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Jews, Evangelicals Search for Ways to Discuss Israel

c. 2011 Religion News Service

WASHINGTON (RNS) American Jews and evangelicals need a formal mechanism to discuss their differences and similarities on support for Israel, leaders from both sides said Thursday (April 28) at the American Jewish Committee’s Global Forum 2011.

Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, executive vice president of the Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly, spoke alongside Gary Bauer, president of American Values and a board member of Christians United for Israel, about Jewish groups’ concerns over evangelical support for Israel.

Much of the concern, Schonfeld said, has centered on theological beliefs — that “the current state of Israel is part of the (biblical) end of days scenario,” according to Christians, while Jews “value life in its present tense,” she said.


In addition, while Jewish groups value evangelicals’ strong support for Israeli security, the two sides tend to differ on such issues as rights for women and gays, and religion in the public sphere.

The differences also extend to how to support Israel. While Schonfeld said supporting Israel also means questioning its policies, Bauer called it “irresponsible to lecture Israelis on what they should or shouldn’t do.”

Nonetheless, Schonfeld said the “organized Jewish community does not really have a structure, a way to deepen these relationships.” There is, she said, “a need for more.”

Bauer agreed. “The need for continuing dialogue is incredibly important,” he said.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Mario

    “Conservative” female rabbis are not conservatives at all, and “conservative” judaism is very much a bit player in Israel, in fact, there is really no presence to speak of in Israel of this American movement, so what she says is (besides being ignorant and based on her elitist legacy media echochamber and misinterpretations) irrelevant to Israel.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment nnmns

    Funny, then, that she made so much more sense than Bauer.

    And little about the US is irrelevant to Israel since we could wise up and shake off our victimization by Israel at any time. And since we are looking for ways to save money a very good start would be to tell Israel the check for four billion dollars or so won’t be in the mail this year.

    I’d really, really like to see Americans worry more about America than about a foreign country. Especially one like Israel which we do so much for and which does so little for us but a lot to us.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment cknuck

    I love the Israel history and culture but I disagree with Israel in one area and that is murder and land grabbing. I believe in their right to defend themselves in a rational reasonable way I am not sure of what right they have to certain lands but I am strongly opposed to the way they kill in proportion to offenses against them or how they torment whole communities with their various demoralizing strategies.

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