Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Leaders of the five-month-old movement Christians United For Israel and evangelicals expressed support for Israel yesterday at a press conference in the Capitol, urging Congress to follow suit.

They explained their stance to a standing-room-only crowd of about 75 people.

“It is not a popular position for the international media, for most of Europe, or for the world,” said the Rev. Jerry Falwell. “But it’s the right thing to do.”

John Hagee, pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio and founder and national chairman of Christians United for Israel (CUFI), said this is not a time for Christians to be silent because of “the growing, active aggression we’re seeing toward Israel and its people,” along with the “growing threat toward any nation that supports Israel.”

Mr. Hagee and others cited Bible verses to support their view, such as Genesis 12:3 — “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you shall all the families of the earth be blessed.”

Mr. Hagee said CUFI’s main goals are to bring Christians to the District to speak to government representatives, hold a “Night to Honor Israel” in American cities, establish a contact network to communicate quickly with congressional representatives and educate Christians about “our biblical responsibility to support the Jewish people.”

CUFI leaders acknowledged a hesitance by Jews to accept evangelical Christians’ support.

The group’s executive director, David Brog, who is Jewish, encouraged other Jews to “take the time to get to know and work with these Christians who are lining up to stand with us during these difficult days.”

He added, “When we have friends approaching us, we should be very careful before we reject them.”

More than 3,000 CUFI members attended this week’s Washington/Israel Summit, which also included time for them to meet their congressional representatives. Yesterday’s press conference followed a dinner at the Washington Hilton Tuesday, called “A Night to Honor Israel.” It featured a speech by the Israeli ambassador to the U.S., Daniel Ayalon.

Some speakers at the press conference denounced actions taken by the federal government concerning Israel in the past.

“I will rebuke the State Department for any and every time it told Israel to stand down and show restraint,” Mr. Falwell said.

He personalized this action for audience members by asking, “Would we show restraint if somebody came across our borders with rockets?”

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