This week I had the extraordinary privilege to attend the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem’s (ICEJ) Feast of Tabernacles Israel night, in Jerusalem. I always look forward to attending this annual event as a highlight of my Sukkot holiday celebration, and come away inspired by the unconditional love and support of thousands of Christians, representing hundreds of millions of people in dozens of countries. I am always grateful and awe struck by the work of the ICEJ and not only did this year not disappoint, it was even more awesome than in the past.
Overcome by the excitement of incredible song and dance, praise and support for Israel from speakers from all over the world, and an extra special appearance by Charlie Daniels playing Hatikvah, Israel’s national anthem, on his fiddle, I updated my Facebook status celebrating the event and marking my presence, along with a photo of Charlie Daniels playing Hatikvah (probably for the first time) in front of thousands of people.
When I went to identify my location, the name “Jerusalem” came up but did not identify it as Israel’s capital, much less even part of Israel. While “Jerusalem” appeared in English, adjacent to it was an Arabic word, presumably Jerusalem in Arabic, but strangely not in Hebrew. Not being very tech savvy, I didn’t think much of it and proceeded with my status update and participation in the event, immediately drawing many likes and comments wanting to see Charlie Daniels’ performance which, sadly, I had not been able to video in time.
After I got home, still on a high, I went to check news of the terror attack in Kenya, and both President Obama and President Rouhani’s remarks at the UN (more on that later), and came across an article that said the new Apple operation system, iOS7, lists Jerusalem with no country. (http://www.timesofisrael.com/jerusalem-is-not-in-israel-according-to-apple/).
Immediately I thought, “Oh, not again,” as it seems there’s a crazy trend to purge Jerusalem from its Jewish roots (what our neighbors claim is the Judaization of Jerusalem as if King David didn’t build the Holy city and as if two Temples never stood where two mosques currently stand). It didn’t seem like it was worth more than a thought, but then I went to the talkback section and read one person’s rationalization that Apple is just a business and there are 130 Muslims in the world for every one Jew. So in order to appeal to (appease) the Arab/Moslem world which does not recognize Jerusalem as part of israel much less as the capital of Israel, it makes sense from a business perspective. Right?!
Having just come from the ICEJ event celebrating israel, Jerusalem, and the Jewish people’s historic connection to the Land, not to mention a healthy dose of unconditional love from the thousands present representing hundreds of millions across the world, my immediate response was no. And if that was Apple’s calculation, they ought to try again, because the collective business and buying power of hundreds of millions of Jews and Christians together can take on that of the Arab and Moslem world any day of the week.
I am not one for boycotting others unless something is really egregious. Particularly as we wrap up a holiday season that’s about repentance and forgiveness, I am all for applying that value even to the corporate world. Maybe Apply made a mistake, an oversight. Maybe Apple miscalculated, even grossly. Maybe Apple doesn’t realize that their purging Jerusalem from Israel presupposes the outcome of a conflict that doesn’t seem to be ending so soon, and in doing so, they side with those who oppose the Judaization of Jerusalem. Maybe Apple just needs a friendly reminder – directly and through the vast social media empire that their devices facilitate.
I for one know the reality. I know that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, and always will be. I know that my presence in Jerusalem is not part of a Zionist cabal to Judaize Jerusalem (that would be like painting a white wall white and suggest that it has a new color), but part of a prophetic promise to which I am privileged to live. I know that for every one of the thousands of Christians I was with last night, people who recognize Israel as the apple of God’s eye and Jerusalem as our eternal capital, millions more stand behind every one. These are the good apples.
I gain comfort and strength from the fellowship of Jews and Christians, standing together and turning the tide of history, understanding that what unites us is far greater than what divides us. As I shared with some new friends last night, I pray to be privileged to live to the day when gatherings like this, large and small, in Israel and the four corners of the world, become so commonplace that we risk taking them for granted.
Until then, I will continue to pursue the incredible opportunities I have to build bridges between Jews and Christians, pray that this will continue to flourish, and wish the ICEJ and others to go from strength to strength. And until then, in case I am in the need of a new electronic device, I may just do a quick reality check on my location electronically, because if Apple is a bad apple and doesn’t recognize my presence in Jerusalem as part of Israel, there are other devices in the Galaxy that I am sure will serve me fine.