Faith to Faith: Christians and Jews working together for Israel

21 Feb
Faith2faith

Faith to Faith panel, from left: Rabbi Howard Simon, Robert Stearns, Susan Michael, Consul General Chaim Shacham, Darius Jones, Pastor Scott Thomas

Ever since 1948, Israel has existed in a world that doesn’t completely support its existence.  The Jewish State of Israel allows Jewish people world wide to know that no matter what, there is a place that they can allows be accepted.  However, does this only apply to Jews? And who else supports Israel and why?

 These questions and many more were answered at the Jewish Federations event, Faith to Faith: Christians and Jews working together for Israel, this past Tuesday at the Church of Hope.  The event consisted of a panel discussion led by Rabbi Howard Simon at which various questions were posed to the panelists who then discussed them.  Darius Jones, Southeast Regional Outreach Director at AIPAC, provided a unique insight into the beliefs of the African-American community with respects to Israel and the reasoning behind them.  Robert Stearns of Eagle Wings Ministries, Susan Michael of the International Christian Embassy Jordan, and Pastor Scott Thomas of Christians United For Israel all contributed the rationale behind Christian support of Israel and their stance on many issues threatening the existence of Israel.  Finally, Chaim Shacham, the Consul General of Israel to Florida and Puerto Rico, gave Israel a voice during the discussion and allowed all attending to understand Israel’s perspective and point of view on a wide variety of anti-Israel actions.

Going into the program I never really thought about why others besides Jewish people advocated for Israel.  However, throughout the program I gained a vast amount of knowledge as to why people do.  Some people see Israel as significant in the Bible and support Israel because of biblical reasons, while others may sympathize and understand the Jewish peoples’ struggles and desire for them to have a safe place to call home.  Whatever the reason, I believe that no one group’s support may be overlooked, especially in the world we live in today.  With the ever-growing power of the media and anti-Semitic groups, we must accept and embrace all help that we may receive.  With a B.D.S. (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement gaining ground worldwide, Israel cannot stand alone.

The necessity to educate people about and send people to Israel cannot be overstated.  Faith to Faith was an eye opening and educational event for all present.  I learned a great amount about advocating for Israel and how to combat movements against Israel.  The event truly showed that support for Israel is not just a Jewish position, but one anyone can hold.

Grant C. is the Heller Israel Advocacy Initiative Intern at The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee.

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