Take-A-Pen's Christians and Israel Meeting Point

"For Zion's sake I will not be silent"
(Isaiah 62:1)


Reported by Tom Gross, 2 July 2006

Pope Benedict XVI will visit Israel in the first half of 2007 following an agreement between the Papal nuncio to Israel, Archbishop Antonio Franco, and Israel's Minister of Tourism Isaac Herzog. The visit is seen as significant both politically and economically as the Pope will bring with him a large entourage of pilgrims. The visit is also expected to encourage other pilgrims to visit Israel later in the year.
The late John Paul II made a pilgrimage to Israel in 2000; he visited sites sacred to Christianity, including Mt. of the Beatitudes, overlooking the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee). On this last papal visit, John Paul II was accompanied by 60,000 pilgrims, who spent 420,000 hotel nights in Israel. According to the Israeli Ministry of Tourism, 800,000 Christian pilgrims visited Israel in 2005, two times more than the 400,000 Christian pilgrims in 2004.


Invest in Israel! Visit Israel! And write your own letter whenever divestment is propagated by someone!

Christians Tackle Divestment From Israel – With Investment

By Julie Stahl, CNSNews.com Jerusalem Bureau Chief, October 21, 2005

Jerusalem (CNSNews.com) - Christian Zionists are teaming up to encourage greater investment in Israel. They're hoping to counteract a campaign by a pro-Palestinian group, which has encouraged Christian denominations in the USA to divest from Israel.

The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem's is holding its annual Feast of Tabernacles celebration in Jerusalem this week. The ICEJ – in conjunction with the Brussels-based International Christian Chambers of Commerce (ICCC) and the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce – urged Christians to invest in Israel at a press conference on Thursday.

The weeklong ICEJ conference coincides with the Jewish holiday of Succoth. This year more than 5,500 Christians -- the largest number in the organization's 26-year history -- from more than 70 nations are attending the festival.

The "invest in Israel" initiative comes at a time when a number of churches in the U.S. have chosen to divest. Rather than fight the divestment campaign by lobbying individual companies or churches, the ICEJ and the ICCC are taking a positive approach, said ICEJ Executive Director Malcolm Hedding.

"In light of the troubling church divestment campaign as well as the ongoing rebound in the Israeli economy, our ministry as committed to redoubling its efforts to promote Christian investment in Israel," Hedding said.

The Presbyterian Church USA led the divestment parade, by launching an anti-Israel campaign in July 2004. The World Council of Churches and several other liberal denominations followed suit.

ICEJ spokesman David Parsons said he wanted to make it clear that his organization was not opposed to investment in the Palestinian people. "We love them. We have a 25-year track record of humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian Arabs of this land, whether Muslim, Christian, Druze – just so long as it's responsible, fully accounted for and it's not helping feed the terror chain," he said.

Investing in the Palestinians is acceptable, he said. But attacking and de-legitimizing Israel is something the ICEJ will stand against, he added.

New initiative
For years, the ICEJ has sponsored programs to help meet the material and social needs of disadvantaged and disabled Israelis, both Jews and Arabs alike, and it has helped more than 60,000 Jews to immigrate to Israel. This year one of the ICEJ's projects included raising a half-million Euros (nearly $600,000) to help fund a therapeutic swimming pool for handicapped children in the southern Israeli coastal city of Ashkelon. The feast celebration also infuses millions of dollars of income into the Israeli economy - more than $15 million in this year alone. But the new investment initiative aims to challenge Christians to invest in businesses here.

While there is already some Christian investment in Israel there is not enough, said Dale Neill, president of the ICCC. Christians should be encouraged by the resilience of the Israeli economy, said Neill. "Look what the economy has survived [in the last five years]," said Neill. "The economy is not based on tourism as much as people think."

During the last five years of Palestinian terrorism, tourism plummeted to all-time lows. But according to Uriel Lynn, president of the ICC, since former Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu began to implement his new financial policies in 2003, the Israeli economy has been growing."It's a very stable economy," said Lynn. This year the growth rate of the economy will surpass five percent, he said. "The growth rates [here are] the envy of countries in Europe."

According to Neill, the ICCC is working in conjunction with the ICEJ and the ICC to try to overcome some of the technical difficulties that make it hard for foreigners to invest in small- and medium-sized businesses in Israel.

Without elaborating, Neill said that part of the new thrust is to try to find ways to overcome those difficulties, to create the possibility for business opportunities here and to make creative new kinds of investment funds in order to make it possible for someone with even a small amount of money to invest in Israel.

