[05.21.08] In a show of solidarity, Christian and Jewish leaders gathered at U.N. headquarters in midtown Manhattan last Thursday to celebrate Israel’s 60-year anniversary.
“I do not know of any other point in history when Jews and Christians have joined together at the United Nations in this way,” said Robert Stearns, co-sponsor of the fourth annual Jerusalem Prayer Banquet.
The banquet was held in the U.N.’s ritzy Delegates Dining Room and drew more than 500 guests of the Jewish and Christian communities. Stearns, who heads New York-based Eagles’ Wings Ministries, said the evening was a rare chance for Jews and Christians to articulate their support for Israel at the “seat of global influence.”
Referring to the largely unopposed rise of Nazi Germany ahead of World War II, Stearns declared: “We will never allow the sin of silence of the church in the 1930s to be repeated again—not on our watch.”
Following the war, on May 14, 1948, U.N. General Assembly Resolution 181 deeded the Jewish homeland to a tiny remnant of Jews, many of them survivors of concentration camps established under Adolf Hitler.
Keynote addresses were delivered at the banquet by Asaf Shariv, Israeli consul general to New York; John Hagee, founder of Christians United for Israel; and Shlomo Riskin, chief rabbi of Efrat in Israel, a city where he just launched his Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation.
Daniel Müeller, senior pastor of the Pentecostal-based Missionswerk, the second-largest church in Germany, declared at the banquet that he and his family have stood with Israel for more than 20 years, despite lingering anti-Semitic sentiment in Germany. Meanwhile, Hagee challenged the crowd to secure peace and change the course of history through prayer and not just political action.
The day after the banquet leaders met at the Israeli Consulate in New York to discuss the current crisis in the Middle East and how to continue to strengthen Jewish-Christian relations. Michael Little, president of CBN, said the meeting was “inspirational and educational.”
Later the same day a citywideJerusalem Prayer Rally was held at Evangel Church in Queens. In addition to Stearns and local pastors, prayer leader Lou Engle brought a word of encouragement and prayer for Israel and the Jewish people. —PAUL STEVEN GHIRINGHELLI