Guest / Limited Access /

In early may, Israelis celebrated their nation's 60th anniversary during a time of rapid change. Israel is a prosperous work in progress. Despite its huge defense costs, Israel has achieved a high standard of living. Foreign tourists are flocking back to its holy sites despite the near-daily rocket attacks from across its southern Gaza border.

Israel's high-tech sector is the envy of the region. Recently, Nir Barkat, a technology entrepreneur and now a Jerusalem city councilman, told Christianity Today that he has "outside-the-box" dreams for Israel's largest city: a seven-fold increase in tourism in 10 years, meaning 10 million visitors per year and 100,000 new jobs. Sustainable economic growth in Israel and Palestine, he believes, is the crucial foundation for sustainable peace. "It's a can-be-done task. In spite of all the wars, Israel is a miracle. We know how to overcome," he said.

May the same kind of can-do attitude also spread to the negotiations for lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Recently, Christian leaders issued the Joint Declaration on Israel's 60th Anniversary. The declaration calls for Christians to hold "in balanced tension" the responses of Israelis and Palestinians to memories of 1948. It urges "all those who work for peace and justice in Israel-Palestine to consider that any lasting solution must be built on the foundation of justice, which is rooted in the very character of God." A just peace among peoples cannot exist in a vacuum. Among other things, it needs the oxygen of religious liberty.

Faith-based Extremism

Granted, Israel scores very high for protecting basic freedom of religious belief and worship. As a Jewish and democratic state, the government officially acknowledges Judaism, ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedSorry, Tertullian
Subscriber Access Only Sorry, Tertullian
Recent research tests the most famous adage about the persecuted church.
TrendingChristianity Today's 2015 Book Awards
Christianity Today's 2015 Book Awards
Our picks for the books most likely to shape evangelical life, thought, and culture.
Editor's PickWhat Forgotten Christmas Tradition Should Churches Revive?
What Forgotten Christmas Tradition Should Churches Revive?
Rooting our celebration of Christ’s birth more deeply in our lives.
Comments
Christianity Today
Israel Reconciled to All
hide thisJune June

In the Magazine

June 2008

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.