Experiencing the sincerity of support for the modern State of Israel as the inheritance promised by G-d to the Jewish people expressed by participants in the Christians United For Israel Seventh Annual convocation in Washington, D.C. is encouraging, heart-warming and substantiating. CUFI, headed by Pastor John Hagee, applauds Israel and its existence as a testimony to the covenant of G-d with the Jewish people.
Senator Joseph Lieberman came to CUFI saying “I am your brother Joseph….We are brothers and sisters in faith – children of the same father. For centuries,” he continued, “our family was divided. In our time, our families have come back together.”
Calling CUFI founder Pastor John Hagee “one of the great builders of the bridge that has enabled us to reunite,” Lieberman said the Pastor had created a flame that “will light the entire world.” Israel’s future is ultimately inseparable from the future of freedom, said the multi-term Senator.
Noting that the State of Israel had great religious, cultural and economic vitality, Lieberman cautioned “there are dark clouds on the horizon….in every generation there will always be an enemy. In our time, the greatest threat is the Iranian regime… (one) that brutalizes its own people and is responsible for the murder of countless Americans and Israelis in acts of terrorism.”
On the question of Iran’s nuclear capabilities, the Senator said “we will soon have to decide whether we will allow Iran to be a nuclear weapons country or whether we will act militarily to stop it …containment is not on the table.”
“I promise you,” said Lieberman, “I will continue to work with you on the Pilgrims’ Path to fight for the values we share: Israel and an unbreakable Israeli-American alliance.”
During the Tuesday afternoon session, Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Director of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, cautioned that “those who ignore history do it at great peril,” and “only those who learn the lesson of the past are prepared to deal with the enemies that arise in each generation,” his words were received with warmth, appreciation, and concern.
Hoenlein detailed a recent meeting of 42 Arab countries who gathered in the Jordanian capital of Amman. Rather than focusing on finding solutions for a region besieged by conflict – much of it instigated by or resulting from the turmoil the Arab Spring/Winter/Fall – the representatives instead concentrated on attempting to change history: declaring that the Western Wall was to be named for Mohamed’s horse, that Rachel’s Tomb and Kevar Machpela were both now mosques
“They understand more than we want to admit,” said Hoenlein. “If you cut us off from our past, there is no future. If it was all a myth, where is the future?” he queried. Countering Arab attempts to disassociate the Jewish people from the land of Israel, noted Hoenlien, are the facts on the ground. The survival of artifacts such as the recent discovery of a “seal” from the First Temple period in Bethlehem proves its “actuality” he said. It is a reminder “of who we are, of where we came from, and of what we are.”
“Stay with Israel forever and ever,” he implored. “To take away Judaism is to take away Christianity.” Hoenlein stressed the conjoined base of the Judeo-Christian faiths. “We will not be silent when they seek to deny our past. We stand up for living Jews and a living Jewish State…It is time for us to tell the truth…the discoveries in Jerusalem make our past undeniable, from Isaac to the Maccabees. All of it, telling the truth.”
Cautioning that modern “blood libels” must be battled.“Where is the UN?” Hoenlein asked. “Where are all those voices that condemn Israel and still say nothing about the persecutions of Christians in all these countries?” “Take the threats of Iran seriously…Dictators tell the truth….Democracies ignore it too frequently….They will fight us.”
Being “at dinner” with Christians United for Israel (CUFI) Chairman’s Club during its Seventh Annual Convocation was a wide ranging, multi-theological, political, and historic experience. Here, religion is, indeed, “on the line.” The connection to Biblical direction and scriptural mandates – both Old and New Testaments – is a clear and active foundation of the organizations’ and its members’ practical and philosophic practice. The evening began with a rabbinic, yet universal, invocation by Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, Chief Rabbi of Effrat, Israel, followed by the traditional blessing on a large challah. Each of the evening’s speakers evidenced great dedication and sincere love for the State of Israel.
At the conference’s closing event, “A Night to Honor Israel,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the gathering via satellite. In his address to the Seventh Annual Convocation of Christians United For Israel (CUFI), the Israeli leader expressed his gratitude to the strongly pro-Zionist group. “We know that we are not alone,” he said. Calling the claim that Israelis are “occupiers” of Judea and Samaria “one of the greatest lies of modern history,” the Prime Minister said “The Jewish people will not deny our own history.” Netanyahu suggested that the Palestinians should have “their own national autonomy.”
Barurhk Binah, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C. brought greetings to the delegates at the “Night to Honor” Israel. Assuring that “Our hand is out stretched to our Palestinian neighbors,” he acknowledged that a solution “may take a while.” Expressing appreciation, he concluded “with your friendship, the State of Israel shall be forever and forever! Thank you, on behalf of Israel!”