WASHINGTON – A church in the Manhattan neighborhood of Harlem included a special prayer for the people of Israel, the Israeli government and peace in its traditional Sunday prayer.
The prayer was organized by Bishop Carlton Brown of the Bethel Gospel Assembly, who runs a network of 18 chains in the New York district.
About 1,000 people took part in a special prayer. The bishop, who visited Israel three times this year and was even in Sderot, invited Israel's Consul-General to New York Assi Shariv to attend the prayer.
Harlem prays for Israel (Photo: Shahar Azran)
"This is a veteran church, 90 years old," said Shariv. "The chief minister loves Israel. He was at my home in receptions and visited Israel. When the operation in Gaza began, he asked to do something for Israel. The prayer would have taken place without us as well, but we decided to come."
All of New York's television stations covered the event. Consul-General Shariv addressed the worshippers and read out a children's story written by kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit. The meeting concluded with a 10-minute prayer for Israel.
Last week, Shariv initiated a meeting with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in order to brief him on the circumstances that led to the fighting in Gaza. In response, Bloomberg arrived in Israel on Sunday and visited the Gaza vicinity communities.
Speaking at a press conference in Ashkelon, the Jewish mayor said that if he was the State of Israel, he would do anything to defend his residents, and they would expect no less from him.
Bloomberg added that New Yorkers have suffered from terror on only two occasions, but they knew all about it, and that since Ashkelon has been under attack every day since Israel left Gaza, it has the right to defend itself.