Apostolate Renê Terra Nova, the head of the International Restoration Ministries in Manaus, Brazil, has brought tens of thousands of Christians to Israel over the past 10 years and says that his followers “leave this country in love and become ambassadors of Israel.”

Terra Nova, who is the leader of one of the largest Evangelical communities in South America, has been coming to Israel since 1991.

Visiting Jerusalem to accept an award for his activism by the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus and the World Jewish Congress- Israel, the preacher sat down with The Jerusalem Post on Monday to explain what motivated him to bring so many of his followers to Israel.

After hearing a lecture many years ago on the theological importance of the Jews and the “Holy Land,” he said, he became convinced that the Jewish community has “a fundamental role on this planet.”

After his first visit to Israel, Terra Nova began bringing groups of pilgrims to the country.

“First of all, I became a Joshua, like in the biblical account. I came to know the land and I came through the land and I discovered that the fruits of the land were very good,” he said. “Israel is the safest place on earth.”

By 2008, he said, he was leading as many as 2,500 people on pilgrimages. The other pastors in his extensive network also began leading groups.

“It is difficult to measure how many people I have brought here,” he said. “All of the pastors and apostles under me also bring thousands of people to Israel. My followers talk about Israel with a lot of love and they have a passion for the Holy Land and the Jewish people.”

The Evangelical community, he continued, is “willing to be an army to fight for Israel.”

Like many Christian Zionist leaders around the globe, Terra Nova is hawkish on issues related to the peace process and territorial concessions.

Israel has enemies, he ventured, in order to give the Jewish people an opportunity to control more land. “Every war is a seed for a new territory,” he believes.

While there have been anti-Semitic incidents reported in his home country, including the use of stereotypes of Jews as misers on television, Terra Nova said he believes most Brazilians to be supporters of Israel and that “in Brazil you have more friends than enemies.”

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