Israeli consul general and CUFI executive director share podium at Evangel’s Night to Honor Israel
[by Shiela Steinman Wallace]
Evangel World Prayer Center invited the Jewish community to join them in the Billtown Road facility for a “Night to Honor Israel” on Sunday, April 21, and those in attendance were treated as honored guests by the congregation.
Following solo presentations of “The Star Spangled Banner” by Don Peterson and “Hatikvah” by Tasha Hatchett, The Lost Tribe Klezmer Band performed several instrumental pieces, including their own take on “Hatikvah,” and Evangel’s Singers presented “Blow a Trumpet in Zion.” Later in the program, Sophia Crowder performed “Shiiti Adoni L’negdi.”
There were video messages from Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, actor John Voight, Pastor Pat Robertson and Operation Lifeshield, an organization that places small concrete shelters in areas of Israel that are subject to rocket attacks.
Both Pastor Kevin McKnight and Senior Pastor Bob Rogers welcomed everyone and Pastor Rogers told the crowd that, “We’ve come together to show the world that there is bonding between Jews and Christians” and the two groups stand together with Israel.
Pastor Rogers spoke of his more than 40 visits to Israel and the strong connection he feels, and how during World War I, General Edmund Allenby drove the Turks from Jerusalem through a leaflet campaign when the person who translated a letter into Arabic for him didn’t know what to do with his signature and mistranslated “Allenby” into “Allah.” Rogers said the message the Turkish soldiers received was interpreted as instructions from God to flee from the British. It was more believable because the leaflets were dropped from a plane, and many of the Turks had never seen a plane before.
Jewish Community of Louisville President and CEO Stu Silberman thanked Pastor Rogers and the congregation for the warm welcome and reminded those present of some of Israel’s many accomplishments in technology and its commitment to humanitarian aid, noting the help it sent to Haiti and the training it provides to first responders like those who had to deal with the terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon.
Yaron Sideman, consul general of the State of Israel to the Mid-Atlantic States also spoke, recounting how Jewish ties to the land in Israel go back 4,000 years, and although Jerusalem was destroyed and the Jewish people were exiled in the year 70, the Jews never stopped yearning for the reestablishment of a Jewish State. That dream was realized 65 years ago after nearly 2,000 years of exile. “Our deed is the Bible,” Sideman declared.
After highlighting some of Israel’s accomplishments and identifying Iran as a primary threat, Sideman said Israel is lucky to have the U.S. as a friend and ally.
Christians United for Israel Executive Director David Brog took the podium and delivered a message of partnership between Christians and Jews as they stand together and work on behalf of Israel. He recounted stories of extraordinary friendships between pairs of Christians and Jews, including Theodore Herzl and William Heckler, Chaim Weizmann and Arthur Balfour, and Menachem Begin and Jerry Fallwell. Using these leaders as examples, he stressed the importance of Jewish/Christian solidarity with Israel.
Brog also pointed out that by fighting Hamas and Hezbollah, Israel is fighting America’s enemies so the U.S. does not have to engage in direct combat.
Israel is the only pro-American democracy in the region, he noted, and even though the U.S. has tried to establish others in the region, in Iraq and Afghanistan, it has failed.
He also credited Christian support for Israel with keeping America’s ties with the Jewish State strong.
Rabbi David Ariel-Joel brought the program to a close with a prayer for peace in English, Arabic and Hebrew.