Fri, Oct 02, 2015 - Page 6 News List

Evangelical Christians in Jerusalem to support Israel

AP, JERUSALEM

“We feel that their support is genuine and not deriving from any ulterior motive,” Israeli foreign ministry official Akiva Tor said.

Israel has long depended on diaspora Jewish communities to send donations and lobby their local governments on its behalf, but evangelical communities are becoming increasingly important bases of support.

“The number of Jewish communities is limited,” Tor said. “When there are large numbers of Christians who are interested in visiting Israel and understanding Israel — that of course is very, very helpful toward improving our international standing.”

Evangelicals at the summit boasted of their success at lobbying on Israel’s behalf in the halls of parliaments around the world.

There are currently 32 pro-Israeli caucuses in parliaments worldwide, according to the Israel Allies Foundation, a Jewish-Christian pro-Israel political group that brought two dozen lawmakers from 18 countries to Jerusalem this week to meet with Israeli lawmakers and officials.

The Israeli parliament’s Christian Allies Caucus, formed in 2004 to forge ties between Israeli lawmakers and Christian leaders, officially relaunched this summer after a period of dormancy.

At a prayer rally, Buhler introduced a group of 20 lawmakers from the Ivory Coast, which like most African nations broke ties with Israel in the 1970s, but later restored them. The lawmakers flew to the Jerusalem summit on the Ivory Coast parliament’s expense, Buhler said.

The smiling lawmakers received a 12-ram’s horn salute from a group of Taiwanese evangelicals blasting shofars, an ancient Jewish instrument.

Also in attendance was Reverend Mosy Madugba of Nigeria, head of a network of Christian ministers, who said his close ties to Nigerian leaders helped change the nation’s traditional pro-Palestinian stance at the UN.

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