February 17, 2005


Getting tight with the Bible Belt (Nathan Guttman, 2/16/05, Ha'aretz)

MK Benny Elon (National Union) invests more time and effort than perhaps any other Israeli in nurturing the relationship with Evangelical Christians in the U.S. As minister of tourism during the intifada, Elon promoted visits by Evangelical churches to Israel, and he continues to attend their conferences and speak out against diplomatic compromise on the Land of Israel. [...]

On Monday, at the major annual conference of evangelistic broadcasters in Anaheim, California, Elon introduced his soon-to-be-released book, "God's Covenant with Israel: Establishing Biblical Boundaries in Today's World." The book, which is being published in English, is a first attempt to formulate in writing the points of agreement and cooperation between Israel and Evangelical Christians in the United States. For Elon, it is also a first attempt to join politics and the Bible in the discourse between the two sides.

"I don't play it objective," says Elon, referring to his book. He says that in his numerous encounters with Christian believers around the U.S., he has felt a breach between the cold discussion of political and diplomatic issues, and the spiritual religious experience, as expressed in outbursts of "Hallelujah" and "Amen" by believers. Elon feels that he is now tying together the loose ends and essentially giving religious-biblical underpinnings to his diplomatic doctrine.

The book appraises four way stations in which, Elon says, a covenant was made between God, the People of Israel and the Land of Israel: Shechem, Beit El, Hebron and Mount Moriah in Jerusalem. It describes his life as a resident of Beit El and depicts for readers the territories as a land of the Bible, the same Bible that his readers read and believe in. Elon sees this approach as part of a chain of values that can link Israel with Americans - "If Sharansky is going for democracy and shared values and Netanyahu is going for the war on terror, then I am going for the Bible," he says.

If we were linked any more securely we'd be the Defiant Ones.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 17, 2005 5:06 PM
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