Last week, I noted a reprehensible act: seven Israeli teenagers were arrested for trying to lynch several Arab youths in Jerusalem. Now we have a Washington Post report of another reprehensible act: “Three Israeli adolescents from a West Bank settlement were arrested Sunday in connection with a recent firebombing of a Palestinian taxi, Israeli police said, adding fuel to a debate in Israel about ethnic prejudice among youths. The suspects, all age 12 or 13, were to appear before a Jerusalem court Sunday evening, police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said. The attack, which injured six Palestinians, took place hours before several Palestinian youths were beaten by a mob in central Jerusalem. Police arrested seven Israeli teenagers, the youngest 13, in connection with that attack, which witnesses described as a near-lynching. Both incidents were denounced as ‘terrorist attacks’ by Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon, who said they ‘constitute first and foremost an educational and moral failure.'”
We should all be horrified by these allegations. They must be fully investigated, and if true, the Israeli young people should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. These recent acts don’t represent all Israeli youths. But Yaalon is correct: this is evidence of a serious educational and moral failure among some Israeli youths and this must be urgently addressed. Thus, what I wrote last week I will write again: These are very important issues. Christians must take acts of cruelty and injustice against Jews and/or Arabs very seriously. Those who love Israel must insist upon true justice for all Israeli Arabs and Palestinian Arabs. When it comes to justice, we are not to show partiality to one side or the other, or to pervert justice. We are not to show favoritism to one side or the other. The Bible — Old Testament and New — teaches Israelis (and all people) to love their neighbors and to insure justice for all — Jews and non-Jews — in the Land. Consider just a few of the verses of Scripture that speak to these issues:
- Exodus 22:21 — “You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”
- Deuteronomy 24:17-18 — “You shall not pervert the justice due an alien or an orphan, nor take a widow’s garment in pledge.But you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and that the Lord your God redeemed you from there; therefore I am commanding you to do this thing.”
- Matthew 19:19 — Jesus said (quoting Leviticus 19:18), “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Sadly, many who love Israel don’t speak out when injustices are done to Israeli Arabs and Palestinian Arabs. Sometimes they act as if they don’t notice such injustices, or don’t care. This is wrong. Sadly, many who love the Arabs don’t speak out when injustices are done to Israeli Jews. Sometimes they act as if they don’t notice such injustices, or don’t care. This, too, is wrong.
At the 2012 Epicenter Conference next month in Albuquerque, we’re going to address these issues. My Joshua Fund colleagues and I are going to discuss with Israelis and Palestinians who live and work in the Holy Land the enormous challenges they see in front of them, but also the amazing ways in which the Lord is working in the Land. It’s not just the crises in Iran, Egypt and Syria that Christians need to pay attention to and pray about. I hope that you’ll join us in person at the Epicenter Conference, or watch the webcast. Please invite your friends and family members to join us as well at www.epicenterconference.com and http://www.joshuafund.net.
>> Help The Joshua Fund care for the poor and needy in Israel, teach the Word of God in the epicenter, educate and mobilize Christians around the world to bless poor and needy Israelis, train pastors and ministry leaders in Egypt, strengthen the believers in Syria, and prepare for a possible major new war in the epicenter — please prayerfully consider a generous, tax deductible financial contribution to The Joshua Fund.
- Participate in the 2012 Epicenter Conference set for Sept 12-16 in Albuquerque, New Mexico — will be webcast worldwide
- Sign up today for The Joshua Fund’s 2013 “Prayer & Vision” trip to Israel and 2013 Epicenter Conference — this trip isn’t for everyone; we’re looking for Christians who truly love Israel, are “prayer warriors” and are ready to put their faith in action by going to Israel to bless her despite of — or because of – the threats of war.
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- My spiritual journey — how did my parents and I come to faith in Jesus Christ?