This issue contains some background information regarding Jewish believers in Jesus and the struggles they face today, some perspective on why followers of Islam feel the way they do toward the U.S., and some help in using hyphens in your writing.
Our Israeli Connection
The purpose of this section is to provide news relevant to the connection between Christians in America and our religious heritage in Judaism, the Jewish people, and the land of Israel. Of prime concern are the messianics (Jews who have embraced Yeshua [Jesus] as their Messiah) in Israel. Israel contains approximately 7000 messianic Jews, who are divided among 100 or so congregations. Jews for Jesus, an international organization made up of messianic Jews, is seen as actively seeking “converts” from among the Jewish population in Israel. Its members are quick to point out that the term “conversion” is misleading. They are merely seeking to show that Yeshua is the one who brings completion and fulfillment of all the Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah. According to Dan Sarad (30), head of Jews for Jesus’ Israeli Chapter, messianic Jews have a terrible name in Israel. Israelis who don’t know any of them personally tend to be afraid of them. The community is widely viewed as a secretive cult that picks off vulnerable Jews and converts them to Christianity.
There are at least two “antimissionary” organizations (“Hand to Brethren” and “Heart for Brethren”) that regularly expose and harass messianics. They try to get messianic leaders ostracized in their neighborhoods by putting up attack posters with their pictures. One group admitted sending undercover spies into the messianics’ congregations, reporting on them to the Interior Ministry to prevent members from entering the country, making aliya (immigrating to Israel) or getting citizenship.
The point is that it’s tough being a believer (in Yeshua) in Israel. They need our help. Click on the link to my website, and then click on the link to Christian Friends of Israel to see what you can do. We in America take our religious freedom for granted. The way things are going, it won’t be long until that all changes. If some organization posted pictures of “Christian Troublemakers,” would your photo be among them?
It’s News to Me
To understand the threat Islam poses to us here in the West, we must understand the importance of history in the Islamic world. While many Americans view history as irrelevant, Muslims know that they have been shaped by history. They still fight and argue over things that happened hundreds and even thousands of years ago. They point to one particular event that, in their eyes, exemplified “Western interference” and solidified their hatred for the West. In 1953, the American and British governments decided to topple the Mosaddeq administration through a coup, reestablishing the pro-Western shah. Our problems began in 1979 with the Iranian Revolution. Neither the British nor the Americans did anything to save the shah, who was seen by many insiders as an American puppet. The shah expressed his desire to accept President Carter’s offer of asylum. Unfortunately for him, the offer was withdrawn. The State Department’s view was that establishing good relations with the new rulers of Iran was more important than giving aid to an old friend. The U.S. relented only when the shah was dying and in need of medical care.
Muslims in the region drew two conclusions:
1. America was willing to use force and intrigue to install or restore its puppet rulers in the Middle East.
2. It would abandon them if things got rough.
The first evoked hatred; the second, contempt.
But clearly, there is something beyond such events that turns every disagreement into an insurmountable problem. I think the two years spent in America by Sayyid Qutb of Egypt provided the spark that ignited the lingering hatred. He wrote of his shock at the level of American support for what he saw as a Jewish onslaught on Islam, with Christian complicity, but he was even more shocked by the “American way of life”–principally its sinfulness, degeneracy, and sexual addictions. Everything in America, he wrote, even religion, is measured in material terms. He saw churches operating like businesses, competing for clients and for publicity by using the same methods as stores and theaters to attract customers. Success is measured by size. (This was in 1948!) He also quoted the Kinsey Report on sexual behavior to document American debauchery. The degeneracy of America and its consequent threat to Islam became the “articles of faith” in fundamentalist Muslim circles.
Some obvious conclusions can be drawn from these events.
1. We will never understand what drives our Islamic enemies if we ignore the facts and the lessons from history. However, even if we understand them better, their goal will still be “death to America.”
2. Everything America does is being watched closely. Strength and integrity will be respected and remembered.
3. Islamic piety comes with a generous side of hypocrisy. Remember what drives suicide bombers to “martyrdom?” Not the promise of holiness or honor before Allah, but the hope of limitless heavenly sex.
Always hyphenate a compound in which one component is a cardinal number and the other is a noun or adjective.
a three-hundred-dollar clock
A small boy swallowed some coins and was taken to a hospital. When the grandmother telephoned to ask how he was, a nurse said, “No change yet.”