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Lauder embraces Christian support of Israel at Feast gathering

ICEJ and WJC co-host 25 parliamentarians, coalesce on Jerusalem, Christian persecution

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23 Sep 2013
Lauder embraces Christian support of Israel at Feast gathering

On Sunday evening (22 September 2013), Ronald Lauder, President of the World Jewish Congress, told 3,000 evangelical Christians attending the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem’s annual Feast of Tabernacles celebration that the Jewish people are grateful for their support of Israel and challenged the two faith communities to work more closely together on such issues as the unity of Jerusalem and Muslim persecution of Christians.

The message by the most prominent Jewish Diaspora leader today delivered at the premier global gathering of pro-Israel Christians each year marks a watershed in Jewish-Christian relations, as Lauder openly embraced Evangelicals as true friends of Israel and the Jewish people. Among the thousands of Christians from over 80 countries present at the Jerusalem gathering were 25 parliamentarians from 17 nations worldwide, all members of pro-Israel caucuses in their respective legislatures.

"Let me begin tonight with a very direct and heartfelt thank you,” said Lauder, “Thank you for your steadfast support of Israel and the Jewish people, for your commitment to decency and the values we all cherish, for understanding right from wrong, for standing on the right side of history, for standing with G-d, for standing with us, the Jewish people, for standing here today in Jerusalem, the eternal and undivided capital of Israel.”

Lauder lamented double standards in the international community toward Israel, while expressing gratitude for Christians who defend Israel from such unfair treatment and stand in solidarity with an undivided Jerusalem. Lauder vowed in turn to raise his voice on behalf of Christians who are being persecuted, terrorized and murdered in the Arab world.

“I will not be silent when Christian churches are burned by fundamentalists throughout the Middle East. I will not be silent when Christian Arabs are murdered only because they are Christians, as happened last week in Syria. I will not be silent about the fact that 450,000 Christians are driven out of Syria just in the past year... I will not be silent when Christian holy sites are being desecrated in Arab countries,” Lauder told the crowd.

“We will walk down this path together. We will share in each other’s joys and each other’s trials. We will support each other and protect each other,” assured Lauder, noted for his successful businesses and generous philanthropy, as well as his service as a former US ambassador and ranking Pentagon official.

ICEJ Executive Director Dr. Jürgen Bühler welcomed the invitation to partner with the World Jewish Congress on issues of mutual concern to both Jews and Christians.

“We recognize the historic significance of this moment and stand ready to cooperate with our Jewish friends and allies to promote our common interests and shared biblical values,” said Bühler.

Bühler added that the two organizations are uniquely positioned to cooperate on a global scale as the WJC represents Jewish communities in 100 nations while the Christian Embassy has established branches in over 70 nations and a reach into 140 countries worldwide.

The ICEJ and WJC have already been collaborating in recent years on a number of initiatives, including co-sponsoring the annual Chairmen’s Conference of the Israel Allies Foundation, which brought together in Jerusalem this week 25 members of pro-Israel caucuses set up in some two dozen parliaments worldwide. This year’s list of Christian lawmakers hailed from the nations of Argentina, Bolivia, the Czech Republic, Brazil, Canada, Italy, Macedonia, the Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Portugal, South Africa, Uruguay, Guatemala, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as the European Parliament.

The parliamentarians endorsed Israel’s right to defend itself against existential threats such as those posed by Iran regime and by chemical weapons in Syria, while also denouncing the EU Commission’s “counterproductive” efforts to boycott Israeli goods from the disputed territories.

Meanwhile the Christian Embassy is continuing with its Feast of Tabernacles celebration, the largest annual tourist event in Israel, which culminates on Tuesday with the traditional Jerusalem March through the streets of the Israeli capital.

 

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