There’s a popular trend in today’s culture to identify as whatever you want to be. As Christians who have been working in Israel’s heartland for more than 16 years, we decided that it’s high time we identify as “The Israel Guys.” Unfortunately for Christians who love Israel around the world, it’s easy to want to distance ourselves from the holy land due to closed borders and a changing government and policies.
Israel’s borders have been largely closed to non-citizens for the past year and a half. Even now, millions of Christians are wondering when, if ever, they will be able to visit again. Israel’s tourism industry that received millions of people every year and that employed thousands of Israelis, has nearly died, with many wondering if it will ever be revived.
Israel has a new government, which some view as both good and bad. After four elections and no state budget over the last several years, many are hailing Naftali Bennett’s government as a good thing for Israel. The new coalition has broken the status quo that has been in place for many years. New players from the right and left of the political spectrum have joined forces to bring change to Israel. However, the new government has not come without a price.
In a largely controversial move, Naftali Bennett’s tiny party who landed only seven seats in the last election formed a coalition that included the Raam Party. Even though Raam’s leader, Mansour Abbas, has maintained a peaceful and unifying voice since joining the government, many have their doubts as to his true intentions. In addition to being a member of the Islamist Movement in Israel, a recent investigation also brought to light Raam’s ties to Hamas in Gaza, including their transfer of funds there.
Israeli government policies regarding Judea and Samaria have also sent mixed messages since Bennett came to power. Even though 3,000 new housing units were recently approved for Jewish settlements in the biblical heartland, 1,300 housing units were also approved for Palestinian building in Area C of the West Bank (falsely so-called). While this might sound like it is only fair, the move was largely political. Palestinians are already allowed to build in Areas A and B while Jews are only allowed to build in Area C.
Israel’s Defense Minister, Benny Gantz, has also made moves to pander to the Palestinian Authority and the international community. He recently met with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, a known terrorist supporter and head of the corrupt Palestinian government. Since then, he has not only approved Arab housing units in Area C, but also approved a massive loan to the PA, a move which circumvents laws that prohibit funds from going to the PA if they end up paying the salaries of convicted terrorists and their families.
The US is now pushing to re-open the Palestinian Consulate in Jerusalem, rightly closed by Trump. With Israel’s new government having to maintain a balance of keeping both sides of politics satisfied as well as keep the international community happy, there is a concern they will allow the US to re-open the consulate, which would be seen as a huge victory for the anti-Israel community as well as the Palestinian Authority.
It would be easy to criticize Israel and take our support for the land and people elsewhere due to their changing policies and fragile government that cannot seem to take a strong stand for anything.
For example, a Christian leader who claimed to have the largest pro-Israel following in the world, threatened to take his 70 million followers (Facebook followers) and “go home” after Naftali Bennett formed the current government in Israel. He simply disagreed with Bennett’s formation of the new government, and was of the opinion that it would be a disaster for Israel. As a result, he threatened to pull his support for Israel.
I use this as an example to ask the question: is our support for Israel based on who is in power and what their policies are? Or is it based on an everlasting covenant that God made with the land and people of Israel?
Another thing we should remind ourselves of is that Israel is very influenced by the international community, and reasonably so. Being the only democratic country in the Middle East, and the only Jewish nation in the world (and a tiny one at that), they depend on the support of their allies around the world.
Instead of criticizing Israel’s changing policies and governments, what if we used our support to encourage Israel to do the right thing? What if those 70 million Facebook followers stood squarely with Israel’s right to sovereignty in 100% of their land? There is another American pro-Israel organization who claims 10 million members. Together, these two organizations equal nearly 100 million people. I’m guessing you and I may be counted in at least one of these groups of Israel-lovers.
Israel listens when nearly 100 million people encourage them to do the right thing. Instead of counting ourselves as simply a viewer as to what is happening in Israel, let’s rise up and take action to stand with, encourage, and support Israel to do what is right. Things like embracing Jerusalem as their sovereign capital, applying sovereignty over Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria, standing strongly against terrorism in all its forms, and taking any steps necessary to defend themselves against their enemies.
At “The Israel Guys,” we are committed to standing unconditionally with Israel. Our mission is to tell the true and authentic stories of Israel through videos, articles and podcasts. From Youtube, social media, our website and now, our brand new “Israel Guys” social media app, we are cutting through the fog of biased media when it comes to Israel and telling the true stories of the land and people who call this place home. Push past the fake news and understand what is really happening in Israel so that you can stand unequivocally with the land that God gave to Abraham.
God made a covenant with His land and people. No matter what happens, that covenant cannot be broken. Our decision is simply whether or not we will stand with that promise. We cannot sit on the fence, and I believe our place is to stand shoulder-to-should with Israel, no matter what.
Where do you stand?