Change Region:ICEJ

Israel Answers

Was Israel’s Founding Illegal?

The Palestinian Liberation Organization Charter states that “Zionism is a colonialist movement in its inception.” This claim – echoed by many throughout the Middle East and beyond – asserts that Israel was founded illegally

The truth is that Israel’s founding had a firm basis in international law – and thousands of years of history. Jews have maintained a continuous presence in and connection to the land of Israel for more than 3,000 years.

Jerusalem has been the Jewish people's capital for more than three millennia: the city is mentioned almost 700 times in the Hebrew Bible and more than a hundred generations of dispersed Jews prayed three times a day to return to Jerusalem. The Jews’ connection to the Land of Israel is further confirmed in the sacred texts of Islam and Christianity.

In 1917, the British Government issued the Balfour Declaration, which explicitly called for the “establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.” Following World War I, the British Mandate of Palestine gave Israel the legal right, based on international law, to become a sovereign nation under the oversight of Great Britain. In 1920, the San Remo Conference took place with all members of the future Arab League in attendance, transforming the Balfour Declaration from a letter of intent to a legally binding foundational document. The outcome of San Remo was approved by the entire 52-member League of Nations in 1922 and in 1947, the UN general assembly adopted a resolution calling for a sovereign Jewish State in former British Palestine. In 1949, Israel was admitted into the United Nations with a majority vote.

In short, anybody who says that Israel was illegally founded needs to get their facts straight.


Do you have a question about Israel? Visit us at IsraelAnswers.com and get it answered!


For more than thirty years, Susan Michael has pioneered the development of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem in the United States and around the world. She currently serves as the ministry’s USA Director and is a member of the ICEJ’s international Board of Directors.

What is Life Like for Minority Groups in Israel?

With more than 8 million citizens, Israel is a vibrant tapestry of diversity and multi-cultural co-existence. Some 20% of Israeli citizens are non-Jewish but live in Israel with full citizenship rights. Israel’s Declaration of Independence, implemented in 1948 when the modern Jewish state was officially recognized at the United Nations, ensures complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race, or sex and goes on to codify freedom of religion, conscience, language, education, and culture. In addition, Israel has many laws which prohibit discrimination.

Various groups exist within Israel’s 20% minority population including Muslim, Druze, Bedouin, and Christian Arabs. Arabs are included in every strata of society. Seventeen Arabs are members of Israel’s Knesset (Parliament).  An Arab judge sits on Israel’s Supreme Court. Arabs serve as Israeli Ambassadors, teach in Israel’s distinguished universities, and hold honors for scientific research and innovation.  Israeli Arab physicians and nurses serve side by side with their Jewish colleagues in Israel’s hospitals treating Arab, Jewish, Palestinian, and seriously wounded Syrian refugees.

Hebrew and Arabic are Israel’s official languages as seen in schools, universities, and even road signs. In conversation as well as polling, the majority of Israeli Arabs consistently express their preference for living in Israel’s democracy rather than as a part of the Palestinian-governed territories, although Israeli Arabs and Palestinians have many family, friend, and business ties.

While the Israel Defense Forces do not require Arabs to serve in their military, they are welcomed and ably serve. One of Israel’s most highly decorated Generals is a Bedouin, one of six Arabs who has received the third highest military honor. Israeli Arab women, unlike Arab women in most other Middle East nations, work, vote, drive, run for national and local office, and attend universities for higher education.  Israeli legislation guarantees equal rights, and prohibits polygamy and child marriage.

Like other democracies Israel continues to diligently work towards improving the lives of its minorities and serves as a demonstrable microcosm of successful co-existence in the close quarters of a country the size of New Jersey. 

 


Susan M. Michael is US Director for the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem.  Her writings can be found at www.icejusa.org/susans-blog

Why is UNESCO trying to erase Jerusalem’s Jewish and Christian History?

