Daniel in the Lion’s Den
On May 31 this year, Palestinian and leftist demonstrators outside the Israeli embassy in Los Angeles became enraged when a Jewish high school student marched beside them with an Israeli flag. As the protestors tried to tear down Daniel Peleg’s flag, a group of police officers aptly arrived on the scene and positioned themselves between Daniel and the angry mob hurtling curses and threats at him. Daniel quietly stood or calmly walked with his flag; he never returned insults or yelled back to the angry crowd that looked like it would pounce on him if it got the chance. When asked why he came out to demonstrate, Daniel replied, “I came out because I want to defend Israel… They [the IDF soldiers] were attacked, and they had the right to defend [themselves]. These people [on the boats] were not humanitarians; their ship was armed with knives, batons, and all kinds of things to attack the Israelis with. There is a naval blockade on Gaza, and they [the soldiers] were just doing their job of enforcing it.” View the clip: Daniel in the Lion’s Den
It was a powerful sight: one lone Jewish teenager, calmly facing a surly, angry mob cursing and threatening him. One of their banners read: “After the Holocaust, the worst thing to happen to the Jewish people is the state of Israel.” When one protestor was asked by a journalist at the scene if she would be satisfied with a Palestinian and Jewish state living side by side in peace, she yelled, “There should not even be an Israeli state! The Israeli state does not even exist!” Daniel took his stand at a time when the world had rushed to condemn Israel on scanty facts, misinformation, or just plain lies. Daniel was asked by one of the journalists present, “How do you know that ship was armed?” He replied, “I read the news. I’m informed.” His reply highlights something essential for anyone wants to stand up for Israel: one has to be informed, know the facts, and understand what both sides are saying. That only requires taking ten to fifteen minutes to look at one’s local news outlet for a story, and an Israeli English news outlet, and perhaps a European outlet.
It shouldn’t be surprising how whole-heartedly most of the world rushes in to condemn Israel since they’ve done it again and again in the past. But, somehow this incident with the flotilla hurt more for Israelis, felt more foreboding than many similar world reactions in the past. Israelis felt truly alone, despised, and misunderstood. Then Israelis turned on their news or opened up the internet to read the headlines and saw Daniel before a mob of lions, taking a stand for Israel. His calmness and composure spoke volumes, while the ire and anger of the protestors spoke volumes as well: moderate, modern-looking Arab Americans clearly saying, “We don’t want peace with Israel. We want Israel to disappear.”
One of the reasons the image of Daniel with his Israeli flag was so poignant was that he seemed to symbolize Israel today: standing alone with only a scant line of police standing between him and an angry mob. What will happen to Israel when that feeble human shield is gone and the lions pounce? Israel will fall on her knees and cry out to God, her only strength and shield. Until that time, Israelis are watching to see who is standing up for them now in the midst of the anti-Israel attacks. And, of course, God is watching too. When believers stand up in a public way during those times when the world is pouncing on Israel’s every action, Israelis see and it makes a powerful statement: whether it be holding up an Israel flag opposite a pro-Palestinian demonstration, putting up a “We stand with you, Israel” banner on a church, or something like what Janet Porter, president of Faith2action, did after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was publically snubbed by President Obama during a US visit. Janet Porter raised donations from Christian Israel-supporters to purchase roses for Israel’s Prime Minister as a show of love and support. In all, 30,000 yellow roses were delivered: a bouquet of 100 roses went to the Prime Minister, and the rest were delivered to injured soldiers and patients in Israel’s hospitals. It doesn’t take much, and a little goes a long way. As times goes on, the lions waiting to devour Israel will find more opportunities to pounce. That only means there will be plenty more opportunities for believers to take a stand for Israel in a public way to say, “Israel, you are not alone” and even make a difference for Israel one person at a time.
Pro-Palestinian and leftist activists adeptly organize boycotts, demonstrations, and divestment measures to influence universities, churches, businesses, and even government policy. When Israel is treated unfairly, maligned, boycotted, and attacked, here are some practical ways people can take a stand: Write letters to your congressmen, parliament members, or relevant government officials to voice your support of Israel. Your voice will make a difference. Buy Israeli products, especially those produced by believers in Israel, through places like Holy Land Marketplace. Support the people of Israel directly through humanitarian outreaches such as Feed the Poor.To counter the ongoing, concerted Israel boycott and divestment initiatives, ask for Israeli food products and cosmetics in your local grocery and drug stores such as Sabra, Osem, and AHAVA. And, of course, show the people of Israel your support personally by coming to experience this fascinating country first-hand on Hope Tours.
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