03 February 2008 - Yes to evangelicals
Yechiel Eckstein, my former rabbi--former in the sense that he was the rabbi at Skokie Valley Traditional Synagogue, where I went as a kid--heads the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ). The IFCJ has been instrumental in nurturing support among evangelical Christians for Israel. Recently, it received a seat on the board of the Jewish Agency, Israel's official arm for immigration and Diaspora affairs.
Rabbi Eckstein has written an op-ed in Haaretz defending the appointment, which gives evangelican Christians an indirect say in Jewish affairs. I have to say I agree with him, especially this paragraph:
In my experience, the view that in supporting Israel Christians are furthering their own "end times" scenario is usually held by those who know nothing about real Christians and their theology, and who are, frankly, prejudiced against them. In fact, most of IFCJ's donors base their support upon the biblical call to bless Israel and support the Jewish people in their time of need.
That's been my experience, too. I also think evangelicals are, generally speaking, true friends of Israel who have rallied to her cause in a time of need. I don't agree with everything evangelicals want Israel to do, and of course there are religious differences that aren't going to go away, but on balance evangelical Christianity is a force for human rights and democracy in the Middle East. Those are values worth sharing, and defending.