Surveys and Commentary – 5 Apr 2011

In recent days there have been interesting items in the news and opinion pages, which we as believers in Israel would do well to heed as realistic attitudes.  One is a survey of Israeli young people; the other a couple of paragraphs of an insightful commentary by Caroline Glick.  She found it pertinent to express her views about Messianic Jews in her article concerning a Jewish problem.

In an article published April 1 in the online JWR (Jewish World Review), “Jewry’s Jewish Problem”, Caroline Glick, whose commentaries I generally find to be very incisive, makes use of her perception — and that of most Jewish people everywhere — regarding Messianic Jews to make her point.  Here is an excerpt from the article:  

According to the AJC and Brandeis surveys, less than ten percent of American Jews tend to accept the Arab line against Israel. Given the wall to wall support for Israel among American Jews, why do American Jewish organizational leaders refuse to do what their members want them to do? Why are they taking Jewish communal funds to finance activities and causes that are offensive to the Jewish community? Why are they pretending that the call to end communal funding for anti-Israel activities is a call for an abrogation of free speech?

To get a sense of how unprecedented this is, it is useful to consider the American Jewish community’s response to Jews for Jesus. While Reform and Orthodox rabbis agree on almost nothing relating to Jewish laws and practices, since the emergence of Jews for Jesus in the 1970s, Reform, Conservative and Orthodox rabbis have been unified in their rejection of the Christian missionary group’s protestations of being Jewish.

Everyone understands that while Jews have a perfect right to change their religion, they have no right to force the Jewish community to accept Christians as Jews. That is they have no right to change the definition of Judaism to include people who worship Jesus. So-called Messianic Jews falsely call themselves Jews to undermine the community from within. But no Federation feels compelled to invite a representative of so-called Messianic Jews to proselytize on stage as part of a panel discussion in order to “welcome multiple voices.” Hillel organizations have rightly refused space and funding to Messianic Jewish groups.

But today, American Jews find themselves helpless when a marginal group of anti-Zionist Jews demands —like the Messianic Jews of their day—communal funding and space for their anti-Israel activities.

The anti-Zionist groups make the same arguments as the Messianic Jews. They call themselves pro-Israel even as they engage in activities aimed at harming, defaming, weakening and delegitimizing the Jewish state. They claim that refusing them communal funds constitutes a violation of their free speech rights.

Yet while communal leaders did not hesitate to call the so-called Messianic Jews’ bluff, they cannot find the way to expunge anti-Israel groups from their umbrella organizations. The explanation for this behavior apparently is apparently social. Federation leaders don’t mind disappointing evangelical Christians. But most of their friends are leftist. Consequently, the perceived social cost of taking action against groups like Theater J, J Street, B’Tselem, Breaking the Silence and Jewish Voices for Peace is too high for many American Jewish leaders to bear.

As a present election of grace, we Jewish believers in Jesus are a proof of God’s faithfulness to His covenant promises to His people, and we establish the truth that Jesus says He has come to fulfill all that is written in Moses and the Prophets.  We are not here to impose His Kingdom before the time, but rather to call people out to Him now, and be spared the wrath to come.  What the Jewish Israeli apostle to the Jews preached to all the people of Israel after he was baptized by the Holy Spirit at Shavuot/Pentecost nearly 2000 years ago still remains the essential message of God to His largely unrepentant people.

The other article of interest shows the attitudes of young Israeli people to what they perceive as the most important issues facing the county:

A survey carried out by a German foundation finds Israel’s youth has become more nationalist and does not expect peace. Some 1,200 Jewish youths and 400 Arab youths (not from the Palestinian Authority-controlled areas and not between the ages of 18 and 21) were polled. The survey shows that a third of Jewish youth in Israel say Judaism is the most important goal for the State of Israel – up from only 18% a year ago. Only 14.3% of Jewish youth said democracy was Israel’s most important objective. Over 40% of the Jewish youth identify politically with the nationalist parties, with another 20% expressing solidarity with the “moderate” right-wing. Only 11.5% identify with the left-wing. Among Arab youth, 35% said they “don’t know” their political affiliation – approximately four times more than in the Jewish sector.  Some 41% of the Arab youth said their most important goal was to build a happy family, and 3% said it was to contribute to society.  Among Jews, it was 65.5% and 8.5%, respectively. Nearly three-quarters of Jews felt that security concerns must “always” or “nearly always” take precedence over ideals of democracy if they clash. (INN)

There is a revival of religion and nationalism around the world.  When these two combine —  together with fear, envy, and hatred — an explosive and unprecedented outbreak of violence can be expected.  May the Lord help us “be still, and know that He is God”.