Brog's Blog

August 2, 2010

Summer Dreams

Filed under: All Posts — brogsblog @ 3:36 pm

It’s summer. The days have grown long and heavy with heat. The mind longs to flee the day-to-day and contemplate bigger ideas. Or at least more pleasant ones.   So let’s take a day off from Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah. Let’s take a day away from Bibi and Obama. Let’s have a day without rockets, missiles or threats. Let’s talk about dreams.

Theodore Herzl had a dream. Herzl — the founder of modern Zionism — dreamed that the Jewish people would return home to their ancient land and rebuild their ancient commonwealth. As a Jew who was traumatized and transformed by the reality of anti-Semitism in Europe, Herzl also dreamed that the Jews inhabiting this future Jewish State would do far better when it came to loving the stranger in their midst. And Herzl recognized from the start that this stranger would be the Arabs already living in the land of Israel.

Indeed, Herzl had a dream for these Arabs. He didn’t dream that they would be expelled. He didn’t hope that they would flee. He didn’t pray they’d disappear. Herzl dreamed that the Arabs would stay and become full, equal and prosperous citizens of the Jewish State.

Beyond his pamphlets and political articles, Herzl set forth his dreams in his 1902 novel Altneuland (The “Old New Land”), in which he shares what he thought life would be like in the future Jewish State. Herzl envisioned the city of Haifa growing to become a major industrial and cultural center. And Herzl believed that in this city — as in the whole country — Jews and Arabs would mix as close friends and full equals. One of the major characters in the novel, an Arab engineer from Haifa named Reshid Bey, describes with enthusiasm the way in which Jewish immigration and Arab-Jewish cooperation have created prosperity, opportunity, and modernity for all.

Herzl was, in retrospect, terribly naive. As a Jew in Christian Europe, he was used to belonging to a religious and ethnic minority. He saw nothing unusual or tragic in this status. He simply rebelled against the fact that Jews constituted a minority everywhere and a majority nowhere, and saw in this unusual condition the seeds of anti-Semitism. Herzl assumed that the Arabs, already the majority in so many vast lands, would find nothing disturbing in being a minority in one small country. His European Jewish mind simply could not fathom the idea that, for so many Arabs, being a minority anywhere in the Middle East — even in the tiny sliver of land destined to be the Jewish State — was a tragedy.

I was reminded of Herzl’s dream earlier this week when I read a human interest story from Israel. I suppose the article should have made me happy. And it did. Yet as I read, I also felt a sort of melancholy — sadness over what could have been — well up too. The article was about Elinor Jospeh, a beautiful Christian Arab woman. The article announced that Ms. Joseph had become the first Arab woman to serve as a combat soldier in the history of the Israeli army. While her accomplishment is encouraging, the fact that it is news — and not the norm — leaves the cup half empty.

Corporal Elinor Joseph was born and raised in an integrated neighborhood of Haifa — the very city in which Herzl envisioned such robust Jewish-Arab coexistance over a century ago. Her father was an Israeli paratrooper, and Elinor followed in her father’s footsteps. Despite the opposition of her friends and the doubts of her army recruiters, Elinor persisted until she became a medic in Israel’s Karakal Batallion. According to Elinor, “Although everybody is surprised in the beginning, I have always been respected, not just me but my customs and religion. Nobody ever disturbed me. I feel a lot of serenity and support.”

Elinor is a reminder of how much Herzl’s dream has come to pass not only for the Jews of Israel, but also for its Arab citizens. Today, an Israeli Arab sits on Israel’s Supreme Court. Israeli Arabs have been cabinet ministers in Israel’s governments, and they serve in Israel’s Knesset, Israel’s foreign service and, yes, Israel’s army. Israel is the only nation in the Middle East where the Christian Arab population is actually growing.

Corporal Elinor Joseph

Yet at the same time, Elinor also reminds us how much of Herzl’s dream was deferred. Rather than seek to coexist with the Jews, the leaders of the Palestinian Arabs chose a different path — the path of rejection and hate. In the process, they convinced the British to close the gates of Palestine to Jewish immigration in 1939 — locking millions of Jews in Europe just as Hitler reached the height of his power. And these same leaders led their own people to war and exile when they sought to destroy the Jewish state at its birth. This hate and rejection of Israel persist down to the present day.

I mourn the missed opportunity. I mourn the suffering imposed upon the Arabs of the region — and the Jews — because these Arab leaders were too narrow-minded to see the Jewish return to their land as a blessing instead of a threat. I mourn the fact that even today there are too few Elinors serving Israel.

Yet despite all this, Elinor remains optimistic. The article closes with Elinor noting that “I still believe that peace will come and that faith creates reality.” In so doing, she echoed Herzl himself who closed his novel Altneuland with the famous words, “If you will it, it is no dream.”

Thank you, Corporal Joseph. And G-d bless you. You go girl.

