“He changes the times and seasons; He removes kings and establishes them.” (Daniel 2:21)
At the time when the pro-Israel AIPAC lobby is making headlines, there are other players whose influence is no less important in safeguarding the interests of the Jewish nation: namely, the Evangelicals. How do they impact US foreign policy and what role should Jews play in this context?
The Evangelical population in the US represents approximately one quarter of the American electorate, according to recent studies. Among them, more than 70% approve Trump’s presidency, according to yet another significant survey conducted at the end of last year. The import of Trump’s actions respecting Israel will not be overlooked by this demographic group, which holds a strong conviction that Israel has a special role to carry out in human history, and must therefore be protected from menace. The move of the US embassy to Jerusalem and the official US recognition of Israeli sovereignty of the Golan Heights enacted by president Trump are certain to be remembered by these Israel supporters for generations to come.
The commitment of the current US administration toward Israel was expressed in a TV interview with Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, who “certainly believes” that President Trump may have been sent by God to help save the Jewish people from Iran. The godsend flows in two directions. As is it written, those who support Israel will also receive blessings in return:
“I will bless those who bless you, and curse those who curse you, and in you, all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:3)
Israel and the Jewish people indeed do have a special task within humanity. As Jewish sages have stated, “love your neighbor as yourself” is the seminal law of the Torah that was received by the Jews at Sinai. They were directed to implement this law firstly among themselves, and then to shine as an example of unity for the rest of the world. It is written about Israel’s unique responsibility to stand as a spiritual superpower:
“The genuine movement of the Israeli soul at its grandest is expressed only by its sacred, eternal force, which flows within its spirit. It is that which has made it, is making it, and will make it still a nation that stands as a light unto nations.” Rav Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook (Letters of the RAAIAH, 3)
In a nutshell, Jews hold the keys to a better world, keys that can open the gates to a bright future for all humanity through a positive force Jews draw when united “as one man with one heart.”
Therefore, we Jews cannot afford to rest on our laurels now. After the recent AIPAC conference applause for the Jewish nation by Israeli leaders, American Jewish figures, and politicians begins to quiet, and the warm embrace of Evangelicals manifested through their continuous support is fully relished, we must get to our work of solidifying our unity as a Jewish people in fulfillment of our charge. We need to set aside the accolades for a moment and face up to the broader landscape surrounding us—the multi-layered challenges facing Israel on the eve of the upcoming elections, the delicate relations between Israelis and Jews of the Diaspora, and the threat of anti-Semitism in American mainstream politics from both Right and Left.
In such a complex scenario, the support of our friends is warmly welcomed, but such help does not exempt us from our role as Jews to draw closer to each other with the aim of connecting in brotherhood above whatever divides us as a people. This is indeed the only foolproof insurance we have for prevailing against any and all threats we may face. The truth is that the task that we have been chosen for is to unite, and by so doing, become “a light unto the nations.”