...there are many places where Palestinians could establish a homeland "that would be consistent with their roots. But there is only one place on earth where the Jewish people could have a homeland that is consistent with their roots." -- former Arkansas Governor Mike HuckabeeAs we watched Alan Dershowitz attack Mike Huckabee in a taped three-year-old argument on Huckabee’s FOX program Dec. 4, the governor, in real time, most likely rehearsed his remarks for his role the next evening as keynote speaker at the 28th annual dinner of the American Friends of the Beit El Yeshiva Center in Manhattan.
With 1,400 to attend, this dinner “is one of the largest and most prestigious functions of any Jewish organization,” according to Eugen Gluck, board chair, as reported by Arutz Sheva, the Israeli media network based in the West Bank that hosts the event.
The dinner honors 5,500 or so residents of Beit El (Bethel), first settled in 1977, who forego the cushy life to stay put in the conflict and clamor for the rights of Israel.
Bethel is the Biblical site where Jacob slept and dreamt of angels descending and ascending a ladder (Genesis 28:10-19); and God spoke to him. Therefore, Jacob called this place “the gate of heaven.” This is where Jacob delivered the blessing of his father Isaac into Israel, and it is where he would manifest God’s promise to make of his grandfather Abraham a nation.
Huckabee is “outspoken,” reports Arutz Sheva, “in his support for Israel's rights to sovereignty over the disputed territories of Judea and Samaria, where Beit El is located.”
A visitor to Israel 12 times, Arutz Sheva reports, Huckabee said last year there are many places where Palestinians could establish a homeland “that would be consistent with their roots. But there is only one place on earth where the Jewish people could have a homeland that is consistent with their roots."
As a Christian, Huckabee understands his shared inheritance in God’s promise for salvation, first granted to our spiritual elders, the Jews. We believe that Jesus, a descendant of Abraham (Mt. 1:1-17), is the manifestation of that promise.
During Advent, we wait, with Jesus’ mother Mary, and prepare for the Messiah’s birth. We look inward, and we reach out to others in charity, as we aim to re-order our lives, and to open our hearts to God’s redemption. During this holy time, Christians also anticipate Christ’s second coming.
Sadly, the secular crush to buy expensive gifts defines Christmas, and charity, for many today. Surely, for children, visits from St. Nicholas, and fulfillments of hearts’ desires for material expressions of affection are important, to build treasured memories.
As St. Paul writes, though, a time arrives when adults give up childish attachments to things, memories and desires (1 Cor. 13:11). Advent is the time to mature, through personal discipline, to acquire the ability to cast off inordinate lifestyles, and to explore our spiritual destiny, instead -- and to advance on the path of St. Paul toward self-sufficiency (Phil 4:11b-13). One day, with Paul, we may say, “In him who is the source of my strength, I have strength for everything.”
In their disagreement, Dershowitz lambastes Huckabee for saying the Ten Commandments are unalterable; and he claims that Jesus rewrote them to shift the Sabbath and to redefine adultery.
As a Jew, and reportedly a supporter of Israel, perhaps Dershowitz might agree, finally, with Huckabee and others who believe that the eighth commandment stands unchanged: Palestine shall not steal land from Israel bequeathed by God to the Jews.
Furthermore, in the course of three years, since he apparently first tore into Huckabee, Dershowitz could choose to re-order his view, and let go of inordinate tendencies to confound the foundational tenets shared by the Jewish and Christian faiths, and seek authentic peace by making peace with God.