On the spectrum of social involvement of Christian believers there are two extremes. The first emphasizes focus on the coming life after death, holy life and retreat from the filthy world. This approach is pessimistic. Accordingly-hope is absent from this world. On the other spectrum stands the believer who believes he has a role in the world. He takes the commandment to be “salt and light” seriously. He prays “Thy kingdom come”. He believes that he should push for kingdom principles in his community.
I adhere strongly to the second optimistic approach.
Implementing these kingdom values and principles can be done in different ways. Politics is the main one. It is a vehicle in transforming the culture to one that adheres to kingdom values through state policies and legislation. This holds great importance when you are a Christian Palestinian who holds the Israeli citizenship like me. As a Christian, you witness the fierce unprecedented attack (Genocide in some areas) from ISIS and ISIS like organizations on our fellow Christians in the region. In Israel- we witness the governmental attempts to disconnect us from the Arab people through a hoax. It is the so called “Aramean people” that aims to attract Arab Christians in Israel to join it. On the other hand- and as an Arab in Israel I am still subject to discrimination and established marginalization from Israel’s government.
With that background, I stand today few days before the Israeli Knesset elections that will determine what direction my country will be taking. I believe that voting is not just a civic right but an obligation- not a regular one but a Biblical one. It should come to support a direction that brings kingdom principles and values. You have to decide the real intentions as well as the capacity of the different lists and parties running for the Knesset not just by their words but by their record.
We want that our country come closer to the heart of the Lord through implementing kingdom principles and values.
What Kingdom values are adaptable to agendas and records of different parties and lists for the Knesset? What should a Christian believer check as he considers for what party he will vote in this land shattered by conflict?
This obligation should not be taken lightly but prayfully and seriously through a check list similar (but not necessarily identical as different Christians could evaluate these values somehow different):
1- Integrity and Lack of Corruption in these parties and their members.
This alone is enough to disregard “Israel our Home” party (Led by Lieberman) even without looking into their raciest agendas. This would be the case also for Shas Sephardic religious Party.
2- The Value of Seeking peace and reconciliation according to the heart of the Lord.
A lot of parties just pay lip service for this but actually just maneuverer in order to avoid seeking it.
All the right wing parties in Israel (including Likud under the leadership of Prime Minister Netanyahu) have been guilty in failing to seek peace with the Palestinians.
3- The Value of respecting the freedom of worship.
Jewish and Muslim religious parties have failed to respect that.
4- The value of caring for the other.
This includes the welfare of the different, like Arab, disadvantaged or Women. It includes respecting the other’s human rights in the context of equality for them.