The subject of Israel and Palestine raises the emotional level for almost all Christians no matter what opinions they presently hold. When the editorial team decided to include the country of Israel in the study selection, we were faced with a difficult decision. Who should write it? From what perspective? Is there any neutral perspective?
We decided on a different approach. We will offer two studies on the same piece of land, written from two different perspectives. This study, "Understanding Israel" is by an Israeli Jew living in Israel. A companion study, "Understanding Palestine," was written by someone familiar with the Palestinian situation. Both authors attempt to help thoughtful Christians understand that there is more than one position held by Israeli Jews and Palestinians. We strongly encourage your group to use both studies.
In this three-session study, participants will grapple with the challenge of how to understand Israel, a name that denotes a land, a country, and a people. The first session will present an understanding of Judaism and Jewish peoplehood. The term religion is often presumed or even used when what's meant is peoplehood.
In the second session we will learn about this connection between the people of Israel and the Land of Israel over the ages and how it led to the emergence of modern Zionism. In the third session we will learn about the founding of the State of Israel and its ramifications for the Arab-Israeli conflict.