Some time back, I wrote an OpEd with the title of “I Stand with Christians Who Stand with Israel.” At first glance many people might say, “Well, isn’t that obvious – that a Zionist and a Jew would appreciate the few who stand with his nation during difficult times?” But in fact, this should not be taken for granted. Many Jewish people are not thrilled to see Christians waving our Blue and White flag and trying to be allies with Israel. You might wonder, “Why would that be?”
The State of Israel has so many enemies – Iran, Hamas and Hizbollah – on all sides. Knifings and car ramming attacks occur in the streets, homes and shopping centers. BDS outfits around the Western world try to convince people to boycott Israeli goods and vandalize stores who sell them. International governments pressure Israel on her internal affairs and force labeling of products manufactured in her heartland. And on top of that, well funded propaganda machines spread lies about Israel on the internet and in universities everywhere.
So when Christians come and say “We love you,” shouldn’t Jews hug them and say, “Thank G-d”? I will briefly touch on two key reasons that Jews are skeptical (to say the least) about Christians who love Israel. One is our very long and very bad experience living as a diaspora in Christian lands. For many hundreds of years, Jews have been victims of crusades, inquisitions, forced conversions, pogroms and holocausts. Most of these crimes were committed under the cross by people who believed that they were fulfilling a Christian obligation to punish the Jews for not accepting Jesus.
The other very disturbing experience of Jews with Christians has been untiring efforts and schemes to preach the gospel to the Jews by Christians who felt it was their obligation to “save” us. Proselytizing has to be one of the most offensive gestures to a Jew.
In short, Jewish people have a poor rapport, as far as Christians are concerned. In the Jewish collective memory, if a Christian extended his arm, it was best to get out of the way because in most cases, it had a fist on its end, and there was a good chance of getting hurt. And if the hand was being extended in any form of compassion, chances were that it was pushing the New Testament at us.
That brief can give us an idea why Jews would be skeptical and even suspicious of Christians who say that they want to be our friends. On top of that, there is a lot of ignorance on both sides about the other’s beliefs, concerns, fears and motivations. This page is too short to touch on them in detail, and that is less important right now.
Some years back, I realized that on one hand we do have a very sorry mutual history, but that there is value in the potential of Christian support for Israel if it is indeed sincere. And so I set out to learn who is who, and what real dangers and potentials exist. Over the years, I have met with many groups in Israel and around the world; I have met rabbis and Christian leaders and found encouragement, support, but, also concern and opposition.
After this long journey, I came to the conclusion that there are Christians who are sincere friends of Israel. They wish to help and do not wish us harm. Yes, there are also missionaries who wish to steal our Jewish souls and bring us over to the Christian faith. We need to keep our eyes open and keep those bad guys out. But at the same time, use our good relations to teach all people the important mission of the Jewish people, who against all odds survived all of the hardships of exile while remaining loyal to the rabbinical teaching of Torah and unlike any other exiled nation, we the Jewish people succeeded in regrouping on our ancestral homeland and re-establishing our sovereign state. That is not a simple thing.
As I said before, I have met with many rabbis and other Jewish leaders on this issue. Some have given me great encouragement to continue to foster good relations with our Christian friends. Others were not so enthusiastic, and some were outright opposed.
But aside from the intellectual, rabbinic Halachic discourse on the issue of Jewish-Christian relations, I have been confronted with a totally different form of discourse – a discourse that could be described as no less than thuggery. Individuals who have no position or communal authority have posted demagogic blogs on the internet accusing me or implying that I am collaborating with Christian missionaries who have “set up shop” to steal Jewish souls. Posters with my picture and similar claims have been posted on facebook groups. My events for the Shomron have been sabotaged. Young hooligans have been sent in to vandalize my property and to chase away customers at my farm visitor center.
I am not directly affiliated with any specific Christian group, nor do I speak on behalf of one. I have met many who I believe sincerely wish to support Israel with no strings attached as far as getting something in return from the Jews. There are those who believe that their blessing Israel will result in G-d blessing them in return, which is actually something that the Jewish Bible teaches in Bereshit 12:3. So when I say that I stand with Christians who stand with Israel, please do realize that this is not a simple thing that could be taken for granted.
