Jan Willem van der Hoven in the background JERUSALEM
Born into a Jewish-loving Christian Dutch family*Married an Arab-Zionist woman * His children served in the Israel Defense Force (IDF) and his daughter converted to Judaism * He believes in the ingathering of the scattered Jewish Diaspora prophesies and rejects all gestures of retreats made to the Palestinian Arabs * Right wing Israeli politicians Binyamin Netanyahu and Benny Alon are his friends * He represents tens of millions of Israeli-loving Christians.
The earthquake that rocked Israel few weeks ago may have surprised the seismologists but not Jan Willem van der Hoven, CEO of the International Christian Zionist Center in Jerusalem. In his French Hill apartment overlooking the breathtaking Jerusalem vista van der Hoven says, in all seriousness: The quake was a sign from heaven warning the nation of Israel not to be like other nations nor follow their ways. “Didn’t the Bible say explicitly, if you follow the ways of the nations and commit their sins the land will expel you? The bible commands the Nation of Israel to stay with its destiny which is to keep Jerusalem holly and not turn it into another Sodom with a Gay Pride parade through its heart.” “The entire Land of Israel,” he continues, “as the prophet Micah said, the mountain of the Lords House shell top all mountains and many nations will come to it. Only then a true peace shell arrives and the swords will be beaten to plowshares and there will be war no more. Reject the Oslo peace and reclaim the land back from its unworthy custodians. Reject Ehud Barak’s Camp David offer to let the Palestinian Arab butchers have custody of the holy mount.
The Hand of the Lord Is Everywhere
Van der Hoven, a tall attractive man, looks a lot younger than his 65 years. He and his wife, a lover of Israel herself, live in an apartment furnished with spare European style.
Our conversation takes a pragmatic tone immediately. “I love the Jewish people,” he says, “but when you allow Jerusalem to become a new Sodom a warning earthquake is sent down. A warning against debasing the holy city is written explicitly in the Bible.” He does speak Hebrew but prefer to be interviewed in English with some Hebrew thrown in.
When van der Hoven talks his speech drifts slowly into an audible, excited whisper and ending at the threshold of tears. He sees the hand of the Lord everywhere. “What I see here is not Peace Now, referring to the pro-Arab Israeli NGO, but Peace Lies. When Israel moves toward Peace Lies it gets hit with Arab terror. Can you imagine what kind of terror lies ahead when Israel abandons Gaza, Judea and Samaria?” (This was said before Israel retreated from Gaza and Northern Samaria and destroyed 23 Jewish settlements) Then, in Hebrew, he says “A retreat will blow up in our faces. I pray the Lord will put some common sense into the heads of the Israeli leadership.”
The Book That Changed His Life
Van der Hoven was born in Holland to a family with five brothers and sisters. For twenty years his father was the head personal secretary to the Dutch queen. His father was a “believer” Christian. To him a “believer” Christian truly believes in God and loves the Nation of Israel, as opposed to “church visitors” Christians, the source of European anti-Semitism.
Van der Hoven attended Dutch public school system until the age of eighteen. During that time he read a book by a family friend that changed his life. The author of the book, a Dutch woman, hide nineteen Jews in her house during the WWII Nazi occupation. She was captured by the Nazis and sent to a concentration camp. The woman survived the war and wrote a book describing her WWII experiences. The State of Israel honored her as a Righteous Gentile for her risky activities in behalf of the Jewish people during the war. “Upon reading this book I felt I must show my God that I am willing to do everything for the Nation of Israel.” This was in 1958.
Realizing the Prophets’ Vision
Van der Hoven went to England to study theology. The school was a non-denominational Christian institution in London who “lacked in the love of Israel. Institutional Christianity, says van der Hoven, sees itself as the legitimate heir to the Nation of Israel that had suffered so much because it failed to accept the Messiah. This thinking is the source of Christian anti-Semitism. “But I understand things differently. I once asked my theology professor: Don’t you think the Jews of today are the chosen people? How do you explain the rise of the Jewish nation when the Jewish state became a reality in 1948? He did not come up with an answer. It was then I understood my own personal destiny is to become a Zionist and teach the Christian Zionism.”
His Zionism is first and foremost Christian Zionism, but he studied the secular Zionism of Zeev Jabotinsky mainly through the writing of his biographer, Shmuel Katz. “Why didn’t you listen to Jabotinsky when he warned, terminate the Diaspora or the Diaspora will terminate you?”
Tour of the Arab Countries
When van der Hoven finished his schooling in London he toured the Arab countries of Lebanon, Syria Jordan and Iraq. During the Six Day War he was in London when news of the death of the guardian of the Holy Sepulcher arrived, “Killed by the Jews,” it was claimed. This caused great harm to Israel and van der Hoven regarded the death of the guardian as a sign from heaven selecting him to replace the slain guardian.
Before that event he married Vidad, a Christian Arab woman. To protect her family he asked not to mention her country of origin. Vidad defined herself as a Christian Arab Zionist, or as Hebrew newspaper put it, “An Arab woman who thinks like Geula Cohen, the patriotic right wing Israeli politician.”
