How I became a friend of Israel

As an Irish teenage Christian convert in the mid 70’s, the go-to book on Israel was The Late Great Planet Earth by Hal Lindsay, published in America. I cannot now vouch for its theological veracity – but it steeled my interest about the place of Israel in the contemporary world – from the viewpoint of Daniel, Ezekiel and the Book of Revelation.

Then I saw the classic movie Raid on Entebbe in the late 70’s; my religious and moral commitment to Israel was sealed. The audacious ingenuity of the IDF mission to rescue one hundred hostages in Uganda left me speechless. Talk about David and Goliath! I was in, all in…

In more recent times I have been biblically educated about God’s plan and purpose of Israel. The classic-rock piano-centric songs of Adrian Snell, like Song of an Exile (Shir Golah) and other songs touched my pathos. Some of those songs use poems as lyrics: Yisrael ben Moshe Najarah, prolific Jewish liturgical poet. Other songs in that Shoah-suite use the poems of Hanuš Hachenburg, Menahem Mendel Dolitzki & ghetto child poet, Eva Pickova.

During the last Intifada I grew very weary of the western press misrepresentation of Israel’s challenges. Other than countering the fake news claims, I knew I had to do something decisive. That was by purchasing State of Israel Bonds…and shares in M & S retail chain stores in the UK. Contrarian investing how are you!

In recent weeks I have been shell-shocked by the satanic slaughter of many Jewish and non-Jewish concert goers, and of kibbutzim members. It’s been incredibly disappointing to see how the west has been so easily duped by the Hamas/Gaza narrative. In response to such narrow-minded, antisemitic bigotry I have made many corrective and oft-pungent comments under articles in the UK Times and other online media.

As creative writer, I have also written a number of poems in recent weeks. May I leave you with one? I hope Israel understands that there will always be a few friends in these very dark days…

Rev. Hechler’s Discovery of Der Judenstaat, 1896.

The big-bearded, frock-coated Anglican clergyman,

Rev Hechler, stood mesmerized before a bookshop

window, incredulous, his heart almost stopped

at first sight of Herzl’s cri-de-cour – Der Judenstaat

– the pivotal pamphlet spotlit by sunlight.

That journalist insisted there must be a Jewish State,

assimilation proven impossible by *Dreyfus’ drubbing.


That anxious, obsessive, Moses-messianic author

vainly willed an open-minded, expectant audience

– Judaic cohort belief in his audacious epiphany:

the re-establishment of the biblical-named nation.

Instead, vilification, stonewalling and mockery.


Hechler, in his book-bulging study, long-searched

significant scripture texts, anticipating Israel’s

eventual return, his belief provoked by Ezekiel’s promise:

“I will take you out of many nations, gather you

from all countries and bring you back to your land.”


Christian Zionist and secular political prophet;

one doggedly calculated God’s divine time line,

the other used oratory to challenge cultural prejudice,

urged refugee reclamation of ancient cradle land.


Before long, colonial overlords acceded Herzl’s plan:

Yisraʾel – open harbour, holy haven, safe shelter,

protection from persecution and pogrom.

The twelve tribes returned, many kibbutzim made

water gush in the wilderness and streams in the desert.”


Herzl, sanctified spiritual father of that nation state,

civically esteemed for his relentless, Zionist zealotry;

wife and family unvalued, disparaged, depressed:

a sacrificial lamb on the abstract altar of ideology.


Hechler’s death didn’t prompt newspaper notice,

his overgrown grave discovered after decades.

Not named on plaque or city street, no national

eulogy celebrates his kind-minded faithfulness:

Yahweh hand-picked him to help Herzl alter history.


Dreyfus* – Jewish French army captain falsely accused of  treason 1904

Rev. Hechler – Anglican clergyman, biblical prophecy proponent and right hand man to Herzl.

Watch for this! I will collect them from all the countries to which I will have driven them in my anger and rage and indignation. Yes, I’ll bring them all back to this place and let them live here in peace. They will be my people, I will be their God. I’ll make them of one mind and heart, always honoring me, so that they can live good and whole lives, they and their children after them. What’s more, I’ll make a covenant with them that will last forever…

Jeremiah 32: 37 – 40.

About the Author
Louis Hemmings has been writing prose and poetry since 1972. Some of his work has been published in Poetry Ireland, The Irish Catholic, Forward (USA) and Books Ireland. He is a late-life journalism student in Dublin, Ireland. He is married 38 years, has two boys, buried a stillborn and holds an ecumenical Christian point-of-view.
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