Let me be very clear: I am a Zionist. Absolutely, unrepentantly, completely behind Israel and the Jewish people. Not only for theological reasons (though those of course are paramount) but for political reasons as well; Israel is the only nation in a very strategic, very volatile region which doesn’t hate our guts and consider us the “Great Satan.” 

So, I am a Christian Zionist. Deal with it.

That being said, as with most things, it’s important to strike a balance between extremes.  I am a strong supporter of Israel, but like any nation, it is not perfect and its government does sometimes do very bone-headed things. (No, defending herself against the attacks of her enemies does not qualify as being “bone-headed.” Duh.) Therefore, Israel (whether the government or her citizens) does not get a pass when they are wrong.

One of the things which is an ongoing point of contention, and can indeed produce an interesting tension in the heart of a Christian Zionist like myself, is stuff like this:

When the congregation at St. Nicolay church in this northern Israeli town gathered on that quiet Friday morning of May 29, they never expected to be showered with stones. The Russian Orthodox worshipers, including many women, children and the elderly, had filled the small building to overflow with several outside when they were stunned by the rain of stones. Some were injured and received medical care.

It seems some yeshiva students (you know, the ones who don’t sully themselves by joining the IDF to defend their homeland and people – those obviously courageous guys…) bravely attacked children and old men and women on their way to worship.

Those intrepid young men should be richly rewarded – for instance, by being lined up and jack-slapped by some of the very IDF soldiers they think they’re too good to join, and who understand the concept of freedom (which is why they fight and die – not only for the Jewish Israelis, but for their non-Jewish co-nationalists as well).

Thankfully, and very much unlike the Muslim nations surrounding her, Israel neither officially persecutes her Christians nor tacitly approves of it, either.  It’s a very touchy situation in Israel, with the yeshivas existing essentially outside the direct jurisdiction of the government and agencies of government.  Unlike the “Palestinian” Authority, for instance, or Egypt, where persecution of the rapidly dwindling Christian populations in their midst is at least tacitly approved and assisted by the government.

However, unofficial and unapproved as it is, it is things like this which emphasize that even though Israel has an unquestionable right to the land God gave her, even though we as Christians are compelled by that same God to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and to bless the Jewish people, and even though we solidly support Israel, the nation is quite far from being perfect and (again) does not get a free pass.

From the article “Why Condemn Israel But Not Iranian Government Brutality?

The European Left, the Democrats, the Liberals, the leaders of the West, all go rampant when Israel attacks the Gaza Strip. Where are they now? Why Obama, Blair, Sarkozy keep on sitting on the fence at the time that Iranian Regime is slaughtering protestors and crushing their basic right to be able to protest?

Tell me, where is everyone? To where have they vanished, all those who protested against Israel’s violence during Operation Cast, Lead or the Second Lebanon War, or Defense Shield or even the Hague when we were dragged there by our hair when we dared to try build a separation barrier between us and the suicide bomber? Here and there we see protests but they are mainly Iranian immigrants. In principle, Europe is calm and relaxed. Likewise, the USA. Here few dozens, there few thousands. What, they have vanished because it is Teheran, and not here?

UPDATE: It is truly mystifying to me that the same press and über-liberal religious leaders which condemned Israel for defending her civilians against the genocidal attacks of her sworn enemy are utterly – utterly silent unless forced to say something (though as little as they can get away with and hope that it all goes away eventually) when things like this happen.

And another thing: Keep in mind, these people (the Iranian regime which is putting down these pro-Democracy demonstrations so brutally) are the very people that Obama wants to make nice with.

UPDATE: Get this: not only does the Iranian government crack down on pro-Democracy demonstrators by shooting into the crowd, but they now say that the family of an innocent bystander murdered by Iranian police must pay the government for the privilege of retrieving his body, so that the government’s cost for the bullet which took their son’s life can be recouped.

Again: never forget, these people are the very ones Obama wants to sit down to tea and play footsie under the table with.

Blog friend and general all-around  cool sister in Christ, Vee (of Living Journey fame) clued me in to a new book out, The Jews, Modern Israel, and the New Supercessionism.  I haven’t read the book yet myself, but given that Vee’s involved (she did research for the book over the last two years), I’m quite certain that it’s well worth the read.

From the book’s website:

A new book aimed at lay Christians, church leaders and Bible college students which explores the relationship between the Jews, the Church and Israel. This timely volume offers a careful and objective examination of the issue from a range of perspectives at a time when the debate surrounding the relationship between the Church and Israel currently raging within Evangelicalism is increasingly polemical and polarised.

