At this season of our rejoicing, we extend our heartfelt welcome to the thousands of Christian Zionists assembled here – for the 35th year – in solidarity with the Jewish people and in stalwart defense of our historic ties to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.This commitment began millennia ago, when the Bible commanded the people of Israel: “For seven days you shall celebrate for the Lord your God, in the place that the Lord will choose.” (Deuteronomy 16:15) This is the only Jewish holiday which has a specific command to celebrate in the Temple for an entire week.This special relationship was established when King Solomon dedicated the First Temple on Sukkot (Kings I 8:2), and when the Second Temple was also dedicated on Sukkot (Ezra 3:4). King Solomon offered the following prayer on that first Sukkot in the Temple: “Also a gentile who is not of Your people Israel, but will come from a distant land, for Your Name’s sake; For they will hear of Your great Name and Your strong hand and Your outstretched Arm – and will come and pray toward this Temple; May You hear from Heaven, the foundation of Your abode, and act according to all that the Gentile calls out to You, so that all peoples of the world may know your Name, to fear You as Your people Israel and to know that Your Name is proclaimed upon this Temple that I have built.” (Kings I 8:41-43 and Chronicles II 6:32-33) Seventy sacrifices were offered in the Temple during Sukkot, and tradition teaches that these were offered on behalf of each of the 70 nations of the world.This week tens of thousands of Christian Zionists from throughout the world have flocked to Jerusalem as part of the Feast of Tabernacles under the auspices of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem. They are living testaments to the absurdity of UNESCO and others who would attempt to deny history.Among the historical facts ignored by UNESCO is the ancient Christian link to Jerusalem, whose Temple played a significant role in the life of Jesus. Indeed, by seeking to sever the Jews’ connection with the Temple, UNESCO actually voted to negate the origins of Christianity.According to Christian tradition, Jesus kept the Feast of Tabernacles. On the last “great day of the feast” he stood in the Temple and cried out: “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” (John 7:37-38) One striking scene in UNESCO ’s theater of the absurd was the organization ignoring the words of its own criteria for World Heritage Sites such as the Temple Mount: “Through their mention in the Bible, [they] constitute religious and spiritual testimony of outstanding universal value.”If UNESCO can ignore the Bible with impunity, it probably would also ignore the testimony of Josephus Flavius, the first-century scholar and historian, who described the Jewish people worshiping in the Temple during Sukkot in the reign of Hasmonean King Alexander Jannaeus (103-76 BCE). Islam would not exist for another 700 years. Since its establishment in 1980, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem has sponsored the annual celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles in Israel’s capital.Thousands of joyous pilgrims from more than 100 countries come to tour the country and pray for the peace of Jerusalem.The culmination of the pilgrimage is the Parade of Nations, when thousands of pilgrims, many in native costumes, join Israelis to march through the streets of the reunited city.The Tabernacles pilgrimage not only provides spiritual support for Israel, but is an economic boost as well.It is the country’s largest solidarity mission, injecting millions into the economy. Christian tourists make up around 50% of Israel’s annual visitors.Participants return home spiritually energized and serve proudly as non-official ambassadors and defenders of Jerusalem, able to better withstand the onslaught of the BDS movement and others as they attempt to negate Israel’s existence.