While many Israelis welcome the support shown by evangelical Christians for the State of Israel, at least two prominent Jerusalemites – city council member Mina Fenton and real estate activist develop Aryeh King – believe that Israel is “selling its soul” to Christian missionaries. And, they say, they represent many other Israelis who are uncomfortable with the idea of Christian missionaries taking such a prominent role in support for Israel.
The organizers of the Christian “Feast of Tabernacles” celebration, who have brought more than 3,000 tourists to Israel for the week of Sukkot, “have their own interests, namely the spreading of the vision of their messiah and the arrival of his kingdom,” said Fenton. While all people are free to believe and worship as they wish, Fenton said, Jews must proclaim that their Messianic vision is at odds with the Christian one. The Christians' profession of “love for the Jewish people,” she said, is a “mask” for their true desire, which is to convert the Jews to their religion. “When they talk about the rebuilding of the Temple, they mean it to be a Christian temple,” Fenton said. As far as they are concerned, the establishment of the State of Israel, as far as evangelicals are concerned, is a Christian event in and of itself, Fenton said, because it advances the Christian messianic agenda.
“There are people, especially on the right, who are prepared to pay a price [of getting close to Christians] that great rabbis of the Jewish people rejected for generations,” said King. The Chief Rabbinate has gone on record as opposing the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem – but, said King, many in the religious community are hesitant to speak up because of the massive support that evangelicals provide Israel, in a world where such support is in short supply.
Fenton and King suggest that Israelis and American Jews get to know the “real” feelings and beliefs of the evangelicals organizing events like the Feast of Tabernacles via Youtube videos, where viewer can see what their beliefs are on the role of the Jewish people and the State of Israel in Christian “end of times” theology. Particularly interesting, they said, is the Christian viewpoint on Jerusalem. “Jerusalem will not be a Jewish city, they say this openly,” said Fenton adding that she finds it difficult to understand how people with such views are part of the political discussion on the future of the city.