After the Six Day War the Couple settled in Israel. Both of their children were born in Israel, went to Israeli schools and both served in the IDF. The son, now 38 years old and employed in the high tech industry, is married to an Israeli woman and has decided to convert to Judaism. “He gave me three amazing Israeli grand children. They give me a lot of happiness and satisfaction;” he says “nachat” in Hebrew. The daughter, now 33, works in rehab of disabled IDF veterans through equestrian activity. Vidad died nine years ago and van der Hoven married a Dutch woman lover of Israel. She is a successful business woman dedicated to distribute Israeli products throughout the world. “She strives to replace IKEA with ISRAELA,” says van der Hoven jokingly.
No Turning the Other Cheek
Van der Hoven started his publicity work in the Christian world as soon as he took the position of the guardian of the Holy Sepulcher. Thousands upon thousands of Christian pilgrims to Jerusalem and the Holy Sepulcher have heard his Zionist theology and “Why does God wants to return the Nation of Israel to its land.”
His first big publicity project outside of Israel, while still a privet person, was in Holland shortly after the Six Day War. During the war the Dutch people showed sympathy to Israel, but when the Arab propaganda machine kicked in “my countrymen became critical of Israel’s military activities”. I spoke with newspapermen and politicians. On TV I said we are asking Israel to turn the other cheek, but after the Jews lost six million of their own in the Holocaust they have no other cheek to turn. The program was very successful and the studio received 32 thousand positive viewer responses. Later on, when the Arabs started to kidnap and attack Israeli civil aviation, van der Hoven flew with El Al to Amsterdam and asked the Dutch to fly with the Israeli airline, the safest in the world.
You Have a Golden Key
At the end of the sixties van der Hoven headed a small organization and his international networking improved. Today he is the director of the International Christian Zionist Center in Jerusalem, and serves as the unofficial spokesperson for tens of million Christian lovers of Israel throughout the world. He organizes popular conventions and parades in Israel and lends a helping hand to many pro Israel and pro Jewish activities.
His publicity work is aimed mainly toward international public opinion and the international Christian community. “I explain to them how important Israel is, stressing not only Israel’s Christian past but its significant future. I tell everybody the Zionists are God’s tool, and while they are not religious they are in possession of an intrinsic messianic mission.”
Palestinian Arabs as Nazis
Van der Hoven attacks the Palestinian Arabs frequently saying, “Palestinian Arabs have the same hate for the Jews as the Nazis. They exhort their crowds to “Slaughter the Jews”, never “Slaughter the Israelis”. He exposes their true face to the world and is considered a big headache for the Arab propaganda machine.
He does not spare the Jews and Israel from his critical views, either. In synagogues throughout the world he tongue lashes the Jews saying, what are you doing in the Diaspora? Your place is in Israel. He is very critical of all Israeli governments since the signing of the Oslo Accords.
As a man of faith van der Hoven finds himself on common ground with many Jewish religious leaders and rabbis. “I told Rabbi Lau”, he says in Hebrew, “the Temple Mount is your heart. How can you give it up? I pray for the spirit of King David to come forth and demand of you to build a house of the Lord on the Temple Mount.”
“I told the Israelis: You are like impotent dogs letting the Moslem religious authorities dictate a two-hour limit stay for a Jew on the Temple Mount. I want to worship my God at my pace! I’m shocked by this Israeli blindness.”
“Those who suggest that we, the Christian lovers of Zion, are waiting for Armageddon, where half of the Jewish nation will perish and the other half will convert to Christianity, annoy me no end. It was a TV journalist, the pitiful Bob Simon who, when interviewing some delusional American preachers came up with this distortion in order to subvert Jewish-American public opinion.”
“We have deep emotional ties with the Bible. We believe every word there represents God’s truth. It is written in the Bible that God will return his scattered people to his land. And it happened with God’s help. (Said in Hebrew) There are Jews in Israel from over 100 countries. The facts are overwhelming. Can you deny those facts, I ask the Christians.”
“It is said; from here van der Hoven speaks in Hebrew, From Zion the Torah will come and God’s word from Jerusalem. Not from Camp David, not from Oslo. Comfort ye, comfort ye, my people.”
You Behave Like a Battered Woman
Van der Hoven is one of Israel best public relation person. He floods international media outlets with almost daily information, reactions and position papers. He goes on TV, does radio interviews and confronts anti-Semites and Arab leaders. After one confrontation with a Palestinian spokeswoman she said, it is easier to argue with the Israelis.
Here is a sample of one of van der Hoven’s essays addressed to the Arabs but talks to Israeli sensibilities:
“You Palestinians fight Israel for years. You systematically break every promise you make to Israel. You murderקed thousands of Israelis, men, women, and children.
You blow up her passenger airplanes, her buses, and her markets and shopping malls. You torch her forests, steal her cars, lynch those who accidentally stray into your towns, torture and rape her young men and women. You prefer to reject her generous offers and continue with your intifadas, jihad and murders.”
“You prefer to see Israel awash in a sea of tears. You inflict permanent disabilities on many of your bombing victims. On the world’s stage you use every opportunity to
Denounce Israel. While you, from Hitler’s time or even earlier, poisoned world opinion with your hate toward Israel. You lie, You demonize it and incite hate all the time while you are the Aggressors refusing to compromise ever. In the name of your Toxic and sickening religion you want to purify the land from Its Jewish blight by promising 72 virgins in paradise to the gullible who participate in your vicious massacres.”
“Nevertheless Israel’s hand is always extended to you in peace. Like a battered woman saying, please, if you could only stop the shooting, the bombing, the beheading, This unnecessary hostility for one whole week, she would be willing to painfully accept you in peace.”
The articlr was translated by ASHER TORREN