Many Christians are in love with Israel. I think that’s absolutely beautiful. They have correctly asserted that Israel is a fulfillment of God’s promises in the Bible, that the ingathering of Jews to the Holy Land is prophecy coming true before our very eyes, and that the Jewish people have a special place in God’s plan.
You probably think that I will follow this up with “but…” and then detail all the problems with hyper-obsessiveness with Israel, but I’m not going to. Being overly obsessive with anything is unhealthy, and I trust my readers know that already. Plus, I already did a post about turning Israel into an idol.
People who are in love with Israel are generally amazing people. They are often the first ones who speak against antisemitism. They support Israel economically and politically when no one else will, and they will loudly reject replacement theology whenever it occurs.
If you are a person like this, in love with Israel, you are still admiring Israel from a distance. I want to encourage you to take the next step.
Go on a date with Israel. Come visit.
When you are in love with someone from a distance, you can easily believe that this person is perfect. Once you get closer, you may start seeing the less pretty sides. The question is what you will do with that. Will you let that discourage you and abandon the one you used to love, or is your love biblical and unconditional?
By all means, do it slowly. Come with a tour group the first time you’re here. That’s like a first date. They will shield you from the worst expressions of Israeli rudeness, and focus on the most beautiful parts – forever transforming the way you see the Bible.
But then we have the next step. Actually getting to know her. This is when you start seeing the really unflattering sides. When you arrive alone for the first time, your first impression of Israel just might be a rude taxi driver who tries to scam you. What will you do then? Will you say “Are these the people I supported all these years? What was I thinking?” Or will you say, “I have no idea why God chose these people, but if he loves them, so will I. Unconditionally.”
How do you know you really love someone? When you’ve seen the less flattering sides and you still love them. Only then you know it’s true. Have you been hurt by Israelis and still support Israel? Congratulations. You’re there.
The biggest step that most of you won’t take is moving here, and living here for an extended period of time. That can be even worse. Now you’re married to Israel and have to deal with all the problematic parts. The housing prices, the bureaucracy, the education system, the health system, and the general dismissive attitude many Israelis have against people who don’t speak Hebrew. Have you done this, and still love and support Israel? Congratulations. Now you’re loving Israel the way Jesus is.
Israel is an amazing place. There are so many reasons to love Israel. With time, you’ll even see that some of the less pretty sides of Israel have a certain charm. Just like when you get married, you’ll learn to accept some sides that you can’t change, and you will be motivated to help change the sides you can do something about. The problems you see will not make you turn against Israel, but motivate you to pray for Israel. That’s the beauty of deepening your love for Israel.
So if you are in love with Israel and you can afford it, it’s time to take the next step. The borders are opening for all tourists in March 2022. Welcome.
This article originally appeared on Tuvia’s blog, February 20, 2022, and reposted with permission.