Christians will meet in Washington, D.C., this week to do what they say the U.S. government has been reluctant to do lately: stand unwaveringly with Israel.
During the fifth annual Christians United for Israel (CUFI) Washington Summit being held Tuesday through Thursday, delegates from across the country will urge lawmakers to maintain the nation's historic support for Israel.
CUFI leaders say this year the need is greater than ever, with threats to Israel's existence from Hamas, Hezbollah and especially Iran, a growing nuclear concern whose president has vowed to "wipe Israel off the map."
And since Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other Obama administration officials chided Israel last spring for proceeding with plans to build housing on disputed land in east Jerusalem, pro-Israel observers are worried for the first time in decades about relations between the two nations.
"Washington has manufactured a crisis with Israel over building homes for Jewish people in Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem, something no other American administration has ever done," CUFI founder John Hagee said. "In my 30 years as a Zionist there has never been a more critical hour for Israel than right now."
CUFI Executive Director David Brog agrees that this is a "crucial" year for Israel, and he said the ball is in the U.S.' court. "We have a special challenge as Americans to send the administration a very clear message that we expect this U.S.-Israel relationship to be treated with the utmost respect and for our ally Israel to be treated with great respect," he said. "If we want to change D.C., then it's the responsibility of the Americans to do it."
Summit speakers include Hagee, Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren and Sen. Mike Johanns of Nebraska.
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