Israel friendship in review
Israeli friendship - is it a good thing or a bad thing? Anti-Semitism in history and opposition to Israel in modern times are twins of each other
This article briefly considers Israel friendship. In recent years, it has been questioned in several countries. Whereas in the past the church has been accused of anti-Semitism - and these accusations are not unfounded - the accusations are now directed in the direction of being too favorable to Israel and the Jews. The world’s compassion has shifted from Jews to Arabs, and Israel and its support are seen in a negative light. Attention has focused on the plight of Palestinians inside and outside Israel’s borders, and there is not enough interest in exploring historical backgrounds and the Jewish perspective on the current situation.
In Israeli friendship, it is possible to go in the wrong direction. It can not be denied. Just as some have adopted anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist attitudes, it is possible to act attitudinally in favor of Israel. The following are things to look out for.
Bias. In the case of Israel, it is possible to be biased on both sides. One wrong attitude is that we see nothing wrong with the actions of Israel and the Jews. We may defend all actions, even if they are wrong and unfair. People are blind to political and military mistakes or injustices. It is very possible because people are prone to extreminess. If we have a positive attitude towards Jews, it should also be pursued towards Palestinians, or vice versa.
Another opposite attitude is total anti-Zionism, which does not accept Israel as a state at all and rejects the right of Jews to their own country. Many Arab states are an example of such an attitude. This attitude appeared also in the wars of 1948, 1967 and 1973, when the Arab states wanted to destroy Israel and divide it among themselves. Similar activities have been carried out by Palestinian bombers who want the whole of Israel to be a Palestinian state.
Sentimentality. Another wrong attitude is anger and that feelings of anger come into the conversation. If we are strongly on the side of or against the Israeli cause, it is possible and likely. This is perpetrated by angry and temperamental individuals. It’s hard for them to control themselves because they find this thing so important. However, the following teachings should be taken into account. They warn us about anger and futile debates:
- (Ps 37:8) Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not yourself in any wise to do evil.
- (2 Tim 2:23,24) But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do engender strifes.
24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle to all men, apt to teach, patient,
- (James 3:13-15) Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.
14 But if you have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.
15 This wisdom descends not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.
Second, the Bible exhorts us to respect our neighbors and love enemies. This rules out wrong attitudes towards others. Or if we disagree with others but don’t respect and value them, what’s the point of discussing and arguing about these or other topics. Change is unlikely to happen in people close to us if we ourselves have not changed first.
- (Matt 5:44-48) But I say to you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which spitefully use you, and persecute you;
45 That you may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
46 For if you love them which love you, what reward have you? do not even the publicans the same?
47 And if you salute your brothers only, what do you more than others? do not even the publicans so?
48 Be you therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
- (1 Peter 2:17) Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.
Forgetting the Gospel. The typical attitude in society is not to believe Bible prophecies. Many reject the idea that, for example, the current state of Israel and the migration of Jews to this country would have been predicted. They do this because they do not believe in the supernatural. They argue that this is only a biased view by a friend of Israel, and do not take into account how dozens of verses speak of the deportation of Jews as well as their return to this country. They also mention the attack on this country at the end of the current era. Anyone can read these verses if they are willing to look for them. There is spiritual blindness if we do not notice these verses.
On the other hand, one can emphasize the view that the evangelization of the Jews is forgotten. The extreme version of this is to emphasize the special position of the Jewish people so that they do not need the gospel of Christ at all. It has been taught that they can come into communion with God through their own old covenant and Christians through Christ. Dialogue replaces evangelism. Or, friendship with Israel moves on a level where social work and consolation of the Jewish people are key. Some may perpetrate this, too. It is clear, of course, that Jews have prejudices towards the Christian faith because of the injustices that have taken place over the centuries, and this suspicion must be overcome in practical ways, but it should still not lead to neglect the matter of salvation and the Gospel. It's not right.
Paul acted unlike many today. For him, the most important thing was the salvation of the people and his own people. He did social work, but the emphasis was on salvation. If we act in the same way as Paul towards the Jews and the Arabs, we will stay on the right track. Paul emphasized the specificity of his own people and the choice of God — something many want to deny today — but prayed and, above all, worked for their salvation:
- (Rom 9:1-5, 10:1) I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost,
2 That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart.
3 For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh:
4 Who are Israelites; to whom pertains the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;
5 Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.
1. Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.
