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Israel, Hamas, & Students on My Bus

A war rages on between Israel and Hamas. Why? I read today’s Daily Article from the Denison Forum (May 18, 2021) which discusses this conflict. In the article, Dr. Jim Denison states that the Hamas Charter, Article Thirteen, rejects all “so-called peaceful solutions” with Israel. “There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except by Jihad,” (translated as a holy war). Also, their Article Thirty-three calls on all Muslims to fight on “until liberation” (from Israel and its states) “is completed, the invaders are vanquished, and Allah’s victory sets in.”

Allow me to bring this to our country for a moment. I drive a school bus, in part, for high-school aged students. Sometimes, a somewhat curious dialogue occurs among the young people of various cultures and ethnicities. One student from a blended ethnicity asked another student if he were an “Arab.” The student quickly said, “No, I’m Middle-Eastern.” “Isn’t that the same?” the other asked. “Never,” the student replied. “Middle-Easterners are civil, human beings. Arabs are not human; they’re animals.”

Wow. “Animals”? This is what I heard and therein lies an inherited root of conflict among us. How did this “Middle-Eastern” student come to the conclusion that others from a similar ethnicity, but different culture were “animals” compared to him and others? This student had never fought in a war overseas. It had to be taught from their upbringing and close cultural relationships. Some say prejudice is usually taught rather than caught.

We had racial difficulties when I attended high school (’64-’69). Yes, we had our prejudicial sins, but I was not taught that I was intellectually or culturally superior to anyone else and that some people were animals and not even human. Schools were desegregated during my high school years and it only took a few weeks or months for blacks and whites to learn together and benefit from each other’s talents and cultures. Yes, there were exceptions, but bullies and racists remain in everyone’s generation and will always exist as long as sin dominates a person’s heart. But this should not be the norm. It should be taught to our children that racial profiling is wrong and is not the norm. Each person should respect others from a different background as their equal unless someone shows themselves as prejudicial.

Some say the Bible is full of prejudicial incidents and cite Jesus as being prejudiced (e.g., Jews v. Gentiles). Jesus did come first to his own people, but the Bible says they rejected him. Therefore, he opened the invitation to follow him to anyone who would forsake their sins and follow him… anyone. He also said following him would be characterized by peaceful coexistence and not wars or prejudice. “In Christ there is neither Jew nor Gentile…”

If we continue preaching or teaching ethnic or cultural superiority, we will inflame the unbiblical divisiveness that preys among us. Pray for Israel. They have a human right for existence. And pray for the Palestinians. They must reject the Hamas Charter that calls for the annihilation of the Jews. Pray also for America to return to its unifying, peaceful foundations, teaching that all men are created equal before their Creator.

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