By Debra Rubin/JNS.org
WASHINGTON, DC–Sam Bain knew that life could be dangerous in
southern Israel, with rockets fired indiscriminately across the border from
Gaza. But it wasn’t until the Ohio college student visited an Israeli day care
center near the Gaza border that the reality truly hit him.
Click photo to download. Caption: College students Sam Bain (left) and Vika Mukha, pictured at the 2013 Christians United for Israel (CUFI) Washington Summit, are nondenominational Christians who grew up with positive outlooks on Israel. Both believe there are not enough voices on behalf of Israel on college campuses. Credit: CUFI/Paul Wharton Photography.
This day care center was a bomb-safe facility. “We don’t
have bomb-safe day care centers in America,” Bain told JNS.org.
“It was almost a wake-up call” about the reality of life in
Israel, he said.
Bain visited the Jewish state in 2011 as part of a
Christians United for Israel (CUFI) campus trip. This week, he was one of 400
students representing 157 campuses at CUFI’s Washington Summit, which drew more
than 4,000 people to the nation’s capital. Session topics included Israel 101 —
The Basics of the Arab Israeli Conflict, Myths and Facts: Refuting the Negative
Myths About Israel, The Biblical Mandate to Stand With Israel, A View From the
Hill, with remarks by members of Congress, including Sen. Lindsey Graham
(R-S.C.) and Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.), and a video address by Israeli
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
CUFI primarily draws its support from evangelicals who cite
two primary drivers for their backing of Israel: one, a biblical mandate that
God gave the land of Israel to the Jewish people and, two, shared values,
including freedom and democracy, with the United States.
Click photo to download. Caption: The crowd at the 2013 Christians United for Israel (CUFI) Washington Summit. Credit: CUFI/Paul Wharton Photography.
Indeed, that’s the case for the two students whom CUFI made
available for interviews with JNS.org.
Bain, a senior business management major at Sinclair Community College in
Dayton, Ohio, and Vika Mukha, a rising senior majoring in political science and
media studies at the University of California, Berkeley, both describe
themselves as nondenominational Christians who grew up with positive outlooks
Both believe there are not enough voices on behalf of Israel
on college campuses. Bain, who has visited campuses across Ohio, said he’s seen
anti-Israel sentiment and anti-Semitism. “It is not the most friendly
environment and they’re going to present a biased side of the issue,” he said.
“You have to go in there and tell them that’s not how things are.”
The freedom “we have in this country depends on freedom in
other lands,” Bain, 24, said.
Part of Mukha’s motivation stems from her roots in the
former Soviet Union. Born in Belarus, she came to the United States as a baby.
“I had ancestors who were persecuted in the Soviet Union because of their
faith. The same people who persecuted them persecuted the Jews,” Mukha, 20, said.