Sunday, 2 September 2012
The Twentieth Century, Zionism and Christian Zionists
Coming almost up to the current century, in my book "Passion for Israel" I now address the events in the early 1900s.
Two important British statesmen, Arthur James Balfour, who served as Prime Minister in the days of Herzl's efforts and later as foreign secretary, and David Lloyd George, the future Prime minister became key figures. Both had been influenced by evangelical family roots, in which the restoration of the Jewish people was a fond hope. George's mother and Lady Blanche Balfour were women of profound religious convictions that included belief in the second coming of Jesus and the preceding return of the Jewish people to the land of Israel. The Isaiah chapters on this return were part of family Bible reading in Balfour's house ... Hence the government of Lloyd George put forth the Balfour declaration, which declared that Palestine was to be the homeland of the Jewish people. Chaim Weizmann was a key in the negotiations that led to the Balfour declaration. Providentially, the events of World War I led to British control of Palestine whereby the gates for immigration could be open.
Amazingly, the greatest opposition came from the Board of Deputies of British Jews, whose the chairman was changed to a pro-Zionist. Many were not yet ready for the Zionist idea. Sadly, later British governments bowed to Arab pressures and stemmed the flow of immigration just when it was so needed in the days of Hitler.
In the 1930.s a British Major, later to become a General, committed himself to train a Jewish defense force ... Orde Wingate is credited with the training of the Jewish Army, which later became the Israel Defense Force. He was a brilliant strategist and totally committed to the Jewish cause. Why? Because of the same Evangelical Pietist roots ... Wingate would often be seen reading his Bible in times between battles and training sessions. Though eccentric in many ways, his commitment arose from deep religious sentiment. He hoped to be leading the troops when Israel fought and won her full independence.
To this day, Evangelical Pietists in Britain, Scandinavia, South Africa, America, and now in South America are committed to the prosperity and freedom of the Jewish people in the land of Israel.