Christian supporters of Israel gather in Washington

Hundreds to meet with int'l lawmakers to further Israel-US ties based on shared Judeo-Christian values.

mike pence 88 (photo credit: )
mike pence 88
(photo credit: )
Hundreds of Christian supporters of Israel were to gather Sunday evening in Washington with a group of international lawmakers seeking to further Israel-US ties based on shared Judeo-Christian values, amid growing concerns of a nuclear armed Iran. The conference, which is being hosted by the Israel Allies Caucus Foundation, the international arm of the Knesset's Christian Allies Caucus, on the same day as the opening of the separate AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) conference in the US capital, will be attended by Chairmen of the Congressional Israel Allies Caucus Mike Pence (R-Indiana), Congressman Eliot Engel (D-New York), House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Virginia), as well as the newly appointed Chairman of the Knesset's Christian Allies Caucus MK David Rotem and former minister Benny Elon, who has been named president of the international organization. The second annual gathering, being held in honor of Israel's 61st anniversary, comes amid burgeoning ties between Israel and the largely supportive evangelical Christian community around the world, and follows the formation by the increasingly influential Israeli cross-party parliamentary lobby of pro-Israel sister caucuses in 15 parliaments, including the US. The event, which will include a large contingent of evangelical leaders, including the president of CBN Michael Little as well as the US director of the Jerusalem-based International Christian Embassy, Susan Michael, will include a keynote address by Ambassador to the UN Gabriela Shalev. "The Christian communities and their representatives are the real allies that we can rely on in the US and around the world," Elon said Sunday. "I hope that the new leadership in Israel will understand this reality better than the last administration and recognize how to translate this support into action." The former tourism minister and previous caucus chairman, who is taking a break from politics, was a leading force in furthering Israel's ties with the evangelical Christian world. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who had been invited to the gathering but stayed in Jerusalem in preparation for his May 18 inaugural meeting with US President Barack Obama, sent a written letter to the gathering. In the past, Netanyahu has called the evangelical Christian community Israel's best friends. The parliamentary lobby's director Josh Reinstein said that convincing governments around the world to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons "at all costs" was at the forefront of the Caucus's agenda.