‘Jerusalem belongs to the Jewish people’

Rivlin: “Most Jews who came in prestate times did not come to the Land of Israel; they came to Jerusalem.”

March 8, 2017 02:52
2 minute read.

PRESIDENT REUVEN RIVLIN and Christians for Israel International chairman Leon E. Meijer hold the organization’s ‘Jerusalem Declaration’ at the President’s Residence.. (photo credit: MARK NEYMAN/GPO)

The City of Jerusalem belongs to the Jewish people, a delegation of the international evangelical group Christians for Israel International said during a meeting with President Reuven Rivlin on Tuesday.

The group included Christians from many countries, including Malaysia, which does not have diplomatic relations with Israel.

“Never mind,” Rivlin told the Malaysian representative. “We’ll say you came from Singapore.”

The group is initiating a Jerusalem unity campaign that will be brought to the attention of churches and Christian organizations worldwide in the months ahead, the group told Rivlin.

CII has offices or representatives in more than 40 countries, the organization’s executive director Andrew Tucker told The Jerusalem Post. Asked how the group differs from the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, considering the similarity of their raison d’etre, Tucker said that the ICEJ has offices in Jerusalem while CII is not represented in Israel. Additionally, all of its work is outside this country, whereas ICEJ works both inside and outside Israel. The two organizations have a good relationship, he said, and sometimes they collaborate.

CII, which was established in the Netherlands in 1979, acknowledges that the city of Jerusalem belongs to the Jewish people, as part of God’s covenant with the Children of Israel, and unconditionally supports the governance of the undivided city as the capital of the Jewish State of Israel.

Rivlin, whose forebears settled in Jerusalem in 1809, said the Jewish people had returned to their homeland because it was the only place to establish the Jewish state. “We did not come to be imperialists. We came home,” he said.

“Most Jews who came in prestate times did not come to the Land of Israel; they came to Jerusalem,” he added.

Rivlin recalled the 19-year period in which Jerusalem was divided. “We all prayed for the day when Jerusalem would once again be a united city,” he said.

He stressed several times that since the reunification, Jerusalem has become a microcosm of diversity, with freedom of worship for people of all faiths. He also expressed hope for the day when Jerusalem will not only be defined as the city of peace, but will indeed be the city of peace.

To Rivlin’s surprise, CII chairman Leon E. Meijer began his own address in fluent Hebrew, although he switched to English so that all present would understand. Meijer said the organization’s purpose is three-fold.

The first is to explain the place of Israel in the Bible and God’s special connection with Israel and the Jewish people. “We try to do that and it’s a hell of a job,” he said. The second purpose is to pray for Jerusalem; and the third is to try to comfort the Jewish people and bring them to Israel. “Immigration is very dear to us,” he said, referencing CII’s role in taking Ukrainian Jews to the airport so that they could get to Israel safely.

Accompanying the group was Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs, chief rabbi of the Netherlands, who is also a member of the European Council of Rabbis. Jacobs has been associated with CII for many year, as its headquarters are near his home in Amsterdam.“We have so many enemies in the world that it is important that we support our friends,” he told the Post.

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