JNS: Capitol Hill to mark Jerusalem Day in shadow of war

(June 4, 2024 / JNS) A group of bipartisan lawmakers plan to gather on Capitol Hill on Tuesday to celebrate Jerusalem Day and the reunification of Israel’s capital nearly six decades ago.

The annual event comes just days after it was announced that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had accepted an invitation to address a joint session of Congress, and serves as reaffirmation of bipartisan support for Israel even as ties with the Biden administration have been strained amid the Jewish state’s nearly eight-month-old war against Hamas in Gaza.

“It is a great honor to stand in the House of Representatives of the modern nation of freedom as an envoy of the ancient nation of freedom, with true friends who, just a few years ago, relocated their embassy to the eternal capital of our people, the city of awe and peace, the cradle of Judeo-Christian civilization,” said Israel’s Diaspora Minister Amichai Chikli, who will be representing Israel at the event.

“This year, it is more important than ever to come together and declare our support for Israel and her people,” said Rep. Doug Lamborn (R- Colo.). Lamborn co-chairs the Congressional Israel Allies Caucus, which is hosting the event.

“While we celebrate Jerusalem and Israel’s deep commitment to safeguarding it for future generations, we also pause with great sadness to remember the collective pain of the Israeli people, as over 120 hostages—including 8 Americans—are still being held by the murderous terrorist group Hamas,” he said.

Fellow Caucus co-chair Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.) said, “Israel is our most important ally in the Middle East—we will always have her back.”

Faith-based diplomacy

Founded in 2006, the bipartisan Congressional Israel Allies Caucus was the first in a parliamentary network of more than 50 pro-Israel caucuses the world over which mobilize political support for Israel based on shared Judeo-Christian values.

Run under the aegis of the Israel Allies Foundation, this faith-based powerhouse is a testament to the burgeoning relations between Israel and the predominantly supportive evangelical Christian community around the world.

Tuesday’s congressional event, which will be attended by scores of rabbis, pastors and national political leaders, including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), comes as fallout from the Israel-Hamas war has spilled over onto American streets and campuses and shaken the Jewish community in ways not seen since the end of World War II.

“Our voices will not be silenced by these willfully ignorant antisemites,” said Jordanna McMillan, U.S. director of the Israel Allies Foundation. “Jerusalem Day is a day of hope—of ancient and modern day promises fulfilled. ”

IAF President Josh Reinstein said, “As we celebrate Jerusalem Day and the power of faith-based diplomacy, this gathering on Capitol Hill reaffirms the enduring bond between the United States and Israel. Today, we stand together against terrorism and hate and in support of peace and our shared Judeo-Christian values.”

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