Drew Zahn is a WND news editor who cut his journalist teeth as a member of the award-winning staff of Leadership, Christianity Today's professional journal for church leaders. A former pastor, he is the editor of seven books, including Movie-Based Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching, which sparked his ongoing love affair with film and his weekly WND column, "Popcorn and a (world)view."More ↓Less ↑
Americans are reportedly sending nearly 10,000 yellow roses to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a sign of friendship following what the effort’s organizers are calling “the worst treatment from any president in American history.”
Included in each dozen roses is a card that reads, “Dear Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: Be encouraged, Americans stand with you. God bless you.”
The cards concludes with the biblical verse, “The Lord builds up Jerusalem,” from Psalm 147:2.
Now, Porter is reporting, the response has been overwhelming, with nearly 10,000 flowers ready to be delivered by a Jerusalem florist.
“Americans are showing their support for Israel in a fresh, tangible way,” said Porter in a statement. “When this historic delivery fills the offices of the prime minister – with friendship flowers on every desk and in every cubicle, the beautiful aroma of friendship may well spill over to the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, and to the people of Israel.
“Soon the Prime Minister and all of Israel will know they are not alone: Israel has a beautiful friendship with people in the United States – who will be here long after this administration is gone,” she added.
Relations between the U.S. and Israel have been increasingly strained lately, following the Middle East country’s announcement of additional construction in east Jerusalem, a step Obama’s administration opposes as potentially inflammatory in discussions with the Palestinians.
And though Netanyahu denies any hand in the timing, the announcement’s release during Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Israel outraged the Obama administration, which saw the timing as undermining and – in Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s words – “insulting” to Biden.
Obama has been demanding Netanyahu freeze any further construction and settlement in east Jerusalem.
In a speech before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference last month, however, Netanyahu rebuffed the president’s push.
“Jerusalem is not a settlement. It’s our capital,” Netanyahu said.
The next day, Netanyahu and a delegation of Israelis met with Obama at the White House, only to watch the president walk out of the meeting, inviting the Israeli leader to remain alone and reconsider his negotiation stance … or get out.
“I’m still around,” the daily newspaper Yediot Aharonot quoted Obama as saying, before walking out on the stunned Netanyahu. “Let me know if there is anything new.”
Though Israeli newspapers called the events a “humiliation” and an “ambush” by the White House, Netanyahu attempted to smooth over the incident by calling it a disagreement among “friends.”
Nonetheless, Porter remained appalled by the president’s behavior.
“What was the reason behind the horrendous treatment of the prime minister? Was he funding terrorists? Did he announce plans for the destruction of America?” Porter asked in a statement announcing the Israel Friendship Project. “No, the ‘crime’ of Israel is they wanted to build homes in the capital of their own nation in which their citizens could live.
“Instead of ‘next year in Jerusalem,’ Barack Obama apparently wants Israelis to conclude their Passover celebration with the words: ‘Next year in only the western part of Jerusalem and only with the Obama administration’s permission,’” Porter has since added. “Barack Obama needs to wake up and smell the roses: Americans stand with Israel.”