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Can I Support AND Disagree with Israel?

May 06, 2024

There’s no question that world opinion about Israel is strongly divided these days. It was easy to stand with Israel immediately after Hamas attacked and committed thousands of heinous acts of violence against Israelis. And recently, after Iran fired over 300 missiles targeting Israel, public and international support for Israel has seen a bit of a resurgence. During the months between those two attacks, however, as Israel pushed on, fighting a war to eliminate the terrorist organization Hamas, supporting Israel became more controversial.

Israel has come under scrutiny for its military actions in Gaza, with many in the world claiming its responses are disproportionate to the October 7 attack by Hamas. The devastation in the Gaza Strip as the war drags on has turned some minds against Israel, believing it not possible to have compassion for suffering Gazans while at the same time respecting Israel’s right to defend herself. Many people gravitated to a black-and-white, either-or stance toward Israel. Feeling compelled to choose sides and be all in with the choice, it appeared that you could either support Israel or stand in solidarity with Gazans, but not both.

That’s a false choice. It’s an unnecessary, unrealistic choice many people may want to force. The truth is that it is possible to have a firmly rooted position in support of Israel while at the same time questioning or even challenging some aspects of how Israel’s leaders are leading or its military fighting.

However, consider your thoughts toward your own country – whether that’s the United States, Canada, Britain or elsewhere. Most likely, you don’t agree with everything your government does, and because leaders disagree among themselves, you can’t possibly agree with all of them. But you stand with your nation, wanting the best for it. You believe in your country’s right to exist. You want to see it safe from foreign and domestic threats and any attempts to undermine or destroy it. And you almost certainly support your nation’s right to respond if and when external terrorist attacks occur. In the same way, you can be a solid supporter of Israel without agreeing with every political leader, every decision the government makes, and every action the military takes.

Acknowledging the Complexities

At the time of this article, Israel is observing its Holocaust Remembrance Day, called Yom HaShoah in Hebrew. Throughout history, the Jewish people have repeatedly endured attempts to destroy them as a people. None was so systematic as the Holocaust when six million Jewish people were rounded up and executed by a regime that believed they should not exist. Today, Israel faces the same calls for extinction by various terrorist groups. In fact, the Hamas attacks on October 7 were the largest loss of Jewish lives in a single day since the Holocaust itself.

Is Israel trying to destroy Gaza or the Palestinian people? No. Israel is trying to destroy Hamas, a terrorist organization that has taken political control of Gaza and whose primary aim is to eliminate Israel. Hamas’ stated purpose is to destroy Israel and the Jewish people in the region. Therefore, as long as Hamas exists, no Israeli is safe, and the State of Israel will never be free of the threat to its very existence.

Is it tragic what the Gazan population is enduring, many of them innocent with no ties to Hamas or its beliefs against Israel? Absolutely. And it’s our duty as Believers in Yeshua (Jesus) to pray for them even as we pray for the protection of the IDF and the Jewish State. With Hamas hiding among civilians, willing to sacrifice innocent Gazans to protect its objective of destroying Israel and hurting Israelis, Israel’s military faces an incredibly complicated task to defend itself against future threats from Hamas.

Both-And vs. Either-Or

You can stand with Israel and have compassion for what innocent Gazan citizens are suffering as a result of the heated conflict while Israel struggles to root out Hamas. Communicating this when confronted by those who challenge your support for Israel opens the door for conversations. In such a complicated situation, there’s room for both conviction and compassion.

Here’s the key: Be able to articulate why you stand with Israel and also your compassion for those suffering because of Israel’s attempts to ensure its safety by eliminating Hamas.

Reasons for standing with Israel may include some of the following, for example:

  • Israel has a right to exist as the modern State of Israel
  • Israel has a right to defend itself against aggressors who are intent on harming its people or destroying or eliminating its existence
  • Israel has a right to the Land given to her by the United Nations. You could go so far as to say Israel has the biblical right to the Land given to her by God, which is much more land than is within the current borders of the State of Israel
  • Israel is beloved by God as a people, a nation and a Land
  • For those who are open to a biblical perspective, the Land of Israel has been promised by God to the Jewish people as an everlasting inheritance (Genesis 17:8)

As Jewish Voice Vice President of Global Ministry Affairs Ezra Benjamin said in a recent episode of the A Jew and A Gentile Discuss podcast (Is Standing with Israel Safe?), when we adopt a “This is true… and this is also true…” stance, it can open the door for a dialogue with those who believe that all supporters of Israel are unsympathetic to Gazan suffering. You can say, “Yes, I stand with Israel, and yes, it’s tragic what’s happening to the people of Gaza.” Hopefully, the result is that others see the complexities of the situation and that an either-or position is unrealistic.

In just a few days, Israel will celebrate its 76th anniversary as the reborn State of Israel. This anniversary comes amid much worldwide scrutiny while the country continues to be attacked from Gaza in the south, Hezbollah in the north and Iran and its proxies from the east.  World opinion often leans on daily headlines without considering all the facts and issues. No one knows what the outcome will be or the toll along the way. One thing we do know is that God has promised that as long as the sun rises and sets, Israel will not cease to be a nation before Him (Jeremiah 31:35–36). God is faithful to His promises that Israel is His chosen nation, His Chosen People. He has delivered them and preserved a remnant time and again and will continue doing so.

Of all the matters facing the Jewish people – in Israel or elsewhere – the most consequential, the most eternally significant is that of their salvation. Join us in praying for God’s deliverance of the Jewish people from sin and death as He opens their eyes to faith in Yeshua (Jesus), the promised Messiah sent first to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Through your gifts to Jewish Voice, you help share the Good News with Jewish people in Israel, Ukraine, Africa and around the world. You become a part of transforming lives and the fulfillment of the apostle Paul’s words in Romans chapter 11:26 that one day, all Israel will be saved.

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Are You an Israel Expert?

Jewish Voice Ministries shares biblical insight as to why God wants you to have a heart for Israel and the Jewish people. Take this quiz to discover how much you know about the State of Israel, the Promised Land, and God's Chosen People. 

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