Last week, Kan 11, an Israeli State-owned television channel, aired a new documentary named ”Til Kingdom Come”. The 70-minute documentary produced by Maya Zinshtein gave a fascinating inside glimpse into this “bizarre” alliance between two religions that for centuries have been at odds.
So why have Evangelical supporters been so friendly towards Israel? According to the film, there’s one answer – end-times eschatology.
According to the documentary, Evangelicals don’t love us. They don’t appreciate our values. They have no reason to support our government, businesses or NGOs. Evangelicals are simply manipulating the blind Jews to progress their end of days agenda, which in short says that all Jews will go to hell or convert.
The end of the documentary shows a choir that includes children in a Kentucky church singing, “My sins are all covered by his blood,” making most of us feel uncomfortable and puzzled with the Evangelical mindset.
So why do Evangelical Christians actually support us?
At Israel365 Media, we have done many surveys on this topic. We ask in formal polls as well as collect data in our online courses and tours we produce. We ask one simple question: Why do you care about this small country in the Middle East?
We have received several answers ranging from appreciation to repentance and finally – to doing the right thing regarding countering antisemitism and the BDS movement.
But the reason that comes up most is what many Jews read in their local synagogue just this last Sabbath, which is God’s promise to Abraham as mentioned in Genesis 12:3 (“I will bless those who bless you”). To an Evangelical Christian, this means that by blessing Israel with political support, financial investment, and donations, they will not just be doing what God wants them to do but also receive an ROI (Return on Investment). Many of them report they have seen their business grow after investing with Israel.
An analogy to the Jewish world
I would like to give an analogy from a sector within Judaism known as Chabad. Chabad sends leaders all over the world in order to help set up Jewish education programs, deliver kosher food, and various other daily Jewish traditions. Many in Chabad believe these actions will bring the Mashiach, whoever that may be.
Does that mean they are manipulating anyone who does not share the same view on end-times? More importantly, would they act the same way without the end times philosophy? I am certain they would. They’d continue to help others as the motivation is deeper than the end days reward and has more to do with religious morality in the present.
Haaretz’s Gidon Levi covered this film and even called Pastor John Hagee an ‘anti-Semitic pastor.’ But there is no greater lie. Pastor Hagee has been an honest supporter of Israel for 30 years without being found guilty once of proselytizing. I have met many Christian investors and pastors who have never spoken to me or any other Jew I know about end times. I don’t believe this is what most Christians focus on a daily basis. The film showing the Pastor William Boyd Bingham III’s opinion and motives does not represent the 91 Million Evangelicals in the USA.
So we can have an open dialogue about our beliefs which will not be comfortable for all. Or we can agree to focus on the parts of the Bible that we do share. As the late founder of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein said in a conference led by Israel365 Media in 2015, “When the Mashiach comes, we can ask him if this is his first time here or second. Till then, let’s focus on our shared values and opportunities together”.
Winston Churchill said, “We have no lasting friends, no lasting enemies, only lasting interests”.
Well, our interests with the Evangelical community are aligned. Evangelical supporters have been Israel’s best friends. They have supported the Israeli government, have invested funds in our startup nation and donated over 1.5 Billion dollars to organizations we work with. Most importantly, they believe in the same Bible Passage in Genesis that we do. Do we really want to throw out the baby with the bathwater just because we don’t agree with their eschatology?