- Bush’s victory over Kerry, an especially sweet victory of the forces of light, has rekindled an old complaint against the strange alliance of interests between the religious Right in the US and the religious Right in Israel. The smiles common to those who wear skullcaps here and those who wear crosses there when the results were announced angered many secular people in the Holy Land. Despite their support, in principle, for peace processes, they look balefully upon this new alliance.
They claim that there is something anti-historical about it. They have difficulty understanding how the settlement enterprise in Judea, Samaria and Gaza could form bonds of brotherly love with the American evangelical community or why Rabbi Elyashiv supports a devoted Christian such as Bush. After all the pogroms, after The Passion of the Christ, there should be eternal enmity between those who preserve the embers of both religions, and here all of a sudden they are hugging each other and even run a successful candidate in common for the White House.
But the truth is that there is nothing strange here. It is certainly no stranger than the common aim of the elitist left wing and fundamentalist Islam to establish a Palestinian state. When religious-Zionist leaders such as Benny Elon do not reject the Christian hand extended to them from the US and even shake it warmly, they are not transgressing their religion but fulfilling an ancient biblical prophecy, the vision of future reconciliation between Jews and the rest of the world.
This is not the place to quote the relevant verses (Micah 4, for example), but the general idea says that one day the gentiles will lay down the sword of their hatred against us and offer us their help. Although at the moment we are talking about approximately “only” fifty million American gentiles out of six billion gentiles throughout the world, but it is not a bad beginning.
Honestly, what is so bad if we have a hard kernel of support in the world’s most significant empire? What is so bad if the most important man in the world sprouted from that kernel? All through the years the left wing has preached Israeli integration in global processes, yet when these processes suddenly align with Israeli interests, it is struck by mockery and disgust only because they stem from religious motives or could disrupt its schemes of retreat.
It is ridiculous to hear secular opinion-makers warn against supposed missionary plots by evangelical Christians in the US. Nearly every report in Hebrew about right-wing American support for Israel includes the allegation that the reason for the support is a despicable desire to Christianize those who dwell in Zion. It will not take much more to get United Torah Judaism and the Labor Party to submit an urgent joint proposal to the Knesset’s agenda against the American mission’s invasion of Israel.
So both can stop worrying. Christianity missed its historic opportunity to convert the Jews. The mission’s time is over. Although many Christians still dream of the day that we recognize their savior and from time to time a few soul-hunters for Jesus wander around Jerusalem, they are no more than a curiosity. Tens of millions of American Christians support the idea of Greater Israel and of a strong Israel, and not for missionary reasons. It is far more important to them to persuade George Bush to support the settlements than to convince settlers to convert.
This appeared in Maariv on November 9th, 2004