As the director of Sderot Media Center, I find it is important to speak at eye-level to university students and other young audiences and to present a first-hand account of Israel’s stand versus the Gaza narrative.
During my fourth visit to the Christian Zionist communities in Norway, where I was invited by a pro-Israel advocacy group by the name of MIFF, to take part in a media conference that took place in Oslo. As a resident of Sderot, I talked about what it is like to live under the constant threat of missiles fired from Hamas-ruled Gaza.
I defend Israel’s blockade of Gaza, as a legal and necessary measure against an entity sworn to Israel’s destruction and its removal that would lead to a flood of heavy Iranian weaponry, including long- range missile systems entering Gaza.
My visit coincided with Israel’s latest diplomatic crisis in wake of the Turkish-led Flotilla to Gaza that tried to forcefully break Israel’s naval blockade while posing as a self-described human rights delegation offering humanitarian aid.
I cannot begin to describe the oasis of comfort I felt at the sight of the huge Israeli flags waving proudly from the terraces of pro-Israel Christians.
Where only moments before I felt so isolated, drowning in a sea of hatred while the massive negative media blindly turned against Israel, with every headline screaming “Israel massacres human rights activists”, these Chrisitan Zionists unapologetically took a stand for Israel. While European politicians were calling for a boycott on Israel – the Christian Zionists communities got together and made a point of purchasing products with labels “Made in Israel.”
My travels have exposed me to the pro-Israel Christian communities.
Being raised in an orthodox Jewish home, it has been somewhat of an experience for me to feel at home with the Christian communities. Yet, only they understand me when I point out that the Middle East conflict is a war of religions. These communities are completely familiar and in agreement with the Jewish people’s right to live in the Land of Israel.
Nancy and Doug’s beautiful home in Lyngdall, Norway.
When I get up with the Bible in hand and say “here in this Bible is the word of God saying that the Land of Israel belongs to the People of Israel”. We have every right to live in Sderot and any other part of the land in peace and security”. The audience cheers and says “Amen” and “Hallelujah.”
It was New Year’s Eve, 2010, when I first met the presidential candidate of Zambia, Dr. Savior Chishimba. Savior, a devout Christian and staunch Zionist, came to Sderot to take part in the Sderot
“Sderot Rally for Hope” – an initiative of the Sderot Media Center – commemorating one year to the “Cast Lead” military operation in Gaza, marching to the hope that the new decade will bring a halt to Qassam rockets from Gaza targeting civilians in Sderot.
Dr. Savior represented the African civilians who fell pray to acts of terror from radical Islamic forces during the last decade.
Saviour Chashimba at the Sderot Rally for Hope.
Nowadays, most African countries do not have diplomatic relations with Israel due to their succumbing to the Arab boycott and their oil dependency on the Gulf States.
Traveling to Africa, I was invited to speak at the Kenya Security Council and at two Kenyan universities where most of the students are Christians. I was received warmly and was able to talk openly about life in Sderot alongside Islamic terror and the necessity for a security fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip. This was mentioned in context to the parallel threat facing Kenya and the importance of a security fence between Moslem Somalia and Christian Kenya where approximately 5000 Moslems infiltrate Kenya daily including radical Islamic elements who carry out terror attacks on Kenyan territory.
Our paths crossed again last March at the “Jerusalem House of Prayer” in Lusaka, capitol of Zambia where I was invited to speak. Savior said he was planning another visit to Israel and I invited him to join my family for Seder night.
Dr. Savior took me up on the invitation and indeed joined my family for Seder Night at my parents’ home in Efrat, Gush Etzion:
Savior took delight in the many rituals he witnessed at our Seder table. He enjoyed the taste of his first Matza and loved the idea of drinking 4 cups of fine wine! He followed with rapt attention the story of Israel’s exodus from Egypt and it was clear that he was familiar with the story.
Chashimba and Bedein at press conference in Lusaka, Zambia.
His parting words to us were his promise to renew diplomatic ties with Israel when elected president and to set up the Zambian Embassy in Jerusalem. “I plan to awaken the Christian majority in Zambia to the importance of having ties with the Jewish people in Israel”, he said.
“Whosoever blesses the Jewish people will be blessed and whosoever curses the Jewish people will be cursed. You see that all the nations are now coming out against Jerusalem and the Jewish people but you have nothing to fear because the Jewish people will come out on top!”
When he left, someone at the table declared: “Elijah the Prophet has come to give us good tidings!
Speaking to many Christian Zionist audiences all over the world, has led me to believe that in order to make a dent in world opinion that is currently stacked up against us, Israel’s leaders must enlist the help of our Zionist Christian allies. To do so, Israel must send out emissaries to these communities and provide them with advocacy tools so they can stand with Israel and the values it represents and to be prepared and effective in swaying world opinion away from the dangerous Jihadists who vow to destroy all Western civilization.
Noam Bedein is a photojournalist, lecturer and founder/director of Sderot Media Center . He has conducted briefings and tours for government officials, diplomats, foreign press, and students from around the world.