no king in Israel and everyone did what was right in his own eyes.
Well, in our times, after I established the Shiloh Israel Children’s Fund—and at that time there was a lot of division in the rebuilt Shiloh. There was division, there were people with a lot of talents pulling in different directions: “No, we need to do this, we need to do that. We need to try and build this project and that project.” And I started the Shiloh Israel Children’s Fund, I said, “All of you are going to have to work together.”
And I consider that to be a biblical correction as well. That no longer is there no king in Israel and everyone’s doing what’s right in his own eyes, but there is a king in Israel, it’s called the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and everyone who partners with the Shiloh Israel Children’s Fund, including Jews and many Christians in America who stand with us and around the world, frankly, that they are doing a biblical correction by that working together.
O’Neil: Well, thank you so much for joining me. Where can the people follow you and support the Shiloh Israel Children’s Fund?
Rubin: Well, for that, the best thing is to go to my website, which is … shilohisraelchildren.org.
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