judaism and christianity no holds barred session 5 n.
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JUDAISM AND CHRISTIANITY: NO HOLDS BARRED – SESSION 5. Israel as Homeland Confronts Israel as Holy Land. “Administrative Matters”. Dialogue from 9:00 to 9:50 Break from 9:50 to 10:00 Dialogue from 10:00 to 10:30 Questions and Answers from 10:30 to 10:45.

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judaism and christianity no holds barred session 5


Israel as Homeland


Israel as Holy Land

administrative matters
“Administrative Matters”
  • Dialogue from 9:00 to 9:50
  • Break from 9:50 to 10:00
  • Dialogue from 10:00 to 10:30
  • Questions and Answers from 10:30 to 10:45
how to find the slides for each week
How to Find the Slides for Each Week
  • Go to fau.edu. On the bar on the left side, click on “Lifelong Learning.”
  • Click on “LLS Jupiter Home”
  • Put your cursor over “Classes” and then click on “Winter Schedule”
  • Click on the tab for “Courses” and scroll down to Thursdays for “O’Brien and Shapiro”
  • Click on “O’Brien and Shapiro” and scroll down to the link for the Slides in either PowerPoint or PDF
  • Click on the link for the Slides and download them


israel emotionally loaded for christians and jews
“Israel” – Emotionally Loaded For Christians and Jews
  • Different Theological Understandings
  • Different Historical Experiences
    • Jews endured 1600+ years of persecution and marginalization including the horror of the shoah
    • “Christendom” was the power of religion + state from 380 to the 1950’s
  • Different senses of Israel’s identity and purpose in history and in the present
  • Differences within Jewish Communities and Christian Communities regarding Israel
our goals today
Our Goals Today
  • Not to “solve” (or even focus primarily on) the politics of the Middle East
    • We are not Tom Friedman and Jeffrey Morton
  • Concern with different “meanings” of Israel
  • We will try to “unpack” these different meanings
  • Understanding each other better by expressing the differences and exploring them
some problem issues
Some “Problem Issues”
  • How can Christians and Jews recognize and discuss the complexity of the Israeli-Palestinian situation?
  • To what extent (if any) should Israel be expected to conform to “American standards” in the treatment of minorities? In permitting religious pluralism in Israel?
  • Are the “claims” of Jews and Christians to Israel compatible or mutually exclusive?
  • Who can criticize the State of Israel?
meanings of israel for jews
Meanings of “Israel” for Jews

Land eternally promised to Abraham

  • Jacob’s name (sometimes) after wrestling with God
  • For some, exile and dispossession from the land were temporary punishments for sins of Israel (particularly its kings)
  • Eretz-Israel – “Land of Israel” is more expansive than the “Nation of Israel.” Its boundaries (for some) are based on the boundaries of Solomon’s kingdom (according to Bible)

A nation, and also a people (God’s Chosen)

  • Called “Israelites” in Ex, Deut, Joshua and Judges
  • Called “People of Israel” in Samuel and Kings
  • Northern 10 tribes called “Israel” from 930 BCE to 722 BCE
the land itself is holy
The Land Itself is Holy

Western wall is part of the place (the Temple) where God dwelt

Jewish understanding is unlike Christian and Islamic understandings in which there are “sites” that are holy.

The LAND itself is holy to Jews

israel is a safe haven
Israel is a “Safe Haven”

Safe haven against persecution and rejection

(“If Israel is safe, Jews around the world are safe”)

“We need not be submissive to anyone any more”

the state of israel
The State of Israel

Bastion of democracy in the Middle East

Minimum recompense for Nazi atrocities and the world’s indifference from 1933 to 1945

For Jews, the founding of Israel

(a) confirms that God redeems in history through human beings and

(b) is needed because Jews need to take care of themselves and protect themselves

