Christians United for Israel (CUFI) held its 10th annual Summit in Washington, DC on July 13 and 14. The Summit brought together some 6000 Zionists from across America and Canada and from recently established CUFI outposts in Europe to discuss issues affecting the well-being of the State of Israel. Representatives of the Christian, Jewish and Israeli people followed intense learning sessions with visits to their legislators on Capitol Hill.
The largest pro-Israel organization in the world, CUFI has about 2.2 million members worldwide. The organization, founded by Pastor John Hagee and his wife, Diana, calls itself a “national grassroots movement.” Similar in mission to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), it is an advocacy group that presents pro-Israel policies to the Congress and Executive Branch of the United States.
Two events marked emotional high points of the two-day conference. Monday evening’s “A Night to Honor Israel” filled the room. Flags waved, dancers rounded the floor and the First Baptist Atlanta Choir raised the spirits of almost 6000 mostly Christian (plus a significant cadre of Jewish) Zionists. After a day of lobbying their legislators on Capitol Hill, over 1000 gathered for the annual CUFI Summit dinner. Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel was to be honored with the organization’s “Defender of the Faith” award. With over 1000 major donors gathered to hear him speak, word came that the honoree, who is well into his 80s, had sent heartfelt apologies, having been advised not to travel to Washington. In his stead and on his behalf, Irving Roth, himself a survivor of extermination camps and death marches, received the award from Pastor John Hagee and his wife, Diana.
Roth, founder of the Holocaust Resource Center in Manhasset, NY, has said “God has sent CUFI to the Jewish people.” He accepted the award for Elie Wiesel, saying the famed author “has gone from total darkness to be a symbol of light,” emphasizing that “70 years ago, this would have been more than a dream!”
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