(IsraelNN.com) Last week Jewish Republicans were frantically prospecting for a Jew-friendly sign - any sign - in the great Northwest wilderness. And Eureka! A video clip revealed that Sarah Palin's office window sports a small, but noticeable, Israeli flag.
Perhaps it was a remnant left by a participant of last spring's Farthest North Jewish Film Festival in Fairbanks. But more likely, it's an Evangelical statement of support for the Jewish State.
Meanwhile, Jewish Democrats were desperately panning for a few nuggets of their own; and it seems they hit Pentecostal pay dirt in the form of Palin's recent attendance at a nasty Jews for Jesus sermon at her present church, and her spirited delivery of a commencement speech to young missionaries a few months ago at a church she had attended for decades.
The concept of a Jesus-loving, moose-hunting,
hockey-Mom-turned-governor of Alaska, is far more goyishe
than yiddishe - and makes for great Jewish humor. This is
blockbuster sitcom material, and the comedians and
cartoonists are having a field day which
could possibly continue for years to come. But I've got a hunch
that Palin has the true grit to ride this
Extraordinary as she is, Sarah
Palin is only human. Her juggling political office and the campaign
trail with a special-needs infant, soldier son, and unwed pregnant
daughter engaged to a self-proclaimed "f-in' redneck", has given
Americans on both sides of the political spectrum something to
laud, laugh, cry and shrie about; because Sarah Palin is but
a microcosm of everything that's great and embarrassing about
America and the human condition.
So, lighten up Jewish Republicans, because al's
fair in love and war. While Palin is sure to be admired, she will
also be relentlessly lampooned by Comedy
Central, harpooned by Greenpeace
alive by the people from PETA - not to mention
ravaged by packs of howling, prowling media hounds out for
In all seriousness, the prospects of a
Pentecostal Vice President has increased the angst among some
Americans who feel legitimately threatened by the persistent
Evangelical battering of the sacred wall separating church and
state. This Israeli mother, who does not vote in U.S. elections, is
similarly concerned about maintaining a respectful distance and
border between Judaism and Christianity; which has become
increasingly difficult given the Evangelical Biblical spin on, and
"Judeo-Christian" values, heritage and
Sarah Palin, the Great Mother of the North, appears
to be both very capable and a tremendous
asset to the McCain campaign, but she is not our savior - unless
you're a "Jewish believer" in another "perfected" female
fundamentalist by the name of Anne Coulter, who
"The survival of Israel is inextricably linked to the
survival of the Republican Party and its Evangelical
That Sarah attends churches
affiliated with the Assemblies of God is reason to make every Jew
squirm, but her attending a sermon by a Jews for Jesus leader is
less of a concern for Israelis than the more disturbing legislative
meddling in Israel's affairs that we hope any prospective
Evangelical Vice President will avoid.
There have been ongoing attempts by Capital Hill pro-lifers to influence Israel's stance and legislation on abortion and stem cell research.
Evangelical groups have repeatedly used the 1998 International Freedoms of Religion Act as a means to promote missionary activity, while preventing Israel from adopting and enforcing anti-missionary legislation. Religious freedom is also being used as grounds to bolster the case for "Messianic Judaism" (Christianity) in Israel, and in attempts to introduce changes in the Law of Return.
Accusations leveled by the State Department, ACLJ (American Center for Law and Justice) and Evangelical lobbyists have depicted Orthodox Jews as violent persecutors of the church and messianic groups in Israel.
In some respects, Israel's relationship with American Evangelicals takes on a certain Esauvian quality. Biblically, and quite literally, speaking, Sarah Palin is "a skillful hunter, a [wo]man of the field." She also has a hankerin' for large, hairy redheads that seems to be taken straight out of Genesis.
After blessing the Masters Commissions students in their mission to go out and "bring people in," she proceeds to say, "You guys are all a bunch of cool looking Christians.... People are going to be interested in Jesus Christ through you because of the way you look. This red-headed Sasquatch for Jesus.... You look good!"
The Wasilla trailer promoting the Masters Commission is downright dark and frightening with its special fiery effects and ominous voice-over proclaiming that the missionary program is "one of the keys in God's plan for Alaska, the United States and the entire world."
Sarah concludes her speech to the young missionary graduates by saying, "I grew up at Wasilla Assemblies of God. Nothing freaks me out about the worship service."
But it does "freak out" some Jews, because for us it is strange worship.
Sarah Palin is an entrenched Christian Fundamentalist who admittedly "grew up" in a church proclaiming the following beliefs:
WE BELIEVE... in The Millennial Reign of Christ when Jesus returns with His saints at His second coming and begins His benevolent rule over earth for 1,000 years. At that time many in the nation of Israel will recognize and accept Him as the Messiah, the Savior who died for them and all mankind.
WE BELIEVE... A Final
Judgment Will Take Place for those who have rejected Christ. They
will be judged for their sin and consigned to eternal punishment in
a punishing lake of fire.
Like our forefather Yitzchak, we
Jews tend to be impressed to the point of blindness by those who
can walk the walk and talk the talk. And because of our tendency to
fall into traps, it behooves us to use the Talmudic approach of
"respect and suspect" whether sizing-up Palin, Barack Obama or any
other politician or preacher.
We must remember that neither
the born-again status of George Bush, the Bible-teaching background
of Jimmy Carter, nor Bill Clinton's bedside promises to his dying
pastor regarding Israel have managed to invigorate or strengthen
the Jewish State's position regionally or
Sarah Palin is an impressive
figure who may put Mcain over the top. In that case, we hope she
chooses to reach out to Israel in a positive manner. But if we
don't keep our guard up, we may be witness to unwanted Christian
"outreach" efforts and influence.
Permit me to get Biblical again.
Some commentators see Yaakov's prayer -
me from the hand of my brother, from the hand of
Eisav" - as an indication that he was more
frightened of Eisav the loving brother and friend than of a violent
Eisav. And our great teachers recognize that "all the actions of
the forefathers are auguries for their descendants." With this in
mind, it would appear that a polite and respectful
insistence on a separation between the church and the State of
Israel would be in keeping with our forefather Yaakov's
When it comes to the American election, this Golan mother of six - who has been known to handle a Glock, a few goats and wrangling with a pet wolf - will watch from a distance, and hope and pray that the best man or woman wins. And like Yaakov, as a nation and as individuals we will have to turn inward, wrestle with our demons and come out on top - regardless of the changes in the U.S. administration.