meanings of israel for christians
Meanings of Israel for Christians
  • “The Holy Land” – place of events of Ancient Israel and (more importantly) in the life of Jesus
    • Christians often have trips “to the Holy Land” rather than calling them trips “to Israel”
  • Reminder of the Incarnation
  • The impact of Christian supersessionism on Christians’ understanding of Israel
      • Interpretations of Paul’s letters and the Letter to the Hebrews
      • Destruction of Jerusalem in 135 CE as “final proof”
other christian understandings
Other Christian Understandings
  • For some, land given to Abraham and his heirs eternally as shown in the Bible
  • For some, a unified Israel is a precondition to The Rapture, the End of the World and Armageddon
      • For some, the sites in Israel are “sacred” in the same way that Gettysburg is “sacred”
  • For others, “merely” a nation-state created by UN
  • For some, a source of concern about Palestinians, especially Palestinian Christians
historical justification for israel
Historical Justification for Israel
  • Unified Nation from 1025 BCE to 930 BCE
  • Northern 10 Tribes (Israel) and Southern Tribes (Judah and Benjamin) were independent (and had kings) until 722 BCE and 587 BCE, respectively
  • Archeological evidence and records from neighboring civilizations support this
  • 2nd Temple was center of worship and sacrifice from 505 BCE to 70 CE
  • Jerusalem was a city from 1005 BCE until 135 CE
the evolution of zionism
The Evolution of Zionism
  • Movement by secular Jews in late 19th Century
  • Initial focus on history, culture and language rather than on religion
  • Possible temporary state for Jews was Uganda
  • Orthodox Jews opposed Zionism as showing lack of faith in God’s power
  • Reform Jews opposed Zionism as undercutting their self-definition of Judaism as a religion
  • In 1897, Theodore Herzl called the First Zionist Congress which proclaimed the right of the Jewish people to national rebirth in its own country.
zionism 2
Zionism – 2
  • Right to have a homeland was recognized in the Balfour Declaration of 1917 and was reaffirmed in the Mandate of the League of Nations
  • This gave international sanction to the historic connection between the Jewish people and Eretz-Israel and the right of the Jewish people to rebuild its National Home
  • Holocaust convinced most Jews that a national homeland was needed as a safe haven and that Judaism is more than a religion
un action of 1948
UN Action of 1948
  • Secular basis for legitimacy of State of Israel
  • Not accepted by all Arabs
  • Continuing source of tension in Middle East
  • History /Events of 1948 – ongoing disagreement between Jews and Arabs about what happened in 1948 and who did what to whom
excerpts from the declaration of the establishment of the state of israel
Excerpts from the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel

The Land of Israel was the birthplace of the Jewish people. Here their spiritual, religious and political identity was shaped. Here they first attained to statehood, created cultural values of national and universal significance and gave to the world the eternal Book of Books….

On the 29th November, 1947, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution calling for the establishment of a Jewish State in Eretz-Israel;

declaration 2
Declaration – 2

the General Assembly required the inhabitants of Eretz-Israel to take such steps as were necessary on their part for the implementation of that resolution. This right is the natural right of the Jewish people to be masters of their own fate, like all other nations, in their own sovereign State.

The State of Israel will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles; it will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom,

declaration 3
Declaration – 3

justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.

declaration 4
Declaration – 4

We extend our hand to all neighboring states and their peoples in an offer of peace and good neighborliness, and appeal to them to establish bonds of cooperation and mutual help with the sovereign Jewish people settled in its own land. The State of Israel is prepared to do its share in a common effort for the advancement of the entire Middle East.

my promised land the triumph and tragedy of israel by ari shavit
My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel by Ari Shavit
  • Review in NYT 11.21.2013


Discussed by David Brooks – NYT 12.19.13


charlie rose ari shavit and others
Charlie Rose, Ari Shavit and others


0:00 to 8:02

questions from the interview
Questions from the Interview
  • What is meant by “Founding Crimes”?
  • How is Israel’s founding and history both “miraculous and tragic” ?
  • “We have done wrong to our other” -- Explain
messianic expectations
Messianic Expectations

What the world will be -- when all is as it should be (Shalom; Lion lies down with the lamb)

Victory in Six Day War of 1967 and return of Old City of Jerusalem intensified messianic expectations of many religious Zionists

Not clear how or when, but the Messianic Age will occur

israel the land object of messianic anticipation
Israel/The Land – Object of Messianic Anticipation

1. Restoration of Temple and return of all Jews to Israel will be part of the Messianic Age

2. Founding the secular state of Israel was the beginning of the process that will end when entire world is in fact living under God’s reign

3. For some, there it is God’s will that Israel return to “Greater Israel” – the boundaries of Solomon (Eretz-Israel)

more charlie rose and ari shavit
More Charlie Rose and Ari Shavit


30:50 to 37:06

criticism of the state of israel
Criticism of the State of Israel
  • Who can do it? Who has a “right” to do it?
    • Israeli in Israel
    • Jews in other places (including the US)
    • Non-Jews in America
    • Non-Jews in other places
  • If done by a non-Jew, is this anti-Semitism?
    • Difference between “You don’t know what you’re talking about” and “You are anti-Semitic”
  • Do we expect more from Israel than other nations? If so, is that fair?
common grounds
Common Grounds
  • Ethical/Moral Respect for Humanity of others
    • Acknowledge that there are different covenants with God that lead to wholeness
  • Respect must include the integrity and safety of the State of Israel
  • Torah-based values/ethics
  • Christian ethics based on life and teachings of Jesus
  • Willingness for honest and open dialogue on difficult issues where difference exist
what are the takeaways
What Are the “Takeaways”?
  • Christians and Jews have different theological understandings of Israel
  • Christians and Jews have a different sense of Israel’s purpose and identity
  • These differences affect the way Christians and Jews see some issues
  • Criticism of Israel is not necessarily “Anti-Semitic”
  • My Promised Land is worth reading
  • Issues are complex, and Americans need to be respectful and modest regarding them