Suspicious of Christian Support
This might come as a complete surprise to you, but all over the world, there are Christians who love you. Well, maybe not you specifically, but who love the Jewish people as a group. There are Christians who love the Land of Israel so much it makes them weep.
Many Jews are stuck in a historical time warp and operate with the assumption that everyone hates the Jews. Certainly, there’s plenty of support for that world view, even today.
But there’s something else going on out there.
As an example of the trend, the organization Christians United for Israel (CUFI) was officially established by Pastor John Hagee in 2006 and currently has three million members. That’s three million non-Jews who support Israel politically and financially.
By their own accounting, CUFI is the largest pro-Israel organization in the United States. They sponsor 40 pro-Israel events every month. And their mission is to educate American Christians “about the biblical mandate and moral imperative to stand with Israel.”
It’s understandable if your first reaction to this information is to be suspicious. A common Jewish reaction is to dismiss any report of Christian support for Israel and for Jews by noting that “Christians only support Israel because they believe that, when all the Jews are in Israel, Jesus will return.”
In his book, Honest to God: Christian Zionists Confront 10 Questions Jews Need Answered, Pastor Victor Styrsky tackles this head on. “’You think we believe that we have to get the Jews to Israel so that Jesus can return?’… The connection of these two thoughts was absolutely alien to me... Even though I had been an active pro-Israel Christian for many years, this was the first time I had ever been let in on this secret information concerning my real interest in Jewish people.
“Since this discovery, I have addressed many Jewish audiences of all ages and have been completely shocked to find that this belief amongst the Jewish people is held as supreme truth. Whenever I ask my Jewish friends where they first heard this story, they always answer, ‘From a Jew.’”
For now, let’s set aside what Styrsky calls “a Jewish urban myth”, and look at what Christian Zionists actually say in response to the question, “Why do you care about Israel and the fate of the Jewish people?”
Some speak of a sense of gratitude to the Jews for preserving the Torah. Britt Lode, the editor of The Light from Zion, a new parsha commentary explicitly prepared for non-Jews said, “We are obligated to help those that gave us the most important thing we have, our faith. If there was no Jews, there would be no Torah/Bible and no faith. We owe you everything we have and to show this we should help in any possible way.”
It’s important not to miss what I just said. There is a new book, a parsha commentary, written by 12 Orthodox rabbis, that is being marketed specifically to non-Jews.That ought to tell you that something in the landscape is changing.
For others, it’s as simple as loving who and what God loves. Patti Raiteri from Memphis, TN said, “If you love G-d then you love truth which is that G-d loves his people. I pray for the peace of Jerusalem and Israel along with praying for my country too. You can't hate what God loves.”
Gloria Bloomfield of Dallas, TX reflected on the Biblical basis for her love and respect, “Simply put, the Jews are [God’s] chosen people. According to the Psalm, God made His covenant with no other people. That alone deserves respect. Gen 12:3, where [God] says I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you and through you all the nations of the world shall be blessed. It just takes a quick search of scripture to see this played out repeatedly. I love Israel and support Israeli charities and shop Israeli whenever I can. Am Israel Chai!”
Non-Jewish support for Israel is not confined to Christians, by the way. Ismaeel Malik is a Muslim living in the US. He briefly enumerated some of his reasons for loving and supporting Israel. “1. After the Holocaust, Israel was a revival of the oppressed and persecuted Jewish people. Finally, they had their own homeland and "Never Again!" began gaining momentum. 2. Tel-Aviv and many other Israeli cities used to be empty deserted areas. Israel started from scratch and built an amazing nation. 3. Israel is a modern liberal country in the Middle East, an otherwise conservative region. 4. Israel is a strong defender of liberty and liberalism and a strong enemy against terrorism.”
British Christian June Clapp expresses herself with a few simple, heartfelt words. “God has put such a love in my heart for Israel and its wonderful people. I pray daily for the peace of Israel, and for its protection.”
Whether Biblical, political, theological or historical, there are millions of non-Jews in the world who are connected to the Jewish people and who express that connection through concrete support of Israel. The larger Jewish community would do well to sit up and take notice that something has changed.
And for the better.
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