By Anne Etra, Times of Israel—
I am a Jew from way back.
Even my name – Etra – comes from the Hebrew ‘atara’ which means ‘coronal or crown’. Can you spot it in the Siddur?
And with no contradictions whatsoever, this blogpost celebrates Christian soldiers for Israel.
Because Shmuel Bowman, who runs OPERATION LIFESHIELD which builds modern bomb shelters and places them in border communities (and increasingly) all over Israel – invited me to The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem’s 75th Israel Gala in Washington DC.
Because his biggest supporters are Christian Zionists.
Christians who love Israel and Jews because it is biblical and sacred scripture. Because they believe in Prophecy. Because they quote the Bible, put mezuzahs on their doors, visit Israel in droves, and support her spiritually, financially, and politically.
Because they are in the ring.
Yes, we may have different views when it comes to Jesus, but we have more in common than we know, or frankly seek to understand.
And in a world where Jew hatred remains a perpetual, wildly irrational reality, we are on the same, passionate team.
So, what was it like at the Gala?
- The room was festive and beautiful and all Israel.
- We sang the National Anthem, and Hatikvah.
- Shmuel gave the Hebrew and English benediction.
- ICEJ USA Director Susan Michael was the elegant master of ceremonies, moving in her account of what it’s like as a Christian to walk Israel’s paths, and how much more unites us than divides us.
- Juergen Bueller, Jerusalem ICEJ President inspired as he recited ‘lech lechah’, and like Avraham he did, moving to Israel and sharing the pride in his sons now serving in the IDF.
- Ambassador Michael Herzog and Israeli Intelligence Minister Gila Gamliel offered their powerful perspectives.
- Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares awed with how he came to pass an antisemitism law in his state, due to his faith and humanity.
- A humble Jonathan Greenblatt described how he came to peace terms with his Arab counterparts to form the historic Abraham Accords.
- Dumusani Washington and the Hebrew Project Artists rocked the joint in several languages, putting Aretha and the Cornelius Brothers to shame.
- IDF Brig. General Amir Avivi told how, upon discovering most of his army battalion had never been to Jerusalem, changed course and took them there, altering their Israel spine forever.
- And with a voice like an angel Vesna Buehler sang sacred prayers.
I cannot tell you how amazing the spirit was in that room…the ruach…the joy.
And underneath it a rock-solid seriousness about battling antisemitism and supporting Israel at all costs.
I say this.
Todah Rabah, Christian friends.
You strengthen my resolve.
Thank you for your faith in God, your devotion to righteousness, to Jews and to Israel.
May the Lord shine his countenance upon you, and grant you peace.