By Daniel Pipes
Founder Middle East Forum, Philadelphia
Can you imagine the bewilderment of Middle Easterners in early 1994 when some leading American politicians, including Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) and Rep. Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), forwarded more assertive, tougher positions vis-à-vis the Palestinians than did the government of Israel. They were, for example, more reluctant than Jerusalem to let U.S. funds go to the PLO and they displayed more eagerness to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
One Arabic newspaper, Ash-Sharq al-Awsat, captured the general bafflement when it observed that Likud, Israel's more nationalist party, had "lost in Israel but still rules supreme in Washington."
The same pattern is, again, visible these days, as Christian leaders such as Gary Bauer, Jerry Falwell and Richard Land more vocally oppose the "road map" for Palestinian-Israeli diplomacy than nearly all their Jewish counterparts. But this bold Christian solidarity with Israel should not be surprising, as it manifests a Christian form of Zionism that is nearly two centuries old.
Christian support for the creation of a Jewish state originated in England, becoming a significant movement in the Victorian period. In 1840, the British foreign secretary, Lord Palmerston, "strongly" recommended that the Ottoman government, then ruling Palestine, "hold out every just encouragement to the Jews of Europe to return to Palestine." Lord Shaftesbury, in 1853, coined the phrase, "A land without a people for a people without a land."
George Eliot put these ideas in novel form with Daniel Deronda in 1876. In 1891, Sir George Adam Smith wrote in his authoritative Historical Geography of the Holy Land, that the Ottomans had to be pushed out of Palestine and replaced by the Jews, "who have given to Palestine everything it has ever had of value to the world."
That same year, 1891, saw perhaps the greatest early Christian support in the United States for a Jewish state the "Blackstone Memorial," a petition that carried the signatures of 413 prominent Americans, including the chief justice of the Supreme Court, the speaker of the House, the greatest industrialists of the age (Rockefeller, Morgan, McCormick), famous clergymen, writers and journalists.
Addressed to the president of the United States, Benjamin Harrison, and the Secretary of State, James G. Blaine, the memorial asked them to "use their good offices and influence . . . to secure the holding at an early date of an international conference to consider the condition of the Israelites and their claims to Palestine as their ancient home." According to one historian, Paul Charles Merkley, the Blackstone Memorial had the affect of "firmly planting in many minds" the "notion of American sponsorship of a Jewish return to Palestine."
The Balfour Declaration of November 1917, whereby the British government announced that it favored "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people," was perhaps the single most important act premised in Christian Zionism. Harry S. Truman's recognition of Israel, against the nearly total opposition of his administration, was probably second. His biographer, Michael T. Benson, finds that Truman's pro-Israel outlook" was based primarily on humanitarian, moral, and sentimental grounds, many of which were an outgrowth of the president's religious upbringing and his familiarity with the Bible." (Truman's just discovered diary, with its petulant remarks about Jews, makes his Zionist stance the more noteworthy.)
The media has recently focused on Christian Zionism as though it were something new ("How Israel Became a Favorite Cause of the Conservative Christian Right" runs a typical title, this one a front page article in The Wall Street Journal). The real story is how Christian Zionists are increasingly the bedrock of Israel's support in the United States, more solidly pro-Israel and more robustly Zionist than many in the Jewish community.
To those who wonder why Washington's policies are so different from the European states, a large part of the answer these days has to do with the clout of Christian Zionists, who are especially powerful when a conservative Republican like George W. Bush is president. (In contrast, Christian Zionism has nearly died out in Great Britain.)
One anti-Israel writer, Grace Halsell, recognizes this fact and deems Christian Zionists a "more dangerous" influence in Washington than are the Jewish Zionists. Put positively: other than the Israel Defense Forces, America's Christian Zionists may be the Jewish state's ultimate strategic asset.
Printed in the New York Post July 15, 2003
Reprinted with permission
President Bush named Daniel Pipes to the U.S. Institute of Peace on April 14. Congress had established the institute in 1984 "to promote the prevention, management, and peaceful resolution of international conflicts." Its 15 board members, Democrats and Republicans, serve without pay.