The integrity and balance of power among the United Nations 190 members has shifted since the establishment of the United Nations in 1945. Now, Arab nations and their allies outnumber Israel and its allies. Stark differences have intensified since Palestinians have made significant inroads into the UN decades after Arabs rejected the UN’s 1947 Partition Plan-UN Resolution 181- which designated a state for both Jews and Arabs. Before and since then, Arab opposition to Israel rests in their unyielding position that all of Israel belongs to the Arab peoples.
 
A recent example clearly demonstrates the Arab bloc’s anti-Israel stance in the UN. The United Nations Educational, Science, and Cultural Committee (UNESCO) ‘s 56-member World Heritage Executive Board voted on two resolutions in 2016 which produced an outcry from Jews and Christians alike. Seven Arab nations presented “Occupied Palestine,” a resolution calling for the erasure of any Jewish presence in Jerusalem. It specifically named the Temple Mount and other related Jewish holy sites exclusively in Muslim nomenclature. The resolution passed 24-6 with 26 abstentions.
 
ICEJ USA wrote Ambassador Crystal Nix-Hines, United States representative, asking her to cast a vote against the resolution. The United States, one of only 6 other nations, voted against the “Occupied Palestine” resolution. Susan Michael, Director of ICEJ USA commented, “The fact remains that the Jewish history of Jerusalem is also Christian history.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the decision a “theater of the absurd.” 
 
UNESCO, created in 1945, is known as the "intellectual” agency at the UN. In the Executive Board’s attempts to rewrite Israel’s ancient history, it has lost its intellectual and moral compass. In her attempt to restore its purpose, Irina Bokova, UNESCO’s Director General stated, “Nowhere more than in Jerusalem do Jewish, Christian and Muslim heritage and traditions share space…These cultural and spiritual traditions build on texts and references, known by all, that are an intrinsic part of the identities and history of peoples.”
 
Ms. Bokova also reassured Israeli leaders, “Allow me to reassure you of my absolute commitment to continue all efforts in countering all forms of anti-Semitism, including those drawing on partial or distorted visions of culture and history, as well as those that seek to challenge the existence of Israel.” She has received death threats for her stance.
 


Susan M. Michael is US Director for the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem.  Her writings can be found at www.icejusa.org/susans-blog

What is Israel and Why is it Important?

There is perhaps no place on Earth more controversial and more important than Israel – a tiny state – the size of New Jersey— in the heart of the Middle East. But for all the controversy, what is Israel? And why is it so important?


Israel is a Living, Breathing Testament of God’s Faithfulness

The Jewish people’s sacred relationship to the land of Israel has remained unbroken since God bequeathed it to them in his covenant with Abraham. Despite many expulsions and millennia of persecution, Jews have maintained a continuous presence in the land and Jerusalem, their eternal capital, ever since. The Nation of Israel’s rebirth in 1947 is a manifestation of this powerful bond between God and the Jewish people.

Israel is a Champion of Christian Values

In a region torn by violence, tyranny, and oppression, Israel stands out as the only democracy and a beacon of human rights, with a free press and vibrant civil society. Jews and Arabs; Christians and Muslims; and men and women enjoy equal rights of citizenship and the freedom to worship as they please, all contributing to the rich tapestry of Israeli culture.

Israel Makes Our World a Better Place

In just 67 years, Israel has contributed far more to mankind than any other country of its size. Israelis developed the technology that powers your cell phone and computer, life-changing treatments for cancer, and agricultural innovations that revolutionized the way we irrigate crops.

Israel Makes Us Safer

In the post-9/11 world, the forces of radical terrorism threaten our very way of life. There is no nation who contributes more meaningfully to fighting against this evil than the United States’ closest ally in the world: Israel.

More than ever before, it is important that Christians are educated about Israel, America’s greatest ally in the Middle East and a living, breathing testament to God’s Covenant in our world.

Do you have a question about Israel? Visit us at IsraelAnswers.com and get it answered!


For more than thirty years, Susan Michael has pioneered the development of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem in the United States and around the world. She currently serves as the ministry’s USA Director and is a member of the ICEJ’s international Board of Directors.

