U.S. President Donald Trump (R) greets Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after a joint news conference at the White House in Washington, D.C., Feb. 15, 2017.
U.S. President Donald Trump (R) greets Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after a joint news conference at the White House in Washington, D.C., Feb. 15, 2017. (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)

Yesterday's historic meeting between President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is an important opportunity to reflect on the strong bond between the United States and Israel.

President Harry Truman made the United States the first country in the world to recognize the State of Israel when it was founded in 1948. Since that time, leaders in both nations have come and gone, but the two nations remain close friends and allies.

I believe that this is due in large part to our shared Judeo-Christian values. Both nations cherish religious liberty and personal freedom and value God as central to our lives.

Many in the American Christian community fervently support Israel, adding to the strength of the U.S.–Israel relationship. Christian support of Israel is rooted in the biblical belief that God called the Jewish people to be a light unto the nations, while promising them the land of Israel as an everlasting possession. Israel's restoration confirms that God keeps his promises.

As Executive Director of Christians Care International (CCI), I have seen firsthand the deep love and commitment that Christians feel toward Israel and the Jewish people. As a global Christian ministry, CCI supports impoverished Jews of the former Soviet Union and has helped over 87,000 Jews make aliyah (immigrate) to Israel.

Aliyah remains vital to building up Israel as a strong and secure Jewish state. The word aliyah means to "rise up." When a Jew makes aliyah to Israel, he or she "rises up" to the land. However, aliyah must go beyond the physical act of immigration; it must also extend to "raising up" the individual.

Tragically, many Jews in the former Soviet Union face persistent and endemic anti-Semitism and are trapped living in impoverished conditions, leaving them with little hope for a brighter future.

Christians in the U.S. and Israel must continue to come together to "raise up" those in need of hope, not just through immigration to Israel but also as individuals. This is the true power and meaning of aliyah—when you give someone in need the ability to stand on their own two feet, you give them real hope for the future, and then they can truly "rise up" to God.

I am not a politician, and I am certainly not privy to the private discussions between Mr. Trump and Mr. Netanyahu. I can only hope that they will lead the U.S. and Israel toward an ever-closer friendship, one that grows in the spirit of aliyah for the benefit of both Christians and Jews around the world.

Don Horwitz is executive director of Christians Care International.

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