Supporting Israel is Not About Politics

For CUFI on Campus Bonhoeffer Fellow Chris Vasquez supporting Israel isn’t about politics. It’s about loving what God loves and standing up for what’s right.

On his way to Israel for the first time with the other Bonhoeffer Fellows, Chris met a woman named Sarah in the New York airport who had survived the Holocaust as a child. Sarah’s parents had been killed in concentration camps. She survived and was one of the 655 children on the ship Exodus in 1947, which the British would not allow to enter what was then called Palestine under the British Mandate. She eventually made it into Israel and has lived her life as proud Israeli citizen ever since the state was established in 1948.

Meeting Sarah before he ever set foot in the land of Israel made a profound impact on Chris. Suddenly, all the history he’d read became real. This was the second time he’d met a Holocaust survivor, and the weight of our individual responsibility to make sure nothing like that ever happens again could not be ignored. If there had been more Christians like Dietrich Bonhoeffer during World War II, how many millions of lives could have been saved?

There is nothing quite like the feeling of soaring from the depths of pondering the Holocaust to the exhilaration of landing in Israel. In Israel, the Jewish people have found new hope and a place of safety. The scars of the past are there, but they do not allow tragedy to block out joy. Chris was surprised to see that Israel was nothing like he’d seen it portrayed on the news. He discovered a nation full of friendly, happy people living in a safe and modern democracy. Jewish and Arab merchants sold their wares side by side in Jerusalem, each one free to pursue their own successful future.

At the Western Wall, Chris noticed the sense of mourning and grief in the prayers of the Jewish people as they cried out to God. To him, it seemed that their sorrow came from a feeling of being alone in the world, with no one to advocate for them. Later that evening, after spending Shabbat with a Jewish family, Chris walked through the streets of Jerusalem with his host and listened to his stories of serving in the IDF. Their friendship gave Chris a very personal burden for the people of Israel, who were no longer just an idea but had become real people with real fears and hopes and dreams of a peaceful future.

For Chris, standing up for Israel is an expression of love for God and the people God loves. Seeing Israel for himself and encountering the need for modern-day Bonhoeffers motivated Chris to live each day of his life with purpose. His faith, already strong, was electrified as he committed to put it into action.

You can help produce more leaders like Chris by supporting CUFI on Campus. Investing in these students is investing in the future of CUFI, Israel, and the United States as we empower a new generation of fearless advocates for God and Israel.