The people of Israel love what we Americans love and honor what we Americans honor. Israel is built on the rule of law. Its Declaration of Independence is modeled after ours. We are joined at the heart.
The only memorial in the Middle East to honor the three thousand innocent Americans brutally murdered on the morning of 9/11 is in Israel. As crowds in the West Bank and Gaza rushed into the streets to celebrate the murderous attack on America, Israelis mourned with us, lowered their flag as we lowered ours, and wept with us.
If you want to pay your respects at a memorial to John F. Kennedy, you can do it in Arlington National Cemetery – or you can go to the JFK memorial outside of Jerusalem.
You can go to Philadelphia to see the Liberty Bell – or you can visit not one but two replicas of it in Israel.
You can honor Martin Luther King Jr. on Martin Luther King Day in January here in the U.S. – and you can honor him in Israel, the only country outside the U.S. that officially commemorates Martin Luther King Day, by visiting the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Forest in the Southern Galilee region. (Israel also has a Coretta Scott King Forest).
Christians who support Israel are walking a trail blazed by great American heroes who also supported Israel. Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin wanted the symbol of our new republic to be Moses leading the Jewish people to the Promised Land.
The founders of our great country, to a man, were restorationists; they wanted Jews around the world to be restored to their ancient homeland. Abraham Lincoln told his friends he wanted to visit the home of the Jews after he left the presidency, but an assassin’s bullet ended his life before he could. Closer to our own time, Harry Truman told the State Department to go to hell and recognized modern Israel almost immediately after its rebirth as a modern nation. Ronald Reagan said we had no greater ally. Bobby Kennedy defended Israel and was murdered by a Palestinian terrorist, Sirhan Sirhan.
From Israel came the patriarchs, including Abraham, who saw God in a burning furnace. Israel gave us Moses, who chose suffering with his own people over the riches of Pharaoh’s house; Moses, who led his people across the Red Sea to the land promised them by God.
I choose Israel because I want to stand with Gideon, Samson, David, Samuel and the prophets who conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, received promises, survived the mouths of lions, felled giants, and put foreign armies to flight.
I stand with Israel because of the biblical General Barak, who defeated the Canaanite oppressors and united the tribes, and because of Gideon, who did not seek self-glorification but rather the glorification of God.
I choose Israel because I remember the millions who perished at Auschwitz and Buchenwald and some fifteen thousand other Nazi labor, death and concentration camps.
I stand with Israel because the Jews who live there are surrounded by millions of fanatics who lust for their blood and want a second Holocaust.
I support Israel because I don’t want murderous Islamists dancing on the Via Delarosa. I don’t want to see Jewish graves desecrated, the Western Wall defiled and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher turned into a garbage dump. Israel guarantees religious freedom, the Palestinian extremists do not.
Why do I support Israel? You may as well ask me why I choose good over evil.
On one side of the divide are Hamas, Hizbullah, Islamic jihad, al Qaeda, the Taliban, and mothers who strap bombs on their innocent children and send them to kill Jews. There is intolerance, injustice, sharia law, and crowds chanting death to America. There are Holocaust deniers and Hitler wannabes, UN bureaucrats and EU appeasers. Their culture worships death, where women are treated like cattle and terrorists are heroes.
On the other side is the only Jewish nation in the world – the apple of God’s eye; one of the pillars of Judeo-Christian civilization; our most reliable ally in the Middle East; a people who tell their children to love life, not death; the land where the patriarchs lived; a country that believes in freedom and tolerance, whose people have turned a desert into an oasis of progress and achievement.
It may be a tough call for the UN and for State Department bureaucrats, for Jimmy Carter and for the religious left, and for the legions of the ignorant and confused, but it is not a tough call for me.
I choose Israel – yesterday, today and tomorrow.Gary Bauer
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