A call has gone out to pastors in South Africa to help mobilise Christians to sign a petition opposing the recent downgrading of SA’s diplomatic relations with Israel.
“We believe that because pastors have access to Christians — who apparently make up about 80% of the population — they can help to raise a united Christian voice against the ruling party’s very unwise decision to downgrade the embassy in Israel,”said Vivienne Myburgh, national director of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) in SA.
“This is very serious as God’s word is clear regarding His intention to curse those who curse Israel. The downgrading is a very real example of devaluing and insulting the nation of Israel and this qualifies, according to Genesis 12:3, as cursing Israel,” she said.
The ICEJ has prepared a pastors’ pack which includes a brief presentation [download presentation here] explaining what has happened, why it is a problem for the nation, and how pastors can help their congregants to sign the petition.
“People can even access the petition in church via a link on their phones. Pastors can give members a minute to go in and sign the petition.
“They can also print out simple forms [download form here] included in the pack and give them to congregants who don’t have online access. Then they can get the forms back to us and we will process them further.”
Myburgh said the petition, which was launched early in April, quickly gained about 6 500 responses before slowing down. The ICEJ plans to keep the petition going until the end of June and hopes that, with the help of pastors, it will get around 100 000 signatures.
“We will then present the petition to the government to show them there is a voice which does not agree with their decision.
“We believe that the decision was taken as a result of a small group of people who hijacked our government with malicious misinformation,” she said.
SA International Relations Minister Lindiwe Sisulu confirmed the embassy downgrade move by the government early last month, in line with a resolution by the ANC at its national congress in December 2017 in support of “the oppressed people of Palestine” and the recall of the ambassador last May in protest against the killing of Palestinians during unrest on the Gaza border.