Ten Reasons to Support Israel

When asked why a person supports Israel, most Christians respond with Genesis 12:3, the biblical verse where God tells Abraham that He would bless those who blessed him and would curse those who cursed Him. While certainly a pertinent scripture, it cannot alone satisfy either the more curious or the antagonist.

There are actually many reasons why Christians support Israel and the Jewish people, and an advocate should be ready to articulate them all.

Personally

Millions of Christians have visited Israel and its holy sites, and seen their Bible come alive in profoundly life-transforming ways. It only stands to reason that these pilgrims return with an excitement about Israel and deep appreciation for the country.

Gratefully

All Christians should support Israel in gratitude for the protection of their Christian brothers and sisters there and the atmosphere of peace and security they enjoy as full citizens of the Jewish state. While religious minorities face intense persecution across the Middle East, Israel provides the only safe haven for Christians and is consequently the only country in the region in which the Christian community is growing.

Practically

Israel’s incredible contributions across the fields of healthcare, agriculture and technology are saving lives, creating jobs, and enriching communities across the United States. With advances ranging from text messaging to cancer research, and from drip irrigation to the flu vaccine, odds are that innovative Israelis have improved life for you and your family!

Politically

It is vital for all Americans to maintain support of a strong alliance with the only liberal democracy in the Middle East, a country that advances our national interests and shares our values of freedom of speech, freedom of worship, and human rights. Israel is the one stable, pro-American country in a hostile region and deserves a strong and committed friendship with the United States.

Economically

Support of Israel is a good investment, not just for the investor, but for the blessing of the region. The greatest blessing for the Palestinian people lies in an alliance with Israel through which they would enjoy the benefits of her strong economy and free society. Instead, every terrorist or military campaign against Israel has resulted in the weakening of the Palestinian economy and the deterioration of the society at the hands of despots.

Boldly

One can boldly support Israel whose founding was completely legal and formulated by the community of nations as reflected in the 1917 Balfour Declaration, the 1920 San Remo Conference Resolution, and the 1922 League of Nations vote. After the declaration of statehood in 1948, Israel was admitted into the United Nations in 1949 with a majority vote.

Empathetically

After two thousand years of persecutions, expulsions and attempts at annihilation, it is time that the world says “enough!” Israel’s founding brought justice to the Jewish people who were never allowed to defend themselves or determine their own future. That has now changed.

Morally

The tragic history of Jewish-Christian relations – a history that has been plagued by anti-Semitism perpetuated by confessing Christians – should cause all Christians to seek ways to establish a new relationship with the Jewish people based on mutual respect. Likewise, they should condemn the demonization of the Jewish people and delegitimization of the Jewish state as nothing more than modern expressions of anti-Semitism.

Biblically

Genesis 12 is clear that God chose Abraham and the nation that would descend from him for the purposes of world redemption. That is why God declared that those who blessed His plan and choice of Israel would also be blessed. The return of the Jewish people to their ancient homeland is proof of the faithfulness of God to His promises to Abraham and as such, demands our support.

This explains why Psalm 122:6 commands us to pray for the peace and well-being of Jerusalem, and as watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem in Isaiah 62:6-7, we should pray with great fervor and persistence until all of God’s promises to the Jewish people are fulfilled. In Romans 9-11 of the New Testament, the Apostle Paul is clear that the church should honor the Jewish people as the root that supports the Christian faith, because everything we hold dear as Christians has come from them.

Historically

With such a firm biblical foundation for support of the Jewish people, it is no surprise to find that many of the fathers of the Bible-based Evangelical Christian movement preached from the scriptures the return of the Jewish people to their ancient homeland and the blessing this return would bring upon the world. Modern Christian supporters of Israel follow in the steps of great Christian leaders such as John and Charles Wesley, Robert Murray MacCheynne, Charles Spurgeon and many of the Puritan preachers, to name a few.

One must conclude that while the biblical basis for Christian support of Israel is extensive, there are also a variety of other convincing arguments based on history, morality, and plain old common sense.

