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Karel van Oordt, Dutch founder of Christians for Israel, dies at 84

THE HAGUE (JTA) — Karel van Oordt, founder of the international Christians for Israel organization, has died.

Van Oordt died last week in his hometown of Amersfoort. He was 84.

“To the very end, he tirelessly encouraged young and old to discover the biblical message about Israel,” read a statement about van Oordt’s passing by the pro-Israel organization, which has grown to include branches and affiliates in more than 30 countries since its founding by van Oordt in 1979

Since then, van Oordt has visited Israel more than 500 times, according to the organization, which on its website describes its mission as spreading “biblical understanding in the church and among the nations concerning God’s purposes for Israel and to promote comfort of Israel through prayer and action.”

Van Oordt has eight children and 47 grandchildren, many of whom are involved in the daily operations of Christians for Israel. In November, the organization’s Dutch and Belgian chapters collected tens of thousands of dollars toward helping Israeli children cope with rocket fire from Gaza. The money was raised in concerts by the Israel Defense Forces band organized annually by Christians for Israel.

“Out of his religious conviction, Karel van Oordt has always stood up for Jews and for Israel here in the Netherlands,” said Esther Voet, director of the Center for Information and Documentation on Israel, or CIDI, a Dutch Jewish organization. “His actions have been recognized on a number of occasions, including the Scopus Award, which the Hebrew University bestowed on him in 2008. He was a true friend to us and we will miss his personal warmth.”

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