Despite the violent atmosphere in the Middle East, a group of evangelical leaders, led by the National Religious Broadcasters President & CEO Dr. Jerry A. Johnson, will travel this Sunday to Israel to relay their support and friendship to the country and counter anti-semantic views.
"Countering rising anti-Semitism in the international press and on the streets, this friendship visit will communicate to Israel and to the Palestinians who stand in opposition to Hamas that we, leaders who represent the Christian community, stand with them. It will also show the world that Christians in general support the Jewish people and their right to security," Johnson said in a statement earlier this week.
"In addition, this visit should serve as an example to all followers of Jesus Christ, specifically encouraging them to pray for the peace of Jerusalem so that the lives of all those living in this region can be secure," he added. "We are thankful to the Israel Ministry of Tourism for coordinating this trip."
The trip, titled "Christians in Solidarity with Israel," is scheduled for August 17-22 and will include Christian leaders such as Richard Land, president of Southern Evangelical Seminary; Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council; Anne Graham Lotz, speaker and president of AnGeL Ministries, and many others.
"This trip will emphasize American Christians' steadfast support for Israel. It will also underscore our need to continue to pray for and work for the peace of Jerusalem so that all the people of that region, Jewish and Palestinian, can live without fear," Perkins explained in a statement.
"For a large number of Christians, there are two primary reasons to support Israel. We have the Jewish people to thank for our faith and we are instructed in Scripture not only to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, but are told that those who bless Israel will be blessed," he continued.
"Secondly, it is in the national security interest of the United States to support Israel. To abridge our commitment to the State of Israel would be an act of hostility not just to the Jewish state but would do damage to our own vital interests."
Although Hamas and Israel have agreed to a five-day ceasefire, the conflict between the groups has resulted in almost 2,000 Palestinian deaths, many of them children. Although Hamas has faulted Israel for the many casualties, Israel has called the war "just" as militants are launching rockets from highly populated areas in addition to using civilians as human shields.
Israel has faced a great deal of criticism from international groups for their part in the battle, including the Red Cross and Human Rights Watch commissioner Navi Pillay, who suggested the country's actions may have "violated international law "in a manner that could amount to war crimes.
But the European Centre for Law and Justice came to its defense, arguing that it is Hamas that is committing war crimes.
"While insinuating that Israel is committing war crimes as it protects its civilian population under attack by Hamas terrorists, the Red Cross is turning a blind eye to the deadly terrorist tactics used by Hamas - using its own population as human shields - in clearly violation of international law. We are urging the Red Cross to rely on the facts and the truth in reporting what is taking place in the Gaza conflict," wrote Jay Sekulow, who serves as Chief Counsel of the ECLJ.
Anne Graham-Lotz, the daughter of renowned evangelist Billy Graham, has said that she hopes Christians around the world will voice their support for the Israeli nation during this conflict.
"My prayer is that God's people in this country and around the world would intercede for heaven's involvement in Israel, and that God would defend and protect her from her enemies."