Dozens of Evangelical Christians came together on Thursday for the annual Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast in the Holy City only days after a prominent Christian leader openly threatened to eradicate Evangelical support for the Jewish state because he did not like the results of the Israeli election.
The breakfast took place at the Friends of Zion Museum in the city centre. Participants prayed for the peace of Jerusalem and passionately sang Psalms as they shared their faith in God and spoke of their unwavering support for Israel.
In past years, the breakfast has drawn hundreds of delegates from 58 countries. Due to the pandemic, fewer people could attend this year and last year. Multiple leaders from around the world took to the stage to call on their governments to move their country’s embassies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“We have a petition to ask the government to move the embassy,” Chiara Canciani, the head of Christians for Israel Italy, told The Jerusalem Post. “This is our dream. When you are dealing with Israel, you need to believe in miracles.”
She spoke about how during the recent Gaza escalation a member of the far-right Lega Nord Party waved an Israeli flag in the parliament, but largely she felt the government was unsupportive of Israel.“When the war started, the government said Israel had a right to defend itself, but politicians quickly started to blame Israel,” Canciani said.
The prayer breakfast, which was initiated in 2017 by former MK Robert Ilatov and is co-chaired by former US Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, was held in the shadow of recent statements made by Evangelical leader Mike Evans, who blamed the Jews for the Holocaust and threatened to withdraw Christian support if incoming prime minister Naftali Bennett is sworn into office.
He claimed in a blog post published by the Times of Israel that the election was “an election to crucify a man [Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu] they hate and they’re willing to destroy the nation to do it. Rome burns and they fiddle while leaders are laughing at these amateur nobodies. They’ll never be a member of a club that rules and runs the world. They can only be the clowns that entertain Israel’s enemies.”
Evans also sent an open letter to Bennett and Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid warning them that “You have lost the support of Evangelicals 100%… We gave you four years of miracles under Donald Trump and this is how you show your appreciation sh***ing on our face. How dare you!”
“I am an Orthodox Jewish rabbi who was asked to open up a Christian breakfast in Jerusalem with a prayer. However, I will be honest, I cannot pray with you today, in fact, I can’t even wear my Kippah here today,” said Rabbi Tuly Weisz, the head of the nonprofit Israel365 organization in an opening address as he removed his head covering in front of the crowd.
His speech did not directly name Evans or mention his statements.“
President Biden’s own Jewish adviser just advised Jews to take off their kippahs, because antisemitic Leftists and Islamic radicals are on a widespread violent rampage across the world attacking Jews openly, for the first time since the Holocaust,” he said. “And if you think that’s our biggest problem, I have some even more frightening news for you. We are not only being attacked by our Muslim enemies; we are being attacked by our Christian friends.”
He said he considered not attending the breakfast. “I asked many friends if I should go. They told me to run away… if I have to run away from the Friends of Zion Museum in the heart of Jerusalem, then I ask you, where should I run?”
Weisz added: “We are in a crisis and at a crossroads… We need to forge a brand-new way of doing things. We need to urgently start building healthy relationships directly between rabbis and pastors and mobilise the most powerful, global, faith-based network of pro-Israel Christians with pro-Israel Jews.”
Bishop Glen Plummer, who recently moved to Mevaseret from Detroit, told the Post that he believes the stance of Christians towards Israel has not changed.“It is not who is prime minister,” he said.
“Whoever wins, we celebrate with him. We celebrate Israel.”
The bishop, an African-American, reminded the crowd that Martin Luther King himself was a Christian Zionist and had been to Jerusalem. He told the Post that he believes that is a message that young Americans need to know.
Other people who spoke at the Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast included Matan Kahana, who is expected to be the next minister of Religious Affairs, and Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem Fleur Hassan-Nahoum.
Thousands of Christian supporters joined the event via Zoom or provided recorded remarks.
The Christians kicked off the annual prayer breakfast at the Knesset on Wednesday by meeting with incoming leaders and expressing their support for the Jewish state through a formal communique that was read out by Dr Jürgen Buhler, president of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem.“
We the undersigned Evangelical Christian leaders want to reaffirm our unwavering support for the nation and people of Israel,” it reads. “We want to further affirm that this steadfast support for Israel shared throughout our global constituencies is not dependent on the government chosen by the people of Israel.“
We respect Israel as a democratic state, which has the sovereign right to elect its own leaders. We further recognise that as foreign guests in Israel, it is not our place to interfere in Israeli politics but rather to stand in friendship and solidarity with the people of Israel and their elected government.”
The statement continued that the Christians appreciated Netanyahu’s “effective leadership,” they find it a “privilege and moral duty to stand in friendship with Israel, to fight antisemitism around the world, and to contribute towards peaceful relations between Jews and Arabs in the Land, and between Israel and its Arab neighbors.”
The pledge was readily adopted by numerous Christian pro-Israel organisations, including Bridges for Peace and Christians Friends for Israel. It is now being shared online and signed by churches around the world. A spokesperson for ICEJ told the Post he expects leaders representing tens of millions of Christian Zionists worldwide to endorse it.
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