As even Israel’s allies press for a two-state solution, this astonishing admission from an Orthodox Jew
With the war against Hamas raging and 129 hostages held since 7 October, Jonathan Feldstein is calling for Franklin Graham to hold crusades and an army of Christian volunteers to rebuild Gaza
While over 200 Israeli soldiers have been killed in combat, along with many more injured, I am not just praying for the swift and full eradication of Hamas, the safe return of all our soldiers including my son and son-in-law, and release of all the hostages.
Despite being an Orthodox Jew, I am praying for Gazans to get a little Jesus in 2024.
Especially as talks of another cease fire loom and the UN is pressing for a cessation of all combat (even without the return of all the hostages), I am looking to the day after the war ends.
Gaza must be rebuilt, because some two million Gazans need a place to live. Gaza’s destruction has been commensurate with how deeply Hamas embedded itself among the population and within schools, mosques, hospitals and UN facilities.
Perhaps this time, unlike 2007 when Hamas took control and began its reign of terror over the population, Gazans will want to get it right. If rebuilt properly, purging the terrorists, and supervised responsibly, Gaza can become a thriving entity like Singapore. Maybe, just maybe, there can be peace.
Asked in an interview recently if I thought Jesus should come back, suggesting that he would bring peace, I replied that Gazans sure could use a lot more Jesus.
The only chance I see for real peace is that Gazans become real Christians
The best and safest way to change the situation and bring peace is for the masses of Gazans, and Palestinian Arabs in general, to convert to Christianity.
If it were up to me, the late Billy Graham would come back and hold months of crusades throughout Gaza. There are also many former Muslims who have become Christians, many speak Arabic and know the culture, who I would bring along as well. From day one, Gazans would be fed a diet of Christian faith to counteract the buffet of hate that they have ingested.
I would send along Billy Graham’s son Franklin with his aid organisation Samaritan’s Purse, and other ministries that can bring thousands of volunteers of all backgrounds and skills, charged with education, medical and spiritual well-being, and physical reconstruction. Ministries like these can bring masses of the most faithful and committed volunteers.
Any Christian who understands the biblical covenant between God and the Jewish people, that it’s eternal and unbreakable, will transform his or her heart. That’s how true peace can be achieved
They will be the most objective, with the greatest ability to succeed in rebuilding Gaza by both genuinely loving and caring about Israel and its safety, but also about the well-being of Palestinian Arabs. They will not allow the restoration of a massive terrorist infrastructure under their noses as the UN, Red Cross, and other “humanitarian” groups have allowed over the decades.
If Gazans become real Christians, they will not just abandon Allah in favour of the God of Israel, but they will also come to love Israel: the land, the people, and the state, as a realisation of God’s promise to his people. Any Christian who understands the biblical covenant between God and the Jewish people, that it’s eternal and unbreakable, will transform his or her heart. That’s how true peace can be achieved.
This is not a task for the Jewish people. Our covenant is unique. We are meant to be a light unto the nations. Nobody wants to live in peace more than the Jewish and Israeli people. But to really bring lasting peace, we need an army of Christians to restore Gaza.
It may sound crazy, an Orthodox Israeli Jew proposing a plan to establish peace in Israel not based on a mistaken formula of two states, but by calling for our neighbours living in spiritual darkness to become spiritual allies by becoming Christian.
However, the reality is that anger among Gazans toward Hamas is growing to such a degree that if presented a viable alternative, one based in morality that can bring prosperity, the ground is fertile for such an opportunity. Let’s pray that Gazans’ dissatisfaction with Hamas increases and that they all get a little Jesus in 2024.
Why two states isn’t a solution
The US and Europe, along with the Arab world, are still calling for a twostate solution.
Recently, Vice President Kamala Harris echoed apparent US policy that the two-state ‘solution’ be with Gaza and other areas under the authority a Palestinian state, to be under (a perhaps revamped) PLO-led Palestinian Authority.
There needs to be a change of heart
Others have discussed an international (Arab led) coalition to rebuild and provide long term stability for Gazans, without Hamas or any terror organisation controlling the territory and its population again. Most echo that they will only do so under the guise of the long touted, and yet still impractical, two-state solution.
Israel has a different vision for what the day after will look like. Israel knows that the PLO is nothing more than a kinder and gentler terror group that, like Hamas, does not accept Israel’s right to exist. It rewards terror, paying pensions to terrorists as if they are national heroes.
The idea is not practical now and gives terrorists the idea that if they keep slaughtering Jews, they will get a state.
Rebuilding – who and how?
Rebuilding needs to start from under the ground up, first with anything left of the underground city that’s a maze of terrorist tunnels being destroyed, along with the evil Islamic ideology that birthed Hamas originally, and was nurtured from Iran all these decades.
It’s not clear that any of the Arab states individually, or as a consortium, can or are even willing to help with Gaza’s long-term recovery.
The last thing Israel and Gaza need is a rebuilding of the extremist Islamic ideology at the foundation of rebuilding the territory, and resumption of arms smuggling. If there’s ever a hope for a lasting peace, there needs to be an overhaul of more than the physical infrastructure. There needs to be a change of heart.
Jonathan Feldstein is president of the Genesis 123 Foundation. Born and educated in the US, he immigrated to Israel in 2004. He is married and the father of six. As a leader working with and among Christian supporters of Israel, he shares experiences of living as an Orthodox Jew in Israel through his work, writing, and as host of the Inspiration from Zion podcast. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Franklin Graham was first evangelical leader to visit after 7 October
Rev Franklin Graham was the first evangelical leader to rearrange his schedule and fly to Israel after Hamas attacked communities and killed 1200 people on 7 October 2023.
“I’m so grateful that he is here,” said Joel Rosenberg of All Israel News, who met with Graham.
Rev Graham arrived in Israel on 13 November and met with grieving Israelis whose loved ones were captured by Hamas terrorists and were being held hostage in the Gaza Strip. “In each place, Graham listened to intensely personal and painful stories of heartache and loss,” said Rosenberg. “He asked a wide range of questions, and was asked a wide range of questions by some Israelis who are religious and quite a few who are not.”
Consistent with Graham’s practice in war-torn regions all over the world – including in the Arab/Muslim world – he brought a message of hope. Among Scriptures he quoted was Psalm 23, one of the most beloved in the Bible.
Graham emphasised that God is the Good Shepherd of Israel who wants to care for and protect his flock. Rosenberg adds: “Graham also made it clear – with particular gentleness and respect – he believes that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah and the Good Shepherd who loves both Israelis and Palestinians with a deep and everlasting love.”