When asked why a person supports Israel, most Christians respond with Genesis 12:3, the biblical verse where God tells Abraham that He would bless those who blessed him and would curse those who cursed Him. While certainly a pertinent scripture, it cannot alone satisfy either the more curious or the antagonist.
There are actually many reasons why Christians support Israel and the Jewish people, and an advocate should be ready to articulate them all.
Millions of Christians have visited Israel and its holy sites and seen their Bible come alive in profoundly life-transforming ways. It only stands to reason that these pilgrims return with an excitement about Israel and deep appreciation for the country.
All Christians should support Israel in gratitude for the protection of their Christian brothers and sisters there and the atmosphere of peace and security they enjoy as full citizens of the Jewish state. While religious minorities face intense persecution across the Middle East, Israel provides the only safe haven for Christians and is consequently the only country in the region in which the Christian community is growing.
Israel’s incredible contributions across the fields of healthcare, agriculture and technology are saving lives, creating jobs and enriching communities across the United States. With advances ranging from text messaging to cancer research and from drip irrigation to the flu vaccine, odds are that innovative Israelis have improved life for you and your family.
It is vital for all Americans to maintain support of a strong alliance with the only liberal democracy in the Middle East, a country that advances our national interests and shares our values of freedom of speech, freedom of worship and human rights. Israel is the one stable, pro-American country in a hostile region and deserves a strong and committed friendship with the United States.
Support of Israel is a good investment, not just for the investor but for the blessing of the region. The greatest blessing for the Palestinian people lies in an alliance with Israel through which they would enjoy the benefits of her strong economy and free society. Instead, every terrorist or military campaign against Israel has resulted in the weakening of the Palestinian economy and the deterioration of the society at the hands of despots.
One can boldly support Israel whose founding was completely legal and formulated by the community of nations as reflected in the 1917 Balfour Declaration, the 1920 San Remo Conference Resolution and the 1922 League of Nations vote. After the declaration of statehood in 1948, Israel was admitted into the United Nations in 1949 with a majority vote.
After two thousand years of persecutions, expulsions and attempts at annihilation, it is time that the world says “enough!” Israel’s founding brought justice to the Jewish people who were never allowed to defend themselves or determine their own future. That has now changed.
The tragic history of Jewish-Christian relations – a history that has been plagued by anti-Semitism perpetuated by confessing Christians – should cause all Christians to seek ways to establish a new relationship with the Jewish people based on mutual respect. Likewise, they should condemn the demonization of the Jewish people and delegitimization of the Jewish state as nothing more than modern expressions of anti-Semitism.
Genesis 12 is clear that God chose Abraham and the nation that would descend from him for the purposes of world redemption. That is why God declared that those who blessed His plan and choice of Israel would also be blessed. The return of the Jewish people to their ancient homeland is proof of the faithfulness of God to His promises to Abraham and as such, demands our support.
This explains why Psalm 122:6 commands us to pray for the peace and well-being of Jerusalem, and as watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem in Isaiah 62:6-7, we should pray with great fervor and persistence until all of God’s promises to the Jewish people are fulfilled. In Romans 9-11 of the New Testament, the Apostle Paul is clear that the church should honor the Jewish people as the root that supports the Christian faith because everything we hold dear as Christians has come from them.
With such a firm biblical foundation for support of the Jewish people, it is no surprise to find that many of the fathers of the Bible-based Evangelical Christian movement preached from the scriptures the return of the Jewish people to their ancient homeland and the blessing this return would bring upon the world. Modern Christian supporters of Israel follow in the steps of great Christian leaders such as John and Charles Wesley, Robert Murray MacCheynne, Charles Spurgeon and many of the Puritan preachers, to name a few.
One must conclude that while the biblical basis for Christian support of Israel is extensive, there are also a variety of other convincing arguments based on history, morality, and plain old common sense.
Susan Michael is the US Director of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem www.icejusa.org.