Our title may be a gentle play on words, but it conveys a notion of some depth. Antiquity and modernity are not two jarringly contradicting elements; when viewed as part of a Divine plan, they prove to be surprisingly complementary.
Wednesday's edition of The American Spectator included an article of mine, in which I argued that Mr. Ahmadinejad, who labels Israel as an aberration out of step with the history of the Middle East, is actually exposing his own weakest side.
Because there is no greater anti-historical lesion on the map of that region than his regime, which unseated a monarchy that had survived for 2500 years, the longest in human history.
Yet I kept a piece to myself, to be shared only with my fellow Reform Clubbers, who would be more disposed to take seriously the role of Biblical prophecy in the disposition of international affairs.
The question I have been pondering is: why did God allow that one monarchy to survive through all these eons of turmoil, only to fall thirty years after the State of Israel was founded?
Half the answer is that they merited to have great longevity as a kingdom because they allowed the Jews to rebuild the Temple. That part is fairly straightforward. But why quite this long? And why for thirty years into Israel's existence?
My theory - a spiritual, Biblical thesis, formed in the seam where knowledge meets intuition, not a testable scientific hypothesis - is that it was their special role to testify to the claim of the Jews upon their land.
The Jews went on a long trip and came back; in those situations, it is enough to have one neighbor who can confirm the legitimacy of the faded old deed. And who better than the one who sent them back home to build their Temple 2300 years ago?
Once they fulfilled that task of bearing witness (and, indeed, Iran was Israel's only friend in the Middle East in those days), they naturally dissipated. After all, they were not of this time.