I was recently at a large Christian event celebrating Israel’s 75th anniversary. There were many speakers, both from Israel and from the US, and they all spoke of their love for Israel. Israeli speakers updated the audience on the strategic threats facing Israel today, and Christian speakers emphasized their commitment to Israel based on Biblical principles. But only one speaker mentioned the words Judea and Samaria. No one else. And that one speaker was a politician who was clearly coaxed to mention the Biblical Heartland by an advisor, knowing the words would bolster his ratings among those in the audience.
The audience itself was extremely supportive of Israel. I mingled with these Christians who had traveled from all over the US to participate in the event; as soon as they learned that I was from Israel, they showered me with love and blessing. And then when I mentioned that I live in Israel’s Biblical Heartland, they couldn’t believe their good fortune to have met an authentic Israeli Jew living in the very place where God first promised the land to Abraham.
Yes, I live in Judea and Samaria, and for more than 25 years, I have been bringing the messages of our communities, often referred to as “settlements,” to Christians all over the world. And the Christians that I meet are always so eager to hear of the developments in our area. When they visit Israel, I take them to the Biblical sites of Hebron, Shiloh, and the Three Seas Outlook, overlooking the mountains of Gerizim, Ebal, and the Oak of Moreh. I bring them into communities where they can meet the families who originally pioneered Jewish settlements on these hilltops. They have coffee with a young family, while listening to a young mother relate her experiences of living in a small caravan without proper electricity, even as she is bouncing her toddler on her lap.
Every such encounter opens up a world of miracles to my Christian friends. They are well-versed in the Bible but they are gaining an opportunity to walk the Bible in our time. When I read from Ezekiel 36 with its beautiful description of the restoration of the “Mountains of Israel’, they can envision that restoration because they are witnessing it. They return home in love – with Israel, with the Jewish people, and, more than ever before, with God. This encounter with Israel in general, and with Judea and Samaria in particular, is the foundation upon which the relationship between Christians and Israel is being built in recent years, brick by brick, person by person. And it is a solid and vital relationship.
It is therefore puzzling why so few major Christian gatherings highlight the importance of Judea and Samaria. It should be the main event! It should be the headline splashed across every brochure, every website, every church bulletin board. But it is not. So many Christians don’t know anything about Judea and Samaria because so few pastors are teaching them about it. But there is no question – when they learn about Judea and Samaria, they become our biggest advocates.
We are the grassroots. If the leaders will not take the initiative, then we need to pick up the challenge. And we can do it! We can succeed. But it starts with every individual doing everything he or she can to make that change.
I want to invite you, my dear readers, to reach out to me personally. CFOIC Heartland has been the primary vehicle for Christian support for Judea and Samaria for more than 25 years. Let us work together to bring the messages of Judea and Samaria to everyone we know. If you are coming to Israel, please let me arrange your visit to Judea and Samaria. You will not be disappointed. When you connect to the Biblical Heartland, you will never read your Bible in quite the same way again. When hundreds of thousands of Christians understand this, Judea and Samaria will be the major headline of all Christian gatherings!
Sondra Oster Baras is the founder and director of CFOIC Heartland, an organization that connects Christians all over the world to the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, Israel’s Biblical Heartland. To learn more about her work and to support the people of Judea and Samaria, visit www.cfoic.com . Or send an email directly to Sondra at email@example.com