BASEL (Aug. 29)
The first Christian Zionist Congress, a three-day event, ended here today with an appeal to all Jews to consider aliya and to all Christians to give active help to Israel. The Congress was organized by the Christian Embassy in Jerusalem.
The appeals were contained in a final resolution adopted by 589 delegates from 27 countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia, Britain, France, West Germany, Switzerland, Holland, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Zaire and Taiwan.
The resolution also provided for creation of a special fund to invest $100 million dollars in industrial projects in Israel. Investments from the fund will be made through a company to be based in Basel.
AIM OF THE FUND
The aim of the fund is to encourage Israeli exports and housing projects for new immigrants, mainly from the Soviet Union. The fund also is designed to help combat unemployment in Israel and the resolution stipulates that part of the funds must be invested in Judaea and Samaria.
The delegates stressed they “want to prove “that the Israeli economy can be a worthwhile investment. A leading Dutch businessman-delegate said the fund will be handled in Israel by the Christian Embassy and Israeli firm and that benefits will be distributed to the investors abroad.
CALL FOR MARCH ON ROSH HASHANAH EVE
Another resolution called for a march on September 15, Rosh Hashanah Eve, in Nuremberg in West Germany with some 10,000 participants who will carry Israeli flags as they march.
The march will mark the 50th anniversary of the march in Nuremberg by Germans brandishing swastika emblems.
Another resolution approved the convening of 5,000 Christians who will come to Isreal to celebrate Succot in Isral and who will be greeted by Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kollek.
Another resolution urged active opposition to any treaty or accord with the Soviet Union, Ethiopia and Syria until those countries permit Jews to emigrate to Israel.
The conference also called on Spain, the Soviet Union and the Vatican to recognize Israle and urged all nations to recognize Judaea and Samaria as part of Israel, according to Biblical rights and international law.
The delegates called on the World Council of Churches, the umbrella agency for Protestant churches, which is based on Geneva and is very anti-Israel, to recognize the link between the Jewish people and “the Promised Land” and to pray for the day when Jerusalem will become the center of mankind’s attention and the “Lord’s Kingdom” will become a reality.
Jan Villen van der Hoeven, the conference spokesman, addressing the conference, urged all Christian Zionists not to be content with helping Israel financially and with moral support but also to be ready to suffer with Israel “in this difficult period” by settling in Israel.
At earlier sessions, the delegates agred that a person does not have to be Jewish to be a Zionist. Johann Luckhoff, director of the Congress, who was a Protestant pastor in South Africa and who has lived in Israel since 1980, said the movement had some 50 million adherents worldwide.
He told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that many Christian Zionists come to Israel on short missions and work as volunteers in hospitals and as social workers. He said the Christian Embassy contributes financially to institutions in Israel and to other causes.
CHRISTIANS MUST DO SOMETHING FOR ISRAEL
Van der Hoeven, who has a son serving in the Israeli army, declared: “We Christians must do something for Israel, speak up for it and take a stand in a world becoming more and more anti-Jewish. We cannot be neutral about Israel.”
He added that he hoped that “after some years, the whole Christian world will come to love Israel. I firmly believe that we have started here in Basel, in this Congress, a new move of encouragement to Israel.”
He added: “To the yordim we say: why not come home? I am appalled when I see all these young Israelis who have left their homeland” and seek to settle elsewhere. I told young Jewish officers at West Point: why defend the United States when you must defend the land of Israel ?”
The Rev. Isaac Rothenberg, who grew up in Holland during the German occupation, and whose father died in a concentration camp, spoke at a panel on “Israel and the Historical Churches.”
Rothenberg, who was the first chairman of the Office on Christian-Jewish relations, established by the World Council of Churches in 1974, criticized the World Council for being “confused” about Israel. He supported the right of Jews to live in Judaea and Samaria.
“I must admit that my blood pressure rises whenever I hear of Jewish settlements” in the West Bank “being referred to as colonies. What an absurdity to speak of a colonization of a place like Hebron, one of the most ancient centers of Jewish life.” He also called for a united Jerusalem under Jewish sovereignty.
VATICAN URGED TO RECOGNIZE ISRAEL
Prof. Alting von Geusau, a Roman Catholic from Holland, said that, as a Catholic, he called on the Vatican to “courageously and fromally recognize” the State of Israel and the reunification of Jerusalem. He also said that the church failed to be aware of Islamic hatred for Israel. He said there was “something fundamentally wrong in relations between the Catholic Church, the Jews and the State of Israel.’
Bat Yeor, author of a newly-published book, “The Dhimmi: Jews and Christians under Islam,” and a refugee from her native Egypt, appealed to the Arab world to reject the concept of holy war, “Jihad,” and to accept peaceful coexistence and recognition of the legitimacy of all nations. She is the Swiss representative of the World Organization of Jews from Arab Lands.
Dr. David Lewis, representing Christians United for Israel, U.S.A., a leading television pastor, warned against “a stream of anti-Semitism” among his own fundamentalist and evangelical Christians. He denounced “glib doctrines” which blame Jews for the death of Jesus. He said “would anyone deny that the church contributed to the moral climate which allowed Hitler to succeed?” Israel’s Ambassador to Switzerland, Yochanan Meroz, brought greetings from the Israeli government. Zvi Hurwitz, an aide to Israel’s Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir, brought greetings from former Premier Menachem Begin, whose message was: “Continue your good work, defend Israel, always. We know from the holy books that a cause that is just will always triumph.”
The Congress took place in the very same hall in which Theodor Herzl 88 years ago called for the creation of a Jewish State, and where the First World Zionist Congress was held.