 

Support IsraelSupporting all of Israel
Your support of the ICEJ brings hope to many people, from Jewish communities in Ukraine and France, to Israeli leaders and officials, to the needy in the Land. Thank you for partnering with us in this great ministry that the Lord has entrusted to us. 
Donate now 

What is the Truth About Israel?

Support for Israel runs deep in this country for a number of reasons. According to recent polls as many as 80 percent of American Christians feel a moral obligation to support Israel. A large part of this is due to the influence of the Bible but there is also an appreciation for Israel’s democratic values as well as empathy with Israel since the same terrorist organizations that want to destroy the Jewish state have also attacked America.

Another value that runs deep in American society is truthfulness, and dishonesty is frowned upon. For this reason many Americans are quite gullible and simply believe what they are told because of the assumption that they are being told the truth.

This may have been the case in years gone by but today the world is quickly changing. While America has been known for Christian values such as honesty and morality these qualities are coming under vicious attack. The change is happening so rapidly that it has caught many off guard.

Anti-Semitic Propaganda

This can be seen especially in regards to the Israel issue. The global propaganda campaign to delegitimize and demonize Israel that is prevalent in the Muslim world and in post-Christian Europe is now finding its way here and can be found on American college campuses, in social media and in liberal institutions
.
A young Israeli man, Hen Mazzig, came to the Pacific Northwest for four months this year to speak on college campuses, high schools and churches. He spoke about the history of modern Israel, his experience growing up there and his service as an officer in the IDF COGAT unit that assists and promotes Palestinian civil society.

After speaking to over 16,000 people at many institutions he wrote an article describing his complete shock at the “gut-wrenching, anti-Israel, anti-Semitic hostility expressed by many students, professors, church members and even high school students.” He concluded “I never expected to encounter such hatred and lies. I never believed that such anti-Semitism still existed, especially in the U.S.”

The danger is not just that America’s support for Israel will be eroded due to this campaign but that our belief in the Bible – the foundation of Israel’s significance and America’s greatness will also be diminished. For this reason it is very important that young people know where to find the facts and information necessary to arrive at the truth and to give an answer in defense of the truth.

Is Israel An Apartheid State?

Take for example the accusation that Israel is an apartheid state. There is actually no truth to this accusation but it is a brilliant use of an emotive concept that carries with it a call to action. This is because the only other time in history the term was employed was in regards to the South African apartheid regime that was a racist government brought down in 1996 through international protests and sanctions.

Israel’s enemies have concluded that if Israel can be branded an apartheid state then she too could be brought down through international protests and a campaign of boycotts, divestment and sanctions. Yet, Arabs occupy senior positions in all sectors of Israeli society. Salim Jubran, Supreme Court Justice; Nawaf Massalha, former Deputy Foreign Minister; and Angelina Fares, the former Ms. Israel are all Israeli Arabs.

They enjoy full equal civil rights. In fact, the freest Arab population in the Middle East lives in Israel. It is also the only country in the region where the Christian population is growing. Kenneth Meshoe, South African Member of Parliament, is very outspoken that Israel is not an apartheid state and to accuse her of being so insults the millions of Black South Africans who suffered under true apartheid.

Finding Answers

The US Branch of the ICEJ has just launched a unique website to help the American Christian community find the information needed to defend Israel and to defend their own support of Israel? The IsraelAnswers.com website is an easy-to-use site in a question and answer format with straight forward answers.

When you find a trustworthy source of information spread the word around! Make sure your family, church and community knows about IsraelAnswers.com.

Justice Can Only be Based on Truth

A small but growing circle of Christian leaders is seeking to lead evangelicals in America away from support for Israel and are doing so under the banner of “social justice” and “just peacemaking.” These leaders are portraying themselves as “pro-Israel, pro-Palestinian, pro-peace and pro-justice.” And while their intentions may be good, they are actually playing into the hands of a larger, more sinister campaign seeking to delegitimize and demonize Israel.

Even more disturbing, their words expose a trend in the evangelical world to disregard the authority of the Bible. They deny the irrevocable calling on the Jewish people and they teach variations of Replacement Theology which requires sections of scripture to either be disregarded or spiritualized to take on new meanings. This theology has historically been the basis for anti-Semitism in the Church and its influence should be guarded against.

