benny elon 88 298.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem gave a posthumous award to former tourism minister Benny Elon at Monday night’s Feast of Tabernacles celebration at the Jerusalem Pais Arena.
Thousands of Christian Zionists attended the event and paid tribute to Elon, who died May 5 after a long battle with throat cancer. The award was received by his wife, Emuna Elon, a well-known Israeli journalist and author.
“Rabbi Benny Elon will always be remembered by the pro-Israel Christian community worldwide as one of our truest and dearest friends within Israel’s national leadership,” said Dr. Jürgen Bühler, president of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, in announcing the award. “It is only proper that we honor and recognize his great work and legacy at this first and most opportune time after his passing.”
Elon was a Knesset member from 1996 until 2009 with the Moledet and National Union parties, and twice served as minister of tourism. During the height of the Second Intifada in 2002, when tourism to Israel fell sharply, Elon noticed that Evangelical Christians did not cancel their trips to Israel.
Moved by their support, he spent the latter part of his professional career reaching out to Christians and forming alliances. Elon became the second chairman of the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus, which serves as the primary channel for Christian leaders and organizations to formally engage with Israel’s elected officials.
He also launched the Israel Allies Foundation, a global network of Christian parliamentarians who seek to coordinate their stands in defense of Israel and promote Judeo-Christian values. Currently, the IAF has sister caucuses in 36 parliaments around the world.
Among the thousands of Christians from around the world who attended the event, were 26 visiting parliamentarians from 15 countries who are affiliated with the IAF.
“Benny Elon genuinely liked his job as tourism minister, and he was very good at it,” ICEJ spokesman David Parsons said. “He was the best tourism minister Israel has ever had.”
Elon was survived by his Emuna and their six children.