An oasis of support among Christian Zionists

Nowadays, most African countries do not have diplomatic relations with Israel, having succumbed to the Arab boycott.

By NOAM BEDEIN
August 28, 2010 04:33
3 minute read.
THE AUTHOR (right) with Dr. Savior Chishimba.

Noam Bedein 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

As director of the Sderot Media Center, I find it important to speak to university students and other young audiences.

During my fourth visit to the Christian Zionist communities in Norway, where I was invited by a Christian pro-Israel advocacy group called MIFF, I took part in a media conference in Oslo. I talked about what it is like to live under the constant threat of missile fire from Hamas-ruled Gaza.

I defended Israel’s blockade of Gaza as a legal and necessary measure against an entity sworn to its destruction. I can’t begin to describe the comfort I felt at the sight of huge Israeli flags waving from the terraces of pro-Israel Christians.

Where only moments before I was drowning in a sea of hatred, with every headline screaming “Israel massacres human rights activists,” these Christian Zionists unapologetically took a stand for Israel. While European politicians were calling for a boycott, the Christian Zionist communities made a point of purchasing products made in Israel.

Being raised in an Orthodox Jewish home, it has been somewhat of an experience for me to feel at home with a Christian community. Only they understand when I point out that the Middle East conflict is a religious war. These communities support the Jewish people’s right to live in the Land of Israel.

When I get up, Bible in hand, and say, “Here in this Bible is the Word of God saying that the Land of Israel belongs to the People of Israel. We have every right to live in Sderot and any other part of the Land in peace and security,” the audience cheers and says, “Amen!”

It was New Year’s Eve 2010 when I first met the presidential candidate of Zambia, Dr. Savior Chishimba. Savior, a devout Christian, came to take part in the Sderot Rally for Hope – an initiative of the Sderot Media Center – commemorating one year since Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. Dr. Savior represented the African civilians who fell prey to acts of terror from radical Islamic forces during the past decade.

Nowadays, most African countries do not have diplomatic relations with Israel, having succumbed to the Arab boycott.

Traveling to Africa, I was invited to speak at the Kenya Security Council and at two Kenyan universities where most of the students are Christians. I was able to talk openly about life in Sderot, plus Islamic terror and the necessity for a security barrier between Israel and the Gaza Strip. This was mentioned in context to the parallel threat facing Kenya and the importance of a barrier between Muslim Somalia and Christian Kenya, where approximately 5,000 Muslims infiltrate daily, including radical Muslims who carry out terror attacks on Kenyan territory.

Our paths crossed again in March at the Jerusalem House of Prayer in Lusaka, capital of Zambia, where I was invited to speak. Savior said he was planning another visit to Israel, and I invited him to join my family for Passover Seder night.

Dr. Savior indeed joined my family for Seder night in Efrat, Gush Etzion. He took delight in the many rituals he witnessed at our Seder table. He enjoyed the taste of his first matza and loved the idea of drinking four cups of fine wine! He followed the story of Israel’s Exodus with rapt attention, and it was clear that he was familiar with the story.

His parting words were a promise to renew diplomatic ties when elected president and to set up Zambia’s embassy in Jerusalem. “I plan to awaken the Christian majority in Zambia to the importance of having ties with the Jewish people,” he said. “Whosoever blesses the Jewish people will be blessed, and whosoever curses the Jewish people will be cursed. You see that all the nations are now coming out against Jerusalem and the Jewish people, but you have nothing to fear!”

When he left, someone at the table declared, “Elijah the Prophet has come!” 

Noam Bedein is a photojournalist, lecturer and founder/director of Sderot Media Center.


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