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A Chosen People.

A non religious person asked me the other day,” if the Jewish people are a chosen people, what are they chosen to do?” A pretty good question. One that doesn’t have any particular answer from a secular Zionist perspective, but, then again, Zionism never bought into that stuff about Jews being the chosen people of God. If you listen to Christian Zionists, the only thing Jewish people are chosen for is to hurry up and ethnically cleanse Palestine of Arabs so that the rapture can occur and the non-Christian world can finally get whats coming to it! And about time too…Hallelujah!

Two thousand years of the teachings of Torah Judaism give quite a different picture. Orthodox Judaism teaches that being Jewish historically, up until about 1860, was always about being willing to accept the “yoke” of the Torah. That is, being Jewish was a religious identity. An identity that was intimately tied to a person’s ethics, a person’s responsibility to God and humanity. John Hagee’s version of Jewishness is more about an entitlement to real estate than ethics towards the vulnerable and “despised” in society. Rabbi Hillel (1st century BC), when asked what was the essence of the Torah, said “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbour. That is the whole Torah.” Christian Zionism…far more Zionist than Christian, simply has no understanding of what Jewishness is even remotely about.

The Torah teaches Jewish people that just as God sent Moses to tell Pharaoh to “Let My People Go!”, so God tells Benjamin Netanyahu to not keep the Palestinians captive in their own land. Ex 22:21 “Do not mistreat an alien or oppress him, for you were aliens in Egypt.”

God does not love His chosen people in such a manner that banishes all boundaries, giving license to whatever avarice and self righteousness the Jewish people may wish to indulge in. His covenant with the Jewish people in the Land of Israel has never been revoked. It is because of God’s love for His chosen that He resists the Zionist state of Israel. To endorse the Zionist Government would require a reversal of His very character. Something all Christians say can never happen.

If there ever was a people whose religious heritage should cause them to side with those suffering under the rod of oppression, it should be the Jewish people. If ever there was a people who should never be guilty of oppressing a people living with them in their land, it is the Jewish people. This is why anyone with eyes and ears can see why Boaz Evron said…”Zionism is indeed the negation of Judaism”

It is because the Jewish people are God’s chosen people that God is saying to them, of the Palestinian people, “Let My People Go!” The oppressed of the world are God’s chosen people too, the warnings of the Torah are ignored at our peril. The Jewish people are chosen, chosen to be responsible, not to be free from responsibility toward the Palestinian Arabs who live amongst them.

Craig Nielsen

Israel-Palestine: A Christian Response to the Conflict

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May 2023