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Letter to an American Christian friend

I know this is not an easy time for you. Just as things looked like they might be turning around after three difficult months of COVID-19 carnage, mayhem has erupted all around.

As cities burn, millions are lost to looting, and elected officials are on their knees calling to terminate police departments, I can understand that in this domestic dystopia, US foreign policy is not a priority.

But Israel has never been foreign to you and it has always meant much more to you than mere policy, so please permit me to bring up a pressing issue that needs your attention. It regards the application of Israeli law to Judea, Samaria, and the Jordan Valley.

Your bedrock belief in the religious significance of the return of the People of Israel to the Land of Israel has been an inspiration, for you and for us.

As early as 1922, your influence was felt when in September of that year the Senate and House of Representatives embraced the Balfour Declaration and resolved to favor the establishment of a national home for the Jewish People in their ancient homeland.

When in May, 1948, President Truman decided to recognize the embryonic State of Israel, you were there. Your trust in the fulfillment of biblical prophecy that the Jewish people would return following a long exile was vindicated.

When in June, 1967, Israel was threatened with annihilation, you were there. Your prayers for the peace of Jerusalem were heard, Jerusalem and Israel’s heartland were liberated, and while others were bewildered, you recognized the miracles of the Six Day War.

On Yom Kippur, October, 1973, when Israel was attacked on the holiest of days, you were there. Your hearts beat together with ours and your fingerprints were on the airlift of military equipment that President Nixon sent to us.

When a tired and war-torn Israeli government chose to succumb to the pressures of the Clinton White House and signed off on the Oslo Accords that brought Yasser Arafat and his minions to the doorstep of every Israeli household, you were there, warning against the dangers and encouraging greater caution.

When Arafat’s “Intifada” erupted and suicide-homicide bombers took hold of our streets killing thousands, you were there, fighting against those who legitimated murder. And you were here, with us, fearlessly walking the Land, Bible in hand.

When President Obama sold out to the Mullahs of Iran and signed a nuclear deal that endangered Israel, you were there, standing tall in opposition, applauding prime minister Netanyahu as he petitioned the world against the appeasement of Teheran’s pursuit of Islamic hegemony.

You have been there throughout the battle against the war of de-legitimization being waged by Palestinian proxies such as the BDS movement in the halls of congress, on campus, in the media, in churches and synagogues, and in state government.

You have been there throughout the Trump presidency, the best three years in US-Israel relations ever. When the president ended the shameful agreement with Iran, shut down the PLO offices in Washington, and suspended funding for PLO agencies, you were there. When he recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights and Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel, your presence was felt.

And you were there in November, 2019, when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared that the United States recognizes the Jewish people’s historical, religious and cultural rights to Judea and Samaria and the legality of Jewish settlement there; and in January, 2020, when President Donald Trump’s release of the “Deal of the Century” the United States announced that it also supports the application of Israeli law to those territories and the return of the Jewish people to the places where “their spiritual, religious and political image was shaped, where they established their national independence, where the particular and universal cultural identities were shaped and from where the book of books was bequeathed to the whole world” (The Declaration of Independence).

There are details of the plan that still need to be negotiated; for example, where exactly the extension of Israeli law will be applied and what the distinction between the existing Palestinian Autonomy as opposed to the plan’s advocacy of statehood might mean. But the application of Israeli law to these areas, where monotheism was born and the prophets taught their eternal truths, is for Israel, the most important aspect of the plan. And for the president, the most significant for his legacy.

For fifty-three years Israel has refrained from expressing her sovereignty in her heartland in the pursuit of peace. It didn’t work. Instead of peace the Palestinian leadership has responded with terrorism and a violent campaign of de-legitimization. Half a million Jews in Judea are not guests or intruders, this is our birthplace. As a Christian Zionist you have always known this.

You have probably heard opposition to the plan from the hard right and hard left and you might be confused as to the degree of support that such a move would have. Let me assure you that a solid majority of Israelis are in favor. Prime Minister Netanyahu made the application of Israeli law in Judea and Samaria the cornerstone of his election campaign and it is because of that that he garnered majority support that allowed him to form a government of national unity.

As the prime minister heard from us, the president must now hear from you.

As America agonizes over the future it must look back upon its founding for direction.

“Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past. Ask your father and he will tell you, your elders, and they will explain to you. When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance, when he divided all mankind, he set up boundaries for the peoples according to the number of the sons of Israel” (Deuteronomy, 32:7-8).

While these words of Moses are true for all peoples at all times, they are especially true for the United States of America, for the roots of the American founding are in the Promised Land.

Rather than a distraction, helping to secure Israel’s future in Judea, Samaria, and the Jordan Valley may actually be the key to a rebirth of American confidence and domestic tranquility as well.

Sincerely,

Your friend from Eli, Ancient Shiloh

The op-ed was first published in Israel Hayom

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