Israel’s Seemingly Greatest Weakness May Prove to Be Her Greatest Strength
While evangelical Christians have long believed God has a plan for Israel that will ultimately be a blessing to all nations, few others have continued to view the Jewish state and her ever-current conflict with Palestine with such faith and optimism. In his latest work, The Promise of Israel: Why Its Seemingly Greatest Weakness Is Actually Its Greatest Strength(John Wiley & Sons, Inc., August 2012), noted author and scholar Daniel Gordis presents a passionate and persuasive argument for why Israel’s potential to be a blessing may very well be stronger than ever.
Though the cause for the ongoing conflict has been assumed to be borders, refugees and Palestinian statehood, Gordis boldly asserts that Israel is marginalized and reviled, not because of its alleged aggression, but because it is an ethnic “nation-state”—a country created around a shared cultural heritage. Acknowledging that there have always been those states centering around a singular culture, Gordis points out that Israel is the modern, quintessential example. Unfortunately, its arrival on the scene came just as the Western world was deciding to embrace the concept of universal sameness over the individual cultural identifiers any one country might maintain.
Though Israel’s critics insist that no country devoted to a single religion or culture can stay democratic and prosperous, Gordis demonstrates that Israel has provided its citizens with infinitely greater liberty and prosperity than anyone expected, and has actually fared better in doing so than any other young nation. Given its success, Gordis believes it would be more sensible for countries like Rwanda, Afghanistan and even Iran to look at the Israelis as a model for what can be done, rather than as enemies to be driven out. Rather than trying to destroy Israel, Gordis boldly maintains the Palestinians could serve their own best interests by trying to emulate the Jewish state.
“Israel ought to be seen as a beacon among nations,” Gordis writes, “a remarkably successful nation that has persevered despite wars fought on its borders and that has brought prosperity to its people despite a shared history of misfortune. Israel has secured significant rights for all of her citizens, including even those who reject the very idea of Israel’s existence. All of this has been accomplished because of Israel’s commitment to the future success of the Jewish people, not in spite of it.”
While evangelical Christians have always believed the emergence of the Jewish state in the land promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was ordained by God, The Promise of Israel could well emerge as a compelling argument for why such a belief is still valid in today’s ever-changing world.
Author Bio: Daniel Gordis is senior vice president and Koret Distinquished Fellow at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem and is also a regular columnist for the Jerusalem Post. In addition, he regularly writes for such notable publications as the New York Times, Tikkun, Forward and the New York Times Magazine.The author of several previous books, including Saving Israel, winner of the National Jewish Book Award, Gordis and his wife, Elisheva, live in Jerusalem. They are the parents of a married daughter and two sons.