Your Questions Answered

What is the Jewish people's connection to the Land of Israel?

  • Jews have maintained a continuous presence in the Land of Israel for more than 3,000 years - a fact that is supported by substantial archeological and historical evidence.
    • There was a politically independent Jewish Kingdom from approximately 1000 BC until 586 BC - and from 165 BC until 63 BC, when the Kingdom became a client state of the Roman Empire.
    • Roman emperors have long acknowledged Jewish traditions and Jerusalem's centrality in Judaism. Augustus issued the following edict in 1 BC: "Jews shall use their own customs in accordance with their ancestral law...and their sacred offerings shall be inviolable and shall be sent to Jerusalem; and they shall not [be required to appear] in court on the Sabbath."
    • Jews got their name from their land of origin, Judea. It was not until the Romans expelled many Jews from Israel in 135 AD that they renamed the area Palestine in an attempt to de-Judaize it.
    • There is extensive documentation of the Jewish presence in Jerusalem and the Land of Israel.

 

  • Jerusalem has been the Jewish people's capital for more than three millennia.
    • There are nearly 700 mentions of Jerusalem in the Hebrew Bible.
    • More than a hundred generations of dispersed Jews prayed three times a day to return to Jerusalem.

 

  • The sacred texts of both Christianity and Islam confirm the Jewish people's connection to the Land of Israel.
    • The New Testament confirms the Jewish connection to the land in St. Stephen's sermon in Act 7 and in Hebrews 11.
      • "...and said to him, 'Get out of your country and from your relatives, and come to a land that I will show you.' Then he came out of the land of the Chaldeans and dwelt in Haran. And from there, when his father was dead, He moved him to this land in which you now dwell." (Acts 7:3-4)
      • "By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise." (Hebrews 11:8-9)
    • The Koran refers frequently to Jews and identifies them with Israel and the Promised Land.
      • "And thereafter We said to the Children of Israel: 'Dwell securely in the Promised Land." (Sura 17:104 The Night Journey).
      • The Koran describes Solomon's construction of the First Temple (Sura 34:13) and recounts the destruction of the First and Second Temples (Sura 17:7).

 

  • Jews have been a majority in Jerusalem for the last 150 years.
    • The Jewish population was decimated by the Crusaders in the 12th century AD, but it eventually rebounded. By the 1880s, when the Ottoman Empire ruled the city, Jews once again became the largest religious group in Jerusalem. At that time, there were 9,000 Jews and 7,000 Arabs living in the city.

Is Zionism a racist ideology?

  • Zionism is the opposite of racism. It is an answer to the racism directed at the Jewish people throughout history, known as anti-Semitism.

 

  • Zionism is a movement of national liberation - based on the idea that the Jewish people - just like any other people - are entitled to live in their homeland with independence, self-determination, and freedom from persecution.
    • The founders of Zionism saw their movement as a path to ending many centuries of racist anti-Semitism and persecution. In 1896, Zionism's founding father, Theodor Herzl, wrote that anti-Semitism, "is a remnant of the Middle Ages, which civilized nations do not even yet seem able to shake off. In countries where we have lived for centuries we are still cried down as strangers... [the only solution is] the restoration of the Jewish state."
    • Theodor Herzl, Israel's founding father wrote in Altneuland, his seminal book on Zionism, "You must hold fast to the things that have made us great; to liberality, tolerance, love of mankind. Only then is Zion truly Zion."
    • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote that, "Zionism is nothing less than the dream and ideal of the Jewish people returning to live in their own land... the fundamental right that we justly claim for the people of Africa and freely accord to all other nations of the globe."

 

  • The Zionist movement is based in the Jewish people's ancient connection to the Land of Israel.
    • The word "Zion" originally referred to the easternmost of the two hills of ancient Jerusalem, during the tenth century B.C. Over the years, it came to mean all of Jerusalem and then all of Israel.
    • The name Zion appears 152 times in the Old Testament. "Mount Zion" is the place where God dwells. Jerusalem, or Zion, is a place where the Lord is King, and where He has installed His king, David.

