In honor of Sukkot (the Festival of Tabernacles), the Israel Allies Foundation (IAF) published its annual list of Israel’s Top 50 Christian Allies.
The diverse list spans many continents and denominations, and includes prominent leaders such as Pastor Larry Huch of Dallas and Joni Lamb of Daystar, together with representation from Hollywood including Pat Boone and Chuck Norris. The list also includes lesser-known leaders such as Reverend Otsuka of Japan, a Presbyterian pastor who is the head of a Holocaust Education Center, a center that educates thousands of Japanese children about the Holocaust annually. Former political leaders are also among the honorees as well, such as former Canadian PM Stephen Harper, who was a strong voice of support for Israel during the Second Lebanese War and Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, and Nikki Haley, who tirelessly defended Israel throughout her time as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.
Bible-believing Christians feel especially close to Sukkot, which they refer to as the Feast of Tabernacles, because of the verse in Zechariah 14:16 which foresees a time that individuals from all nations will come to Jerusalem to celebrate the holiday. In a typical year, thousands of Christians from all over the world travel to Israel to celebrate Sukkot and hold festive parades and events in Jerusalem.
IAF Director Josh Reinstein stated, “Recognizing the invaluable work of our Christian supporters is an important display of our hakarat hatov (gratitude) towards them. Each and every one of them serves as an example of the far-reaching impact faith-based diplomacy for Israel has - from a local to international level. It is Christians, not countries, that we can count on to always stand with Israel. During this Sukkot season we are proud to honor these men and women whose faith has inspired their actions in support of Israel.”
The IAF is an umbrella organization that coordinates the work of 50 Israel Allies Caucuses around the world and includes over 1,200 legislators in order to mobilize political support for Israel based on shared Judeo-Christian values. This network includes the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus, the Congressional Israel Allies Caucus, and the European Union Parliamentary Israel Allies Caucus. The IAF considers the moving of the U.S, Guatemalan, and Honduran embassies to Jerusalem as direct results of the Christian politicians who have advocated for these issues as well as the Christian voters who demonstrated that these issues will impact the direction of their vote.
Christian leaders who were selected to be a part of this exclusive list conveyed their deep support for the State of Israel which stems from their faith.
Pastor Sandor Nemeth, founder and Senior Pastor of Faith Church in Hungary, explained, “For me, standing with the modern State of Israel and supporting the Jewish people in general comes naturally and should be reflected in the life of every Bible-reading, God-fearing Christian believer worldwide - a self-evident reality. And what a blessing it is to see the fulfillment of the Zionist dream, the prosperity of Jerusalem, and the mutual benefit these relations bring to the nations globally!”
Similarly, Tre Pennie, a former Dallas police sergeant and Congressional candidate said, “My love for Israel and the Jewish people has been woven into the fabric of my being since I was a child. My grandmother was a strong Southern Baptist who believed that Jews were 'God's chosen people,' and she was fond of their support of Blacks during the Civil Rights Movement. She trusted that I would never forget and never did.”