ANTI-Semitism is on the rise. As stated, mistakes can be found in the actions of the State of Israel and the Jews. They are not flawless and sinless. However, compared to many neighboring countries, Israel’s human rights are of a completely different category. Arab states and Arabs treat their own citizens many times worse. Examples of this are e.g. Israel’s neighbors Syria and Egypt but also Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, for example, have imprisoned and tortured and killed thousands of their own dissidents. There are thousands of such cases and they have been reported by human rights organizations. It would be good to also pay attention to them and how the Palestinian Authority (along with Hamas) has called on its own citizens for terrorist attacks and paid money to the families of the perpetrators. In addition, martyrdom and hatred of Jews have been openly taught in Palestinian schools. Such information can be found on Arabic-language pages, but the information does not always flow to Western countries because of the language barrier.
One indication of the trampling of human rights in the Palestinian territories is that in 1950 there were still about 90 percent Christians in Bethlehem. Now their share is only 10 percent. What is causing this? The reason is the persecution that Muslims have carried out against this minority. Due to the poor status of Christians, many of them have moved to other countries. If the current regime in the Palestinian territories is maintained, it will be dangerous for minorities. When advocating for the Palestinians, it should be borne in mind that the worst enemy of the Palestinians is by no means Israel, but the Palestinians' own leaders, who hold them under oppression.
The next quote relates to Hamas, which oppresses its own citizens even more than the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. Many Arabs do not see Israel as the biggest problem, but Hamas, which is weakening the position of the Palestinians. An Arab pastor from Israel has written an open letter on this issue to "peace activists" who stand up against Israel:
Dear so-called "peace-seeking people", ceasefire-people" and "peace and reconciliation activists"!
Forgive me for not taking your beautiful dreams and peace demonstrations and hopes so seriously ... People who did not care about the suffering people under Hamas ’years of rule cannot be considered morally superior to the Israeli military soldier currently defending their country. You may look better and kinder, but you are not really ... I'm sorry ...
If you really care about things, then liberate Gaza from Hamas and other Islamic jihadist organizations! How can you feel pity for innocent children who are inadvertently injured by Israeli actions when you don’t care that the same children are deliberately raised to hate. You claim to feel compassion for hungry children, while you don’t care about the poison that is fed to them every single day in Hamas and Fatah schools and on television.
How can you feel sorry for women who are now crying when you didn’t care about them when they were humiliated, discriminated against, and even raped and killed continuously for years?
There is something else I don't realize:
Those kind, compassionate, peace-loving people who automatically want and pray for a ceasefire in the Israeli war / wars against evil - against anti-Semitic, inhuman, bloodthirsty terrorist organizations such as Hamas (not Palestinians). Thanks to them, Israel will never get the job done, and on top of all that, their governments and NGOs will send billions of dollars in “help” to this corrupt, evil system.
And guess what’s going on all the time: Instead of feeding the hungry with food, these organizations equip themselves with guns. Instead of teaching children math, they are teaching them to hate and engage in holy war against Jews. Instead of building houses and hospitals above ground, they are building underground tunnels for terrorism.
In recent days, the construction of the tunnels found has cost millions of US dollars! So the Israeli army blew up millions of your aid dollars, dear nice people in the naive West!
I don’t mean there would be anything wrong with Israel, but sometimes I really wonder if the best friends of the Palestinians are actually the ones who maintain their oppression under this Islamic regime.
I simply don't realize it! Some need to become more reality-conscious!
... Do they really not see what Hamas is all about or what Islam is all about? Are they really that blind about what is happening around us in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere? Don’t they see what Hamas is doing to the poor who live under this terror every day? I do not know why I'm constantly amazed by ... (1)
An indication of how Hamas treats its own citizens is the controversy with Israel - controversies that have usually begun with the rockets fired by Hamas that Israel has responded to.
Thus, it is typical of these controversies that Israel seeks to the last to protect Palestinian civilians, while Hamas uses the same civilians as human shields and to protect its terrorists. That is why Hamas often puts its weapons storage in schools and hospitals. Hamas does not care about the spirit of the Palestinians, while Israel has warned people in Gaza in advance, through flyers, the internet and the telephone, that an attack will begin - urging civilians to leave the battlefield. This has undermined the effectiveness of Israeli action, as surprise is seen as one of the conditions for the success of the attacks. However, this has been done in order to protect outside civilians. Indeed, Richard Kemp, the commander of the British forces in Afghanistan, stated that he did not know of another army that cares for civilians as the IDF does (2). Many in Europe also do not understand the situation in and around Israel. Nikolai Mladenov, Bulgaria's foreign minister and MEP, said: "Europeans tend to greatly simplify matters because war, conflict and terrorism are not a daily threat to many of them - many countries have lost consciousness of the security environment in which Israel is located." (3). The following quote is also related to the same topic:
Is the Israeli army more Christian than the Christians themselves? It has, in fact, adopted the turning of the other cheek as it's way of life. In Hebrew, the word Havlagah is used for it.
