Full Episode 032: Hope In The Holy Land with Justin Kron | Inside The Epicenter

In this episode, Dr. Carl Moeller discusses that and more with special guest Justin Kron, founder of The Kesher Forum and executive producer of Hope in the Holy Land, a 2-hour documentary that goes beneath the surface of the Israeli Palestinian conflict.

Kron reveals what motivated him to make this challenging film and shares how the journey of creating it changed his perceptions about the conflict. He also talks about the hospitality and hostility they experienced on both sides, how surfing was able to build bridges and the struggle of Christians in the region who are caught in the middle.

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Transcript:

- [Announcer] Coming up on this episode of "Inside the Epicenter."

- There was a guy in my church, who was getting more engaged with his issues. And he texted me, and he said, "Justin, if your theology doesn't lead you to love your neighbor and your enemy, then something is wrong with your theology."

- Is there any real hope in the holy land? What if between the conflict of Israeli and Palestinian, we could inject a unique new character, Jesus Christ? What if we were able to have a conversation, between the forces of radicalism and extremism, and those that desire to see love when the day. Hi, and welcome to "Inside The Epicenter" with Joel Rosenberg, a podcast of the Joshua Fund, a ministry dedicated to blessing Israel, and Her Neighbors in the name of Jesus. I'm Carl Moeller, Executive Director of the Joshua Fund. And I'm joined today, not by Joel Rosenberg, but by a very special guest, Justin Kron. Justin Kron is a frequent speaker at churches, and campus ministry gatherings on topics related to the Jewish heritage, of the Christian faith, and the history of Christian antisemitism, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and demonstrating God's love to the Jewish community. And as most of our listeners will know, that the Joshua Funds exists, to bless Israel and the neighbors, including the Palestinians in the name of Jesus. Justin, I'm really glad to welcome you to this podcast, and super excited about our conversation today. Welcome.

- Thank you, Carl. Really great to be with you, and just really appreciate the heart, and the mission of the Joshua Fund. And I really resonate with the support of Israel, and also loving Israel's neighbors.

- Yeah, 'cause that's the biggest challenge. I always say that in my work as Executive Director, the hardest three words I have to work through, are Israel and Her Neighbors. Israel and the neighbors is a challenging endeavor, for any ministry, or any person, wanting to consider what's really taking place there. But I want our listeners to know about something, you have produced, you are the executive producer, on a film titled, "Hope in the Holy Land". A real life documentary of someone who comes from the US, and finds a dialogue, and desires to create a dialogue. Tell us about the film, and just give us an introduction to "Hope in the Holy Land"?

- Yeah, so "Hope in the Holy Land" is a documentary, it's about a two hour documentary, where the viewer is gonna go on a journey, with a guy by the name of Todd Morehead. Todd is an evangelical Christian, who loves to surf. He's from California, I think surfing and being in California, kind of goes hand in hand.

- Goes hand in hand, absolutely.

- What about you though, Carl, aren't you in California, you surf at all?

- We're in ocean side, but I am not a surfer, I'm a waiter in the water and I body surf, but yeah, watching Todd-

- Yeah, I'm there with you.

- Well, you have an excuse, you're in the Midwest, so.

- That's right.

- But watching Todd on the film was really special, and I could see how surfing was a key component of his ability to connect with people.

- Yeah, so Todd and I, we partnered together, to really go seek answers to a lot of the tough questions, that people have related to the conflict, between Israel and Her Neighbors, between the Israelis and the Palestinians. And it was really kind of motivated out of some other films that we had seen, that we would say weren't characterizing Israel fairly, and were really kind of painting the Israelis, and Jews in particular as being foreign, colonizer, invader, you know, people, who were coming and displacing, or even ethnically cleansing Arabs from their ancestral homeland. And that narrative was really kind of gaining traction, among a lot of Christians that we knew. And we just really felt that, there's gotta be a more balanced story here, a more balanced perspective to provide for viewers, and so can we do that? And, well, we've done it, I would say at that particular time, when we were asking, "Can we do this?" It was like, wow, that seems like a huge mountain to climb, but by God's grace and favor, we got it done.