Losing steam

The divestment campaign has lost momentum -- primarily because congregants didn't always back the church hierarchy's decision to divest -- and has not had a financial impact on Israel yet, said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, an associate dean at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in California. But left unchecked, it could have serious ramifications for Jewish-Christian relations in America, he said.

"There is a small group of activists within the church...who are very devoted to their worldview and their worldview is exclusively focused on the Palestinian narrative," Cooper told journalists. "It has not yet impacted [the U.S.] in terms...of spawning anti-Semitism or anti-Semitic acts on the ground because I don't think that this political campaign has yet reached the grass roots level," said Cooper. "But if it's left unattended it will absolutely have a negative impact."

”The importance of an alliance between Asian Christians and the people of Israel cannot be overstated.” -

(MK Dr. Yuri Shtern, Chairman of the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus)
Christian Allies Caucus MKs meet with Asian Christian leaders in Korea at the second Jerusalem Summit Asia (See Photo on our Korean page!)

Summit draws over a thousand religious, political, and business leaders, from ten Asian countries, to Israel’s side

“Asia is Christianity’s sleeping giant"

Jerusalem, Israel – August 12, 2005 – Over a thousand Christians from ten Asian nations gathered in Seoul, South Korea last week for the second Jerusalem Summit Asia, 2005 on August 10-11. Following the success of the first Jerusalem Summit Asia last year in Manila, the Kingdomizer Mission Alliance of Korea, Asia’s largest church, and the city of Seoul offered to jointly sponsor and underwrite the Summit in 2005 in cooperation with the Christian Allies Caucus and Jerusalem Summit officials. Reverend Yong-gi Cho of the Yoido Full Gospel Church and Seoul’s Mayor Myung Bak Lee hosted the event. The Christian Allies Caucus was represented by its chairman, Member of Knesset Yuri Shtern, caucus member MK Chemi Doron, and Josh Reinstein, Caucus Director. Dmitry Radyshevsky, Executive Director of the Jerusalem Summit led a delegation of Israeli academics who presented at the Summit.

“Building Peace on Truth: Truth-Based Media” was the theme of this year’s Summit, which focused on strategies for defending Judeo-Christian values in the face of the growing threat to western civilization posed by radical Islam. *

The Asian Jerusalem Summits were inspired by the annual Jerusalem Summit held in Israel. Dmitry Radyshevsky, Executive Director of the Jerusalem Summit, has announced plans for a Jerusalem Summit Africa and New Europe for the coming year. “The threat of terrorism driven by radical Islam is global and so the response must be international as well. Christians and Jews, together, will meet this challenge to our way of life, and with God’s help, we will prevail”, said Radyshevsky.

Speaking of relations between Israel and Asia, MK Dr. Yuri Shtern, Chairman of the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus said, “Asia is Christianity’s sleeping giant. The importance of an alliance between Asian Christians and the people of Israel cannot be overstated.”
(An announcement of the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus)
Citizen's Letter - countering more anti-Semitism of anti-Israel church "peace movements"
To Rev. Ken Working
Executive Presbyter, Presbytery of Santa Barbara

