Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder and president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ), has rallied several major African-American churches in Detroit in support of Israel.
Eckstein spoke on Sunday before the congregations of the Second Presiding Bishop of the Church of God in Christ at the New St. Paul Tabernacle; the mega-church Third New Hope Baptist Church; and Family Victory Fellowship.
“We know that you take very seriously the biblical imperative to stand with Israel, and every day you show the world that Israel is not alone,” Eckstein said.
“The people of Israel and the Jewish people around the world can have confidence that you stand united with them, for peace for the Jewish State and for all peoples in the Middle East.”
Invoking the historic black-Jewish alliance of the Civil Rights movement, Eckstein called on church members to be ever more vigilant in their support and defense of the Jewish state.
“Today, the State of Israel needs your support more than ever,” Eckstein stressed. “Your community’s love for the Jewish State builds on the historic coalition of the Civil Rights movement, when Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel marched with Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King and Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner died alongside James Chaney in their fight for peace and justice.”
Third New Hope's pastor, Dr. E.L. Branch, who is also a member of IFCJ's African American Advisory Council, reminded his congregants of the rich history of the black-Jewish relationship, as well.
He urged them “to stand with Israel even as the Jewish community stood with us during the Civil Rights movement, as we seek peace for all people in the Middle East.”
Eckstein's outreach comes as he prepares to travel to Israel with top Church of God in Christ leaders for an educational leadership trip hosted by IFCJ and Israel's Ministry of Tourism.