- Well, I wanna say, I feel such an alignment, with the purpose of this film and the way you executed it, and the work of the Joshua Fund. In so many ways, I could see us being in that film ourselves, having the conversations that you were having, having the conversations that Todd was able to have with Palestinian believers, and people on the Israeli side, and discussing issues of security, and all of these things, I thought it was remarkably well done. So you got the idea from watching some other... But you know, a number of us watch and listen to a number of things, and we go, "Hey, somebody should do something about that." But you actually did, how do you did that?

- Well, yeah, sometimes God just really convicts you to do something. And there were some messages that were being sent. I remember reading something by a novelist, Jack Engelherd, who wrote the novel "Indecent Proposal". And in an article, he wrote, "So where are the Christians who've been taught to love their neighbor? Who've been raised to serve as shelters to those who suffer? Silence? Yes, you are your brother's keeper, but where are you? Your fellow students?" I'm speaking about Jewish students on college campuses, could use a helping hand, your fellowship is urgently needed. And why was he saying this? He was saying this because of a rise of antisemitism on college campuses, related to Jewish students, who support Israel's right to exist. And so he's asking, "Where are the Christians who are gonna help us out here, who are gonna stand in the gap to help tell our story?" And, you know, I think too of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, when he said silence, or he wrote, silence in the face of evil is evil itself, God will not , as not to speak is to speak, not to act is to act. And so there was this sense of we've gotta do something, and we just felt that producing a film, that barely told Israel's side of the story, while also allowing the Palestinians to share their story, was the best way to go about this.

- Boy, I was gonna say that. I mean, with just that description, you might think it was just a pro-Israeli film, it's a balanced film. And I really believe that it's a pro piece, and a pro engagement film.

- And Carl, let me just say, part of the challenge for us too, was we understood that we've got some growth that we need to do in our own lives, in regards to our hearts of Palestinian people. There was a guy at my church who was getting more engaged with these issues, and he said to me, he said, "Justin, if your theology doesn't lead you to love your neighbor and your enemy, then something is wrong with your theology." And I knew right in that moment, I've got some soul work I need to do, in regards to my heart for the Palestinian people. And so I went along with Todd, we went on this journey, to allow God really to work in our own hearts, and also to get some answers, that not only did we have, but we knew that a lot of other people had as well.

- Yeah, for sure. And I just wanna say, to everyone listening, it's a fantastic film, it's beautifully shot, it's really well edited. There's some compelling scenes, both of fracture and reconciliation, that I found to be really, really engaging. A couple of the folks that are well known to the Joshua fund in the film as well. One particular friend of the Joshua fund is Kalev Myers, Kalev is a human rights lawyer there, and he makes some really interesting comments there, in the film that I've found to be compelling. Maybe you could highlight some of the things about human rights that Kalev was really emphasizing?

- Yeah, so Kalev who is just a great help to us on this journey, he understands the issues so well, and he himself as an Israeli, also a follower of Jesus, he's been advocating for the Palestinian people, through his own work, and really trying to fight a lot of the corruption, that exists within the Palestinian authority. Which frankly is what we came to discover, is one of the primary reasons why Palestinian people are suffering. I mean, I think the narrative that a lot of people hear is, well, it's because of Israeli policies, and because of things that Israelis are doing, and never thinking about, well, what about the Palestinians own government, what are they doing? I recall having a conversation, this isn't in the film, but there was a conversation I had with a Palestinian Christian, who owns a business in the Palestinian Territories. And he said to me, he said, "Justin, when your government gives a million dollars to Israel, 900,000 of that, ends up to the benefit of the Israeli people, and maybe a hundred thousand ends up in the pockets of the Israeli government. But when your government gives a million dollars to the Palestinian authority, maybe a hundred thousand ends up to the benefit of the people, and 900,000 ends up in the pockets of the PA." And he said, "That's why we're suffering here, in the Palestinian Territories." And so people like Kalev have really helped, bring that perspective through the work that they're doing.

- And he made an interesting comment, I couldn't agree more. He made a very interesting comment that I thought... He says, when you think about where the restrictions are most taking place, they're taking place in the Arab countries, they're taking place in the Palestinian Territories. The extremism of the Palestinian authority, precludes the opportunity for Jewish people to walk around the streets of west bank towns and cities. That is really a point you bring out. Talk a little bit about what contributes to this misperception, the divide between, the way Palestinian see Israelis, why is that? Why do they see Israeli so negatively?