 

  • Zionism is an ideology rooted in the idea of equality. The State of Israel breathes life into these principles.
    • In the State of Israel's Declaration of Independence it is written: "The State of Israel... will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants, irrespective of creed, race or gender; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education, and culture."
    • Israel today is a beacon of equality in the Middle East, providing the full rights of citizenship for people of all cultures and faiths.

Was Jesus a Palestinian?

  • The Bible states clearly that Jesus and his family were of Jewish descent and lived according to Jewish law.
    • The books of Luke and Matthew make clear that Jesus was a direct descendent of King David, from the House of Judah.
      • "So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations." (Matthew 1:17)
      • "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham." (Matthew 1:1)

 

  • The name "Palestine" was not used until more than a century after the life and time of Christ.
    • Roman rulers renamed the area "Syria-Palestina" around 135 AD to try and erase the connection between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel.

 

  • Throughout history, great Christian leaders have recognized Jesus' Jewish roots - and the continued validity of the Abrahamic Covenant between God and the Jewish people.
    • Learn more about the history and tenets of Christian Zionism here.

Who created the Palestinian refugees?

  • The Palestinian refugees were created by the War of Annihilation that Arab countries launched against the new State of Israel in 1947.
    • Jews returned to the Land of Israel in peace. In 1947, the UN voted to partition the area then known as the Mandate of Palestine into two nations: one Jewish and one Arab. The Jewish community accepted this plan. The Arab world rejected it - and five Arab countries launched a war to destroy the newborn State of Israel.
    • This war - Israel's War of Independence - is what created the Palestinian refugees.

 

 

  • Only a very small fraction of Palestinians were expelled by Israeli troops, who acted in response to immediate military considerations. There was no official Israeli policy of expulsion.
    • Historian Benny Morris writes, "The refugee problem was born of war, not by design, Jewish or Arab. It was largely a byproduct of Jewish and Arab fears and of the protracted, bitter fighting that characterized the first Israeli-Arab war; in smaller part it was the deliberate creation of Jewish and Arab military commanders and politicians."
    • Even Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas publicly admitted that the Arabs in his hometown of Safed were not expelled by Israeil troops, but "emigrated" on their own.

 

 

  • The UN and international organizations have perpetuated the Palestinian refugee problem.
    • Palestinians are the only population in the world that the UN refuses to resettle. Instead, it passes their refugee status on to children and grandchildren. As a result, the original Palestinian refugee population of a few hundred thousand has grown to more than five million today. Learn more about the Palestinians' treatment at the UN.

 

Is Israel occupying the Palestinians' land?

 

 

 

  • A "State of Palestine" never existed in history.
    • The areas now described as Palestinian were once part of the British Empire and the Ottoman Turkish Empire.
    • In 1948, Egypt captured the Gaza Strip - and Jordan captured Judea and Samaria, renaming the territory "the West Bank".
    • Egypt and Jordan controlled these areas until 1967. During that time, no country in the Arab World called for the creation of a Palestinian state.

Who is responsible for the suffering of Palestinians today?

  • Palestinian refugees suffered an injustice in 1948. However, the much greater injustice is that the international community and the Arab world have refused to resettle them for 65 years.
    • The UN and international organizations have perpetuated the Palestinian refugee problem.
      • Palestinians are the only population in the world that the UN refuses to resettle. Instead, it passes their refugee status on to children and grandchildren. As a result, the original Palestinian refugee population of a few hundred thousand has grown to more than five million today. Learn more about the Palestinians' treatment at the UN.

 

 

 

  • The Palestinians' standard of living improved significantly after Israel took over the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
    • Mortality rates in the West Bank and Gaza fell by more than two-thirds between 1970 and 1990, and life expectancy rose from 48 years in 1967 to 72 years in 2000.
    • Israeli medical programs reduced the infant-mortality rate of 60 per 1,000 live births in 1968 to 15 per 1,000 in 2000. Under Israel's systematic program of inoculation, childhood diseases like polio, whooping cough, tetanus, and measles were eradicated.
    • By 1986, 92.8 percent of the population in the West Bank and Gaza had electricity around the clock, compared with 20.5 percent in 1967; 85 percent had running water in dwellings, as compared to 16 percent in 1967.
    • In 1967, not a single university existed in Gaza or the West Bank. By the early 1990's, there were seven institutions of higher learning, boasting some 16,500 students.

