Kimberly Troup, Director, CFOIC North America
Tuesday, July 7, 2008
For the past 12 years, I have dedicated myself to raising awareness and support for the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria. While most of the world refers to these places as settlements, I learned early on that the term “settlements” was a pejorative one. It was a term used purposely by the settlement movement’s detractors to create an impression that these are temporary sites, easy to dismantle and uproot. In this way, they were able to de-legitimize the historical, Biblical right of the Jewish people to live in Judea and Samaria. After all, the places so ready recognizable to us because of their Biblical associations, Hebron, Shiloh, Elon Moreh, Tekoa, Jerusalem, are the very places that are being called “illegal settlements” by so many all over the world.
Most Christians look at the issues taking place in the Middle East from a Biblical perspective; we tend to see the issues in black and white terms. If God said it, then it must be so. He said ALL the Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people; therefore, we take it literally that it should belong to the Jewish people. No questions. Unfortunately, however, there are some Christians who don’t understand the connection between the Biblical truths and current Middle East events. And, perhaps even more painfully, so many Jews, including the majority of the American Jewish leadership, do not support the communities in Judea and Samaria. They have a different perspective about how the Bible is applied to the events taking place in modern day Israel. In fact, that is one of the reasons that we have found such a warm welcome to CFOIC Heartland from the Jews living there.
Of course, the situation in the Middle East is not a simple one and the issues are complex and varied. However, as Christians who firmly support Israel’s right to ALL the land of Israel, we have an opportunity, indeed an obligation, to stand strong on behalf of Judea and Samaria. Our voice is needed now more than ever before.
In the past few years, I have seen a growing trend among Christians to still their voice of support and weaken their stand on behalf of Biblical Israel because they have gotten involved with their local Jewish Federation which, in turn, will not support the communities. Now is not the time to be silent. We have an obligation to stand for what we believe in, and not cave in to the pressures or beliefs of those around us. In talking about this issue with a friend recently, she made a statement that spoke volumes. Referring to her own disagreement with the local Jewish community, she said, “I am here to support Israel, and the American Jewish community is not Israel. If they don’t support the communities of Judea and Samaria, then it is even more important that we should.” Of course, she remains well connected to her local Jewish community and supports their work for Israel. But they have agreed to disagree and she continues to support the communities, even when they don’t.
The lesson here is a valuable one indeed. It is so important for us to speak up and let our voice be heard. We can do it in a respectful manner, but more importantly, we can let our actions speak louder than words. As we follow our hearts and our convictions, we will lead by example and who knows how that will change the future?
Some years back one of our supporters became friendly with a Jew from her area who was very active with the local Jewish community. They had lively discussions about the “settlement” issue on a regular basis. They agreed to disagree and maintained a very friendly relationship. In the course of time, one of our community representatives was in town for a CFOIC event, and she invited her friend to come and hear him speak about the settlement issue. For the first time, this Jewish man was given the opportunity to meet a Jew from the communities and to hear a different perspective on the issue. What he heard shook him profoundly. He completely changed the way he felt about the settlement issue and even joined Sondra Baras for a full-day tour in Judea and Samaria, an experience he truly treasured. And this turnabout could only have happened because a Christian was not afraid to speak up, kindly, gently and respectfully, but resolutely all the same.
There are churches and ministries which are more concerned with being accepted in their communities than in standing for the truth, and they stay away from so-called controversial issues. For that reason, they refuse to get involved with the settlement issue. We have been inundated with the “politically correct” or PC concept. In essence, however, PC is all about making everyone happy. Being PC means not choosing a side, not taking a stand. It is about walking the middle ground just because it is in the middle and trying to appease both sides regardless of what each side stands for. I believe God spoke to this issue when he sent the warning to the Laodiceans in Revelation 3:15-16: “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.”
We need to take a stand. We need to decide whether we are hot or cold. As Christians, we have a responsibility to speak out. If we do not raise our voices in support of the communities of Judea and Samaria, then who will? If we are so worried that our local Jewish community will disagree or that a local church will find us too political with regard to our stand for Judea and Samaria that we compromise our beliefs and back down just to please them, who will challenge them? Perhaps, God has put us in these positions and relationships to cause them to re-think long held policies that are in need of re-visiting.
As we speak out on behalf of the people of Judea and Samaria in our local communities, churches, and circles of influence, we can help dispel the misinformation that abounds regarding the temporary nature of a “settlement” and the “fanatics” who live there. We can stand up for what we believe in and maintain a strong voice of support on their behalf. With the current pressure that is being exerted on Israel to abandon the 300,000 people who have made their homes in the Biblical Heartland, we have to stand up and let our voice be heard. We must not let our fear of man or our desire to make friends stop us from shouting from the rooftops what we know to be true. We must continually speak to our pastors, our political representatives, our government leaders, at all levels, regarding Israel’s right to live in the land that God promised and gave to them. We cannot afford to fall silent or let ourselves be muzzled to please others.
“For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14)