- Well, Palestinians see a lot of Israelis in a negative light, because they're told to, they're encouraged to. I mean, sadly from a very early age, within the schooling system, they're not taught that the Jewish people have the right to sovereignty, within any part of that territory. They are taught that Jews are foreign colonists, that they're invaders, who have come to displace Arabs from the land. I mean, that's taught at a very early age, and oftentimes in UN-funded schools. And so it's just a part of the atmosphere, the air that they breathe. And so to break out of that, to hear another side is really, really difficult to do. And in any moment where you start to sympathize with the Jewish people and their story, you can be persecuted for that. You could lose your job, you might even lose your life, in fact, it's against the law to even sell land to a Jewish person. And so that's the world in which they grow up in. Now, are there some things that help encourage that narrative? Yeah, sadly, there are some things that Israelis do. I mean, there's a group called price tag of settlers, who have done some pretty hostile things, toward their Arab neighbors. Hate crimes and such against the Arabs. And so when you learn of those things, you hear those things, see those things, it reinforces the narrative that all Israelis or all Jews are bad evil people.

- Yeah, I was particularly touched by one comment made during the film that, the typical Palestinian, living in the west bank, has almost zero interaction with a typical Israeli. And the only images of Israel that they see are soldiers, or, what they have been propagandized in the media about. How did you guys intend through your film, to kind of make a difference, or make an impact in that kind of environment?

- Well, we wanted to intentionally just spend time, with people on both sides, and especially with Palestinians. It's not easy, I think for a lot of Christians, who visit Israel to spend time in the Palestinian Territories, and to be in the homes of the Palestinian people, it certainly is a lot easier to do that on the Israel side. And so we just wanted to demonstrate that, "Hey, we're here, we care about you, we wanna know your story, and we want the world to know, what is it like for you on this side? And we wanna do that, and we wanna represent you, as honestly as we possibly can, and to build that trust with them. And fortunately, we were able to do that with several, but you'll see in the film too, there were some Palestinians who were not very open to us doing that. In fact, the film opens with a scene of us being run out of a Palestinian refugee village. And so, yeah, some are open to us, and unfortunately, others aren't.

- Yeah, I was just about to comment on that scene, it was particularly compelling. Having personally been in Bethlehem, in Gaza, and in the west bank a lot, and as well as Israel, you do feel this sort of tension as a westerner, as an American, you come in, and you start meeting with people, you're targeted, you're identified, there were people literally looking out, and seeing anybody doing that. Talk a little bit about how that situation unfolded for Todd, and what it felt like to be in the midst of that sort of visible conflict, between the viewpoints here?

- Yeah, let's just say my anxiety level went up pretty high.

- Indeed.

- And yeah, it's unfortunate, when you're trying to reach out, and you're trying to build bridges, and then someone comes along. and they're not interested in that whatsoever. And I think it's just important to know that, while we are called to love our neighbors, we're called to love our enemies, they're not always going to accept it. And when that happens, you just need to kind of pack up and move on. And so we moved down pretty quickly, but God opened up some other doors for us. But yeah, I just think it's important to know that regardless of the risks involved, Jesus doesn't promise that everything is gonna go easy, that it's gonna be smooth sailing, but he does promise that he'll be with us in the midst of it, and we definitely sensed his presence with us while we were there.

- Well, I could see from just Todd's face on so many of the engagements he had with Palestinians and Israelis, there was just genuine concern, genuine connection, and real bridge building going on. I really felt like that was one of the hallmarks of the film as I watched it. Tell me, Todd is a surfer, we talked about that, and surfing plays a bit of a part in this film, there's a couple of surfing scenes, and there's some ways that surfing has been used to help build some of these bridges. Maybe talk a little bit about that, and some of the ongoing things that are part of that?

- Yeah, so there is a subculture there within Israel of surfers. When you think of Israel, you don't normally think of surfers, but you can get some pretty decent waves on the Mediterranean-

- Just ask the Apostle Paul, I think, you know?

