Every time I write a pro-Israel screed, I get hate mail. The sad part of that is that I usually get it from Christians. What’s worse is that at least three mainstream Christian denominations have recently ganged up on Israel: the Presbyterian Church (USA), the Church of Christ and the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Together they claim some 8.7 million members – more than the entire population of Israel. The first two have begun divestment of firms that supply security-related goods to Israel. The last is campaigning against Israel’s security fence with the slogan “Peace Not Walls.” Why this seemingly irrational animosity toward Israel on the part of some mainstream Christians? Why would a Christian denomination wish to see Israel rendered less defensible against Arab and Iranian aggressors? Why would any Christian who understood his or her Bible seek to give aid and comfort to Israel’s enemies?
Israel among the Nations
Modern Israel is not the biggest nation in the world. Its total land area is a mere 7,886 square miles (depending on which territories are currently being given away to the Arabs – i.e. Gaza). It would fit comfortably inside Lake Erie – in fact, there’d be 1541 square miles left over. Israel could squeeze almost twice into the island of Taiwan. Israel’s land mass is 466 times smaller than that of the United States. Despite its diminutive size, the surrounding Arab nations, of which there are some 22, don’t want the Jewish state to exist. They are malevolently dedicated to its obliteration. So is Iran.
Since its founding in 1948, Israel has been under relentless attack from the nations that surround it, and from a people who are as yet nationless – the “Palestinians.” Between October 2000 and July 21, 2005 for instance, the state of Israel was attacked by Palestinian Arab terrorists 25,375 times. That figure includes 142 suicide bomb attacks. The number of people murdered in these barbaric acts comes to 1,048 persons, many of them women and children. More than 5600 people were injured or maimed in these attacks. Here in the United States, we rarely hear or read about these ongoing atrocities. In Israel, they are a painful daily reality.
Israel’s General Security Service Director, Yuval Diskin, recently told the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) that some 18,000 Palestinian Authority residents and another 225 Arab citizens of Israel had participated in the perpetration of these attacks.
In addition, more than 1000 Arab missiles capable of hitting all parts of Israel are currently aimed at the tiny nation. The weapons, owned by Iran, Syria, Egypt and Saudi Arabia have the capacity to dump a million pounds of military-grade warheads on Israel.
Despite this, some in the West would enigmatically deny Israel the right to self-defense. The Western Press and Media are only too quick to condemn any Israeli act that would strengthen its hand. Now let’s perform a little exercise in proportion to understand what Israel is up against.
If the US was Israel
The population of the United States is 44 times the population of Israel. To understand what 142 suicide bomb attacks are like in less than five years, the US would have to experience 6,248 of them in the same period. If the US was Israel, it would have lost 46,112 people to suicide murderers and 246,000 would be maimed or injured. Instead of 25,375 attacks, we would have experienced 1,116,500 of them.
How different would be our attitude toward terrorists if we had experienced proportionately what Israel has experienced just since October 2000? Does this not make it easier to understand why Israel puts up fences to keep terrorists out?
Israel, a peaceful, non-aggressive nation, is surrounded by a vast sea of hate-filled Arabs and Persians who harbor genocidal thoughts about Israel and the Jewish people. Almost any one of the 22 or 23 nations that ring Israel and stretch across the top of Africa would love to do her in. If you look at a map of the Middle East, you will see that the land mass of the Arab nations utterly dwarfs the tiny sliver of land known as “Israel.” It is only through the grace of God that Israel still exists. From a purely strategic point of view, this struggling nation seems indefensible. Missiles fired from Saudi Arabia could hit Israel within 6 to 12 minutes, depending upon where they were fired from. There are places where the entire nation is but 9 miles wide (i.e. near the port of Netanya). It is only God and Israel’s formidable defense capabilities that keep the hordes of Arabs and Persians at bay.
Two Viewpoints Contrasted
There are two ways to look at the situation in Israel: Biblically, and politically. As Christians, it seems appropriate that we should view it scripturally. If we see it from a purely secular viewpoint, it looks different. The Press and Media, for the most part, take the strictly secular, political view. As with most issues, they see it through leftist lenses.
The Arabist Press tends to characterize Israel as the aggressor, or to make Israel’s retaliatory attacks on terrorists the moral equivalent of, or worse than, those acts of terrorism. All too frequently, Israel’s defensive behaviors are interpreted as naked aggression while the Palestinian’s frequent atrocities are portrayed merely as the desperate acts of an oppressed people. This type of reporting seriously distorts the picture. It is largely a denial of both historical facts and facts on the ground.
For the most part, Israel has been continuously misrepresented in our nation’s media. What Israel has suffered since its founding in 1948 has often gone unreported or, at best, misreported. The real situation of the “Palestinians” has also been profoundly misunderstood.
As Christians, the Biblical point of view ought to take precedence over that of the secular press and media. If we can come to see Israel as God seems to see her, her plight will soon look different. God has not forsaken Israel. God is faithful.
At the same time, God cares about the so-called Palestinian people too. Their plight is largely the result of their leader’s decisions from the time of the founding of Israel to the present. Space does not here permit documentation of these facts, but they are available if one is willing to do the work of researching the issue.
When God looks down upon the children of Adam, be they Arabs, Iranians, Jews or Americans, he is not a respecter of persons. He sees sin as sin, no matter who commits it. Murder is murder. It is never “okay.” But all killing is not murder. There is a difference between naked aggression – the killing of innocent people – and killing in self-defense. When it comes to human morality, there is one divine standard. All of us will stand before the judgment seat of Christ to account for how we chose to live our lives (Romans 14:10).
The worlds’ media need to make distinctions between acts of murder, terrorism, self-defense, police actions, and naked aggression. Its one thing to write, “Violence broke out in the Middle East” and quite another to write, “Palestinian terrorists murdered 50 innocent civilians in Tel Aviv today.” Israel’s retaliation for terrorist acts is not the moral equivalent of the terrorist acts.
On the other hand, if an Israeli murders Palestinians, as one did four of them recently, he too needs to be brought to justice, not murdered by a rabid mob. As I said earlier, sin is sin, no matter who commits it.