Moscow hosts largest-ever pro-Israel rally

At the event, plans were formulated to establish a caucus in the Russian parliament to support Israel.

Russian caucus 370 (photo credit: ICEJ)
Russian caucus 370
(photo credit: ICEJ)
A delegation of Israeli Knesset members traveled to Moscow in May to address the largest pro-Israel rally ever held in Russia. At the event – organized by the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem in coordination with the Knesset Christian Allies’ Caucus and the World Jewish Congress – plans were formulated to establish a caucus in the Russian parliament to support Israel.
More than 800 Christian supporters of Israel and dozens of high-level Jewish dignitaries attended the landmark event, which sought to build closer bonds between Israel and Russia and also celebrated Israel’s 65th anniversary. The rally was hosted by the local Word of Life Church, the largest Evangelical congregation in Moscow.
The Israeli delegation was headed by MK David Rotem (Yisrael Beytenu), co-chairman of the Knesset Christian Allies’ Caucus, and included Yoel Razbozov (Yesh Atid), as well as KCAC director Josh Reinstein. The official entourage also included former MK Shai Hermesh, chairman of the World Jewish Congress-Israel chapter, and Moshe Leshem, member of the WJC-Israel Executive Board.
The daylong activities began with a working session between members of the Israeli delegation and Bishop Konstantin Bendas, who serves as senior administrator of the Pentecostal church in Russia and an advisor to the State Duma – the lower house of the Russian parliament. At the meeting, Bendas agreed to present a formal proposal from the KCAC to the government of the Russian Federation to initiate the establishment an Israel Allies’ Caucus in the Duma.
Afterwards, the KCAC and WJC delegations met with senior pastors and Christian leaders from all over Russia and the former Soviet republics. The meeting focused on increasing Christian support for Israel at the grassroots level throughout Russia and other neighboring countries.
In the evening, the church hall was filled as Jewish and Christian leaders offered inspiring messages affirming their solidarity with Israel and the importance of Russia’s Evangelical community in building bridges between the two nations. The speeches were interspersed with a celebration of Israeli history and culture, featuring Israeli music and dance and including a selection of Jewish songs by Birgitta Veksler.
Some of the other respected Jewish figures involved in the rally included Adolf Shaevich, chief Orthodox rabbi of the Russia Federation, and Alex Kagalsky of the Israeli Embassy in Moscow.
Among the Christian leaders and speakers at the rally was the host pastor, Mats Ola Ishoel of the Moscow Word of Life Church, and Sergei Zolotarevskiy, senior pastor of the Moscow Central Baptist Church.
“The World Jewish Congress is committed to strengthening ties between Christians around the world who share our commitment to Israel,” Shai Hermesh told the audience. “Our visit to Moscow has strengthened the bond between our people, and we also want to assure Christians in Russia that Israel will help protect their communities and holy places in the Middle East.”