- Yeah, and there's Arabs who live in Israel, of course, I think that's important to bring out too. I think when a lot of Christians when they think about Israel, they only think about the Jewish people.

- Yup.

- I would put myself in that camp for many years, just traveling to Israel, my primary lens was through Jewish lens, and not considering the fact that one out of every five Israelis is Arab, 20% of Israel populations is Arab, and so there's Arabs there too who like to surf, And so one of the bridge building opportunities there, is just to get the Jewish and Arab surfers together. And Todd has been great in helping to facilitate some of that. And there's also an organization there called Surfers For Peace. It's not a Christian organization, but it is definitely one that's helped to build bridges.

- That's awesome. Well, I'm gonna ask you another, really fascinating question to me at least when we get back, because there's a third group we wanna talk about in this volatile place. But we're gonna take a quick break here, and we'll come back with Justin Kron, and "Hope in the Holy Land" documentary. This is Carl Mueller, the Executive Director of the Joshua Fund. After you're done listening to this episode, make sure to share this podcast, with your friends and family. We're just getting started, and your help is critical to help others, learn about how God is moving in the epicenter. So tell them about "Inside The Epicenter", with Joel Rosenberg, and allow them to be encouraged as well. Justin, really, I'm always compelled when I talk with someone from the US, who does think about Israel as Jewish, and then the Palestinian Territories as Arab, and all of the other countries around Israel. And you made a very good point, that in 20% of Israel, Arabs live in different towns, and villages all around, and it's really kind of a model for the region of living together well. I mean, generally speaking, there are points of conflict, of course, and the media makes a lot of those places, where there are challenging conflicts and such, and we're not trying to minimize those. But there's a third group in both the Palestinian territories, and in Israel proper, and that's Christians. I would love for you to talk a little bit about what it's like, first of all, for Palestinian Christians, and then any of the Christians that you met, and worked with in Israel. And just what a unique role, that they potentially could play in this?

- Yeah, for Palestinian Christians, so Christians who live in the Palestinian Territories, they're often caught between a rock and a hard place

- Doubly persecuted.

- Right. And you have also different backgrounds of Christians too, within the Palestinian Territories. I think that's important to understand, there's the Orthodox, and then there's the mainline Protestant denominations, and then there's the evangelicals, who are very small minority. And there's differences of opinion too, within these groups about Israel, and they're all trying to in a sense survive, because they're the minority of what? They're all the minority of the majority population, which are the Muslims, and some of the Muslims, quite frankly aren't really all that nice to their Christian neighbors. So they're dealing with that tension, and then also, they've got Israel to contend with. And when you attempt to show any sense of sympathy towards Israel, I think as I've already mentioned, you're persecuted for that. And so it's a tough spot to be in, but then you have some of these Palestinian Christians, who want to build bridges with their brothers and sisters within Israel, both Jewish believers, Jewish followers of Jesus, and Arab followers of Jesus. And it's also often very difficult for them to do that, because there's not freedom of travel between the two territories. And so it's a tough situation, and when we pray for unity among the believers, understand that there are great challenges, just logistical challenges involved in that occurring.

- I think you're absolutely right, it's one of those things that for an American is so hard to get our heads wrapped around, because we're talking about literally generations, even hundreds of years of conflict, and challenge for the Christians both in Israel, messianic believers and Arab Christians, evangelicals, to even come outside of those cultures to build bridges. It's the best place, I think the best hope for building peace, because I've talked to believers on both sides, and we do believe that the Lord gave us that mandate, to love our neighbors, to love our enemies. You know, we call the Arab countries around Israel, the neighbors, because God told us to love the neighbors. He also told us to love the enemies, and we've talked about that on a few other episodes of the podcast, but the truth is, in my mind, it's gotta be a Jesus based peace bridge, that can build any hope for fabric on those things. Have you seen some things that are hopeful in this area?

- Yeah, what's encouraging is there are believers, who understand something incredibly important, and that that's everyone is made in the image of God. And you will never look into the eyes of someone who doesn't matter to God. And that's a central part of the gospel, is that people matter to God, matter to God so much, that he would send his son to die, and to provide atonement, forgiveness of sin for all people, regardless of what their ethnic, or nationalistic background is. And so to see believers who get that, and who are living that is an absolutely beautiful thing, and we do bring that out in the film, in a way without it alienating a Jewish viewer, who might be watching the film. But to live out the message and the value, and really the commandment to forgive.

