Large Christian delegation embraces Israel at annual Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast

Despite Israel's  international isolation,  delegation representing  countries around the world emphasized solidarity and challenged anti-Israel sentiment

Felice Friedson and Giorgia Valente, The Media Line|
Hundreds of Christians convened in Israel’s capital for the annual Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast, emphasizing solidarity and challenging anti-Israel sentiment
With the skies nearly closed and a war still raging just miles away, hundreds of Christians converged on the Jewish state in a show of solidarity and with an intention to debunk the anti-Israel sentiment that is spiraling out of control.
Initiated in 2017 and inspired by the National Prayer Breakfast in the United States, the Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast is the brainchild of Albert Veksler, an expert on political consulting for businesses and NGOs, and co-chaired by Member of Knesset Robert Ilatov and former U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann.
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Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast chairwoman Michele Bachman addresses the gathering at the Knesset in Jerusalem
Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast chairwoman Michele Bachman addresses the gathering at the Knesset in Jerusalem
Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast chairwoman Michele Bachman addresses the gathering at the Knesset in Jerusalem
(Photo: Nathan Klabin/The Media Line)
The annual gathering aims to bring together government, civic and religious leaders from around the world to pray for peace in Jerusalem and discuss global challenges. Keynote speeches, panel discussions and prayer sessions promote interfaith dialogue and encourage common ground.
For this year’s event, the meetings were divided into two days. The first day was held at the Knesset with 400 people gathered in the main auditorium, while the second day was held at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in the center of Jerusalem, with an open buffet breakfast.
Influential Christian representatives, including a range of evangelicals and Catholics, gave solidarity speeches to the audiences. Politicians spoke as well – for example, Michele Bachmann, an American politician who was the U.S. representative for Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District from 2007 until 2015, and a Republican presidential candidate in 2012. A former senator of the Italian Republic, Simone Pillon, is a member of the right-wing Lega party.
“Enough with the lies that the Jewish people do not have the right to their own homeland. They do. We are here with the Jerusalem Breakfast to claim that Jewish people deserve to be at peace and protect their own nation," Bachmann declared.
The speeches underlined the importance of not leaving Israel alone in such turbulent times, given the ICJ’s call for Israel to halt operations in Rafah, the ongoing demonstrations worldwide in solidarity with Palestine, and the rampant antisemitism growing both in the U.S. and Europe.
Edda Fogarollo, president of Christians for Israel in Italy, is ready to press the politicians in his country to support Israel. “I want to go in front of the Italian government to express my concerns regarding the lack of action in terms of fighting antisemitism. Last year on November 30, we organized a seminar to discuss this matter and we went to the Italian Senate to push for a law or revise an existing one. Nothing yet has been done.”
Alexander Christiansson, a Swedish parliamentarian from the Sweden Democrats party, commented on the situation. ”When we see people celebrating what happened on the 7th of October with convoys and fireworks in the city of Malmö, it hurts my heart. Antisemitism is growing, and despite its always been there, it is now showing its true ugly face.”
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Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast participants in prayer at the Knesset in Jerusalem
Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast participants in prayer at the Knesset in Jerusalem
Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast participants in prayer at the Knesset in Jerusalem
(Photo: Nathan Klabin/The Media Line)
Among the delegations, especially those from South Africa and Norway whose countries took a stand against Israel recently, underlined their key role in fighting their countries’ positions.
Natasha Grbich, a member of the South African delegation and apostle of the House of Ariel Gate, said that: “We are here because we believe that there is a window of opportunity to show that not everyone in South Africa is actually against Israel, nor believes that Israel is committing genocide.”
“At the moment South Africa has no money even to bring to the court a case, so we believe it is an Iran-backed story. Iran has the money and since the South African government has been bankrupted until now, we believe we have been used for this,” she added.
Anne Christiansen, a Norwegian pastor, commented on the country’s recent decision to recognize a Palestinian state: “What we experienced from our government saddens us and we can not understand it. What they did was a deep thing for the Norwegian people, this government denying our king to send his condolences to Israel. Norway will go down for this decision.”
The director of the Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast, Albert Veksler, expressed his views regarding the ICJ warrant, describing it as a hypocritical move, since no one ever condemned in front of the International Court of Justice the actions of Iran, China and other dictatorships in the world.
At the same time, he pointed to the importance of this annual meeting to remind everyone of the friendly ties between Christians and Jews. “I believe the support of Israel is on the rise and we will see many positive changes. We already saw steps from Holland to move its embassy to Jerusalem, Denmark rejecting the recognition of the Palestinian state, and Argentina thinking of moving its embassy too. We have to encourage nations to stand on the right side of history, since terrorism is on the bad side," he said.
Media coverage of the current war was also criticized at the event. Tatiana Mazarsky, a member of Knesset from the Yesh Atid party, commented: “I think that proper news is lacking nowadays. We are fighting a second war here, since objective media coverage is nonexistent.”
The last speaker at the event was David Parsons, vice president and senior spokesman for the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, commenting on the media issue and especially on Christian media coverage. “Due to the current situation, Christian broadcasters and media are standing with Israel now. There has been some indifference and apathy, but Christians are getting there and are understanding Israel’s key role in our destiny,” he said.
Giorgia Valente is a recent graduate of Ca’ Foscari University of Venice and an intern in The Media Line’s Press and Policy Student Program.
Nathan Klabin contributed to this article.
-This story is reprinted with permission from The Media Line
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