A Report on an Israel Advocacy Day for Christians held in London
by Colin Nevin.
The Israeli Embassy in London held an Embassy Advocacy Day for Christian Supporters on March 17th in central London with some 30 representatives from the Christian community from across the UK attending the day-long seminar. I was the only one from Northern Ireland, but it was a great opportunity to meet other like-minded individuals and organisation leaders who had been recognised for their loyal support of Israel in their own sphere of influence. We had discussion groups on how we could advance our current efforts on behalf of the Jewish state, and we realised that the Embassy did value those efforts and acknowledged the influence that Christian voices can have in the overall debate concerning Israel and its role in the Middle East.
We were privileged to have His Excellency the Israeli Ambassador to the UK, Daniel Taub, give an address to the group during the morning session and we were able to ask him questions from the floor. His presence was significant to me personally considering he had just recently addressed a well-attended NIFI meeting in Belfast where he received a warm standing ovation. I was able to remind him of that event where I had asked him about the possibility of Her Majesty the Queen ever visiting Israel, and I assured him when I did get opportunity to raise my hand that I wouldn’t be asking him that same question on this occasion!
Overall it was a most encouraging day. One highlight was an excellent film on Israel called ‘Inside Israel’ which is available on YouTube. The Embassy staff hosted us with much cordiality and an informal lunch was enjoyed by all present with a very Jewish touch of smoked salmon bagels and herring and plenty of tea and coffee throughout. Key moments in modern Israeli history were highlighted by Dr Asaf Siniver which gave some insights into the Israeli perspective.
One particular person whom I met who might unnerve some of Israel’s detractors was a Palestinian Christian girl from the West Bank. Her unstinting support of Israel was a fresh perspective for me, and her stance in highlighting the problems in Palestinian society with the Islamicisation of Christian communities like Bethlehem not only bring home some stark truths to Christians here in the West, but also puts her family in considerable risk as they go about their daily lives often in an atmosphere of intimidation and fear, not caused by Israel. This just goes to show that there are people from all walks of life, including the Arab community, who can see the positives of Israel.
NIFI Co-chair Steven Jaffe was present for the morning session and there was an intimation that there may be a possibility for a similar event to be held for friends of Israel in Northern Ireland in the future – so watch this space! I would just like to encourage others out there who do endeavour to represent Israel in a fair and more accurate light. Keep up the good work, and continue to stand in the gap. Israel needs you more than you think. So don’t give up.
Besides, what an unusual way to spend St Patrick’s Day. “Shalom and God bless, and may the ‘rehov’ (road) rise up to meet you!”
“Mind the gap!” – Standing in the gap for Israel. Colin was encouraged by a very special day hosted by the Israeli Embassy in London.