"For Moses said, ‘Because the Lord has sworn that the Lord will have war with…
In April, Israel marks the 75th Anniversary of its founding, a time to celebrate the remarkable story of its re-birth as a nation and its resilience to survive against all odds.
The ancient love story between the Jewish people and their rightfully given homeland, the Land of Israel, dates back 3,500 years to the Covenant the God of the Universe made with Abraham. Beyond revealing the Jews’ deep roots in the Promised Land, the Bible records the unique nature of the Jewish identity and God’s everlasting commitment to them.
I had the wonderful honor of being the executive producer of Israel Indivisible, a long-form documentary, dedicated to recounting the story of Israel and the Jewish people as seen and heard through the lives and voices of the people who lived and died to establish and hold the Land God calls His. From Abraham and the promise to the fall of the Ottoman Empire, which had conquered the Land of Israel, we took great pains to present the biblical, archeological, legal and historical evidence for the rightful ownership of the Jewish people to both the ancient and modern country of Israel. From the early yearnings for Zion in the Diaspora to the search for peace today, the twists and turns of oppression and politics have made tiny Israel the world’s most controversial nation and the Jews that populate this small space of land the world’s most persecuted of Peoples.
At 4:00 PM on May 14, 1948, shortly before the Jewish Sabbath, David Ben-Gurion read Israel’s Declaration of Independence in the halls of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art—today known as Independence Hall. Ben-Gurion affirmed the Jews’ biblical roots to their land—and their right to establish a state in their homeland. Launching this Jewish democracy, he offered “equality” to all the State’s inhabitants. And yet, with equality, peace has eluded the People God has called “His Chosen.” Since 1948, and the epoch strides made to becoming a Nation, Israel has had to overcome legendary challenges to its very right to exist.
As can be clearly seen in 2023, the world today has seemingly divided itself into two camps. On one side are those who love Israel and support the Jewish People. On the other side are those that abhor anything and everything associated with Israel. Unthinkable that as we observe this important Anniversary milestone with our Jewish brethren, a new generation of proponents of antisemitism is sweeping the world. Europe is aflame with demonstrations of hatred of the Jews. School children as young as kindergarten age are being force-fed antisemitic hatred in American classrooms across a Nation long credited with being Israel’s greatest ally. Holocaust deniers abound globally through the dark web of the internet and education impacting on the most horrific event in the world’s history, which is fading from the hearts and minds of people just a short generation after humanity vowed: “Never Again.”
And what must we now do as we pledge a renewed vow of support for Israel on her Diamond Anniversary? We must work together to redeem our children from the bands of hatred too long constricting them from the peace we have hoped for in their future!
Here in America, just last week I had the privilege of presenting a “White Paper” report on education to Florida’s Governor, Ron DeSantis, who as most of you know is a strong supporter of Israel, as well as a possible contender for the Presidency of the United States in 2024.
Titled The Status of K-12 Education Today in Florida: Reclaiming A Generation and written and compiled under the expert leadership of my organization’s Senior Academic Advisor, Dr. Sandra Alfonsi, who resides in Jerusalem, the report exposed a drastic need to reclaim God and country. Included in that plan is a mandate to halt the alarming rise of antisemitism that we have seen erupting in the U.S. for over a decade. We are calling out the growing issue of biased and inaccurate textbooks and instructional materials that are fueling both the rise of antisemitic and anti-American sentiments being found in curriculum as early as kindergarten and reaching to influence increased violence on college campuses across America. It’s a drill I am, unfortunately, well familiar with.
My personal march began in 2012 when I was alerted by a parent in Williamson County, Tennessee, (where I was then making my home), about an antisemitic Pearson published AP Human Geography textbook (11th Edition) which legitimized Palestinians blowing themselves up in a Jerusalem restaurant because they were waging war against Israeli government policies and army actions, and which accused Israel of being “occupiers.” The restaurant was a Sbarro Pizzeria, and it was the target of a terrorist attack that launched the second intifada in 2000. Upon further review of the textbook, it was found to be riddled with not only antisemitic but also anti-Israel and anti-American content. The disturbing content was published by Pearson Publishing, recently renamed Savvas Learning Company. They are no longer a U.S.-based textbook publishing company but are British-based and their four largest shareholders include the Islamist governments of Qatar, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Libya.
And of course, what is happening in America has been only long magnified by Israel’s nearest neighbor. Palestinian textbooks espouse that Zionism is a racist ideology based on “false premises” such as Jews belonging to a single national group. Terrorists are hailed as heroic fighters. Violence against Israel is described as a legitimate right for those seeking to resist occupation. Mahmoud Abbas has repeatedly defended such hate-ridden propaganda being force-fed to children as merely expressing Palestine’s “national narrative.” A new generation of terrorists is being groomed on a continuous basis.
Itamar Marcus, who heads the long-established, well-respected organization, Palestinian Media Watch, has noted: “There is not one positive admission of Israel’s right to exist in any Palestinian textbook we have found.”
The most recent report from IMPACT-se, a respected “think tank” organization that has been monitoring Palestinian school curriculum for more than two decades adds: “The extensive research of PA textbooks and materials have consistently shown a systematic insertion of violence, martyrdom, and jihad among all grades and subjects with the proliferation of extreme nationalism and Islamist ideologies throughout the curriculum including science and math. There is a total rejection of the possibility of peace with Israel and a complete omission of any historical Jewish presence in the modern-day territories of Israel and the Palestine Authority.”
Hatred knows no boundaries. It lives next door. It crosses decades, time zones, national borders and roaring seas to ever reach new victims to poison. The seeds of hatred are still tragically being passed from one generation to the next—born of long-held fear and ignorance—and planted in the hearts of the innocent.
We must push back! We — you and I — Christians and Jews—who have hopes and dreams for a better world still have the time to make a difference, each with his children. They are, after all, our next generation of leadership. They will make a difference. Let it be for the good.
As we celebrate Israel’s 75th Anniversary, join me in praying for the Peace of Jerusalem. That would be her greatest gift.