As tensions rise between Israel and her neighbors, the ancient story of the Bible threatens once again to involve all of us.
Conflict in the Middle East flows from generation to generation like a river of tears and bad blood. From the days of Abram there has been an unending current of personal rejection, revenge, and mutual loss.
The Jewish and Arab problem affects all of us. It costs us at the gas pump. It divides us at church. Some of us think our faith leads us to be pro-Israel. Others are just as sure that the Bible gives us reason to support those who feel wronged by Israel’s return to the land.
An inclination to side with Israel
For several reasons I’ve sided over the years with those who are sympathetic to the Jewish struggle for a homeland. (1) We are embarrassed by the anti-Semitism of church fathers who saw all Jewish people as Christ-killers. (2) We think we can see God’s hand in Israel’s rebirth and believe it is His purpose to restore Israel in the last days (Isaiah 11:12). (3) And we hear God say to Abram, “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:3).
A tendency to forget Arab interests
I’m beginning to see, though, that over the years I have used God’s prophetic “final solution” for the world as an excuse to care more for Jewish families than for their neighbors. At this I think I’ve been slow to see the difference between what God may be doing in Israel and what Israel herself is doing with or without the approval of God.
As a result I’d like to take some time to think together about whether it is necessary for followers of Christ to take sides now in brought inexpressible grief and suffering to families on both sides of the Israel-Arab conflict.
Before we move ahead, I’d like to know whether you think followers of Christ should align with either Israel or the Palestinians?