Embracing Christian Friends of Israel?

David Ha'ivri,

לבן ריק
לבן ריק
צילום: ערוץ 7
David Ha'ivri
​David Ha'ivri believes in engaging with people. He is an expert communicator, and for years has used the Internet and social media networks as a means of personally interacting with thousands of people from all walks of life. He is a powerful speaker who has shared his convictions and inspired live audiences from Melbourne, Australia to Sacramento, California. He has met with government officials on five continents and maintains open lines with hundreds of international journalists. He is often called on to comment for major international news outlets - CNN, Al-Jazeera, and CBN, to name a few. His opinion pieces appear regularly in Hebrew and English publications like YourMiddleEast.com, Ynetnews.com, IsraelNationalNews.com, TimesOfIsrael.com and others. David is a man of faith he believes that the Jewish people are realizing their destiny though Zionism, ...Read more Follow @haivri on Twitter ...

Some time back, I wrote an OpEd with the title of “I Stand with Christians Who Stand with Israel.” At first glance many people might say, “Well, isn’t that obvious – that a Zionist and a Jew would appreciate the few who stand with his nation during difficult times?” But in fact, this should not be taken for granted. Many Jewish people are not thrilled to see Christians waving our Blue and White flag and trying to be allies with Israel.

You might wonder, “Why would that be?”

The State of Israel has so many enemies – Iran, Hamas and Hizbollah – on all sides. Knifings and car ramming attacks occur in the streets, homes and shopping centers. BDS outfits around the Western world try to convince people to boycott Israeli goods and vandalize stores who sell them. International governments pressure Israel on her internal affairs and force labeling of products manufactured in her heartland. And on top of that, well funded propaganda machines spread lies about Israel on the internet and in universities everywhere. So when Christians come and say “We love you,” shouldn’t Jews hug them and say, “Thank G-d”?

I will briefly touch on two key reasons that Jews are skeptical (to say the least) about Christians who love Israel. One is our very long and very bad experience living as a diaspora in Christian lands. For many hundreds of years, Jews have been victims of crusades, inquisitions, forced conversions, pogroms and holocausts. Most of these crimes were committed under the cross by people who believed that they were fulfilling a Christian obligation to punish the Jews for not accepting Jesus as their Messiah.

The other very disturbing experience of Jews with Christians has been untiring efforts and schemes to win over the Jews by Christians who felt it was their obligation to “save” their souls. Proselytizing has to be one of the most offensive gestures to a Jew.

In short, Christians have a poor rapport. In the Jewish collective memory, if a Christian extended his arm, it was best to get out of the way because in most cases, it had a fist on its end, and there was a good chance of getting hurt. And if the hand was being extended in any form of compassion, chances were that it was pushing the New Testament at us.

Through this very brief overview of the history of Jewish-Christian relations one can get an idea of why Jews would be skeptical and even suspicious of Christians who say that they want to be our friends. That being said, there is also a lot of ignorance on both sides about the other’s beliefs, concerns, fears and motivations.

Some years back, I realized that while we do have a very sorry mutual history, there is value and potential in understanding Christian support for Israel and figuring out if it is indeed sincere. With that in mind, I set out to learn who is who, and what real dangers and potentials exist. Over the years, I have met with many groups in Israel and around the world; I have met rabbis and Christian leaders and found encouragement, support, but, also opposition based on a variety of concerns.

After this long journey, I came to the conclusion that there are in fact Christians who are sincere friends of Israel. Who wish to help, not harm or offend. Yes, there are also missionaries out there who wish to steal our Jewish souls and bring us over to the Christian faith. We need to keep our eyes open and keep those bad guys out. But at the same time support good relations with true friends of Israel.

We can utilize this platform to teach all people the important mission of the Jewish people, who against all odds survived all of the hardships of exile while remaining loyal to the rabbinical teaching of Torah and unlike any other exiled nation, we the Jewish people succeeded in regrouping on our ancestral homeland and re-establishing our sovereign state. This amazing events should bring all people closer to the G-d of Israel who fulfilled his promise to the fathers of our nation to return the children of Israel to the land.

As I mentioned earlier, Many rabbis and other Jewish leaders with whom I met and consulted with on this issue, have given me great encouragement to continue to foster good relations with our Christian friends. Others were not so enthusiastic, and some were outright opposed.

Along with the intellectual, rabbinic Halachic and political discourse on the issue of Jewish-Christian relations, I have also been confronted with a totally different form of discourse – a discourse that could be described as no less than thuggery. Individuals who have no position or communal authority have posted demagogic blogs on the internet accusing me or implying that I am collaborating with Christian missionaries who have “set up shop” to steal Jewish souls. Posters with my picture and similar claims have been posted on facebook groups. My events for the Shomron have been sabotaged. Young hooligans have been sent in to vandalize my property and to chase away customers at my farm visitor center.

I am not directly affiliated with any specific Christian group, nor do I speak on behalf of one. I have fostered relations with many who I believe sincerely wish to support Israel with no strings attached. Many of them believe that G-d will award them for their kindness and love for Israel, which is actually something that the Jewish Bible teaches in Bereshit 12:3. That understanding is a clear form of Kiddush HaShem, an elevation of G-d’s name in the world through the nations his blessing to them will come about through the Jewish people.

Again I state that I stand with Christians who stand with Israel. I see this as a great platform to teach the nations to love G-d, his Torah and the Jewish people who observe it. I also realize that this is not a simple thing that could be taken for granted and for me has come with a cost.