- Yeah.

- And that's really what I would say is the true answer to the conflict is forgiveness. And so I think that, that message needs to be made loud and clear, and if we could help do that through this film, then we've done our job, I think.

- Well, I think you've done a great job, and I've got a number of other questions to go over with you. One thing, someone once told me, a persecutor believer in another part of the country... Another part of the world in his country told me, he said, "It all begins and ends with forgiveness, so without forgiveness, there is no Christian life." And I think that is a motto that I see in this film. You have to begin with the forgiveness that God showed us while we were still sinners, while we were enemies of the cross, he died for us, when we were enemies of Christ, he died on that cross for us. And I firmly believe that if we start with forgiveness, we can actually make progress. And yet, I mean, there's no denying, we here at the Joshua Fund understand intimately, that you don't have sort of a bandaid solution to something like this, you really have to start at the grassroots level, and bring people into grassroots contact and awareness. One scene maybe you can comment is on the factory, or the business where they were all working together, and there was a Christian, there was a Jewish person, and there was an Arab, and they were all working together. And describe some of the outcomes, when people actually do integrate, and interrelate that way?

- Yeah, I think it'd be surprising for a lot of viewers to see that there are Jews and Arabs, Israelis, and Palestinians, who are working together in factories within the disputed territories. and enjoying working together, loving working together, and believing that doing so is helping to build bridges towards peace. And I think it's important for people to see that. I think sadly, there's what is known as the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, which is known as BDS, that is seeking to basically shut down these factories where many Palestinians are employed. Oftentimes making four or five times as much, that they could make if they were working in a Palestinian owned business, that money is putting food on the table for Palestinians, sending their kids to college, et cetera. But yet you've got an international movement, that is trying to shut these factories down, and who does that hurt really hurt?

- Exactly.

- It doesn't really hurt the Israelis, 'cause they could very easily move into Israel proper, who it hurts the most are Palestinians. And so I think it's important for people to know that this film certainly brings that out, and to know that that is definitely one of the pathways towards peace, economic cooperation, we really think is a great pathway to peace.

- You know, I couldn't agree more, I would say one of the things that was so striking about that, was the people who would be the most vocal against BDS in their communities, would be those Palestinian workers in those factories, that would be shut down, if that really took root. And I think it's unbelievably disingenuous of the media in the west to position this as a justice thing. This is actually going to hurt the most vulnerable, and the most susceptible to economic challenges. We don't spend a great deal of time talking about economics on this podcast, we mostly talk about the spiritual realities of life, and how we, we put those things forward. But I think the Christian community has an obligation here in America to say, it's about engagement, not disengagement. It's about investment, not disinvestment in these things. Because if we were actually able to do that, we would make a big difference. And I think, Joel and I talked in previous podcasts about the Abraham Accords, and why some of the Gulf state countries, made peace with Israel, it was primarily because of economic engagement was beneficial. And I think if the Palestinian authority would see that, their people would ultimately really benefit, and that's the saddest part of this story, I think.

- I agree. And here's the thing, the Palestinian people themselves see it and want it, but again, unfortunately the Palestinian authority, seems to have a zero sum game, or a proposition in mind, which is all or nothing. And as long as they continue to hold that line, we're not going to see the type of progress towards peace that we'd like to.

- Yeah, I think your film does a great job of really identifying that stumbling block to piece, as being the Palestinian authorities myopic view, and really, they're truly the ones walling their citizens off from the possibility of peace and prosperity. But what are some of the other stumbling blocks, that you see? Working in this area, what are some of the other stumbling blocks, maybe on the Israeli side as well?

- Yeah, Carl clearly one of the greatest stumbling blocks that we encountered, was fundamentalist Islam, theology of fundamentalist Islam. Which really does not view the Jewish people in a very positive light, definitely, second class citizens, those who are not really entitled to have sovereignty over any square inch of that land. And one of the scenes in the film, we captured the audio, we weren't able to capture the person on film. But he told us that he believes, according to Islamic theology, that the Jewish people are returning to the land right now, as they've been doing for the last several decades, that they're return to the land, is for one thing, and one thing only, and that's where their final destruction.

