On October 4, five ultra-orthodox Israelis were arrested for the despicable act of spitting at Christians as they worshipped in Jerusalem’s Old City. Only a week or so before, in the sacred Kol Nidre service, all Jews were to ask for forgiveness “…for the sin of causeless hatred.” Apparently, these offensive Jews need to rethink the act of repentance.
It seems that in our world, cruel fracture lines divide us …among civilizations, across the Western world, within theological denominations, and even within the Jewish community. While we can look back across the centuries and can easily find episodes where Jews suffered at the hands of Christians, we must recognize today’s important alignment of righteous Christians with our endangered Jewish State and the whole of the Jewish people. This important “sea change” within the Christian world is a crucial transition that obnoxious, radical, and backward “spitters” do not understand or will not accept.
In America there are over eight million members of CUFI (Christians United for Israel) who apply political influence on Israel’s behalf and fight antisemitism on college campuses. There are hundreds of bomb shelters built in Israel by the ICEJ (International Christian Embassy Jerusalem), and there are many other Christian organizations focused on supporting Israel. The Israel Allies Foundation just announced their list of Israel’s Top 50 Christian supportive leaders. And, yes, Yad Vashem has honored over twenty-eight thousand righteous Christians who risked their own lives to save Jews during the Holocaust.
Beyond these impressive examples and achievements, I have had the great good fortune to have friends who are leaders within the pro-Israel Christian community. I have been buoyed by their sincerity and I have witnessed their commitment, energy and fundamental decency. Unfortunately, I have had to answer their questions as to why some cynical Jews question their motives or even why so many Jews are unaware of their helpful efforts. As someone who is very grateful for our pro-Israel Christian supporters, I am troubled by these thoughtless behaviors.
When we review the voting at the United Nations, do we find a long list of friends of Israel? No. When we track Israel’s history over the last seventy-five years, has she has had to fight for her survival with a plethora of allies ready to offer support? No. Our steady friends are in short supply…treat them well.
I am a Levi and often at Shabbat I am given the second Torah reading Aliyah on the Bimah. At our Chabad, our Rabbi encourages those with an Aliyah to make offer blessings while standing beside the Torah. After blessing some combination of family, the congregation, the Rabbis, and the IDF, I always offer an additional blessing for “…the righteous Christians who support Israel.” This blog post is another way of keeping faith with our loyal friends and to apologize to them for their having to suffer causeless hatred at the hands of fellow Jews.
Please join me to show appreciation and respect for our pro-Israel Christian allies. You can be the hyphen in the phrase Judeo-Christian.