Star of David and Solomon Islands
Ancient Biblical link and not Middle Eastern politics
Shortly before the Solomon Island’s capital Honiara was plunged into a new disaster of rioting and looting, a group of men stepped ashore at the Ironbottom Sound waterfront. From the island of Malaita, they were carrying Israel’s flag, the Star of David.
To a Pacific Island audience, Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Samoa predominantly, this is an unremarkable event. For a heavily Christian population, whose theology derives from roughly translated versions of the King James Version, the Star of David is not a political statement. It's a statement of faith.
Malaita has around a quarter of the 711,000 people of the Solomons, a nation still struggling to define itself after a colonial era in which it was at various historical pivot points, or, more bluntly, subject of other empire wars.
Depending on what is called the Solomon Islands, it has been settled by people for 4000 to 5000 years. In 1568 a Spanish navigator, Álvaro de Mendaña, arrived in Ironbottom Sound and on Guadalcanal’s beaches he saw evidence of alluvial gold. Like most explorers of his period, he only had a vague notion of where he actually was. He thought he had found the source of mythical gold mined by the Old Testiment’s King Solomon of Israel. Thus Mendaña called it the Solomon Isles. All he got right was the fact that there is gold in Guadalcanal’s hills.
In the 19th and early 20th Century Western Christian missionaries scooped up much of the population into a variety of sects. Because of things like malaria, Europeans found it hard to preach in the Solomons, and so the orders localised quickly. The Anglicans, for example, sent trainees to New Zealand to places like Mission Bay in Auckland. Over time, the teachings of local churches became separated from their colonising missions.
A key example in this Star of David account is George Umai, born in West Kwara’ae in Malaita in 1938. Until his death in 1998, Umai traced Malaitans to his ancestors who he claimed fled from Jerusalem to Malaita 2000 years ago. This claim is also found in places like Aotearoa and Fiji.
Umai’s prophecies included a twist; he said the Ark of the Covenant had been taken from the Jerusalem Temple to Kwara'ae, where it has been buried in jungle clad mountains. This belief has created an ethno-theology that blends the indigenous with Jewish and Christian beliefs.
It also created what is known as the “Deep Sea Canoe Movement” which takes its lead from the New Testament’s Acts 1: 8: ”But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Note, corrected from earlier version which said Acts was from the Old Testament)
In Malaita, with the Star of David flag, believers hold that with the word of God now in places as remote as their own island, that the predicted end times have arrived. The Canoe Movement continues to promote the Lost Tribes of Israel in the Pacific belief.
This belief was a strong factor in 1998 to 2003 when ethnic tensions broke out on Guadalcanal. The Malaita Eagle Force and its leader Jimmy ‘Rasta’ Lusibaea, used the Star of David prominently. In 2000 he launched a coup against Prime Minister Bartholomew Ulufa’alu and forced him to resign. He rallied his troops under a modified Solomon Islands flag that included the Star of David.
It has only minor diplomatic significance: at a political level in Fiji and the Solomons, support for Israel in the United Nations is limited.
In some ways the Israeli flag over the Solomons demonstrates something else - the empty rhetoric of flags. The Solomon Islands is regarded as remote by many, but in modern times the flags of the German Second Reich has flown territorially in the greater Solomons, as has Britain and Australia, and then Imperial Japan. Now the flags of China and Taiwan are inflicting their pain on the ordinary people of the Solomon Islands.
The Star of David, at least, promises a glorious afterlife.
Can someone write a summary about this. It’s really hard to understand.
Very interested in this information