Bibi: Evangelicals are Israel's best gentile friends
Remarks are indicative of strengthening relations between Israel and Evangelical Christians.
By ETGAR LEFKOVITS
The tens of millions of Evangelical Christians in the United States are the greatest non-Jewish supporters of the State of Israel, Former prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Monday.
Netanyahu's remarks, directed at prominent American Evangelical leader Pastor John C. Hagee, were indicative of the strengthening relations between Israel and Evangelical Christians around the world.
"The greatest support Israel has today is in the United States. And the greatest support Israel has in the US, besides the Jewish community, is that of Evangelical Christians," Netanyahu said at the monthly meeting of the Knesset's Christian Allies Caucus, which hosted Hagee on Monday.
"These people... support us not because of a shared ethnic identity, but because of a broader partnership based on values," Netanyahu added.
His remarks were almost certain to raise eyebrows among certain liberal Jews in the US who are wary of Israel's partnership with the Christian right.
"We did not succeed in Israel yet to understand the power the Evangelicals have politically in America," said MK Benny Elon (National Union), who as a former tourism minister was at the forefront of Israel's campaign over the last several years to team up with Evangelical Christian supporters around the world.
The Knesset's increasingly-influential Christian Allies Caucus, which was established nearly two years ago and now has 14 parliamentarians from across the political spectrum, aims to garner the support of pro-Israel Christians around the world.
In his address, Hagee pledged unequivocal support for the Israel, vowing that 70 million American Evangelicals stand united with Israel.
"We believe God has spoken clearly, saying, 'He Who Blesses Israel I will Bless and He Who Curses Israel I Will Curse.' For Evangelical Christians that's clear enough. We stand with Israel through thick and thin," he said.
The 65-year-old Texas-based Hagee called the road map "fatally flawed" for advocating further Israeli withdrawals and urged the international community to keep its "hands off" the West Bank and Jerusalem.
"If America forces Israel to give away part of the Land of Israel to the enemies of Israel, then the judgment will come to America," he said.
Hagee, who has won accolades for his unflinching support for Israel, was in the country this week with his wife Diana on his 21st visit. The conservative pastor serves as president and CEO of Global Evangelism Television, which broadcasts on over 150 television stations in North America, Canada, Europe, Australia and Africa.