The parallels with the challenges for modern Israel are striking, for Solomon, like modern Israel, was essentially confronting “non-state actors.” For Haddad the Edomite, an indigenous resident stripped of his territory, one might substitute Hamas or Islamic Jihad; for Rezon the Syrian, one might substitute Hizballah. As with modern Israel, neither threat to Solomon’s state was existential. Solomon was prepared to tolerate some level of violence in his more remote territories as long as he could preserve the peace in Judah and avoid entanglements with major foreign powers. That was not the case for those who ruled after him, whether in Judah or in Israel. Few of Solomon’s successors avoided major conflicts with other states. Modern Israel, likewise, cannot now and probably will not in the future be able to avoid conflict with states, whether with Iran or with some as yet unforeseen threat.

Dov S. Zakheim, “The Geopolitics of Scripture,” The American Interest (July/August 2012), 11.

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