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Shalom Aleichem

OK, I admit it. I was stoked! My business associates and I were in a cab headed for the second Israel Allies Foundation Caucus, held at the five-star Marriott in downtown Washington, D.C. In addition to the VIP reception and gala dinner attended by various dignitaries, there would be in-depth briefings on the state of Israel and the Middle East by members of the U.S. Congress and Israeli Knessett.

As an aside, I must admit I prefer D.C. by night, at least while traveling by auto. The monuments and certain buildings, including and especially the Capitol, are extremely impressive when viewed from a distance. Despite the traffic and emboldened pedestrians, a ride through downtown at night helps one recall the grand dreams and bold visions for America held by the Founding Fathers. I am not sure many of the occupants of those impressive buildings feel the same today.

However, more importantly for this visit, from my perspective, was the definitive, public support displayed by numerous Christian organizations for the state of Israel. This, to my mind, as one objectively views the present state of the Middle East, is extremely important. Much of what has transpired over the past several months seems to indicate that our executive branch has demonstrated a lessening of the U.S. commitment to Israel.

It appears our relationships with various Muslim “allies” are on a par with, or superior to, our support for Israel. According to Fox News, President Obama, after a recent security pact with the Afghans, has written a letter to Karzai, their leader, pointing out that he understood “the sensitive issue of the safety and privacy of people in their homes.” He further stated, “We will continue to make every effort to respect the sanctity and dignity of Afghans in their homes and in their daily lives, just as we do for our own citizens.”

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You will pardon me if I confess I have no such recollection of such an assurance made to the Israeli prime minister.

Would the “effort” to comprehend “the sensitive issue of the safety and privacy” of Israelis “in their homes and in their daily lives” have included the Obama’s administration repeatedly leaking “vital covert Israeli information, including four times when it revealed which countries Israel had effected a deal with to fly over for an attack on Iran”?

Would the “effort to respect the sanctity and dignity” of Israeli citizens in their homes have included Obama’s backing of an “extraordinary session at the U.N. Security Council where the United Nation’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, the notoriously anti-Israel Navi Pillay, briefed the Council on the subject of Israel – and Israel alone, as if Israel were the worst offender of human rights in the world”?

The above may be open to question, but there was no doubt as to the commitment and dedication of the large, dedicated group of Jews and Christians in attendance at this caucus. They were part of a group called the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus, founded in 2004 by members of the Knesset. They came together to acknowledge the growing numbers within the supporting community in the Christian world.

Members of Congress responded by establishing the Congressional Israel Allies Caucus. Members from additional caucuses from countries such as Germany, Brazil, South Africa and Canada, to name a few, were in attendance and many addressed the attendees.

We were there to help, among other things, establish an active global network of pro-Israel legislators, equip communities of faith for political advocacy and build formal and direct lines of communication between the government of Israel and Christian leaders worldwide. This is significant in view of the fact that estimates place the number of Christians worldwide at just more than 2 billion. America still has the largest Christian population, though down from 93 percent in 1910 to just more than 63 percent in 2010, and since we have a representative form of government (a republic, not a democracy), that percentage can be significant. As Sen. Ted Cruz, one of the speakers, stated, “Congress needs to hear your voice loud and clear.”

There can be little doubt Israel is an island of peace and relative tranquility in a Middle East sea of instability, turmoil and uncertainty. It is the only democracy in that area of the world and the only nation threatened continually with destruction by her neighbors. Israel, despite its sincere efforts to secure a regional peace since its founding, has been almost perpetually at war. This is especially significant when one includes a type of warfare almost exclusively Middle Eastern, suicide bombers. Despite the continuing threat to its citizenry, it attempts to provide liberty to all, including 1.5 million Arabs, mostly Muslim.

Israel is not perfect, there are no perfect countries, but it comes a lot closer to that ideal than most of its neighbors, as it strives to provide the greatest degree of respect and freedom to as many of its citizens, and others living in the immediate vicinity, as they will allow.

As the two-day session drew to a close and attendees were preparing to return to their respective states and/or countries, I thought I noticed something. It seemed to me that the Jewish attendees all were adding a bit more warmth to their “Shalom.” I know I added some to my mine.

“Shalom, Benyamin Elon, chairman Israel Allies Foundation. Shalom Aleichem.”