Rabbi Eliezer Melamed writes: In recent times we have witnessed increasing support for Israel on the part of evangelical Christians. They view the establishment of the State of Israel as the miraculous fulfillment of the vision of the biblical prophets.
The Jewish nation returns to its land and the soil yields its produce. “For the Lord shall comfort Zion: He will comfort all her waste places; and He will make her wilderness like Eden and her desert like the garden of the Lord (Isaiah 51:3).”
Bible-believing Christians see the settlements and vineyards and are deeply moved. “And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them” (Isaiah 65:21). “And I will bring back the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink their wine; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them” (Amos 9:14).
While many countries support the Arabs out of economic interests or fear or false beliefs, the evangelicals are clearly on our side. Their point of view is very important, for they are a significant and influential group in the United States, the strongest country in the world.
Many Jews wonder how we should we relate to Christians who love Israel. After all, for nearly two thousand years the Jewish nation was persecuted, plundered, forced to convert, expelled and murdered in the name of Christianity.
The most severe sin of Christianity was its teaching that Israel was no longer God’s Chosen Nation, and that all the prophecies of Redemption now pertained to the Church rather than the Jews.
But then came the return of the Jews to our Land after all the centuries of dispersal and mistreatment culminating in the Holocaust. Israel’s agricultural miracles, along with its ability to withstand enemies all around it, have inspired many Christians.
As they understand from the Bible, Israel is still in a covenantal relationship with God, and the Jews must return to their land, settle it, and occupy themselves with Torah and mitzvot.
Those Christians who believe God chose Israel, and who are not working to convert us, are righteous gentiles, and God will reward them. Because of their faith in the Bible and their ethics, they are closer to us than are secular leftists.
Some Jews will still ask, “What if among our friends there are some missionaries who want to convert us?”
Indeed, if and when such a thing is proven, they must be fought. However, any supporter of Israel who is not a missionary must be treated with respect and love.
As Rav Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook wrote, “Love of creation should spread to all mankind, despite all the differing opinions, religions and faiths, despite all the differences of races and climates ”
Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, one of Israel’s most outspoken religious-Zionist leaders, is dean of Yeshiva Har Bracha and a prolific author on Jewish law.