Israel has survived - and continues to thrive - in an environment where it is constantly being attacked. The Jerusalem Post's Benjamin Glatt speaks with Rabbi Eckstein about how the Jewish state's Christian friends have helped:
“Israel is being attacked militarily, it’s under siege in the UN, it’s attacked for its values by Western countries, it’s attacked by the BDS movement [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions], and anti-Semitism has grown in the past 10 years – and all of these things are on rise,” says Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder and president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. “All of that has isolated Israel and the Jewish people more than ever before.”
Also, ever since the establishment of the state, Israel was the paramount commitment of Jews of all kinds, with the only notable exception being the anti-Zionist sect Natorei Karta, Eckstein notes. But in a paradigm shift over the last decade and a half, that once unbreakable bond has been loosened.
“It’s not just a sense of isolation. It’s a diminution of the solidarity and support of the Jewish community – the younger generation, an alienation by Reform and Conservative Jews and alienation by Jewish intellectuals on the Left,” he says.
“In many respects, Israel has gotten into this position of being an island.”
Fortunately, says Eckstein, one of the ways in which Israel gets out of this dilemma is through its technology and innovation. But those are only secondary factors. “The bottom line is that Israel needs to build coalitions.”
Even if those coalitions come from unlikely sources.
“Over the past 40 years since I started the first Jewish-Evangelical dialogue, we have seen the emergence of a whole new group of tens of millions of people who stand with Israel,” Eckstein says.
Filling that gap, in came the Evangelical Christians...