More than 70 Christian and Jewish leaders on Wednesday met on Capitol Hill to encourage Congress to support Israel in its ongoing fight against Hamas. Participating groups included American Christian Leaders for Israel, the Israel Allies Foundation and the Zionist Rabbinic Coalition.
Eliav Benjamin, deputy head of mission at the Embassy of Israel in Washington, urged participants to continue speaking out about what happened on October 7 to combat the skepticism of those who claim the horrors of that day never occurred or have been exaggerated.
“I do strongly believe it is the interfaith work that you’re all doing that we need to expand so much more and so much broader and deeper to send out a very clear message of what can and should be done,” he said. “It’s through the dialogue. It’s through understanding each other, through learning from each other that we can get to a better place.”
Benjamin said ground operations in Israel will continue but gradually lower in intensity as the war progresses. “This is a war of the world against terrorism,” he said. “If we allow Hamas to win now, think of what type of a message that sends to other terrorist organizations that are out there.”
Susan Michael, the U.S. director of the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem, said the coming together of rabbis and pastors before Congress members marks a historic day.
“What we want to accomplish is a deeper working relationship that we can continue going before our government with the message that support of Israel is not a Jewish issue; it’s an American issue,” she said.
A document provided to attendees outlined the agenda the faith leaders planned to present to members of Congress. One of the agenda items included the advancement of $14.3 billion in security aid to Israel and for Congress to provide the aid without preconditions attached, such as requiring Israel to scale back operations in Gaza.
Another request included the complete cessation of funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees. Recent intelligence reports suggest that around 1,200 of UNRWA’s 12,000 employees in Gaza have ties to Hamas and other Islamic terror groups, and some may have participated in the October 7 massacre.
The meetings took place as other Christian leaders visited Israel this week. They met with hostage families, the families of terrorist acts and toured Israeli communities devastated by Hamas.
“This joint mission of Jewish and Christian leaders is coming at a critical time as Israel’s war to eliminate Hamas, a threat to the entire freedom-loving world, continues,” said Jordanna McMillan, US director of the Israel Allies Foundation. “We have all watched the disruptive, and at times violent, protests against Israel and attacks on Jews worldwide, and this faith-based advocacy effort reaffirms to our nation’s political leaders the breadth and depth of American support for Israel.”
–Dwight Widaman | MV and visionisrael.org