African Christian leaders go on solidarity visit to Israel

Rev Dennis Nthumbi on the Temple Mount in front of the Dome of the Rock, in Jerusalem’s Old City, during a visit in May 2023. (Photo courtesy Rev Dennis Nthumbi)

Originally published in All Israel News

A delegation of Christian leaders from Africa visited Israel for a tour of solidarity this week, led by a bishop and a reverend from Kenya.

President of the Africa-Israel Initiative, Bishop Joshua Mulinge and Africa’s Director of the Israel Allies Foundation Reverend Dennis Nthumbi took the group to visit southern Israel border communities to meet with the families of hostages and survivors of the October 7 invasion and brutal attack perpetrated by the Hamas terror organization and its accomplices.

The delegation was joined by one of the Africa-Israel Initiatives representatives, Tor Arne Gard and Pastor Erik Selle, who founded the initiative in Johannesburg in November 2011. They met with members of the Israeli Knesset to discuss the creation of opportunities for mutual support between Africa and Israel. 

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While in Jerusalem, the Christian delegation ascended the Temple Mount together with Rabbi Yehudah Glick and Bishop Mulinge lifted a prayer: “May the nations of Africa unite and relocate their embassies to Jerusalem.”

Nearly half of Africa’s citizens are Christian, according to a 2022 report, however, the ongoing war in Gaza has shown that leaders are divided when it comes to supporting Israel. Many governments support the Palestinian cause, whereas, the nations that stand with Israel are primarily African countries with Christian leaders.

Bishop Mulinge said he came to Israel to see for himself what happened on Oct. 7 and to tell the world what happened there.

“Most of the world does not know what happened in Israel on October 7 and the pain that Israel is in,” Mulinge said. “I came here to see what is not being said, so I can speak about it across Africa and reach out to the African diaspora on other continents. We can bring the side of the information the media often fails to portray.”

Mulinge said that while those who are against Israel do not speak for all of Africa, many pro-Israel groups have not yet learned the tools for defending Israel and therefore keep silent.

“We will reach out to them, hold meetings based on facts, and give them a proper picture,” he said. “This will help to lobby Africa for Israel.”

Pastor Selle said he hoped their visit would be a comfort to the people of Israel.

“We hope that our presence will bring some comfort,” Selle said. “We want Israel and the Jewish people to know they are not alone. Thunderous voices say otherwise, but I think there is a powerful silence – the majority, you know. And we want to lift their voices.”

The Africa-Israel initiative was established to serve as a “two-way street of blessing between Africa and Israel,” Selle explained. The initiative is now operating in 20 African countries.

Reverend Nthumbi said that Africa is one of the safest places to be Jewish.

“Our father Abraham navigated to Africa during the days of great droughts, and he came out of Africa with a lot of resources. We believe that Africa not only has a safe space for the Jews, it also has wealth for the Jews. And that Christian population that I’ve mentioned – Zion is important to them. We want to see the policies of Israel looking at Africa differently, and we want to see the policies of Africa looking at Jerusalem differently,” Nthumbi said.

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