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Netanyahu: Christians are Israel's 'Greatest Friends', Islamic Extremists 'Hate' Country Because of Judeo-Christian Heritage

( [email protected] ) Jul 18, 2017 12:20 PM EDT
July 18, 2017: Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said his country has "no greater friends" than Christians and asserted that Islamic extremists "hate Israel" because "we represent a free society built on the foundation of Judeo-Christian heritage."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his Jerusalem office, December 25, 2016. Reuters

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said his country has "no greater friends" than Christians and claimed that Islamic extremists "hate Israel" because "we represent a free society built on the foundation of Judeo-Christian heritage."

During Christians United for Israel's annual conference in Washington on Monday, Netanyahu said, "When I say we have no greater friends than Christian supporters of Israel, I know you've always stood with us. You stand with us because you stand with yourselves because we represent that common heritage of freedom that goes back thousands of years."

"America has no better friend than Israel and Israel has no better friend than America," Netanyahu continued. "And Israel has no better friend in America than you."

The PM said Israel and America are "engaged in a great struggle" against the "forces of militant Islam".

"They want to conquer the Middle East, they want to destroy the State of Israel, and then they want to conquer the world," he warned. "People often make a mistake in conventional discussions when they used to say that militant Islamists hate the west because of Israel. Its actually the other way around."

Islamic extremists actually hate Israel because of the west, Netanyahu said, "because we represent a free society built on the foundation of Judeo-Christian heritage. This is the society they despise so much."

He added that "Israel represents everything that you represent in the most dangerous and volatile place in the Middle East. There is one society, one government, one army that guarantees your values - our values."

The PM also stressed the importance of moving international embassies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem: "Tel Aviv is a wonderful city, but it's not Jerusalem," he said. "The capital of Israel is Jerusalem and the embassy should be in Jerusalem."

In June, President Donald Trump delayed the move of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem amid the threat to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process posed by opposition to the move from Palestinians.

The Times of Israel notes that the nonprofit Christians United for Israel had actively campaigned for the embassy move prior to the June deadline. Pastor Jim Hagee, who founded CUI in 2006, warned that it was an important issue for his over three million followers.

"I can assure you that 60 million evangelicals are watching this promise closely because if President Trump moves the embassy into Jerusalem, he will historically step into immortality," Hagee said. "He will be remembered for thousands of years for his act of courage to treat Israel like we already treat other nations."

"If he does not, he will be remembered as just another president who made a promise he failed to keep which would generate massive disappointment in that strong evangelical base that went to vote for him against Hillary Clinton," he added.

A March 2016 Gallup poll found that the majority of Americans - 56% - didn't express an opinion when asked if the U.S. embassy should move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Overall, 24% of Americans supported the move, while 20% disagreed with relocation.

Tags : Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel, Tel Aviv, Israel embassy, Israeli-Palestinian