What part of our Lord’s teachings are we willing to ignore if there are 50 million Christians applauding the state of Israel? My mind went to the people living in this land called Israel. Let me delineate several different classes of people:
• There are those who are part of the “Law of Return” or “Aliya.” Proving that a grandmother was Jewish allows them to move to Israel from anywhere in the world, receiving full citizenship and special compensation. Yet native Palestinians whose ancestors have lived in the land for hundreds of years are now considered aliens.
• Those who have immigrated as Jews over the last 50 years have full citizenship.
• Those who are of Palestinian ethnicity but did not leave the land in the 1948 war have restricted citizenship.
• Those from East Jerusalem and the Golan. After the 1967 war, Israel made their land part of the state. These Palestinians do not have citizenship, only a paper document verifying that they have the right to live in the state of Israel. There are 500,000 noncitizen people living on land that has been in their family for generations.
• A fifth group consists of those living with a 25-foot wall passing through their West Bank property. Their homes are in a portion of Israel, unable to commute to their own land or to travel in Israel.
Is this the modern day Israel that 50 million of us are applauding as a model of democracy?
Further complicating the issue is the area of the West Bank, the region east of the state of Israel to the Jordan River, taken over in the 1967 war by Israel, which defines this area as Administrative Territory, while most of the world calls it “occupied” territory. Two million Palestinians live there, restricted by security checkpoints in traveling between their own villages and regions. The new wall divides neighbors and regions, making travel virtually impossible. They have no citizenship and no way to travel or leave the area.
The Gaza Strip is a small area seven miles wide by 27 miles long, adjoining the Mediterranean Sea and Egypt. About 1.5 million Palestinians live in this small enclave, often referred to as the world’s largest prison. Israel controls all the borders, the border with Egypt being the only one that Gazans have occasional access to.
I am reminded of an established church in the recent past whose government marked, labeled and finally massacred some of its citizens. I wonder how Israel can have forgotten so soon what happened to the Jews in Europe.
I think about the teachings of the Old Testament. Is it possible that 50 million American Christians have forgotten the Scriptures?
The words of Jeremiah 7:5-7: “If you truly amend your ways and your doings, if you truly act justly with one another, if you do not oppress the alien, the orphan and the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not go after other gods to your own hurt, then I will dwell with you in this place, in the land I gave of old to your ancestors forever and ever.”
Jesus taught in Matthew 25:45: “Just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.”
What part of Scripture are we willing to ignore to allow these conditions to continue in Israel, Golan, Gaza and the West Bank?
God must be angry at the misguided use of his name to make aliens in the land through the “Law of Return.” Lord have mercy on those of us who do not speak against this injustice.
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