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jerusalem prayer breakfast

Amb. David Friedman thanks Christian Zionists for critical role they play in praying for Israel, advancing peace

Opposition leader Netanyahu tells Christian Evangelicals that countering Iran requires spiritual strength as well

Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman addresses the Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast, June 1, 2022. (Photo: All Israel News)

The sixth annual Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast (JPB) is underway in the holy city with some 300 Christian leaders, dignitaries and politicians from nearly 40 nations gathering in Israel’s capital. 

The first speaker – former U.S. Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman – received a standing ovation when he listed the accomplishments that the Trump administration achieved including moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights and the signing of the Abraham Accords.  

“I felt the Christian Zionist movement by my side, and it was deeply appreciated,” said Friedman. 

The former ambassador, who now heads the Friedman Center for Peace Through Strength, quoted the Prophet Isaiah who offered a paradigm of peace some 2,700 years ago.

“And He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” Isaiah 2:4

In his speech, Friedman highlighted the importance of the Christian community’s stand with the Jewish people and the State of Israel.  

“It is in many cases the pivotal factor that changes the calculus,” Friedman explained. “Israel now is a strong country. It's a powerful country. It's a moral country. It is leading the world in so many ways. And a lot of that is much of that is because of the support it gets from the outside. And no one supports Israel like the Christian Zionists.” 

The JPB started in 2016 as a joint Jewish-Christian initiative – a prayer movement initiated and chaired by the former Knesset Member Robert Ilatov, co-chaired by U.S. Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and administrated by the JPB director Albert Veksler. The event has born much fruit over the years and expanded to 15 other countries. 

“What is happening here today is not something totally new,” said Veksler at the opening of the event on Wednesday. He attributes the JPB’s success to Judeo-Christian partnerships, that have been successful throughout history. 

“Whenever Jews and Christians were able to work together, history was made,” Veksler said. 

“We can start from 1891, with Louis Brandeis and William Blackstone – Supreme Court judge and a businessman who worked together – resulting in Blackstone Memorial. Now, Christian Zionism preceded the Jewish Zionism and Blackstone Memorial very clearly spoke about returning to the land, the right of the Jewish people to return to the land.”

Veksler noted that Theodor Herzl, the founder of political Zionism, worked along with his friend – an Anglican Pastor named William Hessler – in what resulted in the first Zionist Congress and established the idea of the Jewish state. 

The JPB director added that “Chaim Weizmann, a world-renowned chemist, and Arthur Balfour, the foreign secretary of the British government, worked together. This birthed the Balfour Declaration, establishing the idea of the national homeland for the Jews in the then Palestine.”

The theme of this year’s prayer breakfast is unity for the nation of Israel, against the backdrop of a fractured government. The coalition under Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid came to power after four elections in just two years, but is currently ruling with 60 members in a parliament of 120 seats. 

Its struggle to survive reflects the polarization among the Israeli public. 

Bachmann opened the session with a prayer calling for unity in the Israeli political sphere. 

“We have seen the turmoil of the last few years, the five different coalitions that have come together. So, we pray, Father, now for unity – not a political prayer, but a prayer, O God, of your blessing, of your will, of your guidance, of your wisdom,” said Bachmann. 

Also addressing the attendees, former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who currently leads the opposition in parliament, pointed out that “Christian Zionism preceded Jewish Zionism.” 

He added that Christian Zionism is now spread “far and wide.”

“There is a friendship and a kinship between us that is real,” Netanyahu said. “It's not just utilitarian. It doesn't begin there. There's a commonality of family, because we come from the same family. We are Christianity's older brothers and sisters.”

Netanyahu added that he is always amazed to see the many Christians who attend the JPB every year, bringing a spiritual elation to the Holy Land. He mentioned that countering Israel’s main opponent, Iran, requires spiritual strength along with physical, military and economic strength. 

“We did not travel down the centuries, for millennia, to allow the ayatollahs to destroy the dream. We will make sure they are unable to do so. We will not allow Iran to have nuclear weapons. Now, this is both a physical military challenge, but it's also a political moral challenge,” said Netanyahu.

The regime in Tehran challenges everything that Jews and Christians believe in and wish to destroy it, according to Netanyahu. He, therefore, emphasized that not only Israel is in danger from Iranian threats.  

They say death to America, death to Israel. America is the great Satan, Israel is the small Satan. I say to my European friends... You are middle-sized Satan, but we are on the road. We're on the road to America,” Netanyahu added. 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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