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October 29, 2013 9:16 am

Thank You Pastor John Hagee

avatar by Ronn Torossian

John Hagee. Photo: Paul Wharton.

The Jewish community owes a tremendous debt of gratitude to Pastor John and Diana Hagee. On November 7, at the Grand Hyatt in New York, notable community leaders and friends of Israel will gather to say thank you. Professor Elie Wiesel, Ari Fleischer, Malcolm Hoenlein, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, and others will add their voices to the chorus of praise.

In addition to raising more than $70 million for humanitarian causes in Israel, Pastor Hagee has created a tremendously powerful grassroots pro-Israel force. Many Evangelical Christians – estimated at more than 50 million Americans – join groups like Hagee’s Christians United for Israel (CUFI), or groups started by other Christian leaders like Jay Sekulow.

Every summer, thousands upon thousands of CUFI’s members descend on Washington D.C. They are given in-depth briefings on Israel and the threats it faces, and then they fan out across Capitol Hill sending one clear message to Congress and the White House: “Stand with Israel in its time of need and we will stand with you with our votes.”

AIPAC, ZOA, and other organizations are able to muster the support of a significant portion of the American Jewish population – but Christians can do a lot to help Israel, with their movement that is 10 times the size and is more widespread in the American heartland.

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The night before their Capitol Hill ‘assault’, the CUFI stalwarts gather at the Washington D.C. convention center. This is a sight to behold! Five to six thousand men and women waving American and Israeli flags and cheering speakers – both Jewish leaders and political representatives like Michele Bachmann and Ted Cruz who tell the unvarnished truth about the threats faced by Israel and its Jewish citizens.

A new group – “CUFI on Campus” – highlights the verbal assaults directed against Israel supporters on college campuses. With words and facts, these students confront the increasing torrent of abuse directed at Israel, and the glorification of Palestinian terrorists (called “freedom” fighters.) Think about the power of these non-Jewish, brave young people who tell the truth for all to hear and blunt the attacks.

What’s so interesting for the Jewish observer of this evening is the lack of Christian references. It’s our Tanach that is quoted, and G-d’s promise to Avraham to bless those who bless us and curse those who curse us. That alone is the motivator. Love and protection of Israel is the message. And for the few Jews in the room, there is great comfort in these words.

Here are the words of one of the Pastor’s oldest friends in San Antonio – the Senior Rabbi for more than 40 years of the largest Orthodox congregation in that city – Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg:

“For many years, Pastor Hagee has lived and labored selflessly for the people of Israel. In 1981, when the world condemned Israel for bombing a nuclear reactor in Iraq, Pastor Hagee’s response to world critics … was to start ‘A Night to Honor Israel.'”

“That night Pastor Hagee proclaimed, ‘Israel, you are not alone; Christians support you, and America supports you. We love you and we shall stand by you.’ Since then, ‘A Night to Honor Israel’ has given encouragement, inspiration, and comfort to people who often felt alone, and has raised millions of dollars to support charities and resettlement of world Jewry in Israel.”

As Israel often stands alone, it is vital to say “thank you” to express the mitzvah of Hakarat Hatov (showing gratitude).

Thank you Pastor John Hagee.

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