Hundreds of Latino Evangelicals from Southern California gathered at the Igelsia Evangelica Latina church in Los Angeles Thursday night for a special event honoring the State of Israel.
The event, which was advertised as a “Night to Honor Israel”, was organized by Pastor Peter De Jesus, a Latino Evangelical clergyman from Texas and the National Hispanic Outreach Coordinator for Christians United For Israel (CUFI).
Participants waved Israeli, American flags while singing Hebrew songs, as girls from the congregation danced in blue-and-white outfits, based on the colors of the Israeli flag.
In addition to members of the Los Angeles Latino Evangelical community, the event – which was held in both Spanish and English – was also attended by local Jewish community leaders and a representative of the Israeli consulate in Los Angeles.
Pastor De Jesus, who helped organize a series of events across the country, including Thursday night’s ‘Night to Honor Israel’, told journalist Karmel Melamed that the State of Israel is doubly important to Hispanic Evangelicals.
“Why is this so important for us as Hispanic Evangelicals? First and foremost, we are Evangelicals. We understand that as Christians, the root system of our faith comes from Judaism. The Bible that we consider to be sacred and infallible and without error…was written by… all Jews.”
“When it comes from Hispanics, we are descendants…[of people from] Spain. We know the history, especially when we consider the 1400s and the Spanish Inquisition and the real reasons for the Inquisition being done, that was, unfortunately, persecution against Jews to the point of not only forcibly trying to convert them to the Catholic Christian religion, but also mistreat them to the point of murder.”
“We as Hispanics, our roots go all the way back to that era, and even beyond that, indirectly or directly connecting to the Jewish people, to Sephardic Jews.”
Last Thursday’s event is part of a series of pro-Israel gatherings within the American Latino Evangelical community across the country.
Similar events, including ‘Nights to Honor Israel’ and ‘Standing With Israel’ gatherings of Spanish-speakers were held in San Antonio, Las Vegas, Arizona, and even Pawtucket and Providence Rhode Island in October.
In November, events directed towards Spanish speakers were held in Connecticut, Oklahoma, and Washington State.