Celebrating in Jerusalem with Israeli flags and Hebron banners                            

A free people in our land, in Jerusalem…    

All through its sixty-nine years of independence, Israel has fought for the nation’s existence. From the 1948 War of Independence to United Nations’ resolutions, Israel has survived, prospered and welcomed back home millions of Jews from all corners of the world.

In his Independence Day greeting on May 2, Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin called it the Independence Day of all the Jewish people. “Sixty-nine years ago, in the moments just after David Ben-Gurion declared the birth of the State of Israel, we all went out to dance in the streets. We celebrated a hope which came true: to be a free people in our land, in Jerusalem.”

 “My generation, who dreamed of seeing an Israeli pilot fly above them, got to see Israeli satellites circle the globe. Our young state, in a difficult neighborhood, has become a center of learning and doing. The nation that wandered for hundreds of years looking for shelter has built universities and yeshivot,” stated President Rivlin. 

President Rivlin referred to David Ben-Gurion who was Israel’s first Prime Minister (1948─1952). He is quoted as saying that, “Everyone sees a difficulty in the question of relations between Arabs and Jews. But not everybody sees that there is no solution to this question. No solution! There is a gulf, and nothing can bridge it. We, as a nation, want this country to be ours. The Arabs, as a nation, want this country to be theirs.” (Time Magazine, July 24, 2006). Israel’s neighborhood is still a difficult one as Ben-Gurion stated.

In Israel’s Independence Day in May, the United Nations’ cultural body (UNESCO) passed the latest in a series of resolutions that denies Israeli claims to Jerusalem. The resolution on “Occupied Palestine” indicates that Israel has no legal or historical rights anywhere in Jerusalem!

Ten countries including the US, the UK, Italy, and Germany voted against the resolution. Since 22 countries were in favor and 23 abstentions, the resolution passed, denying the Jewish peoples’ millennial-long bond to the Holy City. Prime Minister Netanyahu commented on the vote by saying that despite the text of the resolution, Judaism has deeper roots in Jerusalem than any other religion.

The same resolution also notes that the Cave of Patriarchs in Hebron and Rachel’s Tomb near Bethlehem, both of which are in the West Bank, “are of religious significance for Judaism, Christianity, and Islam” but calls them “Palestinian sites.” In addition, Israel is referred to throughout the document as the “occupying power” without any rights to Jerusalem. For those who have traveled to Israel, visited holy sites of Judaism and Christianity, and know about Israel’s history, these anti-Israel resolutions are difficult to bear.

We, Christian Friends of Israel, join supporters of Israel around the world to denounce the recent UNESCO resolution. We uphold the truth that, throughout Jewish history, Jerusalem has been the heart of the nation and the center of longing for the Jewish people. (Reference: The Times of Israel, top photo by Mark DeVito)