Dear Rev. Working, April 14, 2005

Sub: Dissociate from David Neunuebel

I am writing to express my outrage over the untruthful and anti-Semitic statement made by the former Moderator of the Santa Barbara Presbytery, David Neunuebel, who is an anti-Israel activist with 'Americans for a Just Peace in the Middle East', a group that, like Neunuebel, demonizes Israel and insists on placing all blame for the situation in the Middle East on Israel alone. On April 7, 2005 Neunuebel published a letter in the Presbyterian Layman that went beyond his habitual demonization blind hatred of Israel to stray into overt anti-Semitism.
I have every expectation that you will immediately issue a press release condemning Mr. Neunuebel for issuing a statement that is both anti-Semitic and demonstrably untrue. Mr. Neunuebel's letter, in addition contains a large number of outright untruths. He writes that "the Zionists were in bed with the Nazis both in Palestine and in Germany for years during WWII." He writes that the Jews "didn't...accept... the partition of Palestine" in 1948," and asserts that the Jews aim to "drive (the Arabs) into the sea."
Obviously, the Jews accepted the 1948 partition and the UN allotment of a tiny sliver of Palestine, it was the Arabs who refused to accept partition, and Arab Armies that invaded in an attempt to extinguish the Jewish State. The phrased ambition to "drive the Jews into the Sea" was President Nassar's war aim in 1956. Israel harbors no parallel ambition. If it did have such an ambition, Israel has long had the armed might to carry it out, and refrained from doing so. Moderator Neunuebel's demonization of Israel is repugnant.
As to the assertion that Zionists collaborated with the Nazis, this canard is a frequent recourse of anti-Semites and of Arab propagandists trying to draw attention away from the very real collaboration of many Arabs with the Nazi power. The Mufti of Jerusalem was a particularly active Nazi. In North Africa, enthusiastic Arabs cooperated in herding Jews into concentration camps (these Jews were saved not by the governments of the states of which they were citizens, but by General Montgomery who drove the Nazis out of North Africa before they 'final solution' got fully underway.) At present, Hamas expresses its solidarity with Nazism by giving the Nazi salute at its rallies.
What is true is that during the war, some Zionist officials in Romania agreed to keep their knowledge of the death camps quiet, and the victims quiescent, in exchange for the opportunity to move some tens of thousands of Jewish out of the country, thus saving their lives. Whether this deal, made at a time when all Jews in Romania lived under Nazi death sentences, was morally defensible or not I cannot say. I think none of us not living under a Nazi death sentence is entitled to judge. But of a certainty, this was not the collaboration with Nazis that Mr. Neunuebel calls it. Mr. Neunuebel's statement is a hateful, anti-Semitic canard. It is, moreover, a notorious canard that any well-intentioned person would easily identify as anti-Semitic propaganda.
All of this is capped by Neunuebel citation of another notorious piece of anti-Semitic propaganda, a bogus "quotation" purportedly from David Ben-Gurion that is one of several such fictional "quotations" falsely attributed to prominent Israelis that enjoy a wide circulation among anti-Semities. (for an explication of this bogus "quote," see: Colin Rubenstein's review of Peter Rodgers, HERZL'S NIGHTMARE: ONE LAND, TWO PEOPLE, Scribe, in the Australian Book Review - Dec. 2004 - Jan. 2005 –
http://www.aijac.org.au/resources/aijac-media/cr_abr_1204.htm )

Here is the bogus, anti-Semitic quote, as cited by Neunuebel:
'"We will expel the Arabs and take their place. In each attack, a decisive blow should be struck, resulting in the destruction of homes and the expulsion of the population." (AS IF:) David Ben Gurion, Israel's First Prime Minister; Letters to his son, 1937"
I trust that you will take immediate action to dissociate the Presbytery from men like Mr. Neunuebel who blacken its name by repeating anti-Semitic canards and propaganda.

Sincerely yours,
Dr. Zvi Meiri 

Read Maurice's knowledgeable and patient letter to the Presbyterian Church - and their positive response. click here
We need evangelical Christian support

By Yehiel Eckstein

March 7, 2005

Letter responding to World Council of Churches anti-Israel campaign.
(posted on February 26, 2005 in the Inter-Faith website of the World Council of Churches regarding their proposed sanctions against Israel.)
Kenneth Sikorski's "CHRISTIAN CITIZEN'S LETTER: On WCC and its selective morality"

"The compelling love for all humanity is our core motivation" New Monography on CHRISTIAN ZIONISM, BY DAVID PARSONS, issued by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem. To read an excerpt Click here
Irwin N. Graulich is a well known motivational speaker on ethics, religion and Judaism.
A child of Holocaust survivors, he has been successful in showing religious and secular people the need for God-based ethics. Irwin considers himself a multi-denominational, serious Orthodox, Conservative and Reform Jew.
Why this Jew loves Christmas
By Irwin N. Graulich   December 20, 2004

I am a religious Jew who simply loves Christmas. In fact, any Jew or non Christian who somehow gets "offended" because the majority religion in America makes such a big public splash about their biggest holiday is a total fool.
Read the complete article (article will appear in separate window)

Presbyterians Challenge PCUSA Divestment Decision
"Presbyterians Concerned for Jewish & Christian Relations" (PCJCR) released a statement calling on all Presbyterians to work toward the reversal of the decision of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A.(PCUSA) to divest its funds from certain companies doing business with Israel.
Read more

A Dissenting Presbyterian View
By Richard Stoecker
It is astonishing how some liberal churches today choose to support the cause of tyrannous, terrorist regimes, and reject the one and only democracy in the Middle East, vies Stoecker. It is baffling that Anglican and Episcopalian construal of Christ’s words on peacemaking should land them in a position that would strengthen the hands of violence against innocents.
Click here to read!

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