Christians United for Israel’s (CUFI) 2017 Summit moved thousands of Christian and Jewish allies through two days of discussion. CUFI counts three million Christians in the U.S. among its ranks, all of whom profess their commitment to the state of Israel. Countless powerful speakers took the stage and made the case for America’s obligation to stand with Israel. Personally, attending my first CUFI event convicted me to reevaluate the importance of Israel.
CUFI Chairman Pastor John Hagee founded the organization in 2006. It serves as the largest pro-Israel organization in the U.S. aiming to combat anti-Israel boycotts, propaganda, and bad theology. CUFI influences Americans through chapters on college campuses, events, and education. CUFI’s mission statement is:
To provide a national association through which every pro-Israel church, parachurch organization, ministry or individual in America can speak and act with one voice in support of Israel in matters related to Biblical issues.
One of my Zionist friends invited me to attend the Night to Honor Israel event where I heard from Pastor Hagee, Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer, CUFI Executive Director David Brog, and Vice President Mike Pence. The night began with a touching performance of the U.S. National Anthem followed by Israel’s National Anthem (Hatikvah). The love for Israel filled the atmosphere with Israeli music and dancing, resulting in a memorable moment.
Pastor Hagee centered his speech on the Year of Jubilee and noted 2017 will be the next Year of Jubilee following the 1967 Six Day War Victory, and the Balfour Declaration in 1917.* Thus, Hagee and other speakers are optimistic that President Trump will move the U.S embassy to Jerusalem this year. In fact Vice President Pence declared the embassy would be moved, “it is not a question of if but when.”
Ambassador Ron Dermer, presented a convicting speech on the “fake news” reported on Israel. The propaganda spewed by anti-Israel opponents and the U.N. such as never mentioning the countless peace offerings that Israel has proposed. As well as Palestine claiming the Cave of the Patriarch is on their territory. Dermer was quick to note, “After Jacob wrested with the angel he was given the name Israel not Palestine. The Cave of the Patriarch is not a Palestinian heritage site.”
Dermer cited the story of Moses in Exodus 17:11-12 holding his staff up against the Amalekites:
As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset.
Dermer drew parallels between America and Aaron and between Hur and Israel. He boldly stated, “Christians here [at the Summit] will prop up Israel until the battle is won.”
Overall, I went into the event knowing I should be a Zionist but left understanding why I am a Zionist. As a Christian our roots are grounded in the soil of Israel. I am thankful for my fierce Zionist friend convicting Christians to stand with Israel. She stated:
Israel is the land chosen by God and inhabited by his chosen people. To be apathetic about Israel is to distrust the character of God-that his promises are eternal.
We must stand unapologetically with Israel, the apple of God’s eye. Throughout Scripture Christians are called to defend and love Israel from the Old to the New Covenant. Here are just a few verses that exemplify this mandate: Genesis 17:7-8, Isaiah 43:1-28, Isaiah 62:1, Ephesians 3:6.
God’s Word does not waver regarding His covenant with the Jewish people. As children of Abraham, Christians have to stand in complete solidarity with Israel.
*Readers interested in learning about the Six Day War can check out the latest print edition of Providence: A Journal of Christianity and American Foreign Policy.