Israel’s Christian advocate for Africans

The Jerusalem Post’s Larry Derfner has a feature on the Christian woman who is one of Israel’s leading activists on behalf of African refugees: Charmaine Hedding.

At last week’s inaugural meeting of the council of South Sudanese refugees in Israel, Charmaine Hedding, who organized the group, sticks out – as usual. Tall, fair-skinned and platinum blonde, she sits surrounded by seven Sudanese men who also tend to be tall, but whose skin is the color of mahogany.

The meeting takes place in the old German Colony mansion that houses the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, where Hedding is in charge of special projects, mainly the annual Feast of the Tabernacles, which is expected to draw some 8,000 Christians to Israel this week. (Her father, Rev. Malcolm Hedding, heads the embassy, which is co-publisher of The Jerusalem Post Christian Edition.)

But in the last year and a half, Charmaine, 35, has become one of the leading activists on behalf of the thousands of African refugees who’ve crossed the Egyptian border into Israel. Devoting three days a week to their cause, she’s put the well-funded, well-connected embassy, the pioneer among contemporary Christian Zionist organizations in Israel, at the refugees’ service. With the government generally treating them as an unwanted burden, Hedding at times works with, but at other times around, Israel’s powers-that-be, usually in concert with left-leaning Israeli human rights organizations.

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