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Herzliya Conference 2017

Growing Christian Support for Israel

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19 Sep 2017 (All day)
Herzliya Conference 2017

Photo Captions:
ICEJ President Dr Jürgen Bühler delivers the opening address at the annual Herzliya Policy Conference.

Herzliya panelists (from left) Gottfried Bühler, Luis Fernandez Solares, Jerry Johnson, David Parsons, Abdou Maiga, Joseph Chou and Akiva Tor. 

ICEJ focuses Herzliya Conference on growing Christian support for Israel

The Christian Embassy was a major contributor at the annual Herzliya Policy Conference in June, delivering a strong message that Christian support for Israel has become a strategic asset for the Jewish state and that Israeli leaders and policymakers need to give due weight and attention to this growing movement in the decades to come. 

“I know for many of you it seems strange that the representative of an evangelical Christian organisation is addressing you at the opening session of the Herzliya conference,” Dr Bühler stated. “However, there is a major demographic shift taking place in the world today that is so significant that in the years to come Israel and this conference cannot ignore it any longer. Over recent decades the global Evangelical community has become the fastest growing religion in the world, and is on the way to overtake Catholicism… I want to challenge you to think about the strategic opportunity that the Evangelical world can offer to Israel today and in the future.”

The panel discussion the next day was moderated by ICEJ Senior Spokesman David Parsons, and Adam Abrams of the Jewish News Service reported, “…one session stood out from the rest due to how it opened: with prayer, “Heavenly Father, we thank you for this time of engagement together between Israel and the Jewish people and Christian friends…we just ask that this be productive and effective.”
Panel participants moved on to provide first-hand accounts from all five continents on the expanding influence of pro-Israel Christians worldwide.

North America was represented by Revd Jerry Johnson, president of the National Religious Broadcasters, who explained why he and so many other American Christians support Israel. “The Jewish people have been a blessing for Christianity,” he said. “When you read the Hebrew Scriptures you read about liberty, freedom and the rule of law. Israel stands alone in this region in defence of these values.”

Speaking for Latin America, Revd Luis Fernandez Solares, national director for ICEJ-Guatemala, described the many efforts Hispanic Evangelicals are undertaking on Israel’s behalf, such as holding mass rallies and dedicating streets and public squares to Israel. He noted that recent studies confirm Latin America is increasingly Evangelical, and therefore pro-Israel.

Gottfried Bühler, head of the ICEJ’s German branch, insisted that despite a rise in anti-Semitism and the BDS movement, “there is a growing positive trend in many Christian churches across Europe. Not only are growing numbers of Christians becoming more aware that the roots of their faith are in Judaism… but they are also ready to take action.”

Revd Abdou Maiga, ICEJ’s special coordinator for West Africa, noted the recent warming in Israel-Africa relations. “Israel has frankly more friends than enemies in Africa,” he declared. “We are working under the radar of the international media, and even in some cases Israeli authorities are not even aware of our efforts on their behalf.”

Joseph Chou, ICEJ-Taiwan national director, assessed that there are now approximately 200 million pro-Israel evangelical Christians in Asia. “My conservative estimation is that there are at least 20 million Chinese Christians who are praying for Israel in their morning, weekly and monthly prayer meetings.”

Akiva Tor, from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ended the roundtable by affirming that Israel “sees the success of Christian Zionism as an important national interest.”

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The ICEJ is probably best known for annually hosting the Christian celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles - a multicultural event that draws thousands of pilgrims to Jerusalem for teaching, worship and prayer.

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