Israel envoy lauds Christian groups

Israeli ambassador to the UK Ron Prosor has thanked Israel’s Christian friends for their “constant support of the state of Israel in difficult times”.

In a unique event at the ambassador’s residence this week, Mr Prosor told more than 50 representatives of British Christian groups: “At a time when our enemies are getting louder in the UK, we truly appreciate the backing from another religious group.”

Among those in attendance were members of the 8,000-strong Christian Friends of Israel, whose UK director, Geoffrey Smith, was specifically thanked by Mr Prosor for his “unwavering support ”.

Mr Smith declared: “We believe that we must love and support the Jewish people, and that includes supporting the Jewish state.”

Adding that he had “been to Israel 40 or 50 times in the last 20 years”, Mr Smith said that his organisation “wants Christians to visit Israel and to come back and make sure a positive image of the country is spread in churches and Christian schools”.

Ken Hepworth, chairman of the Ebenezer Emergency Fund UK, travelled from Lancaster to show his “everlasting support” for Israel.

He said: “Our organisation was founded in 1990 by Swiss-born Gustav Scheller, who believed that God called on Gentiles to love our Jewish friends, and part of that is loving Israel and helping to facilitate aliyah.”

Mr Hepworth, a former pastor, said: “We have 40 branches around the world and we like to call ourselves ‘Christian Zionists’. We have helped 125,000 Jews from the former Soviet Union to make aliyah, by going out there and telling Jewish people about their right to go to Israel.”

He added that Ebenezer had raised £30,000 towards a Jewish Agency flight to Israel from the UK in August, and that it would like to help facilitate more UK aliyah.

The reception, convened by the Zionist Federation and State of Israel Bonds, was described by ZF chief executive Alan Aziz as “a chance to show our appreciation to our Christian friends who support our right to champion Israel’s cause”.

Last updated: 5:23pm, July 23 2009