WASHINGTON (Feb. 2)
Nearly 500 Jews and Christians expressed solidarity with the State of Israel this morning at a National Prayer Breakfast in Honor of Israel.
The Bible says that “Those who love Israel will be blessed,” Rep. Mark Siljander (R. Mich.) declared. This theme was echoed by Doug Krieger, of the American Forum for Jewish-Christian Cooperation, and E.E. McAteer, president of the Religious Round Table, the two groups sponsoring the prayer breakfast.
The breakfast was held for the second consecutive year in conjunction with the annual convention of the National Religious Broadcasters at the Shoreham Hotel. Rabbi David Ben Ami, of the American Forum, noted that those present represented not only secular organizations but Reform, Conservative, Orthodox and Hasidic groups. He said that such a mixture was not likely to be found even at a Jewish gathering.
Benjamin Abileah, the Israel Consul General in Washington, said the breakfast, which was held under the words from I Samuel 17:29 “is there not a cause?” was “enough to give any Israeli a boost these days.”
Morton Blackwell, representing the White House, said the Reagan Administration is committed “to an Israel that is secure and free.” Krieger had told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency earlier that the purpose of the breakfast was to demonstrate to the Administration that there is great support for Israel among many Americans.
FALWELL URGES PUBLIC SUPPORT OF ISRAEL
The Rev. Jerry Falwell, head of the Moral Majority, took note of this in his remarks. He urged Christians to “stamp out anti-Semitism” and to publicly support Israel not only in places like New York City “but every place you go, where there is not a Jew in the audience or in the town.”
Dr. Ben Armstrong, executive director of the National Religious Broadcasters, said his group has some 1,000 members whose radio and television programs reach the “grass roots” in support of Israel.
Falwell urged Christians to take the lead in support not only of the survival of Israel but also that it may prosper. “Israel is the only friend we have in the Middle East and friends should stand together,” he said.
He supported both Premier Menachem Begin and Israel, noting that Begin has stood fast against almost all world leaders because he, like many Israelis, has gone through the “hell of the Holocaust” and is determined that “my children and my children’s children will never go through what I had to.”
Falwell said that to ask Israel to give up the West Bank is like asking the U.S. to give up all its land between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Rockies to a country that wants to destroy it. He said Israel’s operation in Lebanon should have been “cheered” by all free countries since it was not an “invasion” but a “liberation of Lebanon.”
Falwell stressed that he considered the Palestinians “a people in need” but does not consider the Palestine Liberation Organization as their representatives but only as “terrorists.”