WASHINGTON – Prominent Christian figures joined Jewish leaders to honor the outgoing Israeli ambassador Daniel Ayalon and his wife Anne on Sunday.
Some 700 people gathered for an intimate gala where congressmen, a megachurch pastor, a Grammy award artist, and holocaust survivors felt at ease among one another.
The reason for this unity – love of Israel.
“I think Israel is the apple of God’s eyes and the nation is built on covenant land that God has given to the Jewish people,” said Gary Bauer, president of American Values and former chief domestic policy advisor for President Ronald Reagan.
“In addition to that, we have these shared democratic values and they are our only reliable ally in the Middle East,” he added.
Bauer said he was raised in a Southern Baptist church which taught him to have a “strong heart” for Israel and committed to vocally support Israel in the aftermath of 9/11 when he realized Israel and the United States faced the same threat.
Ayalon, who is a Christian Israeli married to an American, was praised Sunday evening for building bridges between the American Christian and Jewish communities as well as strengthening U.S.-Israel ties.
His wife Anne shared about the importance of their Christian faith in their love for Israel.
She read from a letter her mother sent her earlier that day that emphasized the importance of faith in her parents’ daily lives and God’s calling of the Ayalons.
“Like Isaiah of old who saw God’s glory fill the ancient temple and heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?’ Isaiah responded, ‘Here I am. Send me.’ So you two responded to God’s call to represent Israel as a light of hope throughout the whole world. You went forth in faith…,” the letter stated.
Anne concluded, “This is the reason why it is so important to me to build bridges between the Jews and Christians.”
Among the Christian leaders who honored the Ayalons were Pastor Paula White, co-pastor of the 22,000-member Without Walls International Church in Tampa, Fla.; Dr. John Hagee, founder and senior pastor of the 18,000-member Cornerstone Church in Texas and founder of Christians United for Israel; Congressman Roy Blunt (R-Mo.); Grammy Award winner Miri Ben-Ari; and holocaust survivors Congressman Tom Lantos (D- Calif.) and international singer Dudu Fischer.