 

Is Israel an apartheid state?

 

 

Is Israel's government corrupt?

  • Israel's leaders are fallible - just like all human beings - and they have made mistakes. However, they are held fully accountable for their actions by the country's democratic process and independent judicial system.

 

Why do Christians stand with Israel?

Why does America stand with Israel?

A large majority of Americans support Israel because of the two nations' shared values and shared interests.

  • The American-Israel friendship is rooted in common values.
    • Commitment to democracy and human rights, the rule of law, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, and freedom of assembly are all fundamental values shared by the two countries.
    • Like the United States, Israel has an independent judicial system that safeguards the rights of individuals.
    • Israel has regularly scheduled elections that are free, fair, and open to all its citizens, regardless of religion, race or sex. The independent group Freedom House has consistently classified Israel as "Free" in its rankings of world nations.
    • American Presidents - going back to the founding of the United States - have supported the idea of a Jewish state. Since Israel's establishment in 1947, successive Presidential administrations - on both sides of the aisle - have stood behind the Jewish State. Read what America's Presidents have said about Israel.
  • Israel is a vital ally for America in an unstable Middle East. Israel is the "Ultimate Ally". No other country in the Middle East shares America's values and advances its interests like Israel.
  • America's foreign aid to Israel helps us to confront major threats abroad while creating jobs at home. Nearly 75 percent of all aid is spent in the United States on weapons and other supplies that Israel needs.

Do the Israel Defense Forces deliberately target and mistreat Palestinian civilians?

  • While Palestinian terrorists seek to maximize civilian casualties, Israel does everything in its power to minimize harm to civilians.

 

  • One of the core values of the Israel Defense Forces is the protection of human life and dignity. Israeli forces use a variety of strategies to minimize harm to Palestinian civilians - from dropping leaflets to diverting missiles mid-air.

 

Recent events in Gaza, during the 2014 Operation Protective Edge, demonstrated the illegal, terrorist tactics of Hamas as well as the IDF’s efforts to protect innocent civilians.  The UN damage assessment report proved Israel was targeting tunnels and command centers, not civilians. Israeli report uncovers what the media did not.

Does Israel violate international law?

  • In the midst of a region filled with tyranny, violence, and human rights abuses, Israel strictly abides by the tenets of international law.

 

 

Why does Israel have checkpoints and a security fence in Palestinian areas?

 

 

 

  • Checkpoints in the West Bank are necessary security measures that have dramatically reduced terror attacks against Israeli civilians.
    • For years, Palestinian terror groups used ambulances, taxis, and commercial trucks to smuggle suicide bombers into Israeli cities. Checkpoints allow Israeli forces to filter out these terrorists before they can strike.
    • Checkpoints allow commercial and humanitarian goods, doctors and ambulances, and medical crews to move freely. The more than 50,000 Palestinians with jobs in Israel pass through checkpoints on a daily basis.
    • As violence in the West Bank has decreased in recent years, Israel has reduced the number of checkpoints from 40 to 12.
    • Learn more about IDF checkpoints

Why does Israel have a naval blockade of the Gaza Strip?

 

 

 

Why has no peace agreement been reached between Israelis and Palestinians?

 

 

  • Any lasting peace agreement would have to ensure security for Israel's citizens. Yet, the Palestinian leadership has never agreed to the basic security arrangements necessary to protect the Israeli people.

Would Palestinian statehood bring about peace?

 

 

Are Israeli settlements the major obstacles to Middle East peace?

