Israel's roller coaster decade

'The International Jerusalem Post' (English edition) recently published a most interesting review of Israel's ups and downs in the recently ended decade. Sad to say, though, author Liat Collins definitely mentioned more downs than ups, and more lows than highs.

The International Post (English edition) recently published a most interesting review of 's ups and downs in the recently ended decade. Author Liat Collins did a great job with this significant historical review.

She started by saying: "It was not a real good decade in . It was actually a roller coaster ride of highs and lows." Arab terror had tended to bring the Israeli people together, she said, while the Israeli withdrawal from tended to pull the nation apart. Her review definitely mentioned more downs than ups, and more lows than highs, sad to say.

In the vein of Collins' article, I feel it would be appropriate to review what our Christian-based organization, Israel Always, has done over the last decade to try to fulfill our purpose of blessing and helping . We rode the roller coaster with the Israeli people, but we also feel we have been faithful to our task.

After having the privilege of serving as a senior communications officer for four presidents in the White House in , , I felt that God wanted me to use my retirement years and all my resources to bless and help . Our first effort was to put up several large billboard messages in to let the Israeli people know that many Christians in respect and support them in their chronic conflict with their Arab-Muslim neighbors. This got us off to a good start, and helped us to meet many appreciative Israeli citizens and leaders.

Our next major effort was to begin producing and broadcasting a weekly radio program called "Front Page Jerusalem." We wanted to communicate to and the rest of the world the truth from the Israeli perspective and to try to counteract the pro-Arab bias that most of the international news media project in their reports from . We were able to enlist more than 100 radio stations across to broadcast this weekly one-hour program, as well as to get it on the Internet for an expanded worldwide audience. "Front Page Jerusalem" is produced in , and it has been going strong every week now for six years. It is reaching hundreds of thousands of people across and around the world.

Israeli leaders have cooperated with us wonderfully to help get the Israeli perspective out to the world. Each week, some busy official serves as our special guest on the program. His interview is then followed by a panel discussion by other top Israeli media spokesmen, often including Jerusalem Post editor David Horowitz.

In her article, Collins mentioned the hundreds of rockets and missiles that have been launched into by Hamas from , "where Jewish communities once grew flowers, fruit and vegetables." Our concern for innocent and defenseless Israelis under such inhumane attacks led us to raise money to provide some 50 portable concrete bomb shelters, which were placed in strategic locations in Israeli territory near the border. These included schools, bus stops, shopping centers and other places where people gather. We don't know exactly how many lives these shelters have saved or protected from serious injury, but it's many.

American evangelical Christian leaders have long promoted the biblical injunction to "pray for the peace of ." We have always encouraged such prayer support in all our meetings in and in our media communications. Then, in 2005, we reinforced this support by organizing a Christian "Prayer Warriors" team to pray for at the Western Wall of the in . We had a Christian presence at the Wall, praying along with the Jewish people, for eight hours every day, seven days a week, for the entire year. All of the team members who participated in this special prayer vigil felt that it was a privilege and an honor to help support before God in this way.

When Hizbullah set off a war with , we were able to take a team of Christians up to northern Israel to pray for the military and for the affected people there. We also made a few visits to to pray for former prime minister Ariel Sharon.

We were delighted when MK and Rabbi Yuri Shtern organized the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus. It was great to hear him express his appreciation for the numerous Christian organizations and people who are working faithfully in every day to help the Israeli people in numerous ways. We were sorry when he passed away, but hope this good spirit of trust and cooperation will continue unimpeded.

As Christians who are not citizens of , we have been careful not to express any criticism of the Israeli government and its elected officials. But we have been keenly concerned about the developments in the so-called "peace process." We understand how deeply all Israelis want to live in peace with their Arab neighbors. But beginning with the Oslo Accords back in 1993, and continuing through four more Palestinian signed peace agreements, it has been disappointingly obvious that most of the Palestinian leaders still do not want peace with . They do not want to give up their animosity and terrorism, and they do not want an independent Palestinian state peacefully co-existing side-by-side with the Jewish state.

As evangelical Christians who honor and believe the Bible, including the Torah and the Tanach (Old Testament), along with the Brit Hahadasha (New Testament), we affirm the writings of the biblical prophets who declared that all the was given by God to the Jewish people as "an everlasting possession." That translates into the view that none of the of and (the so-called ) should be handed over to the Arabs for the establishment of a separate state there.

We did nothing to oppose the Israeli governments that offered to give most of that land to the Arabs. However, we have to admit that we are pleased to see the new prime minister standing strongly in support of God's biblical mandate and refusing to surrender this land.

There is one more personal word I would like to add. I would like to publicly express my great gratitude to Mrs. Ariella Doran, the owner of the Jerusalem Gold Hotel in downtown . She has been such a gracious hostess and a generous friend to so many Christian groups and individuals during their visits to . She gave special treatment to our "Wall Warriors" prayer groups, and has provided much unselfish service to my wife and me during our many extended stays.

We pray that our God will continue to bless her abundantly for her special service to Him and to His people.