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A Sa’ar 4.5-class Corvette of the Israeli Navy fires its canons during a naval exercise off the coast of Israel.
Israel’s Defense Ministry on Sunday announced a series of deals for the purchase of combat systems from local defense industries in the amount of $420 million by the end of this year. This is part of a project to acquire warships whose mission would to protect natural gas platforms within Israel’s “economic waters” in the Mediterranean against military threats.
An Israeli soldier training in Krav Maga.
Several dozen members of the Indian military are currently learning how to protect themselves using the Israeli martial art of Krav Maga, India Today reported this weekend.
“I brought Krav Maga to India in year 2002 after intensive training in Israel,” Vikram Kapoor — the head instructor at the International Krav Maga Federation — was quoted as saying. “This is the only self-defense technique that is being evolved every moment and that is why it is the best.”
Culminating a three-year process, delegates at the Mennonite Church USA assembly in Orlando on Thursday adopted a resolution titled “Seeking Peace in Israel and Palestine,” with approximately 98 percent voting in favor. The resolution calls on members to “avoid purchase of products associated with the occupation or produced in settlements in occupied territories.” It also establishes a process for the church to review its investments “for the purpose of withdrawing investments from companies that are profiting from the occupation.”
Rabbi Steven Wernick says Netanyahu recruited progressive Jews to find a compromise for the holy site; now that the PM has reneged, world Jewry won’t be silent
The fight for pluralistic prayer at the Western Wall is a battle already won by Jewry’s Conservative movement. For some 20 years, Conservative Jews have inhabited a spiritual home at Jerusalem’s contentious holy site, which they won through a series of Supreme Court cases — in a section allocated to the Davidson Archaeological
Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. (Photo credit: hebron.com)
In a secret ballot held at the World Heritage Committee’s 41st annual summit in Krakow Poland, on Friday, UNESCO voted twelve to three in favor declaring the Holy City of Hebron and the Cave of the Patriarchs “Palestinian world heritage sites”.
The resolution described a Muslim history of the city while blatantly ignoring the Biblical narrative describing 3,000 years of Jewish connection to the site. Six countries abstained from the controversial vote which, at the request of Poland, Croatia, and Jamaica, was a secret ballot; a first for such a vote.
During last month’s 2017 Chicago Dyke March, the true face of “inclusion” among “progressives” finally surfaced. According to the Chicago based newspaper Windy City Times, the march proceeded calmly with people “of all races, genders and gender identities” attending, until “the Dyke March Collective ejected three people carrying Jewish Pride flags (a rainbow flag with a Star of David in the center).”
Something is terribly broken in the relationship between American and Israeli Jews. I say this as an American Jew who has lived in Israel for almost half a century. But if anyone thinks this started with Women of the Wall or PM Netanyahu’s recent – and I believe unfortunate – backtracking on the agreement over egalitarian prayer space at the Kotel, he is suffering from selective memory, if not total denial.
gentleman from times gone by. He was soft-spoken, courtly, and wore his pants hoisted high and held up by suspenders; clearly, a European who had personally endured horrors in the last century.
Indeed, he had personally survived the Holocaust in Poland. Therefore, I could not immediately understand why he now attends a very left-wing synagogue—but, totally incomprehensible, was his unexpected and rather passionate defense of Poland and of the Poles. He argued on their behalf as if his very life still depended upon it.
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s decision to visit Jerusalem but not Ramallah has prompted much comment.
The expectation of equal treatment goes back to the Oslo Accords’ signing in Sep. 1993, when the prime minister of Israel, Yitzhak Rabin, represented his government in the handshake with Yasir Arafat, the much-despised chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization. No one found it strange or inappropriate at the time but things look differently nearly a quarter century later.
Matthew Healy at the Atlantic, one of the few remaining liberal anti-censorship magazines, offers a disingenuous counterpoint to the debate over political correctness.
The attempts to silence dissenting points of view are counter-speech, according to Healy. And counter-speech is an important form of free expression.