Does Genesis 12:3 mean that Christians must support Zionism?

08/03/07

Dear Rabbi:
Would you please tell me what you feel is the meaning of Genesis 12:3? Many fundamentalist Christians are interpreting this to mean they must support the Zionist state, or face the wrath of the Almighty. I don't believe their interpretation to be the truth, because that means God supports injustice and lies, which I know cannot be. But, I don't know what to tell people, when they quote this to back their beliefs. Can you please help me out? Perhaps then I can persuade some to see the truth. Thank you very much! L. Davis., CT

Dear Mr. Davis,

"And I will bless those who bless you, and those who curse you I will curse, and all the families of the earth will be blessed through you." (Genesis 12:3). This is G-d's blessing to Abraham and his descendents, the Jewish people. It means that all people in the world should bless and befriend the Jews if they want to earn G-d's favor. But it has nothing to do with the Zionists, who do not represent the Jews. Supporting the true Israel, that is the Jewish people, is indeed a good thing. The state created in 1948 that bears the name "Israel" is not really Israel at all. It is a country founded by non-believing Jews who did not understand the historic destiny and belief system of the Jewish people.

The previous two verses in Genesis describe G-d's command to Abraham to go to the Land of Canaan. However, that does not mean that Jews must possess Canaan at all times of history. The Torah fortells in Lev. 26 and Deut. 28 long periods of exile in which Jews will be out of their land, and will have to wait for G-d to give it back to them. Even Abraham himself was not permitted to take possession of the land; he was merely promised that his descendents would get it after the Egyptian exile. When he wanted a burial plot for Sarah, he had to purchase it for a high price (Gen. 23). The Talmudic rabbis relate that Abraham muzzled his livestock so that they would not eat from the fields of the Canaanites. He was very careful not to take what was not his, for the time for fulfilling G-d's promise had not yet come. This is the lesson we must learn from these verses today.

Today's immigration to the State of Israel is not the fulfillment of Biblical prophecies, because the vast majority of the people came in a manner forbidden by the Torah and Talmud. The State of Israel was established by force of arms and the Talmud states that Jews are forbidden to reestablish their kingdom in the Holy Land by force of arms before the messiah comes. Ninety percent of the 5.4 million Jews who are there now came after the state was established in 1948. And of the ten percent who came before, most of them came with the intention of building a state before the messiah which they knew would have to be accomplished through war.

The prophets say that it will be G-d Who redeems the Jewish people from exile and gathers them in. Here is a partial list of verses: Isaiah 27:12, 40:9, 41:14, 43:5-6, 52:12, 54:7, 56:8, Jeremiah 16:15, 23:3, 30:10, 31:9, 33:7, Ezekiel 11:17, 20:34, 28:25, 34:13, 37:21, 36:24. Hosea 1:7, Micah 2:12, Zachariah 4:6, 8:7, Psalms 53:7, 106:47.

This clearly cannot be referring to an aliyah and an ingathering that is done in violation of G-d's commandments. Rather, it is referring to the coming of the messiah. It is the messiah who will gather in the Jews from exile, not Herzl, Weizman, Ben Gurion and all the rest of them.

We appreciate the friendship of gentiles who feel a duty to support Jews. We stress, however, that if someone truly likes Jews, they will want to have Jews as neighbors, not encourage them to run off to the other side of the world to a place where their gentile neighbors do not appreciate their activities.