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A Match Made in Heaven: American Jews, Christian Zionists, and One Man's Exploration of the Weird and Wonderful Judeo-Evangelical Alliance [Paperback]

Zev Chafets
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product details

  • Paperback: 231 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (Feb 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060890592
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060890599
  • Product Dimensions: 1.4 x 14.7 x 20 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,389,239 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Paperback. Pub Date: 2008 Pages: 240 in Publisher: Harper Perennial Over the course of an extraordinary year. Zev Chafets - former New York Daily News columnist and onetime director of the Israeli government press office - traveled the world to explore the improbable confluence of Jews and evangelicals. He spent quality time with Jerry Falwell. visited Jewish cadets at West Point. attended the world's biggest Christian retail show. embarked on a road trip with the rabbi with the largest gentile following since Jesus. journeyed to the Holy Land with a band of repentant Christian pilgrims. and oke ead with George W. Bush and five hundred fellow Jewish Republicans. A Match Made in Heaven is the penetrating. engaging. and often hilarious narrative of Chafets's determined quest to get to the root of a very serious question: Why do evangelicals support Israel so strongly Equal par...

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining look at a serious issue 15 April 2007
By Pieter Uys HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
This absorbing book examines Jewish-Christian relations under the headings: Among The Christians; Is It Good For The Jews? and Afterword: Wartime. The variety in the narrative which jumps from history to current affairs to personal experiences and interviews, all infused with the author's witty and irreverent style, makes it a highly enjoyable read.

In chapter 1 Chafets recounts his hilarious childhood experiences with religion in Pontiac, Michigan. In 1967 he moved to Israel where he lived for 9 years before settling in New York with his family. The rest of Part One deals with subjects as diverse as the first Jews to come to America, the philo-semitism of the Puritans, the history of Christian Zionism with reference to William Blackstone and the Balfour Declaration, and US foreign policy towards Israel after World War II.

It was interesting to learn that there are warm relations between Israelis and Christian Zionists, where the issue is not even controversial. This contrasts sharply with the political divide between Jewish Liberals and Evangelical Christians in the USA. Chafets provides outspoken but sympathetic portraits of Christian leaders and institutions like Jerry Falwell and Liberty University, and Pat Robertson and Regent University.

His description of a pilgrimage in Israel with a group of Christians is moving and sometimes quite hilarious, and includes several thought-provoking interviews where the Israelophile Christians speak for themselves. There is no stereotyping and the perspectives and opinions of the individuals concerned are presented with empathy.
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  20 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining look at a serious issue 15 April 2007
By Pieter Uys - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This absorbing book examines Jewish-Christian relations under the headings: Among The Christians; Is It Good For The Jews? and Afterword: Wartime. The variety in the narrative which jumps from history to current affairs to personal experiences and interviews, all infused with the author's witty and irreverent style, makes it a highly enjoyable read.

In chapter 1 Chafets recounts his hilarious childhood experiences with religion in Pontiac, Michigan. In 1967 he moved to Israel where he lived for 9 years before settling in New York with his family. The rest of Part One deals with subjects as diverse as the first Jews to come to America, the philo-semitism of the Puritans, the history of Christian Zionism with reference to William Blackstone and the Balfour Declaration, and US foreign policy towards Israel after World War II.

It was interesting to learn that there are warm relations between Israelis and Christian Zionists, where the issue is not even controversial. This contrasts sharply with the political divide between Jewish Liberals and Evangelical Christians in the USA. Chafets provides outspoken but sympathetic portraits of Christian leaders and institutions like Jerry Falwell and Liberty University, and Pat Robertson and Regent University.

His description of a pilgrimage in Israel with a group of Christians is moving and sometimes quite hilarious, and includes several thought-provoking interviews where the Israelophile Christians speak for themselves. There is no stereotyping and the perspectives and opinions of the individuals concerned are presented with empathy.

In the chapter Revenge Of The Mainline, the author explores the history of the World Council Of Churches and its hostility to Israel, liberation theology and the conflicting attitudes of the evangelicals and the liberal mainstream churches towards the Jewish homeland, including the divestment attempts within the Presbyterian and United Methodist churches.

Part 2 opens with the history and work of Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein's International Fellowship Of Chistians and Jews and then looks at Abraham Foxman of the Anti Defamation League and his hostile stance against the Christian Right. Next Chafets investigates the rising tide of anti-semitism worldwide and the recent spate of books attacking Evangelical Christianity with their scaremongering theme of a "theocracy" in the USA.

In the chapter titled The Iraq War And Its Aftermath, he points out the convergence of views between people like Walt & Mearsheimer, Jimmy Carter and David Duke. He could also have mentioned Pat Buchanan. Other topics include AIPAC, relations between US administrations and Israeli leaders since the 1970s and the aforementioned partisan divide. As the author puts it: "Jews are Democrats, Israelis are Republicans."

The main policy differences seem to be abortion, gay marriage, the issue of proselytising and the idea of Armageddon. I found the account of the visit of Rabbi Eric Yoffie to Liberty University in 2005 highly amusing, especially Yoffie's discomfort when Falwell used the word "barbarian" during an interview. Finally, Chafets observes that in their support for Israel, Christian Zionists are completely immune to the ideas of "progressive" intellectuals and European "sophisticates" or accusations of dual loyalty. This is significant.

The Afterword provides a vivid picture of Israel during the 2006 Hezbollah War; Chafets and his family were there. In the USA, most of the anti-Israel voices came from the Left. John Hagee's Christians United For Israel was the first to hold a pro-Israel rally in Washington, Pat Robertson visited Israel and Evangelical support for Eckstein's IFCJ soared to record highs. The book ends with the observation that the Judeo-Christian alliance does not require Jews to become Republicans or Christians, but that better understanding and more mutual respect would be beneficial. This highly entertaining and thought-provoking work concludes with an index.

