In our war with the Arabs, the Jewish Achilles heel is personified by the neurotic need for gentile friends, and the desire to create such friends where there are none. In a world where too many Jews ignore the timeless truism, “Esau hates Jacob” we should ask ourselves the following: Who are our true gentile friends? Perhaps a better question would be: can Jews truly have friends whose views are contrary to Torah and the ideal values of a Jewish Israel? All too often, Jew label others as friends, even when these same groups have ulterior motives. Here are a few of my thoughts on such friendships and how to discern the validity of a friendship.
#1: True friends don’t have agendas. That’s the litmus test to determine if one has a true friend. True friends gain and benefit from the friendship itself, and require nothing in return. The friendship isn’t a forum for their own causes and agendas, or a platform to define their vision for Israel on our behalf. Nor is it a vehicle to profit and fund-raise for themselves. If a supposed friend is creating a false association to perpetuate an agenda, he may not be a friend. Not every person has the most nefarious motives. Oftentimes self-interest alone defines the supposed friend. An important note. A true friend has no interest in molding you, patronizing you, or defining you.
#2: Friends don’t have ulterior motives. Certainly not theological ones. The Jew has few if any real gentile friends in the world. I say few because there are gentiles who support Israel without dark motives. Yet the evangelical is not one of them, despite the millions of dollars pouring into Israel, and the sea of Christian pilgrims happy to take a dip in the Yardenit. The definition of evangelism precludes this possibility. One who desires to see Jews embrace Jesus can never be a friend. The Jew in Israel thinks he has a friend in the evangelical. The evangelical would not give a shekel (or a half shekel!) to Israel if his shekel didn’t earn him entrance. The millions thrown at Israel come with a heavy price. A foothold in the land. Without the latter, they would abandon Israel for other targets. If Israel’s missionary laws had any teeth, the evangelicals would love us from afar.
#3: True friends don’t associate with missionaries. Friends don’t align with those who openly declare their intent to convert Jews. And friends don’t ignore a telling honest website because of a smiling face, and the pastor’s ability to discuss the NBA, or a shared appreciation for American conservative values. The first and second degrees of separation are telling enough. “Woe to the wicked, woe to his neighbor.” Associations define us. If your parve evangelical friend has ties to missionaries, it means you didn’t heed Rule #2.
This should be obvious to any self-respecting person, but the lure of cash and benefits is enticing for many Jews. True friends aren’t interested in land deals or real estate in Israel. True friends don’t desire Israeli citizenship or long-term visas. Certainly, they have no interest in building missionary centers in Jerusalem. Those Jews who think evangelicals are our friends betray their ignorance of what it means to be evangelical.
The most dangerous missionaries in Israel today are not the coarse street missionaries (dangerous as they are) whose aggressive tactics are apparent. The clever ones are far more dangerous because they have a foothold and respectability. They are in our communities. They are even in our vineyards praising “The Father.” Torah Jews need to open their eyes. Stop fixating solely on the lightning rod of “Jews for Jesus.” The subtle ones are more dangerous.
We have enough problems in Israel with a skewed law of return, and the complicated problem of proper conversions. Our missionary laws are toothless, and yet they are the only tools to stop the predators. The spiritual dangers facing Am Yisrael threaten our spiritual integrity, and ultimately our physical survival as a Divine consequence, as surely as the Arab Amalekites who want to slaughter us.
The evangelicals have gotten Rabbis to declare that their presence is a sign of prophetic fulfillment. Social Media is inundated with more than a few Jews defending “Christian Zionists” and accusing those of us who oppose them as hateful, liars. The evangelical has learned that he can get away with murder if he tempers his word and his exuberance, and is quick to remove the occasional problematic video that an overzealous pilgrim posted. If he learns to constantly change the lingo for more parve semantics, he can go very far. Don’t say Jesus. Say “the Father”. Don’t talk about the new covenant. Say “Restoration".
The evidence is all around us in Israel, in every park with a CUFI plaque, and every interfaith-conference and prayer service comprised of Christian and Jew. Today, there are evangelicals living in Israel in a prominent Torah community, all with the collusion of religious Jews & rabbis. The few Jews who opposed them were cast out of the community. The hope of 2000 years? This is a veritable nightmare.
And the repercussions of these harmful unions are not monolithic. Those of us who are privy to the problem recognize that the infection will spread in unforeseeable ways. The day will come when Israel gives hundreds and perhaps thousands of evangelicals’ honorary citizenship as righteous gentiles. Jews will shake their heads and kvetch when the issue becomes a problem. They will say “you cannot do anything today; they should have done something then”. Today is tomorrow’s “then”.
There is still time to rectify the mistakes. However, we need to get aggressive in exposing this multifaceted threat. As long as Likud leadership cozies up to evangelical money, then we have no recourse via the government. And as long as kipah wearing Jews shill for these predators, and Rabbis are blinded by a modern form of false messianism, things will only get worse.
The Heartland of Israel is riddled with missionaries who want Israel to retain every inch of our liberated land for a theological agenda. Jews who turns to Esau to fight Ishmael, has simply exchanged the armed crusader for the olive branch of evangelism. This is no victory.
I’ve heard more than a few of these Jewish enablers denying the danger of these groups, and assuring the public that neither they nor these groups have any association with missionaries. A proper search of the web reveals that these same individuals have on many occasion been caught on camera with overt missionaries. And their “parve” friends aren’t shy either when it comes to associating with the crudest missionaries. These self-appointed Jewish leaders recognize no boundaries. In truth, they are a byproduct of the collective rabbinic silence and reticence to discuss what they often bemoan in private.
In truth, the Jew has few genuine friends who come in the name of religion. The Bnai Noach represent the lone gentile community that can genuinely call himself a friend, since they desire the sanctification of Hashem’s name in the framework of the Torah. Of course, gentiles identified as Bnai Noach are hard to find, small in number, and they aren’t as well financed.
Choosing the hand of Esau to defeat the sword of Ishmael is suicide. The scourge of missionizing both classical and clever, and Heaven forbid the eventual likelihood of Jewish apostasy, idolatrous admixtures, deceptive conversions, and even Christian Jewish unions resulting from such poison alliances, will ensure Divine punishment. In the war with Amalek, we don’t arm ourselves with idolatry.
If we ignore the problem, and Jews today are ignoring the problem, our children and grandchildren will pay the price. And it will be a heavy price for the Jewish people. If we learn anything from the zealous Maccabees, it is that we Jews never traded Jewish blood for the Jewish soul. We fight for the latter with our dying breathe.