Arlene Bridges Samuels
The Eclectic Evangelical @InEssentialsUnity

Following in Queen Esther’s Footsteps to Advocate for Israel

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I’m not Jewish, yet as a Christian Zionist, I celebrate Esther’s leadership. Esther is one of my favorite books in the bible not only because of Esther’s beauty and bravery but because she is an example of political advocacy. Esther, an ordinary Jewish girl who became the extraordinary Queen of Persia prayed for a strategy. In perfect timing, she appealed to her husband King Ahasuerus revealing Haman’s evil, genocidal plot to destroy the Jewish community. She was an ancient lobbyist!

Today, the comity between the Jewish and Christian communities makes us stronger together and better together as we stand against the genocidal threats of Iran’s theocratic Imams. Iran’s leadership represents multiple “Hamans” with threats not from ancient gallows, swords, and chariots, but from missiles and their quest for nuclear weapons. Iran’s goal is nothing less than a modern Persian caliphate to impose their theocratic rule in the world.

When I worked on the staff of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) as their Southeast Regional Christian Outreach Director, I spoke throughout the southeast in churches and organizations for nine years. I found that many in the Christian community shied away from politics. Pointing out a biblical standard to lobby members of Congress opened their eyes to new, effective ways to express their already strong support for Israel. My message to the Christian community included Esther prominently along with Moses and Nehemiah, three of the Bible’s ancient lobbyists who paved the way for political advocacy.

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Esther’s story inspires Jews and Christians alike. God placed her in a pivotal position at one of many times in history where evil people sought to end the lineage of the Jewish community. Her Uncle Mordecai shaped and encouraged Esther’s destiny in these cogent words in Esther 4:14: “And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” We know the last chapter of this piece of Jewish history. Haman, the evil and cunning murderer of his day, hung on the gallows built for Mordecai. The Jewish people triumphed. Esther reminds us that one person can make a difference in the world. And what a difference she made. Her acts of courage ensured the continuation of the Jewish people.

After nine privileged years, I retired from AIPAC in 2016 but NOT from the pro-Israel movement! I still embrace the same message I articulated when I spoke to Christians as a staffer with AIPAC. Christians must rise up and follow ancient lobbyists to do the same; making appeals to Congress-bipartisanly-“for such a time as this” for our great ally, Israel. I’m attending AIPAC’s Policy Conference this weekend for the 13th time; nine times as AIPAC’s SE Regional Christian Outreach Director. We will advocate for a strong mutually beneficial alliance with Israel in meetings with both Democrats and Republicans on lobbying day.

Christian leaders have been active in AIPAC since 2005 when AIPAC opened their doors as a historically Jewish institution to welcome evangelical Christians into the family. Mentored and encouraged by Christian AIPAC Directors, Christians have made an indelible mark in Congress. All the while, warm and wonderful friendships have blossomed between the Jewish and Christian communities within AIPAC and in their locales all over the United States too.

AIPAC has inaugurated a new initiative for Policy Conference in DC March 24-26,2019 where you can follow and interact online. Very reasonably priced. It’s like a university degree in two and a half days to educate yourself on effective pro-Israel advocacy. Sign up and hear from 614 experts on all Israel issues and achievements.
https://aipac.secure.force.com/web_app?_ga=2.191471209.217385747.1552058406-236087183.1549293444#/event/EV169430

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I wish all my Jewish friends a wonderful Purim! Enjoy the delicious Hamantashen and costuming thanks to brave Queen Esther. Let’s continue our fight together against today’s Hamans, Iran’s Mullahs who seek to destroy the Jewish state.

About the Author
Arlene Bridges Samuels has held pioneering positions with Israel Always, American Israel Public Affairs Committee, (AIPAC) and International Christian Embassy Jerusalem's project (ICEJUSA), American Christian Leaders for Israel. Traveling to Israel since 1990, she is now an author at the Times of Israel, The Christian Post, Contributor to The Christian Broadcast Network and a networker, consultant, and speaker. Her articles have also appeared in Philos Project, Providence Magazine (The Institute on Religion and Democracy), ICEJ's Word from Jerusalem, Mercy Ships, and Concerned Women for America. She shares her devotionals, The Eclectic Evangelical, on Facebook and is an active member of a small Anglican church. After attending Winthrop University in her home state of South Carolina, Arlene earned her Masters degree at the University of Alabama. Every season, she looks forward to the Alabama Crimson Tide winning SEC and national football championships!
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