Standing With Israel

Why Care about Israel?: How the Jewish Nation Is Key to Unleashing Gods Blessings in the 21st Century

Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East: 1776 to the Present

Christian Attitudes Towards the State of Israel

Ruth & Esther: Shadows of Our Future
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not better or worse, but different than I expected 16 Oct 2007
By Andrew S. Rogers - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I've become fairly interested in "Christian Zionism," "replacement theology," and related topics recently and the description and title of "A Match Made in Heaven" made this sound like a good place to go to find out more. Turns out it wasn't quite what I was expecting, but it was still an interesting, well-written, and surprisingly entertaining view of what exactly is happening, and what is at stake, in the question of Jewish-Evangelical relations.

What I was particularly not expecting to find was the author's energetic defense of the passionate support American Evangelicals show for the State of Israel. While "A Match Made in Heaven" lacks any theological investigation or defense of "Christian Zionism," the author makes a strong pragmatic case. As he explained to a New York Jewish woman aghast at the revelation Chafets voted for George W. Bush in 2004 (although a long-time resident of Israel he retains his American citizenship), "why wouldn't I as an Israeli Jew support the most pro-Israel, pro-Jewish president in US history?" As he relates stories of Iraqi Scud missiles falling on his family's Tel Aviv neighborhood, it's not hard to understand why Chafets is willing to accept the Evangelicals' well-demonstrated support for Israel almost regardless of what motivates it.

While I tend to accept Chafets' analysis, I couldn't help but think as I read it that he and his book are probably getting savaged by "the Jewish establishment" he so disparages, as well as by myriad other critics of Israel, Bush, and/or evangelical Christianity (there's a Venn diagram I'd like to see). What I'd hope is less open to criticism is Chafets' skill as an observant and entertaining writer.

I particularly enjoyed his description of a tour of Israel by a group of Evangelicals that he accompanied as, to use his chapter title, "a fly on the wailing wall." My wife and I were (as one participant put it) blessed by a similar tour earlier this year -- remarkably similar, in fact. Not only did we receive communion at the so-called "Garden Tomb" and renew our baptism in the Jordan River at Kibbutz Kinneret ("whose Eastern European socialist-atheist founders would have been amazed by the vast gift store of Christian knickknacks being hawked by their grandchildren" [p. 104]), as did members of Chafets' group, but even visited George Nisan's "religious supermarket" on the Mount of Olives, where Nisan "caused a stir" for us as for them by reciting the Lord's Prayer in Aramaic.

Despite the laughs, though, this is at heart a very serious book and one that's sure to stir deep feelings on all sides. The other side's position is amply documented, and as Chafets notes, Evangelicals themselves seem to take the line "I support Israel because the Bible tells me to, and that's good enough." Not many people are coming to the debate enunciating Zev Chafets' perspective, and I think that's a shame. I imagine all sides, and all parts of the Venn diagram above, could find something useful and even eye-opening in the pages of this worthwhile book.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SUPERB 23 Jan 2007
By ATTICUS - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Chafets' book does not provoke, as some reviewers have alleged; it explains the relationship between Evangelicals and Jews/Israelis and does so with marvelous wit and understanding. Chafets is a subversive writer drawing in the reader with personal (and very funny) anecdotes before getting down to serious business. His of course is not a topic for every reader but if it comes close to your interest zone, you will be informed and entertained. Highly recommended.
15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Christians and Jews - A Logical Alliance 15 Mar 2007
By Judah Levi - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Since we are both high-value targets for radical Islam, an alliance would seem to make perfect sense. Nonetheless, Christian Evangelicals will always be seen by some liberal Jews as a more dangerous enemy than radical Muslims. Why this is - who knows? It must be their warped worldview or something...

Zev Chafets does an outstanding job of explaining (to those Jews who will listen) that most Christians have come to acknowledge that G-ds covenant with the Jews is still valid just as they believe their own covenant is. This is essence of the "dual covenant" theology. With this belief, there is no reason to convert Jews to Christianity and therefore no "danger" for Jews from evangelicals. The true danger comes from another world religion which will not try to convert Jews, just kill them.

Unless you truly believe Christians are more dangerous than radical Muslims, you should read this book. Evangelical Christians have been warmly accepted in Israel and they are, in some cases, more supportive of the state of Israel than many Jews. Zev explains all this, and much more, with incredible wit and humor.

Great book! Read it with an open mind.
15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good journalism on a hard topic 13 Jan 2007
By Richard S. Mitnick - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is a hard topic. Do Jews embrace adherents to a theology which says we will burn in hell? Is their money worth it? Is it philosophically O.K.? Zev Chafetz is a journalist. This book reads like good journalism. It flows. The text is compact and efficient, without being dry and lifeless.Chafets is not a novelist, not a theologian or historian. His book never suffers from the pecularities of those arts. Chafets mentions Gershom Gorenberg's book "End of Days", which I believe is a very important book, and a book which goes in a totally different direction.I am philosophically opposed to the marriage of the Christian Right and Israel. Chafets almost has me when he brings up the "dual covenant" idea. But it just does not come off. The thinking in this book represents the thinking of the Israeli and American Jewish leadership. Chafets ask, why should Jews care about Christian end time theology when we do not accept Christianity as our faith? That is the standard line. Take the money and run. But one of these days, when one of us is looking for a bank loan, and we are asked if we have "gotten right" with Jesus, or our kid is in need of a good school guidance counselor, and we are asked if we have Christ in our home, then we are going to care what they think.

I enjoyed this book a lot. I bought three copies to give to Jewish and Christian friends.
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