BY RON JAGER—
What is it about Evangelical Christians and their support for Israel that makes some Jews at times uneasy? I can even imagine what makes Jews – especially liberal Jews – nervous about this huge group of Israel lovers: their conservative values, an uncompromising stance on the Middle East peace process and support for Israel; the theological slant of their support for Israel.
They the Evangelical Christians love to love Israel unconditionally, and express love for Jews unconditionally. There is something almost non-Jewish about it. Jews usually do not talk about unconditional love. It’s not something that usually turns us on. We are more into debate, questioning, challenging and rattling the cage. Christians love to love. Jews love to kvetch.
Why do we find so little expression of unconditional love among Jews? Is it because we Jews confuse love with supporting official policy? That is, if we disagree with Israel’s policies, do we find it difficult – even impossible – to express unconditional love for Israel? Moreover, how many Israel supporters who disagree with Israel’s policies can honestly say that their love for Israel is, in fact, unconditional?
When one considers the worldwide movement in recent years to de-legitimize the State of Israel, that is the enemies of Israel are not looking for a debate. Their aim is not to engage or interact but to undermine and demonize. Their opposition is not open to reason or good will. In short, their hatred is unconditional. This being the current geo-strategic reality challenging Israel, than why should some Jews be uneasy by the Evangelicals’ unconditional love toward Israel?
How better to fight unconditional hatred than with unconditional love? What better weapon against the forces working to delegitimize Israel than a force that unequivocally expresses love of Israel? Of course, we Jews should never stop doing what we do best: argue, debate, challenge and unconditionally “kvetch”. However, this must be conducted within a common consensus meaning that Israel must remain the home and nation of the Jewish people.
But we can’t love the process more than we love Israel itself. For Israel supporters, unconditional love is the emotion that ought to trump all others; the emotion that fuels and gives meaning to our actions. I can challenge my child and rebuke him, but I can never forget to show him unconditional love. Many of our debates about Israel have become coarse and divisive. One reason is that in our zeal to express tough, critical love, we have forgotten about pure love, unconditional love so common among our Evangelical supporters throughout the United States. It is this unconditional love that can bind us together, Christians and Jews in our undivided support for the State of Israel and send a strong message of deterrence to Israel’s enemies.
We have much to learn from our Christian supporters about how they express their unconditional love for Israel. At the end of the day, they the Evangelical Christians give us Jews an important lesson on how to show unconditionally support for Israel as the homeland of the Jewish Nation.
Ron Jager is a 25-year veteran of the I.D.F., served as a field mental health officer. Prior to retiring in 2005, served as the Commander of the Central Psychiatric Military Clinic for Reserve Soldiers at Tel-Hashomer. Since retiring from active duty, he has been providing consultancy services to NGO’s implementing Psycho trauma and Psycho education programs to communities in the North and South of Israel. Today, Ron serves as a strategic advisor to the Director of the Shomron Liaison Office.
To contact him: firstname.lastname@example.org