One does not have to dismiss the biblical significance of the Jewish people and the modern-day return to their ancient homeland in order to have a heart for the Palestinian people. As Christians we should have a love for all men. And in this situation, we need to appreciate the very difficult position that the Palestinian people are in, the additional difficulties facing Palestinian Christians in general and evangelical Palestinian Christians in particular.

Those seeking true justice must ask the question: just what are the Palestinians’ difficulties and who is to blame for them? Instead, the blame is always placed squarely on Israel and rarely do pro-Palestinian voices put any blame on Arab leaders. At the end of the day, this dishonest brokering does nothing to help the Palestinian people.

Future articles in this column will discuss some of the issues that are used to delegitimize Israel such as the legality of Israel’s founding, the plight of the Palestinian refugees, the “occupation” and accusations of being an Apartheid state.

But before taking on the very complex and complicated issues in the Arab-Israeli conflict one must have a firm foundation of biblical and historical truth.

Biblical Justice

Social justice must not be confused with biblical justice. While the Bible is clear that we are to judge situations righteously and honestly it does not call us to impose a certain social structure.
Leviticus 19:15 is very clear that righteous judgment is based on the facts without respect to persons or their status.
15 ‘You shall do no injustice in judgment. You shall not be partial to the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty. In righteousness you shall judge your neighbor.
Justice is based on the truth. That is why one had better know the history, culture and religious ideologies in the Middle East before making judgments and ascribing blame.

Jesus’ Example

In Jesus’ day, there was considerable conflict within society from living under Roman rule, yet Jesus never addressed it and instead went about ministering compassion to the people. So too Christians today should have a heart of compassion for the Palestinian people, living under their own repressive and corrupt government, just as we have for the Jewish people who live under constant threat of war and annihilation.

This is why the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, which is a ministry raised up to minister love and support to the people of Israel, has always provided humanitarian assistance to Arabs as well. In addition to 33 years of outreach to Israeli Arabs the ICEJ is also partnering with an evangelical Palestinian ministry to provide humanitarian aid in the Palestinian areas.

The Facts

The truth is that the Jewish people have a four thousand year-old claim and connection to the land of Israel. God gave this land to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as an everlasting possession and they are the only people who ever built a nation there. Likewise, Jerusalem was established as Israel’s capital by King David and it has never been the capital of any other nation.

The Jewish people have now returned to their homeland as foretold by the Hebrew prophets and as legally sanctioned by the Balfour Declaration of 1917, League of Nations in 1920, Ran Remo conference in 1920, the UN Partition Plan of 1947 and finally UN recognition of Israeli statehood in 1948.

Israel was not built on stolen land but private land that was purchase and public land conveyed from the Ottoman Empire to the British Mandate and then to Israel. The Jewish people returned in peace. But they were faced with war and in those wars borders changed and some Arabs lost possession of homes, lands and even life. This is an injustice. But who is really to blame? The Jews who returned in peace or the surrounding Arab countries who declared war?

Justice is Based on Truth

Justice for the Palestinian people will only come when their supporters are honest enough to address their situation candidly. They are suffering at the hands of Palestinian leaders who care more about hating Israel than helping their own people and who are skimming off billions of aid dollars into personal bank accounts. Palestinian Christians are suffering discrimination in aid distribution, land ownership and business by the Muslim Palestinian government. Anyone speaking against the Palestinian Authority can be arrested including journalists. There is no freedom of press or freedom of speech.

This is why numerous polls reveal that 40% of Palestinian Arabs living in Jerusalem would move to Jewish neighborhoods in order to remain living under Israeli rule rather than to live under Palestinian statehood. There is obviously more to this than the usual anti-Israel narrative that some Christians are being taught.

When faced with lies and delusion we need to take a stand for the truth – both biblical and historical.

Only then can there be true justice.


Susan Michael is the director of the US Branch of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem 

 

Share this: