Abraham Accords and Happy Rosh HaShanah!
Tricia Miller, Ph.D.
Dear Christian Leaders,
We think it is safe to say that we live in unparalleled times! And for those of us who love Israel, this week was particularly significant. We had the privilege of witnessing the making of unprecedented history in the Middle East - an event even more noteworthy because it occurred in the same week as the beginning of the biblical New Year, or Rosh HaShanah in Hebrew. Indeed, the establishment of peaceful relations between Israel and two Arab nations is quite a meaningful New Year's gift for the Jewish State and for all those who yearn for peace.
The Abraham Accords
On Tuesday, September 15, we watched as the Abraham Accords - the agreement that normalizes relations between Israel, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain - were signed on the South Lawn of the White House. The accords were signed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and Bahrain Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayan.
The accords are named for Abraham in recognition of the fact that "the Arab and Jewish peoples are descendants of a common ancestor, Abraham." The agreement between the Jewish State and two Arab nations intends "to foster in the Middle East a reality in which Muslims, Jews, Christians and peoples of all faiths, denominations, beliefs and nationalities live in, and are committed to, a spirit of coexistence, mutual understanding and mutual respect.”
In the words of Michael Oren, Israeli Ambassador to the US during the Obama presidency, the Abraham Accords are a “stunning diplomatic breakthrough.” Not only are they stunning, but their immediate and long-term results are groundbreaking. Perhaps most notably, the terms of the accords are unprecedented.
This is the first time in Israel's history that Arab nations have made a mutually beneficial agreement with the Jewish State without Israel being required to give up land, as it did in past treaties with Egypt and Jordan, and in the Oslo Accords. This unique accomplishment contradicts all traditional wisdom and practice that required Israel to exchange land for an uncertain promise of peace.
And, the fact that two Arab nations would sign an agreement that commits them to working with Israel to build a "spirit of coexistence" in the region without resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict refutes the long-held erroneous notion that peace would only come to the Middle East through the establishment of a Palestinian state - the absence of which is falsely blamed on the Jewish State.
The unfortunate reality that the Palestinian leadership is not interested in the establishment of a state through a peace agreement with Israel was demonstrated once again on Tuesday. Even as Prime Minister Netanyahu was signing the Abraham Accords in Washington DC - demonstrating Israel's intent to make peace with all neighbors so inclined - fifteen rockets were fired from Gaza into southern Israel. Eight of those rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome, but thirteen Israelis were injured by the rockets that reached their marks.
Thankfully, Arab nations are now moving past the point of being held hostage by the Palestinian refusal to make peace. The signing of the Abraham Accords signals a paradigm shift in the Middle East, and the possibilities and implications of the new accords extend far into the future. Because of the stated goal to "advance comprehensive Middle East peace, stability and prosperity,” this agreement provides unlimited opportunities for economic partnerships and establishes a strategic alliance against Iran and Turkey, both of which are common threats to all in the region. And, as a result of the example set by the UAE and Bahrain, there are now as many as nine other countries lining up to sign similar agreements with Israel.
Indeed, the accords between Israel, the UAE, and Bahrain demonstrate that the path forward towards stability in the Middle East is found by abandoning the unsuccessful ways of the past, which include the rejection of Israel's right to exist, the rejection of normalization with the Jewish state, and the rejection of peace. The Abraham Accords also make it clear that the intransigent Palestinian leadership, emboldened in their continual refusal to resolve the conflict as a result of the Oslo Accords, no longer has the ability to discourage Arab nations from making groundbreaking agreements that will bring stability and prosperity to the Middle East.
Happy Rosh HaShanah!
As phenomenal as the Abraham Accords are in themselves, it is somehow even more special that they were signed during the final days leading up to Rosh HaShanah, the biblical New Year, which begins Friday evening, September 18. The traditional greeting for Rosh HaShanah is Shanah tovah u'metukah, which means a good and sweet year. Not only does this greeting invoke a blessing, but the prayers on Rosh HaShanah do as well. The signing of the accords between Israel, the UAE and Bahrain, combined with the probability of more agreements in the near future, means that Israel and all who love peace have much reason to rejoice over such a good and sweet development at the beginning of this new year.
For the sake of Israel,
Tricia Miller and Dexter Van Zile
Recent Articles from the Partnership
"Who Are Evangelical Christians and Why Do They Support Israel?" by Tricia Miller
NOTE: This article was originally written for a Jewish audience to explain who Evangelical Christians are and why they stand with the Jewish State. It was written to answer valid concerns Jews have concerning the motivation behind Evangelical support for Israel in order to encourage Jewish-Christian relations and strengthen inter-faith cooperation for the sake of Zion. It is republished here in the hope that it can also be a helpful resource for Christian leaders who understand the importance of strengthening relationships with the Jewish people as we work together in support of Israel.
Evangelical Christians make up the single largest segment of Christendom in the world today and the vast majority of them stand with the Jewish people and support the Jewish State. However, in spite of the fact that significant progress has been made in the last 30-40 years in Jewish-Christian relations, there is still a lack of understanding in much of the Jewish community as to who Evangelicals are and why they stand with Israel. This article has been written to answer the who and why questions in order to address valid concerns Jews have concerning the motivation for Evangelical support for Israel in the hope that Jewish-Christian relations and cooperation for the sake of Zion will be encouraged and strengthened.
In light of the horrible history of Christian persecution of Jews for most of the last two millenia – persecution that, at times, included forced conversions – it is perfectly reasonable for Jews to wonder: Do Evangelicals only profess to love and support Israel and the Jewish people as a cover for an underlying agenda, such as the desire to convert Jews to Christianity?
And because of the popularization of particular beliefs concerning the End Times in recent decades, it is also logical for Jews to ask: Are Christian Zionists only excited about the restoration of the State of Israel because of a particular belief concerning the End Times, which says that the regathering of the Jews to their ancient homeland is a necessary prerequisite for the return of the Christian Messiah?
The following discussion will answer these two questions by demonstrating that the vast majority of Evangelical Christian Zionists love and support Israel and the Jewish people for legitimate theological and historical reasons.
"Christian Century Still Keeping Its Eye on Those Sovereign Jews in the Holy Land" by Dexter Van Zile
The folks at Christian Century have always paid close attention to what Those Sovereign Jews (TSJs for short) have been doing in the Holy Land. It’s a little hyperbolic to assert that if a Jew blows his nose in Jerusalem, Christian Century will cover it. But it is fair to say that when Palestinian suicide bombers blew themselves up during the Second Intifada, the magazine would either ignore it or downplay it by providing exculpatory “context” as to why they did so. And invariably, this context would circle back to the evils perpetrated by TSJs in the Holy Land (TSJITHLs for short).
The Palestinian Authority has used television to teach kids to hate, praised people who have stabbed Jews in the Old City, and paid salaries to the families of terrorists who have murdered Jewish men, women, and children, with little complaint or coverage from Christian Century.
It might mention these things in an article about Israeli efforts to defend its citizens, but publishing a story that leads with and is focused on bad things Palestinians — and not the Israelis — do in the Holy Land? That’s simply out of the question.
That’s not how the magazine rolls. Its coverage of events in the Holy Land is devoted to scrutinizing how Jews use their agency. TSJs simply can’t catch a break in the pages of Christian Century, while the Poor Poor Palestinians (PPPs) get a pass.
Would you please consider supporting the work of CAMERA's Partnership of Christians and Jews so we are equipped to:
Tell the truth about Israel
Combat anti-Zionism in the Church
Raise awareness about Christian persecution
in the Middle East
Promote cooperation between Christians and Jews