- Yes.

- And we asked them, "Do all Palestinians, see it this way?" And he said, "Yes, no, that doesn't mean that they all do, but it's certainly a very prominent view, within the Palestinian society." And so I would say, fundamental Islam remains a significant barrier to progress, towards peace with the Israelis.

- Sure, well, I can see that, and this is a podcast that we also deal with, some of the movements of God in these latter days. We are seeing these forces becoming unmasked in many ways, and making these, really, really aggressive threats against Israel, and against the people of Israel. We recognize like you do in this film, that this sort of ideology, motivates people to do terrible, terrible things. There's a scene in there, where some of the Palestinian suicide bombers, talk with some of the survivors of some of those attacks, and what position that puts a culture in. I can't imagine living here in Orange County, Southern Los Angeles, that if somebody walked into a beach side cafe, and blew it up, we wouldn't understand our security anymore, we would feel completely vulnerable. And I think that, that's a direct result of this fundamental, this ideology that comes and makes heroes of those that do that kind of thing. But I don't want us to concentrate on that negative side, because I see so much positive, this is hope in the holy land, right?

- It really is, and we just need to know that God is always at work, we may not always see it, it may not make headline news, but to know that that God will fulfill his promises, and he will restore Israel, and he will restore the nations, that's where the story ends. And we need to know that God is on the move in those areas, and we need to continue to pray for those who are not getting the attention, that we would like to see them get, but gratefully there's podcasts like yours, and ministries like yours, that helps bring more attention to those stories.

- Yes, well, we're seeing so much of the world's attention, that gets focused on Israel, we're starting to see how people are recognizing, this isn't a some simple sum game, this is actually really part of God's plan. And we do believe that he's working, we do see it in places that people often don't expect. Now you guys don't only make movies, you've done some other things to help facilitate healing, and you just called us to pray. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem is something that we do regularly here, and really believe in that mantra. But you guys do other things too, how else are you guys helping to facilitate a conversation around hope for the holy land?

- Yeah, so both Todd and I, we do lead tours to the holy land, and part of what we try to encourage is engagement with those on the Palestinian side. I know a lot of tours, unfortunately, that really never really go into those areas. I know that's not the case, of course, for the tours that the Joshua fund does, or Joel, and that's why I would say, I recommend when you guys do tours, that your listeners should go with you.

- They're here.

- But I really do think that that is important, that when we as followers of Jesus have the opportunity to visit the holy land, that we spend time on both sides. And also too, we've got a website for the film, and there's a resource section there, and we encourage people to check out some of those resources, get educated about the issues. There are resources that are really good, that you could also recommend to friends, who might have questions, and so we try to get around as best as we can to just educate those within the church, and those even outside the church, who have ears to hear and eyes to see.

- I love those resources, and we're gonna have the link to those in our show notes here on the podcast, and of course, we'll talk about that in a second. But I guess, moving out of the exact message of this film, maybe you could comment on something larger for everybody, why do you think it's important for us, to seek out people who disagree with us?

- Well, I think, we're told to, we're commanded to, and if Jesus says that we're to love our neighbors and our enemies, then there should be some real hands and feet to that. And I think it is just about asking questions, I think one of the best questions we can ask, is help me understand, can you help me understand, and just listen? Because when people feel heard and understood, I think it makes them more open to hearing the hope that we have, learning our perspective. And if we aren't willing to do that, then we're not giving, I think the Holy Spirit, the opportunity to do the work that he's best at.

- Boy, I have to say Justin, I so resonate with that, especially in our world, where we are constantly seeking, it seems to just retreat into our own echo chambers of viewpoints and adopt simple solutions to things that are extremely complex. What you just said there about stepping outside of comfort zones, and engaging those things, I think is incredibly important for our listeners. For anyone really, in any context, if we are gonna love people, the way Jesus calls us to love people, we're gonna encounter some people who disagree with us, and maybe even dramatically so, and this movie is really evidence of that. Were you changed by making this movie in any way-

- Absolutely, well, here's the thing, I think when you step outside of your comfort zone, it stretches your faith, and when you see God show up in those moments, I think it just gives you more confidence, and faith in God. And so that's great, 'cause we're all gonna have trials, we're all gonna hit storms, and so we might as well learn how to deal with those things before they come. And so doing something like we did that, that we're still doing, this is a journey that we're still on, I think really helps stretch our faith. And also to transform our hearts, here's the thing, loving people is not something that comes natural.

