Americans Want to Know More About Helping Israel, Achieving Peace, According to IFCJ

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Group’s Facebook Followers Submit 'Questions for Bibi,' as Prime Minister Netanyahu Visits Washington

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses critical issues facing the State of Israel. Photo Credit: Israel Government Press Office (GPO)

The majority of questions reflect our friends' deep concern about Israel...

Americans are expecting the prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, to bring requests, concerns, and perhaps some Middle East clarity to the United States when he addresses a joint session of Congress tomorrow.

In the days leading up to the prime minister’s visit, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ)—which has more than a million supporters and is evangelical Christians’ largest outreach to the people of Israel—has been asking its 190,000 social networking supporters what they would like to ask Mr. Netanyahu during his visit.

The prime minister’s office said he would answer three questions from IFCJ friends, and the questions began pouring into IFCJ’s thriving Facebook and Blog pages.

“The majority of questions reflect our friends’ deep concern about Israel and how they can help,” said Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder and president of IFCJ.

Questions submitted ran the gamut from intensely spiritual, to combative, to compassionate. The three questions most representative of the hundreds received, with Prime Minister Netanyahu’s answers, are:

1) Question: We hear so much one-sided information coming from the Middle East, and it really concerns me. What is the best way Christians and Jews in the U.S. can support Israel?

     Netanyahu’s Answer: By visiting Israel, by investing in the country and by asserting your support for Israel. It is important for you to remind people that Israel is the national homeland of the Jewish people and that peace can only be achieved when our Palestinian neighbors accept that the Jews are not interlopers or foreigners in this land. We want peace. We are prepared for painful compromises in order to achieve peace. But peace cannot be based on a lie, and denying the very special and unique connection of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel is to deny historic truth.

2) Question: Mr.Netanyahu, if dividing Jerusalem is the only way to obtain a peace solution would you ever permit it to happen? God bless you.

     Netanyahu’s Answer: Thank you for your kind words. Jerusalem is the capital of the State of Israel and the eternal capital of the Jewish people. Anyone who knows the history of this land and the history of the Jewish people knows how central and unique the city of Jerusalem is to our Jewish heritage.

Since the city's unification in 1967 Jerusalem has developed and flourished for the benefit of all the city's inhabitants and for all those around the globe who love Jerusalem. It also must be remembered that only since 1967 has freedom of worship and the protection of the holy sites of all faiths been upheld. Israel has guaranteed those fundamental rights. We believe that this reality should continue into the future. The Government of Israel's position is clear that in any peace agreement, Jerusalem must remain the united capital of Israel.

3) Question: To what extent do you think the recent events of “Nakba Day” in Israel were orchestrated by other countries in the Middle East?

     Netanyahu’s Answer: Those violent demonstrations were indeed revealing and shed much light on the greater issue, which is the basic rejection of Israel's very existence. The protesters were not complaining about this or that aspect of Israeli policy. They were not even protesting about Israeli actions in the West Bank.

They were openly saying that Israel's very existence is a “catastrophe.” They say that the Jewish State has no legitimacy, not in any borders. They are not interested in peace and reconciliation. On the contrary. So we must be realistic about the challenges ahead.

The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ), headquartered in Chicago and Jerusalem, was founded in 1983 by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein for the purpose of building bridges of cooperation and understanding between both faith communities and together supporting Israel and Jews in need throughout the world. To date, IFCJ has raised two-thirds of a billion dollars to support programs aiding the sick, elderly, orphaned and at-risk populations in Israel, the former Soviet Union, Ethiopia, India, Latin America, and Arab countries. For more information about IFCJ programs and projects, visit http://www.ifcj.org.

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Dee Jones
IFCJ
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