JERUSALEM (Oct. 2)
Without the support of the world Christian community, Jerusalem could be in danger of being redivided, Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert recently told thousands of Christian visitors here.
Speaking before members of the International Christian Embassy, an interdenominational Christian group that wholeheartedly supports Israel, Olmert said that world public opinion could ultimately decide the fate of Jerusalem.
Olmert warned the participants, who came from more than 90 countries, that “some people want to split the city.”
But, he said, “this city will never be redivided again.
“It will remain forever the united capital of the State of Israel,” he said.
Scanning the room, which was overflowing with supporters of Israel who had marched in a colorful solidarity parade down the streets of the capital earlier in the day, Olmert said, “You bring the message of hope.
“More than anything else, this is the city of hope,” he said.
Though not openly critical of the government’s policies, the mayor, a member of the Likud opposition, implied that Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin is on the wrong track, both politically and religiously.
“I know there will be a challenge (to the status of Jerusalem), and it won’t be easy. Even those commissioned by us to give us direction may not always have the strength of will and conviction to do what the Lord wants us to do,” Olmert said.
‘A MESSAGE TO THE WHOLE WORLD’
“Please know that in the end, God’s will will prevail,” he assured his listeners.
Olmert called on the Christian gathering to support Israel and to “return in the millions” in 1996 to celebrate the city’s 3,000 anniversary. This, he said, “will send a message to the whole world.”
Many of the delegates, including some from Saudi Arabia and Malaysia, countries which do not have diplomatic ties with Israel, said they had come to Israel solely to show solidarity.
“We love Israel and the Jewish people,” declared Barbara Melin from Del Ray Beach, Fla.
‘”I want to let Jews know that our thoughts and prayers are with them,” said Melin.
“I’m here to support Israel,” said Kerstin Ekholm from Finland.
“In the past, the church and many Christians took a stand against the Jewish people.
“I wanted to let Israelis know that many Christians believe in them and their country,” Ekholm said.
Like many of the delegates, Ekholm said she disagreed with the Israeli government’s decision to give up land in the pursuit of peace.
“Now, more than ever, it’s important to show our support for Israel, because of the so-called peace process.
“What is the price for peace? I don’t believe that Israel should relinquish any land, and that’s especially true for Jerusalem,” she said.