Orthodox Leaders Meet with Pro-israel Evangelical Christians

In early August, representatives of the Young Israel and religious Zionist movements met here with a delegation of leaders from a West Coast-based group of evangelical Christians, Tay (the Hebrew word for “good”), which has expressed strong support for Israel, it was reported here today by Young Israel.

The group has organized support within the fundamentalist Christian community for Israel’s actions in Lebanon, and, last year, the group sponsored a major campaign on the West Coast in opposition to the sale of AWACS planes to Saudi Arabia, according to Young Israel.

The meeting with the religious Jewish groups was arranged at the request of the evangelicals, who expressed many shared attitudes, with Orthodox Jews. These include a belief that the Jews remain the “Chosen People of God,” that “the Holy Land is the inalienable possession of the Jewish people” as a result of “the promises made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,” and that “Jerusalem is the eternal and indivisible capital of the Jewish state.”

These and other statements in support of Israel and the Jewish people were published by the group in June of this year as the “Evangelical Christian Declaration of Support for Israel and the Jewish American Community.” The evangelical declaration also claims to “abhor anti-Semitism; mourn the Holocaust; and repent of the Church’s silence.”

VIEWS OF THE EVANGELICAL GROUP

One of Tav’s earliest projects was to expose a PLO-sponsored trip by five Christian clergymen from the Seattle area to Lebanon to meet with Yasir Arafat early this year. Tay immediately set out to counteract the anti-Israel propaganda arising from the trip.

In their position papers, the Tav evangelicals assert that they are not intent upon missionizing Jews; that they respect the legitimacy of the Jewish religion, recognize the need for a Jewish state of Israel, and share many religious principles in common with Orthodox Jews, especially the “authority of scripture.”

At the same time, the evangelicals claim that the “Liberal-Rationalism” to which they object in non-fundamentalist churches is also a threat to Israel and a cause of anti-Semitism. They therefore urge religious Jews to join with them against what they perceive as a common enemy in the secular humanism which is dominant in both the non-fundamentalist Christian-and non-Orthodox Jewish communities.

Representing the Tav group were Doug Krieger, its West Coast representative, Doug Shearer, its president and Randi Saeger, its pastor. Orthodox groups represented at the meeting included the National Council of Young Israel, Emunah Women of America and Mizrachi-Religious Zionists of America.

Dr. Harold Jacobs, president of the National Council of Young Israel, said more meetings with Tav and other pro-Israel fundamentalist Christian groups were expected to take place in the near future, solely to coordinate activities in support of Israel.

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