The one issue that dominates most of Israel’s headlines is the “peace” process between Jews and Arabs in the Middle East. When I was a child, I was certain that by the time I enlisted in the army, Israel would have achieved peace, and I wouldn’t have to fight. However, by the time I reached my 18th birthday, the dream-of peace between Jews and Arabs was still elusive as ever, and I had to enlist in the Israeli Defense Force. Today, 18 years after completing my mandatory military service, peace still can’t be found, and as I write this, I don’t know if the situation will even change significantly by the time my own little children turn 18.
Despite Israel’s being in an almost constant state of war, I have seen and experienced moments of peace, real peace – a peace that goes into the heart, breaking the “dividing wall of hostility”. A peace that transforms the reality of hatred between Arabs and Jews into a reality of love.
I have been privileged to experience that beautiful and special kind of love at Tiferet Yeshua congregation in Tel Aviv, where I came to realize that faith in Yeshua the Messiah is the bridge that is able to span the divide between Jews and Arabs. One of my favorite teachers in the Body of Messiah is Yosef Hadad, the pastor of an Arab congregation in the north of Israel. He has a great relationship with Tiferet Yeshua and actually comes to teach at our congregation from time to time. What I love about Pastor Hadad is not only the content of his teaching but his ability, as an Arab, to share with us as Jews his love of the nation of Israel – truly a miracle! Seeing an Arab pastor at a Jewish congregation in the heart of Tel-Aviv, teaching, encouraging, blessing, and praying for us, seeing him as a part of our family – that, for me, is true love and peace.