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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Move over Moses, Pastor Hagee is here

Posted by Ellen W. Horowitz

Pastor John Hagee of Christians United for Israel (CUFI) is in town.

Senator Joseph Lieberman has compared him to Moses (note: McCain is "part Maccabeean" according to Joe).

"Pastor Hagee is a spiritual leader who personifies the words of the living God," according to Rabbi Aryeh Sheinberg of San Antonio (the rabbi is also here this week).

Ambassador Daniel Ayalon has told Pastor Hagee, "We love you because you are a man of God" (one wonders when Danny became so religious)

Pastor Hagee has given - and continues to give - many, many millions of dollars to humanitarian causes in Israel, wields significant political clout on behalf of Israel, and is the Jewish State's favorite spokesman.

With no leaders of our own, it seems Pastor Hagee has become a sort of Golden Calf for Israel (Even though it has been said that he is trying to raise "the perfect red heifer")

John Hagee is scheduled to speak at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center on Friday April 4th. The program begins at 10:45am, and includes the following speakers:
Rabbi Riskin, MK Benny Elon, Harry Hurvitz, Ilan Geenfield, David Brog and Pastor Hagee
I understand the event is open to the public and is free of charge. Gefen publishing has translated Hagee's book, In Defense of Israel , into Hebrew (I wonder if that's the version that he had to rewrite due to theological/messianic issues, or the original)


Pastor Hagee will be honored in Ariel on April 3rd in
A NIGHT TO HONOR THOSE WHO HONOR ISRAEL We will be honoring Pastor John and Diana Hagee and all those Christian Zionists who have lent their support to Israel.

April 6th, CUFI will be holding a "Night to Honor Israel" at the Jerusalem Convention Center
(Binyame Hauma). I understand the proceeds will go towards raising funds for bombshelters in Sderot. I had written about previous efforts by CUFI to raise funds towards this cause in an earlier update:

Mike [Evans] may have lost the Midas touch. His presence, along with Walid Shoebat’s, at a recent Night to Honor Israel Dinner in Florida – which was to raise funds for bomb shelters - did not produce impressive results. It was “less successful and less well attended” than previous events. According to the Heritage Florida Jewish News, an estimated $20,500 was raised, which fell far short of the goal of $76,000. Jewish participants reported that there was a distinct Christian tone to the evening with fiery rhetoric and references to the "Antichrist", "Armageddon", and "blasphemers".

In all fairness, I understand that Pastor Hagee was not present at that event. I imagine David Brog wasn't there either, because he usually keeps the fire and brimstone level on "moderate".

Judeo-Christian Concerns (too close for comfort?):

If a line has to be drawn, draw the line around both Christians and Jews; we are united; we are indivisible; we are bound together by the Torah - the roots of Christianity are Jewish. We are spiritual brothers and what we have in common is far greater than the things we've allowed to separate us over the years.
- Pastor John Hagee at 2007 AIPAC conference


Dissenting Opinion: The following are excerpts from an article I wrote, which appeared in the Jerusalem Post last year [note: I consulted with Rav Aharon Lichtenstein before offering a synopsis on the psak of Rav Yosef Soloveichik z"l , and I consulted with Rabbi Sholom Gold before submitting the article for publication]:

Although Pastor John Hagee has been meticulous and outspoken in his opposition to missionary activity in Israel, he is, nevertheless, promoting a passionate Judeo-Christian agenda heavily infused with a gospel which theologically fuses Jews and Christians together in manner which has never been sanctioned by those entrusted with protecting the Jewish faith and maintaining Israel as an independent single faith community*

...While the Rav recognized the validity of "a Judeo-Hellenistic-Christian tradition within the framework of Western civilization," he noted that "people confuse two concepts when they speak of a common tradition uniting two faith communities such as the Christian and the Judaic." He called it "absurd" to speak of the "commensurability of two faith communities which are individual entities."

We are not to relate to any other faith community as "brethren" even though "separated." Any spiritually inspired endeavors with the Christian community should not take place on a theological level, but rather on a mundane, secular, and humanistic plane.
Rather than try and build a relationship on common denominators, we should build with an understanding and respect for differences. And it is instinctual and necessary for us Jews "to recoil and retrace our steps" when we feel uncomfortably close to losing our status as a totally independent faith community...

For the Rav's orginal essay please see

*a good number of Hagee's current and past regional and executive directors are involved in calls for a "Messianic" Jewish restoration. And up until a few weeks ago Hagee and his wife appeared on the endorsement page of the very large and active Tel Aviv Messianic Ministry, MaozIsrael (the endorsement disappeared just in time for his trip here). But he didn't cover his tracks too well, because Michael Little of CBN and Executive Board member of CUFI continues to endorse Maoz (Jack Hayford does, too).

Is it just me...?

We are here to introduce a new era in America - an era of unity, mutual respect, and lasting peace -- an era when Christian and Jew stand together hand in hand, shoulder to shoulder....
---Pastor John Hagee from CUFI

We shall rise to meet the dawning of a new era - a new order of peace and prosperity in which lion and hyena come together in a great and glorious future....
----Scar from the Lion King

This cartoonist feels that it's a blessing that Walt [Disney] left this world before he could see Micky hijacked by Hamas and Hagee partially clone Scar's oration.

Whether one chooses to accept the very generous outpouring of funds from Pastor Hagee - as well as his leadership - and Judeo-Christian spin (it could be a package deal), is a matter of great debate. But don't evade the issue. Please grapple with it like a Jew should, and consult with a qualified rav ("the Rav"?) before making a decision.


Anonymous said...

Thanks, Ellen, for keeping on the ball and keeping us forewarned (e.g. with this and the previous post).

Anonymous said...

I understand that halacha permits organizations accepting monetary donations from goyim, but forbids accepting specific presents. The rationale being that the funds need to be laundered by the organization. If a rabbi wants to be more stringent about not accepting funds, than that is 'daat torah' from his perspective for his community/followers, not a blanket ruling.

I don't condone it, but on the other hand, if they want to give us money to increase aliyah and Jewish quality of life, then it should be done properly to A) reduce the direct relationship between donation and what the money is used for, B) not create a niche that depends only on goyish money (like cultural and sports centres in Israel are dependant on funding from Mifal Hapais), C) make the donation conditional that this is a platonic relationship and a best, they get a nice certificate to put on the way. Accepting a donation from Azrieli to build a univeristy building does not entail accepting his world view.

Anonymous said...

The reference to Azrieli was an example.

And another thing, we should also not suck up to the goyim for these donations, rather only be tolerant not unlike the limited relationship a donor, even a large Jewish donor might have with the JNF.