- Its true.

- It's a supernatural thing.

- We wouldn't have to be commanded to do it, if it was natural.

- Right, its just not how we're wired up. And so I think it just teaches us to love better, and so I would like to say, you could ask my wife if I have learned to love better as a result of this, I think she'd say I have. So regardless of what the outcome is, when Jesus says to do it, do it.

- We do it, that's exactly right. It's good advice right there from Justin Kron. But I would say, one of the things that when I saw this film, and in some of the encounters that I've had as well, what changes us is what stretches us beyond our comfort zones, and puts a new data into the conversation we have in our own mind about a thing. And I really believe that God has given us the freedom to really engage differing viewpoints, and to come away with a better understanding of the situation. And I'm hopeful, I guess, coming from this movie, I'm hopeful that there'll be more and more Christians, at least in America, being able to have more data, to be able to understand the situation a little bit better. Quick story from a time when I was taking a group to Israel, and we also went to Bethlehem, and we went to Jordan and we were dialoguing with just like you do folks on all sides. And one of the supporters that were with me on the trip, I said, "Todd, what'd you think of the-" It was a different Todd. But I said, "What'd you think of our trip?" And he goes, "Well, all I can tell you is I understood this place a lot better before I came here." And it's kind of a paradoxical thing, the more we enter that complexity, the more we're actually helping to resolve, some of those problems and do that, rather than just try to stay in our, sort of cliche driven comfort zones on understanding these issues. So again, Justin, so grateful that you guys were able to make this film, to engage this question, it's really challenged me, and I know it'll challenge anyone who watches it from this podcast. But what do you want the biggest takeaway? If there could be one thing, Justin, from this film that you would love people to take away, what would it be?

- Yeah, so we asked that question to ourselves too, in the process of making the film. And at the forefront, every single time we would have this conversation, it was this, we want people to grow a bigger heart, for both Jews and Arabs in the holy land, wherever they're at. If they're on the more pro Arab side, they naturally sympathize more with the Arabs, we hope that through watching this film, they're gonna walk away with a bigger heart for the Jewish people, and then vice versa. If you're more on the pro Jewish side, we hope that you're challenged to love the Arabs more. And so if that's what occurs as a result of this film, then, yay, God, we are more than grateful for what God has given us the opportunity to do.

- Man, that is so good. Justin Kron, thank you so much for spending some time with us here on the "Inside The Epicenter Podcast". I wanna bless you and your work, and I do believe that as you do this work, you are actually helping to facilitate, more hands and feet of Jesus to build peace in this incredibly special place. So on behalf of the Joshua Fund, and this podcast, thank you so much for being with us, I appreciate it a lot.

- Thank you, Carl, great to be with you.

- Yes, and for you listening, if you'd like to learn more about the Joshua Fund, or obviously some of our partners, like the "Hope for the Holy Land" film, and Justin and Todd's work there, visit our website, at joshuafund.com And there you can learn about what we're doing in the Middle East, like Justin just said, to bless Israel and Her Neighbors, the Arabs and Palestinians around, in the name of Jesus. So how you can participate in this healing work, that we're doing in this critical region. If you've found this podcast valuable in any way, please get in touch with us, let us know who you are. We wanna talk to you about all kinds of things on this show, and we can only do that if you let us know what you wanna hear about. If you have a question you want Joel to answer, go to joshuafund.com and click on Contact Us, your feedback is incredibly valuable, as we continue to develop this podcast. And as always, you can check out the show notes for anything you've heard on this podcast, including the hopeandtheholyland.com website, and the multiple resources they have there, to help educate you on what God is doing to bring peace and hope in the holy land. So for Joel Rosenberg, and the Joshua fund team, I'm Carl Moeller, thanks for listening to this episode, "Inside The Epicenter", with Joel Rosenberg.

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