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March 30, 1984 - Image 64

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-03-30

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

64

Friday, March 30, 1984

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

`Jerry Falwell and the Jews'

BY CHARLES MADISON
Special to The Jewish News

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New York — Jerry Fal-
well and the Jews, by Mor-
rill Simon (Jonathan David)
is a combination of seem-
ingly strange bedfellows:
Falwell and Simon together
producing an appealing por-
trait of, to many, the notori-
ous fundamentalist
preacher.
Falwell is currently the
leading evangelical minis-
ter in the United States, the
president of the Moral
Majority with its over six
million members, a popular
speaker on radio and televi-
sion and the most vocal an-
tagonist of abortion, por-
nogr.aphy, homosexuality
and the advocate of "scien-
tific creationism" in public
schools. His aggressive con-
servatism has antagonized
liberals and social moder-
ates, so that many consider
him an evil influence in
American life.
Yet his strong support of
Israel has appealed to a
number of Jews, and this
volume was prepared by
Simon, an active Jew, by
means of extended inter-
views with Falwell. It gains
in prestige by means of a
foreword by Rabbi Emanuel
Rackman of Bar-Ilan Uni-
versity in which Simon is
praised "as loyal a Jew and
Zionist as one could hope to
find anywhere (who) is to-
tally committed to the sur-
vival of the Jewish people
and the Jewish heritage."
It is thus somewhat
strange to have Falwell pre-
sented as a tolerant-minded
and idealized man of God
whose conservative views
are made consonant with •
his Christian faith. It at-
cords with his belief_ that
every word in the Old and
New Testaments is holy and
inspired by God; also his ac-
ceptance of Jesus Christ as
the Messiah who had given
his life on earth for the sal-
vation of mankind and
whose assured Second Corn-
ing will cause Jews to ac-
knowledge .Him as their
Messiah.
Jerry Falwell came from
an agnostic family, but in
1952, at the age of 19, he
became a "twice-born"
Christian, studied for the
ministry and began to pro-
claim the Gospel as the •
means to human salvation.
In 1956, he organized the
Thomas Road Baptist
Church with 35 membera,
which by now has increasa.
to 20,000. In time he also
established four schools,
from kindergarten to
graduate theological study.

Most of his current prom-
inence and influence de-
rives from Moral Majority
as well as from his daily
talks over the radio and his
Sunday sermons over tele-
vision. Contributions, large
and small, reach $100 mil-
lion annually. This has
enabled him to establish
and support the Elk Home
for alcoholics, the Florence
Crittenden Home for unwed
mothers, a family center for
the poor and a children's
summer camp.
In response to Simon's

tan, who aroused it "as an
antithesis to the God in
Heaven who had selected
and ordained the Jewish
people as His own chosen
family." He thus maintains
that "no real Christian
should ever be guilty of
anti-Semitism." Here, of
course, the word "should" is
crucial, as few Christians
are as idealistically reli-
gious as himself.
Thus far there is little
evidence that Jews have
been influenced by his
evangelical Christianity.
Those
who maintain a con-
Jerry Falwell
nection with a synagogue or
questions Falwell expressed temple will certainly never
his belief "as a matter of accept Jesus as their Mes-
faith that personal salva- siah. Nor, indeed, can any
tion can come only through sensible person accept his
the acceptance of Jesus assertion that Satan is the
Christ as the Savior of producer of anti-Semitism.
Mankind." He also declared All liberally - oriented per-
that his strong interest in sons, therefore, have only
Israel came from his belief scorn- not only for his fun-
in the Old Testament in damentalism but even more
which God promised Ab- for his reactionary opposi-
raham that his seed will be- tion to the basic individual
come a great nation and and social freedoms of our
democracy.
endure forever.
He therefore considered
Indeed, they can only
himself a Zionist and has hope that Falwell's present
been to Israel a dozen times, popularity is a passing
both individually and as a phase of American social
tour leader. When asked and political life and will
about the West Bank, he in- fade as other previous reac-
sisted that it must become tionary advocacies have
part of Israel since it is "the faded. And while most Jews
heartland of the Jewish bi-
no doubt appreciate • his
blical-and historical pat- strong support of the state of
rimony." He further pointed, Israel, they will neither
out that Israel is the only adhere to his evangelical
democracy in the Middle credo nor his political con-
East.
servatism — even after the
When questioned about
Second Coming when, ac-
the long history of anti-
cording to him, Jews will
Semitism, Falwell ingeni- become- "Hebrew Chris-
ously put all blame on Sa- tians."

--

Arab-Israel conflict seen
at root of economic crisis

New York (JTA) — A new
book claims that Israel's
economic problems, includ-
ing the ethnic gap between
Sephardic and Ashkenazic
Jews, are a ramification of
the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Therefore, according to
author Dr. Heskel Haddad,
the problems can be solved
only in the framework of a
comprehensive Middle East
peace settlement that would
include dealing with the
Jews in Arab lands, a group
comprising the largest seg-
ment of the Sephardic com-
munity in Israel.
Dr. Haddad, an eye sur-
geon at the New York Medi-
cal College, is also a scholar
in the field of Arab-Jewish
history and the author of
the just-published book,
Jews of Arab and Islamic
Countries (Shengold Pub-
lishers). -
"When most Sephardic
Jews immigrated to Israel,
in 1949 and 1950, following
the decision of the Arab
League to expel the Jews in
retaliation against Israel
for the emergence of Pales-
tinian refugees, they ar-
rived in Israel penniless be-
cause they were forced to
leave all their assets behind
in Arab countries," Haddad
Halperin
Michael
founded the first Workers'
Organization in pre-state
Israel. •

said in an interview with
the Jewish Telegraphic
Agency. "Their properties
were either confiscated out-
right, as in Iraq, or were
abandoned when they re-
ceived one-way exit visas
from Arab governments, as
in Morocco."

Correction

The date of the National
Council of Jewish
Women's program on
"Women and Social Secu-
rity" was incorrect in the
March 16 issue of The
4 Jewish News. The correct
date is April 3. The Jewish
News regrets the error.
An item about the Chai
Campers appearing in last
week's Jewish News
should have said that the
group's first outing will be
at Holly, Mich., and sub-
sequent trips will be held
at campsites throughout
the area.

Publishers cite
Katz volume

New York — Prof. Steven
T. Katz's "Modern Judaism"
(Johns Hopkins University
Press), has been awarded
first prize in the
Humanities category of the
eighth annual Professional
and Scholarly Publishing
Awards sponsored by the
Association of American
Publishers.

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