Photo by Gabriel Jaggernauth
Christians often sport plastic bracelets with the words, “I Support Israel.” Many people, however, do not understand the intricacies of the Israel-Palestine conflict, Zionism and other issues affecting Israel. The United for Israel club hopes to combat this ignorance and develop well-informed students.
Nethaniel Maldonado, a graphic design major, serves as president of the ORU United for Israel club on campus. While the club supports trips to Israel for students, they also bring in several educated guest speakers to teach about Israel and send students to the Summit in Washington D.C.
“It’s about education and awareness,” said Maldonado, speaking about the goal of the club.
Through these meetings, members get to hear first-hand experience on the happenings of Israel, the conflict and other ways to support Israelis. Maldonado believes the club helps to bridge Israel-supporting Christians to the country and the religious history on which Christians base their beliefs.
Maldonado also spoke about his thoughts on Christians who remain uninformed.
“We face an apathy, because, though we do share the same basic beliefs as [we are all] Christians, we don’t always prioritize Israel,” explained Maldonado. “I think it’s important to get the emphasis on that, because we don’t know the meaning of [Israel], and we don’t know what that has to do with us.”
Israel itself is different than what many may expect of it. The country is very religious but very diverse, according to Maldonado. Israel houses four different distinct groups of Jewish sects, according to Pew Research. Though Judaism makes up nearly 75 percent of the religious groups, Islam comes in second, representing 17 percent and Christianity representing two percent.
The group also pairs with other Israeli organizations, including Christians United for Israel and the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, or CAMERA for short.
The club also makes allowances to see all points of view. They have hosted events, both on and off campus, with the help of well-informed and well-spoken individuals in Tulsa.
“We want to see both sides of the conflict, though we are United for Israel,” said Maldonado.
The club serves as an informative fixture on ORU’s campus, educating students on international affairs and how to help. Wanting to see the many sides of the conflict allows for members to form their own opinions in hopes to eradicate ignorance regarding the state of Israel.