Embracing Israel’s allies
By JOSH REINSTEIN, SHAI HERMESH
It is a time when members of the Israel’s government and Jewish leaders have a chance to reach out to their Christian counterparts and say thank you.
Israeli politicians, diplomats and the public at large are often heard lamenting the fact that Israel and its policies are misunderstood around the world. Countless efforts have been made to rev up Israel’s advocacy campaigns to explain to the world that the Middle East’s only true democracy is a peace-loving nation often subject to enormous pressures and under geopolitical conditions foreign to any other free and democratic country.
Many of our efforts to explain to the world that we are a nation that seeks and desires peace and prosperity often fall on deaf ears. We are decried in the liberal media for necessary acts of self-defense and are routinely held to double standards no other country could endure in international organizations like the United Nations. It is no wonder that both the Israeli political echelon and regular Israeli citizens feel under constant attack, defenseless, powerless and alone.
IN 2004, a new initiative founded on the principles of faith-based diplomacy was launched to save us from perennial isolation. The late MK, Dr. Yuri Stern, together with seven other MKs from various parties founded the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus (KCAC) to build direct lines of communication, cooperation and coordination with Christian leaders around the world.
In 2007, that led to the creation of the Israel Allies Foundation (IAF) by then-chairman of the KCAC, MK Rabbi Benny Elon, which was established to create Israel Allies Caucuses made up of elected parliamentarians who work to mobilize political support for Israel based on faith.
The organization sought not only to foster ties between Knesset members and Christian parliamentarians, often in countries where no Jewish communities exist, but also to be pro-active in developing legislation that would support and embolden the Jewish state.
With all other advocacy and diplomacy efforts garnering only marginal success, the faith-based diplomacy initiated by the KCAC through the activities of its umbrella organization, the Israel Allies Foundation, has become the most influential weapon in Israel’s foreign affairs arsenal. These political efforts have been supported by the interfaith activities of the World Jewish Congress, which has allowed for Jewish and Christian grassroots to cooperate in an unprecedented way. While geopolitical and economic factors can change, parliamentary support based on biblical values is unbreakable and will endure no matter what befalls the Jewish state.
TODAY, THERE are roughly 20 Israel Allies Caucuses around the world which support Israel in parliaments and legislatures on five continents. Their number is only expected to grow, with new nations joining the IAF every year.
Not surprisingly, the fastest growing group within pro-Israeli Christian parliamentarians is Evangelical. As a result, the State of Israel now enjoys official support in the corridors of government in Latin America, where local regimes have often treated Israel with contempt, as well as Africa and Asia, where Jewish communities are scarce and local politicians have no reason but common Judeo-Christian values to support the Jewish state.
At the IAF’s last gathering in Jerusalem in October 2012, Christian parliamentarians from 18 countries embraced and passed resolutions on some of the key issues championed by the WJC, which officially represents Jewish communities in 100 countries.
The parliamentarians, who came from around the world, affirmed their commitment to Jerusalem as the eternal and undivided capital of Israel and the Jewish people. They also proclaimed their most fierce opposition to the murderous regime in Teheran and its nefarious nuclear weapons development program. They went on to demand that the Jewish refugees from Arab countries, who were forcefully chased out of their ancestral lands, their possessions confiscated, around the time of the establishment of the State of Israel, be recognized by the international community and compensated on equal terms with the Arab refugees.
THE EFFORTS of the State of Israel and non-governmental organizations to defend and support the Jewish state are admirable. However, we must acknowledge the fact we cannot succeed on our own. We require the support of our Christian allies to thrive and prosper.
To that end, on January 28 the KCAC together with the WJC will be holding the seventh annual “Night to Honor our Christian Allies.” It is a time when members of the Israel’s government and Jewish leaders have a chance to reach out to their Christian counterparts and say thank you.
Thank you for your steadfast support and unwavering commitment to the security of the State of Israel and the well-being of its people. We are truly not alone.