Israeli armed forces suspend their hostilities against Hamas when they detect women and children on the radar.
The Israeli armed forces are alerting Palestinian families living near terrorists before launching an attack.
Israeli armed forces evacuate entire Palestinian territories before launching an operation in accordance with good manners, not with nerve gas like Assad in Syria, or phosphorus like the Americans in Iraq.
Israeli soldiers treat and take Palestinians in Gaza to Jewish hospitals.
The Israeli Defense Forces is the only army that used unprecedented means to minimize civilian damage. It issued warnings to civilians through leaflets, telephone, and harmless warning shots.
The Jewish state has waged a legitimate war by fair means, in accordance with the principles of proportionality, even too cautiously, taking into account international law, which protects the right to self-defense.
Israel is the only nation in the world that is forced to adhere to this level of morality in its warfare. The moral of war, which the Jews call "pure use of force," basically means surrender. (4)
World opinion has thus turned against Israel and the Jews. When the actions of Israel and the Jews are presented only in a distorted and negative light, it raises the wrath of the people. It may happen in the same way as during Nazi Germany, when Goebbels and others sowed hatred for them. The same attitudes emerge in modern times as they did decades ago.
A small example shows how anti-Semitism and anti-Israel attitudes are common. The narrator is a Muslim who had learned to hate Israel and had grown up in an anti-Semitic atmosphere. (From the newspaper article “From Israel hater to Israel supporter”). However, his attitude changed as he received more information. He found that Arabs are involved in Israel all the way from the military to the judiciary. Indeed, many Arabs in Israel think that their position will remain better within the borders of the state of Israel than that they would have their own state. Of course, this does not mean that everything will be fine in Israel, but still the situation is better than in many other states.
I am a Zionist, a Muslim and I love Israel. That was not always the case. For many years I was a hatred of Israel. I came to know the anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism that exists in British university life. I grew up in the Muslim community in England. I read the material and heard opinions that were exclusively condemning Israel. Jews were described as invaders and murderers, and a “Zionist presence” and the destruction of all Jews was desirable.
My father was extreme in his hatred of the Jews. He praised how Adolf Hitler was a hero and his only failure was that he did not kill enough Jews. When I turned 18, I had fully embraced radical Islam. The hatred I felt for Israel and the Jews was accompanied by thoughts of death and destruction against the backdrop of songs glorifying the Arab holy war (Jihad).
How in the world did I get rid of all this hatred of Israel and Jews? One day I was at a local bookstore and picked up Alan Dershowits ’book The Case for Israel. According to my worldview, Jews and Americans dominated the world media, so in my mind I thought the book was just disgusting Zionist propaganda.
However, I decided to buy the book thinking I could easily expose the propaganda it contained. When I read the book, I was unable to find any substantiated objections to the issues it presented and documented. My conscience became restless, which had to be resolved by investigating the matter further. I no longer knew what to believe because I had been blindly following others for so long. Now I was in a situation where I asked myself if I had been wrong. Eventually I came to the conclusion that I had to go to explore Israel. Only in this way would I come to know what was true. It became a life-changing journey.
I did not enter a racist country of racial segregation, quite the contrary. I went to synagogues, mosques and churches to see how Arabs and Jews lived side by side and minority groups were involved in all social activities in Israel from the military to the judiciary. It was a shock to me but at the same time an eye opener. Israel was not the Zionist evil I had been told. I had to admit that what I had believed was wrong.
My choice was obvious: I had to move to the side of Israel, the side of a small democratic and free people which had made so much progress in medicine and research and which is the target of the lies and hatred in which, I too believed. The decision was not an easy one. I had to experience the hostility of my own community and not everyone in the Jewish community in England trusted me either. (5)
As stated, many can criticize it if someone has a positive attitude towards Israel and the Jews. They do not understand why to have a positive attitude to Jews and Israel.