The table of contents alone looks intriguing:

1   Who is the “Israel” of Romans 11:26?         
     Andy Cheung

2   Biblical Theology and the Modern State of Israel          
     Calvin L. Smith

3   Apostolic Jewish-Christian Hermeneutics       
     and Supercessionism     
     Jacob Prasch

4   A Calvinist Considers Israel’s Right to the Land      
     Stephen M. Vantassel

5   Israel and the Purposes of God        
     Howard Taylor

6   Jealous for Zion: Evangelicals, Zionism and the      
     Restoration of Israel
     Paul Richard Wilkinson

7   Faith and Politics in the Holy Land Today  
     Calvin L. Smith

8   Is the Gospel Relevant to the Jewish People?  
     Tony Pearce

I’m hoping the book comes out in ebook format (my preferred format) at some point…

Interesting counterpoint here to the current leftist cause célèbre of decrying evil, racist Israel by spotlighting the plight of “Palestinian” Christians.

How wonderful.  But this ecumenical coalition has not expressed very much interest in any "dwindling" Christian population anywhere else in the Middle East, where in fact nearly every Christian population is "dwindling."  The "dwindling" Palestinian Christian population merits special concern because they are, sadly, useful props for bashing Israel.  "Dwindling" Christian populations in Syria, Jordan, Iraq, and Lebanon, however tragic their plight, serve no utility for bishops, church bureaucrats, and professional Religious Left activists anxious for one more excuse to decouple the U.S. from Israel.

The article points out something that the Religious Left willfully forgets: Israel is not and has not been the aggressor.  Israel has been simply fighting for the right to exist, to not be gleefully butchered by her enemies, since day one.  As has been stated elsewhere, “If the Muslims stopped fighting, there would be peace in the Middle East.  If Israel stopped fighting, there would be no Israel.”

The organizer for this rather disingenuous plea was Churches for Middle East Peace, which thanks mostly to Roman Catholic participation, is not as hard-line anti-Israel as many of its Mainline Protestant and Evangelical Left supporters would prefer.  But its counsel and lobbying almost always, if in usually muted language, repeat the usual refrain that the U.S. must, through "hands on," "bold action," strong-arm Israel into concessions, while the victimized Palestinians and their Arab patrons simply wait patiently to achieve their demands. Arab intransigence never seems to merit "bold action" by the U.S., just endless accommodation. "Churches for Middle East Peace" indeed.

Interesting op-ed article worth reading.

The world media – as usual – is again demonizing Israel for defending herself from unprovoked attack, even though the IDF (as always) went to herculean lengths to minimize civilian casualties.

A well-nigh impossible task, given that Israel’s enemies bravely hid themselves inside civilian populations and courageously fired at the Jews from behind the protection of women, children, and the infirm.

Again – as always.

Even so, the world media falls right into character and lambastes the Jews for defending themselves.  And they are all the more incensed because the Jews intentionally limited their response to Hamas’ attacks even to the point of taking fire from supposed civilians who carried RPGs and other weapons and fired into Jewish ranks, in an apparent attempt to provoke the IDF to return fire in self-defense so that the slavering, obsequious media mavens could jump in and pile on the Jews, proving to their uncritical audiences that yet again, Israel was the true impediment to peace (because the Jews continue to have the audacity to refuse to roll over and die when they are attacked).

Joshua Eastman, an oleh from Baltimore, fought in the recent Gaza conflict, and brings a bit of a reality check to the cacophonous chorus of media-driven world opinion on his blog, Through Josh-Colored Glasses.

The world is already trying to fault Israel, telling everyone that civilians died, and Israelis murdered. But I was there. My feet were on the ground and I saw the truth. I saw that warnings were given, I saw the enemy that fought us. I saw the twelve year olds with missiles and RPGs strapped to their backs. I saw that it was with sadness and great anger Israeli troops recognized the need to fire on people who crossed the red line, the danger zone which meant they saw us, and knew where we were. Old people mined with bombs, children armed with detonators, tunnels that opened in the ground to swallow our soldiers. I watched my commanders passing out all of our food to the children who were taken prisoner. I received the commands "closed to fire on the right" if our intelligence had reported civilians in the area. I watched us, more often then not, taking cover when supposed civilian positions fired on us from "the right|. Yet the world thinks it can bend the truth. We were not allowed to fire on schools. We were told not to loot. We watched in anger as our bombs, so as not to fall on large civilian centers, fell on our own troops, so that we could tell the world we were attempting to scare the enemy while limiting civilian losses.

Yet they won’t say that in the press.

The full blogpost is a resounding counterpoint to the world media.

Notice, in this article, the difference between the Pro-Israeli demonstration and the Pro-“Palestinian” one.

Click here.

You have to see it to believe it…

(Thanks, Vee, for the heads-up on the formatting issue…)

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