JewishIsrael finished the year with unfinished business in the form of an excess of ongoing and developing reports on an increasingly complex Israel-evangelical relationship. This new year we plan to complete those reports and to continue our honest exploration of the goals and intent of the "Christian Zionist" movement.
What has been raising the eyebrows of Jews and Gentiles alike is the prevalence of certain high profile Orthodox Jewish leaders, in Israel and the Diaspora, to tread awfully close to compromising Judaism's foundations and fences in a quest to build theological bridges with Christian entities. Reasons for this breaching of sacred lines range from the prophetic to the political. Economic and demographic factors are also at play, including the fear of minority status and isolation when facing radical Islamic forces.
In light of the glut of evidence of clear missionary intent on the part of a number of so-called "Christian Zionists", and the obvious costs involved in pursuing a theologically- based alliance, it's both disturbing and surprising that Jewish Orthodox leadership remains at the forefront of breaking new theological ground. One has to wonder if naiveté has given way to denial or perhaps dishonesty.
Devout evangelizing Christians continue to use a variety of approaches to disguise their missionary intent, but their overall message remains persistent and consistent with Christian scripture: break down the theological barriers between Christian and Jew in order to herald a new era of reconciliation under christ.
Jewishisrael notes that a number of leading Christian Zionist leaders and organizations have been more transparent with regards to their christ-centered intention and motivation. Just prior to Pesach, Pastor Hagee felt comfortable enough to deliver his very Christian message from the rooftop of Aish HaTorah’s World Center, overlooking the Kotel and the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City. And as Israel entered the High Holiday season, Juha Ketola, the International Director of the International Christian Embassy, Jerusalem (ICEJ), made it clear that the core motivation behind the renowned Christian Zionist organization was to let the world know of "the return of the lord jesus".
TBN and Daystar television networks and their acquisitions and intent in Israel were the subject of a recent feature article by Edmund Sanders, Jerusalem bureau chief for the Los Angeles Times. Mr. Sanders interviewed Jewish Israel for the article, "Daystar, TBN ready for Messiah in Jerusalem".
So while Jewish Israelis and Diaspora Zionists continue to singularly focus and fret over the radical Muslim threat, fundamentalist Christian evangelists - who are preying on our very souls - enjoy the blessing and support of the Israeli government.
It's the time of year to come clean. Personal and national responsibility, coupled with a desire to ensure spiritual continuity, should be high up on the Jewish agenda. JewishIsrael.com will continue to remind our community and our leaders of their obligations, and to monitor the situation.
Wishing our readership Moadim l'Simcha and Shana Tova.