Friends of Zion

Which do you prefer – planning and anticipating a special activity or unexpectedly finding one? We find that each has its own unique pleasure. After two unrelated people both recommended that my husband and I visit a certain Jerusalem museum, we were thrilled to be offered a VIP tour, an offer we quickly accepted. We planned an activity and we were granted a surprise bonus – it was a win-win for us!

The Friends of Zion museum is a gem in the heart of Jerusalem. Founded by Evangelical leader and best-selling author, Mike Evans, the interactive and technologically advanced museum highlights the role and support of Christian Zionists in the establishment of the modern state of Israel. It also pays tribute to Christians who risked their positions and even their lives in order to save Jewish men, women and children in Nazi Germany. Whether in the United States or Europe, these men and women are too often unknown and unrecognized, an omission the museum ably corrects.

Many are unaware of how many Christians began building support for a Jewish state during the 19th century. One example is the Blackstone Memorial featured by the museum, that argued for Palestine to be given to the Jews. It was a major public petition and was signed by 431 prominent Christians, personalities like John D. Rockefeller and J. P. Morgan, future President William McKinley and Chief Justice Melville Fuller, as well as many members of Congress. Also signing were the editors of major newspapers such as The Boston Globe, The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and The Washington Post. The long list included university and seminary presidents, mayors, and leading businessmen. Some of the signatories actually attended and were honored at the First Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland about six years later.

We greatly delight in paying attention to street names when we are fortunate enough to be in Jerusalem. Instead of Third Avenue or Main Street, Jerusalem streets abound in names from the Bible and from history. While we can quickly identify the source for Ruth or Azariah Street, or even Lincoln Street (pronounced here as Lin-co-len), other identities are more obscure. Having traveled past Pierre Koenig and Josiah Wedgwood Streets only a few days earlier, we were particularly tickled to discover why they merited streets named for them. (If you recognize the Wedgwood name from beautiful pottery, the one feted in Jerusalem is the great-grandson of the firm’s founder.)

The Friends of Zion museum’s hour-long guided tour is both informative and entertaining, telling a miraculous story from a unique perspective. The location also serves as a venue for classes and presentations that counter the many anti-Israel movements so prevalent today. Especially important, each visitor is led to contemplate what he or she will do if faced with the opportunity of taking an unpopular, but Godly, stand. When you visit Israel, we strongly encourage you to add this museum to your itinerary.

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