By Bafana Modise
The recent political uproar in South Africa triggered by its Chief Justice’s position on Israel has left many with unanswered questions, especially those less informed regarding the creation and existence of the state of Israel. While issues of law and religion are vying for prominence in this complex debate, I stand firmly in the camp that accepts the premise that modern-day Israel was born out of the Zionist dream of Jews returning to their biblical or ancestral homeland. I am proud – not embarrassed by this position
While scholars, politicians and jurists will persist in their arguments of separating religious and political Zionism in their attempts to try and undermine the legal basis of the Jewish state’s existence, the one fact that is irrefutable – irrespective of one’s politics or religion – is that Israel is a reality recognised as such within the community of nations. That Israel’s existence is further supported by Christian belief does not undermine or discredit our Christian position on the issue or reflect negatively on Israel.
So why the unfair crazed assault on our esteemed and proudly Christian Chief Justice?
Many of us Christians in South Africa proudly join with Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng in his opinion that Israel is the realisation of biblical prophecy. Our Christian position is in no way contrary to Israel’s existence. On the contrary – it reinforces it; hence the title of my article – ‘Christianity is intertwined with Zionism’.
For those less informed on Israel’s founding, let us remember that the former Soviet Union was the first country to recognise Israel on the 17 May 1948. This was followed by Poland, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Ireland and YES – South Africa! The United States extended de jure recognition after Israel’s first election on 31 January 1949.
The biblical texts envisaged the return of the exiles back to Israel in the end of times through prophets like Isaiah, Joel, Zachariah and Ezekiel who warned that nations shall rise against Israel. Do we want South Africa to be amongst those nations foretold in the Bible that “shall rise against Israel”?
If we deny Israel as Christians then we are denying the ‘Will of the Father’ and the truth of the very scriptures we believe in.
Recently, the church has been pushed into political correctness on their position on Israel due to increasing global rejection of the state of Israel accusing it of being “a colonial settler state”.
Does Israel have outstanding issues to resolve? Yes, it does. Does South Africa have enormous existential issues that demand resolution? Yes, it does.
But this should not undermine our respective countries existence or warrant our destruction!
What the enemies of Israel want, and those attacking the Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng is that Israel should be characterised like the discredited statues in the US and UK in the hope that it too will topple, tumble, disappear or fall into the sea!
It will not happen.
It suits those attacking Christian support for Israel by resorting to such statements that “the bible is a fallacy or a book of fairytale stories.” When they can devise a position in Christian scriptures to attack Israel, then the Bible is not “a fallacy or a book of fairytale stories.”
Sadly, what past wars between the Arab world and Israel achieved; was to divide the world into two camps.
It is unfair and malicious to attack Christians for their love for Israel. Would fellow Muslims, unhappy with certain policies in Saudi Arabia, try undermining that county’s existence and advocate for boycotts? Would they dare suggest to BOYCOTT the Hajj – the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca? Of course not and should not.
Our love of Israel has nothing to do with its government or its military but rather a spiritual obligation to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Christian criticism of Israel is vital to improve and develop the only democracy in the Middle East to become the beckon of social justice for the preservation and advancement of Judeo-Christian values.
Recent attacks and condemnations against Israel are deeply rooted in antisemitism irrespective of human rights accusations based on the fact that Israel is the only country in the world with more than 200 condemnations at the United Nations, compared to such countries with grievous human rights abusers like China, Burma, Libya, North Korea, South Sudan, Iran, Syria, Turkey and many others. Most of them are notable for their antipathy to Israel and rush to condemn Israel at global forums.
If we are selective in our activism for ‘Human Rights’ then our activism becomes corrupted to satisfy particular political agendas.
We should continue to push and help constructively in the mediation between Israel and the Palestinians to try achieving a lasting peaceful resolution for all the people in this region.
To this end, however, Christians should never be blackmailed to support narratives which are in contradiction of their biblical scriptures.
Zionism was born out of the desire of exiles to return to their homeland which coincides with biblical prophecies as reflected in Mathew (5:9):
“Blessed are the Peacemakers, For They Will be Called Children of God.”
Hence, I am firmly of the belief that Zionism is intertwined with Christianity.
Following this reasoning, it is not possible for any Christian to deny the existence of Israel and not support its development as a nation commissioned by God and ultimately to serve as a banner for the Almighty’s faithfulness and love of all nations. Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng was bold in taking the stance for his belief against political correctness hence we fully support and echo his sentiments which are universal and in accordance with biblical truth.
About the writer:
Bafana Modise, is Radio Personality, Public Speaker, Leadership Coach, Christian Activist and Voice-Over Artist who serves as Education Coordinator at South African Friends of Israel.