However, such people may be asked whether the attitude of the people should be similar to that of the Nazis? When they did not have a positive attitude but a negative one, it led to the deaths of millions of people. Later, the Nazis themselves and the German people suffered from their actions. When is given to the evil a little finger, it takes the whole hand.
Anti-Semitism is something that has been repeated over and over in history. It’s like a virus that has changed shape in different eras. It may have occurred e.g. in the following forms. Usually, it all starts with negative propaganda and the demonization of Jews, which incites people to anger. Outbreaks of anger can then manifest themselves as damage to property as well as direct attacks on people. History shows that similar individuals who are now sowing hatred against Jews and Israel have committed the worst abuses in recent centuries. Hitler’s Nazi Germany and pogroms in Eastern Europe are a few examples. In them were robbed and killed millions of people.
1. One form of anti-Semitism is the accusation that the Jews murdered Jesus. It is not taken into account that others were also involved in the killing of Jesus. Nor does it take into account that Jesus ’death for sins was part of God’s plan. Its purpose was to bring blessing to all people.
2. Economic-social envy and the accusation that Jews have too much influence is one form of anti-Semitism. These accusations are still being made today. In the early 20th century, before the Nazis came to power, they were commonplace. It manifested e.g. in the Protocols of the Wise Men of Zion, drawn up by the Russian secret police between 1895 and 1899, which the London Times proved to be a forgery as early as 1921. This work was one of the main arguments of the Nazi party against the Jews.
3. Racial doctrine, which arose on the basis of Darwin's theory, was common in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In it was brought up the idea of the superiority of the Aryan race over others. It was thought that they represented a higher race than, for example, Slavs and Jews.
4. Boycotts of Jewish movements and the separation of Jews from the rest of society preceded the Holocaust in Nazi Germany. There are similarities today when politicians are calling for a boycott of Jewish products. History repeats itself again. We do not learn from past events.
5. A new form of anti-Semitism is opposition of Israel. Some may say that they have nothing against the Jews, but only against the state of Israel - as if these things had nothing to do with each others. Many Arabs may also consider America a big devil (however, many of them would most like to move to that very country) and Israel a little devil.
The good question, however, is; what if Israel were a Muslim state like Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, etc.? Would the attitude of Arabs and Westerners be more hostile? Would Israel repeatedly be in the media headlines in a negative sense and under a magnifying glass, as is happening today?
Certainly not. The Arabs would accept this state as their peer and the Western media would not be interested in it. Their attitude would change completely if Israel were an Arab state. This type of attitude clearly shows that it is more than a matter of politics alone. There is also a spiritual aspect involved. Interestingly, Israel’s biggest opponents are found in Muslim states and left-wing atheist circles. Both are also most opposed to the spread of the gospel.
Anti-Semites before God. The most typical feature of anti-Semitism is that one sees fault only in the actions of Jews and therefore incites people to hate them. This has been repeated several times throughout history.
And what is the teaching of the Bible on this subject? When anti-Semites always target criticism against Jews and Israel, they should sometimes target it to themselves as well. Is their own life better than others? Have they lived better than everyone else? And how do they cope before God with an attitude in which they direct their hatred to Jews and others?
We will look at some related verses. They show that everyone should first study their own lives and repent. It is the right order of values for each of us. The last verses also talk about what is part of people who hate others and mislead others. People who incite hatred and anti-Semitism are like that.
- (Matt 7:3-5) And why behold you the mote that is in your brother's eye, but consider not the beam that is in your own eye?
4 Or how will you say to your brother, Let me pull out the mote out of your eye; and, behold, a beam is in your own eye?
5 You hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of your own eye; and then shall you see clearly to cast out the mote out of your brother's eye.
- (Luke 13:3-5) I tell you, No: but, except you repent, you shall all likewise perish.
4 Or those eighteen, on whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think you that they were sinners above all men that dwelled in Jerusalem?
5 I tell you, No: but, except you repent, you shall all likewise perish.
- (1 John 3:15) Whoever hates his brother is a murderer: and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
- (Matt 18:6,7) But whoever shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
7 Woe to the world because of offenses! for it must needs be that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!
1. Shmuel Aweida, Israel today
2. Israel Today, December 2012
3. Interview Herb Means, Jerusalem Post Christian Edition, July 2009
4. Giulio Meotti / Arutz Sheva
5. Kasim Hafeez: Muslim and Zionist, Finnish version published in Shalom magazine 10/2012
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