David Brog is the executive director of Christians United for Israel and author of a new book, In Defense of Faith: The Judeo-Christian Idea and the Struggle for Humanity.  You can follow David on Facebook by clicking here and on Twitter by clicking here.

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23 Comments »

  1. We wait, we worry, we work, and we hope.
    G-d will not be mocked.

    You go David!!
    Lead us on.

    Comment by Pastor Velvel — August 2, 2010 @ 5:17 pm

  2. Thank you for the Beautiful and inspiring Article in this Blog. I admit that there is so much more to be done and said about the conditions of Israel and their warring neigbors. I find it so disturbing how it seems that no matter how much Israel attempt to make peace they don’t recieve the reconition and praise due. And each time She defends herself it seems that most of the world looks at Israel as the bully. One day Israel will be at total Peace,….. as will the whole world. Yes we Must continue to Support and Pray for the Peace of our Beloved Israel! ….Anthony Steward

    Comment by Anthony Steward — August 2, 2010 @ 5:22 pm

  3. Dear David,
    A beautiful story of hope.Thank you for sharing it.As a Christian Zionist i’m encouraged today to keep on praying for the peace of Jerusalem and the Jewish people. All things are possible with
    G-d.Dianne

    Comment by Dianne DeEulio — August 2, 2010 @ 5:40 pm

  4. I noticed she is an Arab Christian. Of course she can fit into Israeli culture. The Bible doesn’t teach us to hate those who don’t share our beliefs, as the Koran does. We acknowledge that the Bible & Christianity came to us from Israel. Until God reveals the true Satanic roots of Islam to the Muslims, there can be no peace in the Middle East. Only when their eyes are opened will peace come. We are infidels to the true Muslims.

    Comment by John B — August 2, 2010 @ 5:54 pm

  5. A beautiful story Eleanor,and God bless you for your turning and for your apparant appreciation of life under the banner of truth and love. And may the truth, love and happiness flow from you to multitudes of others who are locked in cells of hate and destruction. Make it happen Eleanor.

    Comment by James D. Burke — August 2, 2010 @ 6:15 pm

  6. Thanks for such an inspiring writing sharing God’s Grace and Love for ALL True Believers. Unfortunately, Muslins consider this as SATANIC and have No Love for Infidels and feel that if Jews & Christians don’t convert to their Muslim unbelief, we should all be killed! Sad, but true.
    We pray continually for Jesus’ soon return so Biblical Scripture and Prophesy can be fulfilled! Praise God!
    Sincerely & Christian Love from
    Richard E. Harris

    Comment by Richard E. Harris — August 2, 2010 @ 6:43 pm

  7. David: I read a small article in Arutz Sheva News a few days ago. Thank you for filling in these beautiful details for me. I think I will have to read that book by Herzl and also your new book.

    Shalom

    Comment by margaret metcalf — August 2, 2010 @ 6:51 pm

  8. A great article and I like reading the part about Elinor Joseph.

    God will bring peace one day to the state of Israel.

    If we all love each other as commanded in God’s Word,

    Love On Another thus fulfulling the law of Christ, than this world would

    know the love that only Christ can bring to an individual, community, province,

    state or nation.

    Daily let us pray for peace for Israel and for Jerusalem.

    God bless you Elinor and God bless Israel.

    Comment by John A. Murray — August 2, 2010 @ 6:57 pm

  9. Thank you for sharing this blog with the CUFI family. I’m glad to be a part! We must continue to let our voices be heard in the cry for Israel. It is wonderful to see so many take a stand for her but still we must continue to make more people aware of what is happening in Israel. Blessings

    Comment by Rana Cooper — August 2, 2010 @ 7:04 pm

  10. What an encouraging and inspiring article…I recently visited Israel and saw many young men and women in uniform on the streets…I saw many that looked like Elinor…she is a beautiful young woman with an even greater beauty inside…hope for peace amoung her Arab ancestry and the Jewish people..and the beauty of Christ which dwells in her heart, from which comes her compassion and hope. May God bless her and keep her. One day the Jewish nation will certainly know peace in their land…

    Comment by Pam — August 2, 2010 @ 7:25 pm

  11. Thank you for another wonderful blog on Israel but this one was particularly revealing. Often the media skews the reality of Arabs and Jews living peacefully in Israel and only focuses on tensions in Gaza and West Bank, which by the way, are easing as billions of aids pours into their economies resulting in economic prosperity (see: Tom Gross,”Building Palestine Without Obama’s Interference”, http://www.wsj.com, 7/2010). It’s encouraging to see another story on how the two cultures do get along and can do more than coexist, they can integrate. Elinor Joseph represents the best of the Arab world. She looks to be a fine young lady. She has the right attitude and I commend her parents and family for bringing her up with love for Israel. That is often not the case in the Arab world. They often teach their children to hate and despise Jews, especially Muslims. However, with the Christian West’s help we can defeat the hate in their hearts and minds with the Love of Jesus. His love conquers all.

