Power of faith: Christian women learn to advocate for Israel

Christian Zionist Emily Talento says she knows that fighting for Israel and the Jewish people has been a “fierce battle” since October 7, but she is ready to stand for Israel on the frontlines.

A student at Yeshiva University’s new master’s program in Jewish Studies for Christian students, Talento was raised to love the Bible and the land of Israel. On that “Black Shabbat,” she and her peers were watching the massacre play out on their phones while feeling helpless.

“The awful thing was happening, and we couldn’t do anything to help,” Talento told The Jerusalem Post during a conversation at a Jerusalem bistro. She was in the country on the Keep God’s Land Mission, a program of Israel365. “Getting the opportunity to come to Israel was just literally a godsend.”

Eight Christian women and two Jewish women in their 20s arrived in the country last Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and left on Monday, November 27, to be part of the Israel365 trip. These were all women who had been to Israel before, but have currently returned in order to learn how they could better advocate for the Jewish state through their faith amid rising antisemitism and anti-Zionism.

Keep God’s Land participants celebrate Thanksgiving in Jerusalem together with MK Simcha Rothman and Israel365 Founder Rabbi Tuly Weisz (credit: ISRAEL365)

“Israel is fighting a two-front war,” explained Rabbi Elie Mischel, Israel365’s director of education. “We’re fighting here in Israel physically, and we’re fighting around the world for truth.”

The young women visited the Gaza border and saw the field near Kibbutz Re’im where some 260 young people like themselves were slaughtered by Hamas terrorists during a music festival. In addition, they experienced Shabbat at Efrat in Gush Etzion, where they enjoyed home hospitality and received practical lessons in advocacy and messaging through a biblical lens.

Bringing Jews and Christians together to support Israel

Mischel said Israel365 is about bringing Jews and Christians together to support Israel. “If the next generation of support for Israel doesn’t join our team, then Israel is in trouble,” he remarked. “I think this is something many Israeli leaders don’t understand.”

He said that some of the women would accompany Israel365 to Turning Point USA’s America Fest next month, where 10,000 conservative Christians will take part, including names like Charlie Kirk, Chris Bannon, Tucker Carlson, and Candace Owens.

“Tucker is not such a friend, and Candace Owens is becoming an enemy. We’ve got to be there with the young,” Mischel said.

The visit was eye-opening for Ilona Chebotareva, a Christian Zionist who serves as a senior strategy manager for Politico. She said it was important to “witness both the resilience and the tragedy that happened here and then bring it back to my community and be able to better speak to what happened here.

“I come from a faith culture that believes in the importance of the Jewish state both to our faith and to our political world, and so we believe that it is our duty and responsibility to show up and support the Jewish people,” Chebotareva continued.

Olivia Layne joined the mission as well. She was in Israel for the fifth time.

“There’s honestly no place I’d rather be,” she told the Post. “I know I, like many people, would say that that’s a little bit strange right now, but it’s true.

“I’m here because I’ve been very, very disturbed by the dramatic spike in antisemitism in the United States. I am very much aware of the history of Christian antisemitism and silence during times of Jewish persecution, and I’m here to be a remedy to that. I want to be a bridge builder.”

Layne, from Texas, said she was deeply moved by Israel’s “Jewish resilience” and found the trip “inspiring.” She said that the way to combat antisemitism is through education, which she believes “begins in my own Christian circles. It starts in my church and by educating my peers.

“I want to make sure the Christians I know are equipped with knowledge so that they don’t fall to the propaganda that is so rampant out there right now.”

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