I am a Gentile South African. My wife is a Gentile Czech. Our five children are Jerusalem-born, but because they are Gentile they are half South African, half Czech. We are a Christian family; living our lives according to the teachings of that great Jewish Rabbi, Jesus of Nazareth.
And we wear orange [the color of resistance to the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza].
Our minivan has orange ribbons flying off every place we can tie them to. As often as I can get it washed and dried, I wear my orange t-shirt with the cry on its back admonishing that "Jews do not expel Jews."
"You're right," a religious Israeli woman said to me in Hebrew, gesticulating at my shirt in a Jerusalem pharmacy yesterday. "Yes I am," I said. "And I'm not a Jew. I am a Christian. It breaks my heart to see what you are doing to each other. It hurts to see where Israel is heading."
"I live in Samaria," she told me. "Next it will be us. It's awful. Awful!" "Yes it is." I said. "But." As if on queue, we both point our fingers at the sky. "There is a God in heaven," we finished together. We share a faith in the same God, and His sovereignty.
Other Israelis, understandably, take less kindly to our "interfering" in their affairs. A professional man I have known for years asked me mockingly last week whether I was not going down to Ofakim, site of an anti-Disengagement gathering. Why are you wearing orange? People want to know.
I answer simply: "We oppose the destruction of the Jewish state and the people of Israel."
For me, a Christian who knows something of the biblical and contemporary history of the nation of Israel, there are no questions in my mind, no reservations, and no doubts. The Disengagement Plan is wrong. It is unrighteous. It is unjust. It is foolish. It is exceedingly dangerous. And it is wrong.
"Disengagement" spells disaster for the Jews. The plan will not pave the way towards peace. It only marks the path toward unprecedented levels of terrorism, hatred, and more Israeli deaths. Already the exacted toll has been painfully high, taking internecine strife and division to unprecedented levels. If carried out, it will pose an existential threat to the state.
Syndicated U.S. columnist and long-time friend of Israel, Cal Thomas, believes its already too late. "Israel's slow disappearance from the region cannot now be reversed," he wrote darkly on August 4. "Assurances, agreements, promises and documents will not be able to bring her back.
Increasingly concerned Israelis in Gaza have also drawn comparisons between aspects of the implementation of the Holocaust and their looming forced removal at the hands of the Sharon government.
In terms of its purpose and how close it came to succeeding, the Nazi genocide of the Jews stands on its own. It is an incomparably evil event in the annals of humankind and will always be regarded as such.
But while we must be careful when it comes to contrasting events taking place in Israel since 1948 to those that unfolded in the decade and a half before, we should also not be paralyzed by our sense of awe at the uniqueness of the Holocaust so that we cannot see where lines do exist and can be drawn.
One clear and unbroken line does run back in time from the Disengagement from Gaza, straight through the Oslo Process, the Arab-Israeli wars, the Holocaust, the pogroms, the Spanish Inquisition, the expulsions, the Crusades, Rome, Antiochus Epiphanes, Haman, Amalek to Pharaoh.
It is a line traveling back 4,000 years to the first attempted genocide of the Hebrews, carried out not long after God earmarked them as the nation through which He would bring redemption to the world.
Unless it is broken or disrupted by the failure of the Disengagement, that line will continue into the future, as PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas vowed today, through the creation of a Palestinian state to the re-division of Jerusalem, before the coming together of all the Arab states in one last, mighty effort to realize that millennia-old goal--the end of the state of Israel, and the end of the nation.
Should I not be a little more optimistic, more hopeful of some chance that this will open the way for peace? I see no reason to be. While I have not been around for the last 100 years let alone the last 4000, I engaged this unbroken line in 1991 and everything I have observed, read and written about these past nearly 15 years confirms that this is the course that is set.
Every fear I had as I covered the 1991 Madrid Conference, which I attended, and then the numerous Oslo Agreements signed in 1993 and thereafter, has panned out to confirm that this is the course of history.
That an Israeli government is poised and determined to go through with this withdrawal does not surprise or stun me. After all we have witnessed, I am not shocked that it has come to this.
But how I wish it had not. And how I still pray--even as I write--that somehow, in some way, it never will.
I find no comfort from the Bush administration's promises to stand with Israel through this painful time; no peace of heart from Prime Minister Sharon's insistence that, with his vast experience in the Arab-Israeli conflict, he is best qualified to pilot Israel down this road.
God's enemy is determined to destroy the Jews. He has thousands of years of hands-on training, and he is unwavering in his commitment to succeed. No man is in his class. No prime minister using his own wisdom and intellect or the combined resources of his close advisers can match him.
Nonetheless, we, as a Christian family, choose to stay here. And we choose to wear orange.
Actually, we have just returned from a year on the road in the United States. Driving 25,000 miles through 34 states, we held over 100 meetings trying to awaken Christians to the curses that will plague their nation if they don't stop endangering the Jews'.
We are so thankful to be back. Despite it all--despite the dire predictions that continue to be fulfilled before our eyes, despite the fact that Israel looks set to go through the most traumatic days of its reborn life, despite the heart-rending images on our television--we continue to believe that Israel does have a hope; she does have a future.
We want to encourage all the Israelis that we can. Our desire is to stand with this nation as a whole, embracing her secular and her religious, her settlers and her disco-goers, her Holocaust survivors and her new-born Sabra Jews; letting them know that we love them and we care about them more than we do about even our own lives.
But the disengagement rearing before us like a primeval beast is already tearing this nation in two, and it forces us to appear to take sides. The stakes are too high, the consequences too unbearable, for us to sit on the fence, smiling at Israelis all around us.
So we wear orange. We plead with all those Jews who, dog-weary from war and desperate for peace, believe they should "disengage." Don't continue down this road. There is another way. It is also a hard way, but peace and your survival lies at its end.
And we say to all the faithful, long-suffering Jews who are being spurned and demonized by their fellow countrymen--those who resent them because they cannot or will not understand them:
Please hold fast. Please don't give up. Be strong and of good courage. Keep faith in the Hope of Israel. There is a God in heaven: The God of Israel.