By Charles Gardner —
Following the unhelpful pro-Hamas response of South Africa’s political and (Anglican) church leaders, I was heartened by the very different reaction of my former university friends from that country.
One of them, a classmate at boarding school from the age of nine, pointed out that, as a follower of Jesus, it was important to re-state some hard facts concerning the current Israeli-Gaza War.
That there has never been a Palestinian state, for one thing. And that Hamas’ chief backer, Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has called on the Muslim world to boycott everything originating with the Jewish people.
This would mean avoiding the cures for a host of diseases including diabetes, polio and tuberculosis. They would also have to avoid using Digitalis, a treatment for heart disease discovered by Ludwig Traube, a Jew. And they mustn’t call for a doctor on their cell phone because it was invented in Israel by a Jewish engineer.
But it’s of paramount importance that Christians are not taken in by the poisonous propaganda spreading across the world’s cities like wildfire. For our destiny is tied to Israel’s. If they go down, the West goes with it, because it is from the Jewish people that we inherited the precious Scriptures on which we have built a civilization that managed to overthrow the Nazis but which has now become so weak and ineffectual that we are in danger of imminent collapse.
The time for even-handed impartiality is over. The enemies of godly morality must be called out for what they are – terrorists, not militants, who would as soon as cut our throats as engage in sensible peace negotiations.
We must stand unequivocally with Israel. Did you know that the word for the Jewish people comes from the Hebrew Yehudim, meaning to praise, worship and give thanks to God? As Rabbi Jonathan Cahn put it, “A Jew is one whose very existence is a praise and witness to the existence of God,” adding: “It’s strange that a name linked to praise should become a word of vilification, that a word linked to worship should be used as a profanity, and a word linked to thanksgiving could be used for cursing.”¹
Indeed, how absurd is it that the people God has given to bless others (as with the medical and phone inventions) are cursed by so many?
I share a WhatsApp group with these friends from my South African youth (we were all part of the university athletics club, and as editor of the Athlete’s Foot, I got my first taste of journalism).
Like me, they were thrilled by the South Africa National Rugby Team’s victory in the Rugby
World Cup – inspirationally led by their captain Siya Kolisi (a devout Christian) – and suggested that if their politicians followed their example of teamwork and friendship, the country would be in a much better place.
Meanwhile fellow journalist Andre Viljoen, who runs South Africa’s Gateway News online Christian news site, agreed with them, saying: “Siya’s influence was part of it for sure but they are an amazingly happy and united group (player and management) who back and trust each other and predominantly follow Jesus. Families were with them too, which I think also contributed to their happy vibe.”
As I quoted four years ago when, as South Africa’s first-ever black captain, he led them to victory in Japan, Kolisi said: “…I’ve been able to discover the truth and saving power of Christ in a whole new way. This new life has given me a peace in my heart I’d never experienced before.”
Well, there you have it. Jesus is the king of rugby too!
Yet Jesus is not only king of world rugby, but King of the Jews. And he is coming back soon as King of Kings.
My WhatsApp friends also shared the well-known quote, attributed to former Israel Prime Minister Golda Meir: “If the Arabs put down their weapons today, there would be no more violence. If the Jews put down their weapons today, there would be no more Israel.”
Obviously most appropriate during this crisis, exactly 50 years on from the Yom Kippur War when Golda was in charge. And the movie Golda, starring Helen Mirren, is currently making the rounds.
At the end of the day, it’s a matter of the heart. Just as Ludwig Traube came up with a treatment for heart disease, so Jesus can cure our rotten hearts and reconcile us to himself and others. It’s time to nail our colors to the mast, along with our allegiance to the Jewish Messiah.
¹ The Book of Mysteries, published by FrontLine