Left to Right: KCAC Director Josh Reinstein, Speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein, Chairman of the KCAC MK Robert Ilatov.
(photo credit: RENEE SHARON)
The Knesset's Christian Allies Caucus was formed anew Wednesday at a festive event in the parliament with Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein.
The caucus was founded 11 years ago but in each Knesset it must be renewed. The head of the caucus in the last Knesset, Yisrael Beytenu MK David Rotem, chose not to run again and then died.
In the new Knesset, the caucus will be chaired by Yisrael Beytenu faction chairman Robert Ilatov, assisted by his deputy from the Zionist Union, Deputy Knesset Speaker Yoel Hasson.
Ilatov said the caucus would focus on four main areas in the 20th Knesset: Strengthening its relationship with its 32 sister caucuses in parliaments around the world, fighting global efforts to boycott Israel, stopping the nuclearization of Iran, and and demanding the full recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital by countries around the world.
"There are many challenges that lie ahead, but I have no doubt that together, we will succeed in defending and blessing the State of Israel and the well-being of its people," Ilatov told the crowd of Christian leaders.
Edelstein said Israel could no longer take for granted that it has counterparts around the world who will grant their assistance. The speaker was one of 25 MKs from eight factions who attended the event, including three ministers and former foreign minister Avigdor Liberman.
"Cooperation between the Jewish and Christian worlds is crucial to save Israel from all its threats," Liberman said. "We are on the front lines of a clash of civilizations. Israel is the only place in the Middle East where Christians are an integral part of society."
Kulanu MK Michael Oren, a former ambassador to the US, said that former American presidents John Adams and Abraham Lincoln thought it was their duty as good Americans and good Christians to help Jews return to the land of Israel. He recalled how a Christian Congressmen from West Texas opened a Bible and asked him how much funding Israel required for the Iron Dome missile defense system.
"US-Israel relations go back to spiritual ties," Oren said. "God speaks only one language and it's the language in which we are yelling at each other in the next hall. Jesus, Mary, and John the Baptist would today be considered Jewish settlers in Bethlehem. We are on a holy mission to ensure the Jewish state remains strong and beloved."
The emotional highlight of the event was the introduction of former minister Benny Elon, a former head of the caucus who is recovering from cancer.
International Christian Embassy director Jurgen Buehler quoted fomer president Shimon Peres saying Jewish-Christian relations were the best they have been in 2000 years.
Caucus director Josh Reinstein said faith-based diplomacy might have been a luxury for Israel in the past but now it is a necessity.
"We need to put our networks into action not just through the parliaments but also through our grassroots networks around the world," Reinstein said. "Israel is now dependent on Christian support. We will be tested like we never have before."sign up to our newsletter