  • While settlements can be a source of conflict, they are not the major obstacle to peace. 
    • From 1948-1967 no Israeli settlements existed, yet the Palestinian leadership and the Arab World still sought Israel's annihilation.
    • As a result of the resounding Israeli victory in the 1967 Six-Day War, Israel gained the “West Bank,” “Gaza,” ”Golan Heights” and “East Jerusalem.” Less than a week after the war ended, the Israeli unity government under PM Levi Eshkol affirmed – and then told the Americans -- that Israel would return the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt and the Golan Heights to Syria in return for signed peace treaties. Separate negotiations would then be conducted regarding the future of the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and the refugee issue. While Egypt accepted the Sinai offer, Syria rejected the Golan Heights offer. Negotiations over the West Bank and Gaza failed.

  • Settlements do not jeopardize future "Land for Peace" deals.
    • In the meantime, some Israelis took up residence in areas around Jerusalem that were across the 1967 armistice lines. These Israeli developments, known as “Settlements,” only take up around 2% of West Bank land. Over time, US Administrations recognized that Israel would retain some of these towns in any peace agreement.
    • Israel has uprooted other settlements such as those in the Gaza Strip. In 2005 Israel evacuated all the Jewish families living in Gaza—a total population of 8,000. However, instead of making peace, Hamas—a terrorist organization—took over the Gaza Strip and responded by firing thousands of rockets at Israeli cities in the ensuing years.

  • The Israeli government is not building new Settlements.
    • For years, the only legal construction allowed by the Israeli government has been within existing communities to accommodate the natural growth of resident families. Illegal outposts, which do not conform to Israel’s policies, do exist. Some critics fault the Israeli government for not dealing with them more forcefully, but the government works to resolve the issue peacefully or by court order.
       
  • Israeli Settlements may not be illegal at all.
    • Many legal scholars question whether Settlements are illegal at all. Eugene V. Rostow, one of the authors of UN Security Council Resolution 242—written after the 1967 war to create a framework for peace negotiations—stated, "The Jewish right of settlement in Palestine west of the Jordan River, that is, in Israel, the West Bank, Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, was made unassailable. That right has never been terminated and cannot be terminated except by a recognized peace between Israel and its neighbors." Moreover, Rostow contended that "The Jewish right of settlement in the area is equivalent in every way to the right of the existing Palestinian population to live there."
    • Others contend that the Geneva Convention, passed after WWII, makes the Settlements illegal. The December 2016 UN Security Council Resolution 2334 Vote—passed due to the US government’s abstention—declared them illegal and opened the door to future international actions against Israel.

Does Geneva Convention Apply?
The legal case for settlements in Judea and Samaria
Global Study of Settlements in Occupied Territories

  • Palestinians are building illegally around Jerusalem. 
    • ​​All of the governments and international bodies that criticize Israel for building what many claim to be legal communities are silent about the construction of new Palestinian developments surrounding Jerusalem.
    • According to a detailed article by Bassam Tawil of the Gatestone Institute, the questionable construction is primarily in Zone-C, which under the Oslo Peace Accords should be territory controlled by Israel. According to Tawil, Palestinians estimate that in the past few years they have built more than 15,000 illegal housing units in areas surrounding Jerusalem as part of a plan to encircle the city. These are not single family homes, but massive apartment complexes without proper licenses, not built to code, and some without proper sewage. The article claims that many of the "contractors" are land-thieves and thugs who are building without permission on private Palestinian-owned land or on lands whose owners are living abroad.

The Real Illegal Settlements in Israel
Israel Clamping Down on Illegal EU Building in West Bank
Palestinians are Building Illegal Settlements to Extend their Claims to Jerusalem

  • The major obstacle to peace is Palestinian leadership.
    • ​​​​The Palestinian leadership's refusal to give up the conflict, recognize Israel as a Jewish State, and renounce the "right of return" for most Palestinian refugees, is the real obstacle to peace. The so-called "right of return" would allow millions of descendants of Palestinian refugees to flood Israel.
    • No Israeli leader would ever accept the "right of return," since it would mean the end of the world’s only Jewish state. Yet, the Palestinian leadership has never told its own people that they must forfeit this claim in order to achieve peace.

In a recent poll, 90 percent of Palestinians said that they would never give up the "right of return" as a concession for peace.