This week with Rabbi Eckstein, June 29, 2006
June 29, 2006
This Week with Rabbi Eckstein
June 29, 2006
I'm often asked: What are the reasons for the strong, almost unconditional support of so many evangelicals for Israel?
First and foremost, the reasons are biblical. Evangelicals take seriously God's words to Abraham in Genesis, "I will bless those who bless you," and the New
Testament claim that Judaism is the "root" of Christianity. Christians, they believe, have a biblically-mandated duty to support the Jewish people and their nation, Israel.
My evangelical friends frequently cite another reason - one that takes on special significance as Americans prepare to celebrate the 4th of July next week. Israel, like the U.S., is a democracy. Both nations share, in the memorable words of one columnist, a "kinship of common values" that makes them natural allies. And this kinship has only grown stronger as radical Islam threatens to destroy the freedom and liberty both nations hold dear.
It's a powerful point - both the U.S. and Israel are built upon the idea that freedom is not just a political idea, but a gift from God. This is evident from the words of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, which states that all people are "endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights." And it is in the founding document of the
modern State of Israel, which states that the newly-formed Jewish State "will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisioned by the prophets of Israel."
On July 4, as we celebrate the 230th birthday of the United States and all the blessings of freedom, let's not forget also to give thanks for the friendship between the U.S. and Israel. Let us do so with the knowledge that our faith and our "kinship of common values" - our shared love of democracy and freedom - will ensure that our two great countries will remain allies for years to come.
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President
International Fellowship of Christians and
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