As the increasingly awful news about the Hamas attack on Israel continued over these last days, I spent my time running errands in our south Florida town. As a gentile, I wore my Star of David necklace as a teeny gesture of solidarity as I went to a dental appointment, shopped, mailed packages. But normalcy just felt wrong. Everything here is upscale and sunny. But the news kept coming in on my phone alerts as the death toll continued to rise and the emerging details of the attacks were more and more horrible. I felt increasingly desperate to grab strangers and shake them and say: Do you know what is happening??? As service people smiled and routinely exchanged pleasantries, I wanted to burst into tears and wail aloud in grief and anger. I’m not even Jewish. Technically this is not my cause, not my family. And yet it is. As a Jesus-follower I feel intense and profound bondedness with the Jewish people, of course with my Jewish friends but with the community at large too. When the Jewish federation locally held a solidarity rally last night, my husband and I went and waved the little Israeli flags they handed out. We will donate money. We just ordered an Israeli flag to put in the window of our house.
These gestures feel pathetically small in the face of so great an evil, and they are. But I want to say to the Jewish people: I am not unique as a Christian in loving Jewish people and feeling this attack as personal. There are a lot of us around the world who have your back. And I want to say to other Christians who also call Abraham father: Do not forget that these are your people too. These hated and attacked and suffering and gutsy Jewish people in Israel are intrinsically connected to your faith. The young couple Itay and Hadar Berdichevsky from Kfar Aza who sheltered their ten-month-old twins in their safe room and died bravely fighting the Hamas invaders are heroes for all of us. The 30-year-old couple were brutally murdered defending their home but saved their twins, who were rescued 12 hours later by Israeli soldiers. As Jesus-followers, we need to know these stories of pain and re-tell the stories of those who are fighting. We need to place the horror of Jews being massacred on the social agenda of every person with whom we speak. Express your solidarity with the people and nation of Israel, those with whom God made an eternal covenant. Tell your Jewish friends or neighbors that you support them. Refuse to allow other Christians (or other gentiles) to blame Israel for the evil being done to the Jewish people. Call your congresspeople and back Israel’s right to defend their country and their citizens. Donate to one of the Israeli relief funds. Ask your church to organize a rally of support. And pray, beseeching the God of Israel to protect his people in this hour of crisis. Ask Him to use you, right now, to help the Jewish people in whatever way you can, however large or small the action or gesture. And then go and do it.