Israeli Legislators & Intereligious Efforts

"…In the latest sign of the ever-warming Israeli-Christian relations, Knesset members from the ‘Christian Allies Caucus’ and representatives of the Chief Rabbinate on Thursday took a snap course in Christianity, and then visited the heads of different Christian denominations represented in the Holy Land in an effort to bolster the cooperation between the two faiths.

The initiative, carried out in conjunction with the Jerusalem office of the American Jewish Committee, which hosted the seminar, offered the legislators an opportunity to learn more about the varied and diverse branches of Christianity, which they are trying to court as supporters.

“We must understand and internalize that the Christians represent a strategic interest for the State of Israel,” said caucus co-chairman MK Yuri Shtern (National Union) at the event, adding that “it
is incumbent upon us not just to look out at the Christian world with preconceived notions based on relations in the past.”

The Knesset’s increasingly influential Christian Allies Caucus, which was established last year with 12 MKs from six parties, aims to garner the support of, and work with, pro-Israel Christians around the world.

The meeting Thursday, attended by nearly all of the Chief Rabbinate’s delegation for relations with the Catholic Church, was indicative of the growing awareness Israel is placing on the Christian world at
large, and the Evangelical Christian community in particular.

“It is important that members of the caucus have a better understanding of the Christian world at large, and the potential alliances as well as pitfalls, and it is equally important that they know that they have the support of the rabbinical establishment,” said Rabbi David Rosen, the International Director of Inter-Religious Affairs at the American Jewish Committee who presented the group of legislators an overview of the different Christian denominations.
After the lecture, several of the legislators went to the Old City of Jerusalem for separate meetings with the Latin and Armenian Patriarchs as well as with a representative of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate…"

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