Why is Israel always being condemned? Why are there not more non-Jews standing up for Israel and the Jewish people?
As gentile Christians, grafted by grace into Israel’s olive tree, we are called to support the Jewish people and strengthen the nation of Israel. Not condemn them. The Apostle Paul makes that abundantly clear in chapter 11 of the letter to the Romans.
In his editorial piece Stand with us, David Horovitz demonstrates that both the 2006 Lebanon war and the recent Gaza conflict have been a disaster for Israel’s reputation in the world, which are now at an all-time low. The media coverage of the recent UN Goldstone report, and its almost unanimous adoption in the UN Human Rights Council, are further evidence that Israel is being gradually delegitimized in the international arena. Horowitz calls on the Obama administration to lead the moral campaign to defend Israel’s right to exist in security.
While I share Horowitz’s assessment of the strategic importance of the US’s influence in world affairs, I would go further, and say that there is a risk that all the responsibility shifts to America. The whole community of nations, and in particular countries of Europe, share the responsibility to make sure that Israel survives. This is a burden which cannot be underestimated or ignored. If things continue, sooner or later Israel will be totally abandonded by the rest of the world. It is an outrage that the UK and France, for example, voted for Goldstone, despite the glaring evidence of its narrow-minded, one-sided bias. After all, it was on European soil that 6 million Jews were slaughtered. If it wasn’t for the US, we would be living in the Third Reich.
So for those of us who don’t live in Israel or the U.S., let’s not just point the finger at Obama from the comfort of our European armchairs, but stand up and take on our own responsibility to defend Israel’s right to exist, and make sure it in fact exists.
The other article is by Natan Sharansky, former Russian refusnik, Minister, Member of the Knesset and currently Chairman of the executive of the Jewish Agency, which is responsible for the relationship between Israel and the Jews in the diaspora. He highlights the lack of a clear common understanding amongst Jews in Israel and the diaspora as to Israel’s true identity, and argues that this is as much an existential threat to Israel as the Goldstone report, the UN Commission on Human Rights or Iran’s nuclear program. Israel’s future depends equally on the ability of Jews world-wide to identify and communicate to the outside world “why the Jewish people must continue to exist as a unit unto itself”.
I must say I was shocked when I read this. I hadn’t realised just how divided the Jewish community was. But more importantly, I was shocked by the realisation of how much responsibility we non-Jews bear in all of this. And how we are failing the Jewish people. We too – maybe even more than the Jews themselves – have a task to encourage, stimulate and support Israel and the Jewish people to reclaim their true identity as the people of God.
At the end of the day, their future - their very existence - depends on their rediscovery of God, and their calling to be the people that will accept Messiah when He comes. THAT is why He is bringing them home to Jerusalem and the mountains of Judea and Samaria. Because He wants to meet them there, as He has promised He would do when Messiah comes. So instead of criticizing Israel and the Jews the whole time, let’s get behind the Jewish people and encourage them to rediscover their own roots and destiny.
More than that – Israel’s identity is our identity. So long as Israel does not understand her own identity, we cannot understand ours. And so long as we don’t discover ours, she cannot discover hers.
In other words, if Israel goes under, we all go under. And if Israel flourishes, we all flourish.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, Israel’s existence is of vital importance – in the first place for the Jewish people, but also for the church, and ultimately for the whole world. God is bringing the Jews home. He is fulfilling His plan to bring peace on earth.
Like Ruth, who left her homeland to accompany Naomi on her journey home, let us understand that with all our hearts and minds and souls, and rediscover our calling as members of the body of Jesus Christ to support and comfort the Jewish people in their difficult journey.
Andrew Tucker is Executive Director of Christians for Israel International.
Read the articles in The Jerusalem Post:
Editor’s Notes: Stand with us, by David Horovitz, The Jerusalem Post, 22 October 2009:
Confronting the identity challenge, by Natan Sharansky, The Jerusalem Post, 24 October 2009: