April 28, 2007

Why do Christians support Israel?

Via Facts and Logic About the Middle East (FLAME):

After thousands of years of anti-Semitism, persecution and genocide at the hands of Christians, it’s no surprise that many Jews question the motivations of Christians who support Israel today. Most Jews simply cannot understand how the tiger could change his stripes---and many Jews harbor more than a small suspicion that pro-Israel Christians have an unspoken ulterior motive, that their support of Israel primarily serves “selfish” interests.

After attending a number of sessions featuring pro-Israel Christians at the AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) Annual Policy Conference a few weeks ago in Washington, D.C., I came away with a radically different understanding. (Of course Christian support of Israel is nothing new to us at FLAME---a large proportion of our contributors are Christians---and we have always heartily welcomed their blessings.) At AIPAC, for the first time, I heard a methodical explanation of why Christians do and should support Israel. Note that these reasons have nothing to do with hastening the Apocalypse, a myth often repeated in Jewish circles, but which has no part in the thinking of most Evangelical Christians.

In fact, a major source of the misunderstanding Jews have about pro-Israel Christians stems from ignorance about the many sects within the Christian community. Most Jews do not understand the profound difference, even occasional enmity, between Catholics and Protestants---they can’t comprehend why many Protestants would sooner vote for a Jew than a Catholic. Even fewer Jews understand the variations among Protestant sects---the huge difference between an Episcopalian and a Baptist, and the substantial chasm between most mainstream Protestants, like Methodists and Presbyterians, and Evangelicals, or born-again Christians. Suffice it to say, Evangelical Christians are by far the most assertive in their support of Israel because of their strict interpretation of the Bible, both Old and New Testaments. Evangelicals are important to the pro-Israel movement because they number some 50 million in the U.S. alone, compared with five million U.S. Jews, many of whose support for Israel is tentative at best.

One of the most moving speakers at the AIPAC conference was the Reverend John Hagee of the John Hagee Ministries out of San Antonio, Texas. Hagee is a powerful orator, whose declaration of love for Israel and the Jewish people provoked numerous standing ovations. I urge you to view a segment of this speech right now by going to http://www.jerusalemonline.com/specials12.asp.

When you’ve listened to Hagee’s inspiring address, please return to this letter.

Click here for a detailed, seven-point explanation by Hagee, based in Torah and New Testament texts, as to why Christians should support Israel. Hagee also heads up an organization called Christians United for Israel (www.cufi.org), which advocates and lobbies Congress on behalf of the Jewish state.

Whether you’re a Jew or a Christian, I think you’ll find Hagee’s exegesis eye-opening and useful.