Senators opposing President Bush's nomination of Daniel Pipes' have refused to ratify the appointment and the liberal press has sited him as a person who has long been regarded by Muslims "as a destroyer of bridges between Islam and the West." (Washington Post, April 19, 2003) Pipes has keen insight to every part of the Middle East conflict and sees militant Islam as a major danger. Ed.
A growing number of Christian leaders are speaking out strongly for continued American support for the nation of Israel. Christian Zionists always base their beliefs first of all on the word of God. Dr. Hutchens, a retired Brigadier General, confronts the Palestinian claims to the land of Israel.
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WHAT ABOUT THE PALESTINIANS?
By Dr. James M. Hutchens
As we proceed down the so-called "Road Map to Peace," there are some issues Christians need to deal with. One of the most prominent of those issues is the Palestinians. Those Christians who support the State of Israel as the national, ancestral, covenantal homeland of the Jewish people, are often charged with being calloused and totally insensitive to the needs and aspirations of the Palestinians. Is that a fair charge?
First, let us clarify who the "Palestinians" really are. The notion of a distinct "Palestinian people" with a language, culture and religion of its own, is a creation of Yasser Arafat and nurtured by the surrounding Arab nations, after their ignominious defeat in the 1967 war with Israel. The so-called "Palestinian people" are, in reality, Arabs whose mother tongue is Arabic, whose religion is Islam, and whose culture is shared by most of the 22 surrounding Arab countries. There simply is no distinct Palestinian entity. Second, the name "Palestine" is the Romanized version of the word "Philistine," which name was assigned to the land of Israel by the Romans in the first century A.D. It was a derogatory and humiliating term imposed by the Romans on the Jews, who constituted the vast majority of the people who lived there. Rome forced, on the Jews and their land, the name of an archenemy of the Jews, the Philistines. The name Palestine remained until the end of the British Mandate period in 1947. However, Jews have always considered the land their homeland and Jerusalem its capital. In addition, the land was never without a Jewish presence, but always included as many Jews as the governing power would allow.
But what about the Christian's attitude toward the Palestinians? Some Christians note what God says about the "ger," that is, the "alien" and the "stranger," and say that should apply to the Palestinians today. One of the most comprehensive passages regarding the "ger," i.e. the "alien," is found in Ezekiel 47:21-23. "'You are to distribute this land among yourselves according to the tribes of Israel. You are to allot it as an inheritance for yourselves and for the aliens who have settled among you and who have children. You are to consider them as native-born Israelites; along with you they are to be allotted an inheritance among the tribes of Israel. In whatever tribe the alien settles, there you are to give him his inheritance,' declares the Sovereign LORD." The question is, are these, and similar passages, relevant to Israel's treatment of the "Palestinians" today? The answer is clearly, No!
This passage assumes God's everlasting covenant promise to the Jewish people of the land of Israel as an everlasting possession (cf. Genesis 17:7-8). The passage referred to above is speaking of those non-Jews who desire to have a protected citizenship under Israel's sovereignty. They are not seeking a sovereignty of their own that replaces Israel. They are willing subjects to the laws and governance of Israel. As a matter of fact, the scriptures require that they worship and follow the decrees of the God of Israel.
Modern Israel has made a provision for such people. There are Arab Israelis who have the full rights and privileges, including voting, of Israeli citizenship. There are duly elected Arab Israelis in the Israeli Parliament that represent their Arab constituencies.
In a word, the Palestinians do not qualify for the protections to be given to those under Israel's God-ordained governance. The so-called "Palestinians" under the leadership of Yasser Arafat, are loath to have Israel as their sovereign authority. The Palestinian, as well as the Arab, goal of peace envisions the total elimination of Israel as a nation and a people. The Palestinian flag portrays the current boundaries of Israel as being the boundaries of a future Palestine.
As Christians consider the "Road Map to Peace," we do well to keep in mind that God's sovereign decrees and covenants will not be thwarted. If a Palestinian state emerges within the boundaries given by God to Israel, it will be short-lived and interim. But even more sobering is the fact that those who promote a Palestinian state have placed themselves in alliance against God. (Psalm 83:5).
Dr. James Hutchens
Chaplain (Brigadier General) US Army (Ret.)
President, Christians for Israel USA
The Jerusalem Connection
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ISRAEL HAS LOWEST PERCENTAGE WORKING FORCE IN WESTERN WORLD
By Ari & Shira Sorko-Ram
A few nights ago, we sat in the living room with our elders and a well-known Messianic leader who has recently immigrated to Israel. The discussion turned to the obstacles we, as leaders of a Messianic Jewish Congregation in Tel Aviv, face as we reach out with the Gospel to our Israeli people.
Our conversation went something like this: Many people in the West believe that the worst thing Israelis have to face is terrorism. As bad as that is, the nation as a whole has learned to cope with this terrible evil, going about their daily affairs as much as possible.
But an even weightier oppression, if that were possible, is the economic crisis that goes on and on and on.
Polls here show that almost 50% of the population live in fear of being fired from their jobs. There are multitudes of Israelis who desire to work and simply can't find jobs - especially in the many developing towns around the country.
The latest crisis has arisen because the government is simply no longer able to pay welfare to 11% of Israel's citizens who should be working but who cannot find jobs. Added to that are the large Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) families who average around eight children and who refuse to work as they consider it far more desirable to study in their Rabbinical yeshivas (learning centers). They depend almost totally on government welfare and charity.
These 80,000 yeshiva men are not included in unemployment data, which only counts those who are actively seeking employment but cannot find a job. According to the study, Israel has the lowest rate of work force participation in the developed world. (The Jewish News of Greater Phoenix, March 19, 1999) Year by year, this figure only increases.
"None of the yeshiva students I know work," says Yishayahu, the father of two, sporting an other-worldly smile behind his reddish beard and sidelocks. "Making money in this world just isn't important to us. It's the world-to-come that really counts." But since it is important to feed their kids, they look to the state and to charity to meet their worldly needs. "The state," of course, means the pockets of the weary, overloaded tax-paying Israelis, including all the Messianic Jews. According to one study, it was determined that the population of Israel's fervently Orthodox community will double every 17 years." (Ibid.)
Incidentally, Rabbi Yehiel Eckstein, the Rabbi who collects many millions of dollars from U.S. Christians to distribute to Israel's welfare institutions, explained in an article in the Jerusalem Post that his organization had given $500,000 to the ultra-Orthodox mayor of Jerusalem, Uri Lupolianski, in June to distribute to welfare organizations there. However, the Jerusalem mayor so far has refused the funds because of the fact that it came from Christians. Eighty other mayors have received Eckstein's gifts. Jerusalem and Tel Aviv (B'nei Brak) have the largest religious populations in the country. (July 31, 2003)
Today, with the world recession and the three-year intifada which frightened tourists and scared capital investment, the government of Israel has simply run out of money. It cannot continue to pay out to the unemployed and the unemployable and is in the process of drastically cutting payments across the board. The newspapers report a growing number of Israeli suicides because breadwinners cannot find a way to get out of debt.
The goal of Maoz’ benevolent fund for Israeli Messianic believers, istandwithisrael.com is to help the oppressed among the Messianic believers, and to bless victims of terror.
We can think of no greater act of compassion towards the Israeli Body of Messiah, than to bless them financially in this great time of need.
"For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints to Jerusalem. Yes, they were please to do so, and they are indebted to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in their spiritual things, they are indebted to minister to them also in material things. Romans 15:26-27
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A PALESTINIAN MARTYR FOR YESHUA
From every dollar you give to Maoz’ benevolence fund for Messianic believers, istandwithisrael.com, we give 10% to Israeli victims of terrorism. However, this month, one of our gifts of $1000 will go to the family of a murdered Palestinian whom we shall call Mark, a Muslim who became a Christian.
He was very active in evangelizing in the West Bank, and on one of his trips in evangelism, he was murdered and cut into four pieces by a radical Islamic gang a few days ago. The murder took place in Ramallah, the city where Arafat and his associates are holed up. Although Mark was a Palestinian, this murder was a vicious act of terrorism by Muslim fanaticism. We cannot say more about him because his wife and children could suffer the consequences. Money had to be borrowed even to bury him.
The minister who wrote us had this to say about Mark: “This handsome and brave young man’s image is always before my eyes. He and his wonderful family were the last believers I saw before we left the land last year.”
Dear Maoz Partner,
Poverty has spread its dark covering over this land. As new people receive the gift of salvation in our congregation, they come weighted down with dreadful debt, and with seemingly no way to escape what has become a lifelong oppression to a large percentage of the Israeli people.
Three of our finest men with strong calls on their lives have been strangled by debt for eight solid years - unable to have a bank account, start a business or work at a reasonable job without running afoul of the law. These believers are representative of the Israeli population as a whole which is in great economic distress.
Another young couple with two children - believers for a year and a half - who are serving the Lord with all their hearts, have had their phone cut off, and been warned that soon their electricity will be turned off. They haven't paid their rent for six months nor their city taxes.
They haven't paid the local grocery store for several months which gave them food on credit, etc., etc. And they owe friends and family money. Yet they are bringing a constant inflow of relatives and friends into the kingdom of God.
We, together with our leadership team, are teaching our congregation to stand in faith to see God work the impossible in their lives. We are teaching them the principles of tithing and giving that God has faithfully promised to bless. But the Bible makes it clear that we, the Body of the Messiah do have a responsibility to help: If some says, "Go in peace, be warmed and be filled," and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?" (James 2:16)
In joyful obedience, through your giving to istandwithisrael.com, we have been able to substantially help individuals and families who are solidly and publicly in the faith, serving God with all their hearts and are acting responsibly with what they do have. To some of these needy believers you have actually given them a brand new lease on life.
As the poverty deepens, more and more Christian organizations are sending help to national institutions. And Israelis are watching with wonder as the funds pour in. But virtually none of these gifts touch the lives of the Messianic Jews living and struggling in the land. As we distribute these funds sent by you among the poor believers throughout Israel, you cannot imagine the relief and release these Israelis are experiencing because of your help. Consider this letter from Jerusalem:
Dear People at Maoz,
Thank you so very much for your generous gift during this challenging period of unemployment. These past two long years of intensified Palestinian terrorism against Israel have caused many Israelis to lose their jobs and without the prayers and financial support of organizations such as yours life here would be even more difficult. So thank you. Thank you that you are standing along side us during this time. Thank you for your gracious hearts that help to support and sustain us that we might maintain our presence here in the land.
At the same time, our most important task is to preach the Gospel and bring the hope of eternal life to our people. God is in the "business" of not just changing conditions, but OF CHANGING LIVES.
Because of the awful economic conditions in Israel, it is often every man for himself. One women recently launched a protest movement here in Israel by marching 200 kilometers to Jerusalem because she as a single mother could not feed her child who is confined to a wheelchair.
She told the newspapers that she steals food from the local supermarket and is not at all ashamed of what she is doing. To survive, people often feel they must cheat on their income tax and just about any other way possible. Tax laws are written under the assumption that the normal Israeli is defrauding the government.
Many people accept welfare through deception. Borrowing money and not repaying is another curse on our people. Lying has become a way of life for far too many Israelis.
As these precious people come to faith, many of them undergo a complete revolution in their thinking and behavior. What sweeter blessing could there be than to see the lives of our Israeli people, turned upside down and inside out - revolutionized by the love and power of God!
Let us put it very clearly: Your financial backing and prayers have had an enormous impact on our ability to build a life-giving congregation in Tel Aviv.
We are growing by the week and so are the expenses to run the congregation. With the current economic conditions as they are, our members are only able to cover a small percentage of what it costs to rent space and serve the needs of a congregation in downtown Tel Aviv.
Because you have supported this ministry, you have made great things possible, things that surely must make the angels in heaven rejoice.
Your continued help will bring continued results because we say with in all earnestness, TODAY IS HARVEST TIME IN ISRAEL.
Ari & Shira Sorko-Ram
P.S. We will send you our new 16 month Jewish Calendar for your gift of $25.00 or more! (if you are donating online just ask for the calendar in the "comments box")
To Donate to Maoz Ministries, Click Here
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