Knowing Who Your Friends Are
When a Jewish senator was interviewed on the subject of anti-Semitism, he frankly acknowledged how anti-Jewish prejudice had affected his life. “I believe,” he said, “that from time to time, every Jew looks around the circle of his friends and asks this question: ‘If an Adolph Hitler comes to America, who among these people will give me a place to hide?’” It was a good question.
Within the Jewish community and the State of Israel in particular, people constantly ask, analyze, and debate the very same thing. For more than fifty years, little Israel has been looking for true friends. It has found precious few in the international community. Slowly, however, an awakening of sorts has taken place. Many Israeli officials and leaders in the Jewish community have concluded that millions of evangelical Christians rank high on their best friends list. The evaluation contradicts a widely held perception by Jewish people worldwide that evangelicals are unprincipled, religious predators whose only goal is to deceive and entrap unwary Jews.
However, if the proof of true friendship is in the proverbial pudding, then the “pudding” is winning taste tests on adaily basis. In a recent JerusalemPost article by Haim Shapiro, Ariel Mayor Ron Nachman stressed his connection with a group of evangelical Christians that has supported the settlement movement. Ariel is an Israeli town near Palestinian-controlled Nablus in the West Bank. Furthermore, the mayor said he believes that Christian groups, especially those from the United States, could become a factor in promoting peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
“I see tourism as the primary route for peace,” he said. Then he added, “I see the Baptist potential from the US, but also from Europe and the Far East.”1
Shapiro summarized: “Meanwhile, Nahman [sic] expressed his confidence in the support of the fundamentalist Christians, those who take the Bible literally and especially those who believe that God’s promise to Abraham is still valid. . . . Nahman [sic] said he is aware that some Christians are antisemites [sic], but added that those Christians who do support Israel are true friends.”2
Mayor Nachman hit on the fundamental commitment of Bible-believing Christians when he spoke of “those who believe that God’s promise to Abraham is still valid.” All Christian Zionism is rooted in that fundamental truth. The Jewish people have the right to a secure homeland in the Middle East because God said they do. Divine dictates transcend all other considerations, even the valid issues of historical, moral, and international recognition of the state.
For this reason, evangelical Christians have contributed millions of dollars to assist Jewish organizations in bringing Jewish émigrés to Israel, particularly those from the former Soviet Union. We also have been the foremost proponents for moving the embassy of the United States from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem—a move endorsed by the congress and belatedly supported by the president. We have manifested a significant presence in support of Israel on Capitol Hill in Washington and in government offices across Europe.
While continuing to assist new Jewish immigrants with material aid, some evangelicals have even moved quickly to send various types of much needed help to Israel to assist in settling Arab-Christian refugees who have fled southern Lebanon.
Moreover, Christian broadcasters have conscientiously reported the truth about developments in the Middle East, whereas the secular media have ignored and distorted the facts. As Mayor Nachman noted, many believers have forged strong bonds with Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza. Their support has never wavered despite changes within the government of Israel. The biblical mandate is clear and irrevocable.
Such Christian acts of kindness are not motivated by some nefarious desire to subvert, deceive, or “buy” souls. Most of us make no apology for our commitment to the gospel and the Great Commission. Nor should we. Jewish columnists and commentators who boldly address the growing, global problem of Christian persecution are not held suspect by evangelicals. Nor is their fidelity to Judaism seen as an underlying instrument of deception. In the main, it is the evangelicals who are becoming martyrs. The Jewish people have seen it all before, and their warnings and timely counsel are received with friendship and appreciation.
To answer your question, senator, if an Adolph Hitler comes to America, who among the people will give you a place to hide? You have it on good authority, we will.