Let me be very clear: I am a Zionist. Absolutely, unrepentantly, completely behind Israel and the Jewish people. Not only for theological reasons (though those of course are paramount) but for political reasons as well; Israel is the only nation in a very strategic, very volatile region which doesn’t hate our guts and consider us the “Great Satan.”
So, I am a Christian Zionist. Deal with it.
That being said, as with most things, it’s important to strike a balance between extremes. I am a strong supporter of Israel, but like any nation, it is not perfect and its government does sometimes do very bone-headed things. (No, defending herself against the attacks of her enemies does not qualify as being “bone-headed.” Duh.) Therefore, Israel (whether the government or her citizens) does not get a pass when they are wrong.
One of the things which is an ongoing point of contention, and can indeed produce an interesting tension in the heart of a Christian Zionist like myself, is stuff like this:
When the congregation at St. Nicolay church in this northern Israeli town gathered on that quiet Friday morning of May 29, they never expected to be showered with stones. The Russian Orthodox worshipers, including many women, children and the elderly, had filled the small building to overflow with several outside when they were stunned by the rain of stones. Some were injured and received medical care.
It seems some yeshiva students (you know, the ones who don’t sully themselves by joining the IDF to defend their homeland and people – those obviously courageous guys…) bravely attacked children and old men and women on their way to worship.
Those intrepid young men should be richly rewarded – for instance, by being lined up and jack-slapped by some of the very IDF soldiers they think they’re too good to join, and who understand the concept of freedom (which is why they fight and die – not only for the Jewish Israelis, but for their non-Jewish co-nationalists as well).
Thankfully, and very much unlike the Muslim nations surrounding her, Israel neither officially persecutes her Christians nor tacitly approves of it, either. It’s a very touchy situation in Israel, with the yeshivas existing essentially outside the direct jurisdiction of the government and agencies of government. Unlike the “Palestinian” Authority, for instance, or Egypt, where persecution of the rapidly dwindling Christian populations in their midst is at least tacitly approved and assisted by the government.
However, unofficial and unapproved as it is, it is things like this which emphasize that even though Israel has an unquestionable right to the land God gave her, even though we as Christians are compelled by that same God to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and to bless the Jewish people, and even though we solidly support Israel, the nation is quite far from being perfect and (again) does not get a free pass.