    Comment by Liz Levesque — August 2, 2010 @ 8:05 pm

  12. Thanks 8-2-10

    This brought tears brought to my eyes, as always, when the Lord speaks to my heart

    These last three years as a widow, GOD has drawn me closer to Him as I read, listen and pray.
    Learning deeper truths from the bible and the history, especially of the Jewish Nation

    Thanks for making my day and God Bless
    Irene Pavleck

    p.s. G-D ??

    Comment by Irene Pavleck — August 2, 2010 @ 8:55 pm

  13. Irene, printing ‘G-D’ is simply in respect for the Jewish tradition of reverencing Him by not printing the vowel. Indeed there are no vowels in written Hebrew!

    Thank you David, for that compassionate and inspirational article. As one who’s family made Aliya to Israel in the early 70’s and who is now a Pastor in Australia it was good to hear some positive news from ‘The Land’.

    I wonder if Herzl should have written “If you will it, it is still a dream, but if you do it, it is then no longer just a dream.”

    Shalom

    Ps Chris

    Comment by Chris Twinn — August 2, 2010 @ 10:40 pm

  14. I love Israel and pray for the peace of Israel. God will defeat the enemies of Israel. Praise the Lord!.

    Comment by lahill — August 3, 2010 @ 12:20 am

  15. It appears from Bible prophesy that everyone will abandon Israel. God alone will be their defender against their enemies. Israel will not be destoryed but we need to pray for Jerusalem that many lives will be spared when their enemies do attack.

    Comment by hlhill — August 3, 2010 @ 2:31 am

  16. Truly I have been blessed reading this amazing story of Truth and Hope.Ms.Josef’s faith rings true in her words. It reminds me of something the Lord continues to bring to my heart and, that is this, “all fears can be erased by faith in Jesus….
    Never forget the power of fervent prayer…it availes much!!

    Comment by Larry Lewis — August 3, 2010 @ 7:15 am

  17. A very well written and thought out message. One day the lion will be at peace with the lamb. Until then, Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!

    Comment by Paul — August 3, 2010 @ 4:44 pm

  18. What an inspiring revelation have you giving usbrother on Herzl´draems,and sis Elinor Joseph´faith & hope, God h´d never left Himself without a withness so that others will be without excuse God
    keep & bless our sister .

    Comment by Okechukwu Geoffrey — August 4, 2010 @ 3:39 am

  19. Hmm. Elinor Joseph in Hebrew means “My God will increase the youth”.

    Amen!

    Comment by Gidon — August 5, 2010 @ 7:26 am

  20. Truly a beautiful story and shows us what our God is in fact doing in the hearts of many. Please bear with me as I proceed further, because Israel is in my heart so I must express some thoughts.
    Let us remember a message in the Abrahamic Covenant ” I will bless those who bless them and curse those who curse them.” We are commanded to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. In the closing pages of the Revelation, Israel may be on her own, but know she is not, we are her watchmen, fellow believers and our Father will supernaturally protect her, no one can touch her again, only the Lord has that privilege. Let us never as believers forget who created heaven and earth and who gave the Title Deed to the Jewish nation. The Lord owns all and he can give whatever to whoever as he chooses. Israel owns the land, so a quick word of advice to the President of Iran, (I’m sure he will get the message) if you are looking for territory please do not waste time with that strip of land you want to destroy, because you can never, never harm, possess or occupy it. Be careful Sir, the winds are stirring for the final battle,we are in the last days and you will be part of this, “blood will flow to the bridle of the horse and I assure you, it will not be Jewish blood. I pray that you will come to know the love of Jesus Christ.

    Comment by Ria — August 5, 2010 @ 11:33 pm

  21. Elinor is such an example of how God is indeed working in his people. Blessed are those who know the true Messiah now!

    Comment by Marianne Lordi — August 6, 2010 @ 2:30 am

  22. I am Jewish from my mother, I Love the Jewish people and pray always for them,I have some palestinian friends here in america they know Yesuah as their savior, and i Love them they are my sisters in the Lord.I will keep Elinor in my prayers. she is G-d child.one day there will be a lasting peace in Israel,Can’t wait for that day, its coming soon. Shalom Martha Pugh.

    Comment by Martha Pugh — August 10, 2010 @ 12:54 am

  23. I like very much for the vail to be removed. I pray for the Jewish people that they who love thee will prosper. Keep believing in that dream.In revelation the Lord Jesus Christ will return. United states has to take greater understanding in our government of our duty to ISRAEL. TO God. We nead more bold and strong warriors as our sister. GOD BLESS! Keep the word coming. Thank, Robyn Sweeney

    Comment by Robyn — August 13, 2010 @ 5:41 pm


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