Diana Hagee (left) and Pastor John Hagee (center) at Congregation Rodfei Shalom). (Credit: Jonathan Feldstein)
In an unprecedented event, hundreds from San Antonio’s Jewish community, joined by Jewish leaders from throughout the US and Israel, celebrated and expressed appreciation for the past four decades of Pastor John and Diana Hagee’s ardent support for the state of Israel.
Arguably, this is the first time any Jewish community came together to express true respect and appreciation for a Christian leader. This was not just a once-in-a-generation event, it’s the first in any generation.
Congregation Rodfei Sholom was transformed into the most magnificent ballroom, equal to those of top hotels in New York or Los Angeles, which host magnificent events regularly. Catering a kosher meal of this caliber for some 500 people in a community far from the major hubs of Jewish life in America is also no simple feat, but was spectacular. The gourmet food was served in Texas sized portions and complemented by fine Israeli wines, setting a special atmosphere.
The event was historic for another reason. Pastor John and Diana Hagee have dedicated most of their lives to make support for Israel central for themselves, their ministry, and establishing that as a pillar of what it means to be a Christian. There are many ministries that are pro-Israel and lend their support and raise money for Israel. Some have been in existence for decades longer than that of Hagee Ministries’. However, Hagee Ministries is unique in its raising and disbursing over $100 million to various Israeli causes.
In addition, the Hagees made recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as a centerpiece of its mission and were recognized for doing so, perhaps more than any other Christian leaders in the world. Pastor Hagee was recognized for this contribution by being asked to give a benediction at the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem in 2018.
Introducing one another at the outset of the formal program, Pastor Matthew Hagee and Rabbi Avraham Scheinberg brought the importance of the relationship established between their respective fathers to a new generation, in the presence of their children, a third generation. Through a video presentation and in their respective remarks, Pastor John Hagee and Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg related the genesis of their relationship, how a friendship evolved to which they feel like brothers. This was echoed in Pastor Matt’s comment about having an Orthodox Jewish rabbi as an uncle.
As Rabbi Avraham introduced Pastor Matt, the symbolism of continuing of a relationship that grew into a close friendship of their fathers was vivid. The verse from Psalm 133 that’s sung in Hebrew epitomized the event, and this special relationship. “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!”
Among the dignitaries, Israel’s Consul General Gilad Katz recited a blessing that he noted he’s never had the occasion to say before. This is typically said upon seeing a king, president, or prime minister and acknowledges God for “giving wisdom to flesh and blood.”
Many others expressed their appreciation long distance. Governor Greg Abbot and Senator Lindsey Graham sent their greetings by video, as did representatives from several the organizations in Israel that Hagee ministries has supported over the past decades. This was the tip of the iceberg; the recognition could go on for days.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton noted that one of the things that the Hagees deserve credit for, when pursuing a plan that’s divine, it also requires hard work and the Hagees did just that. Celebrating them, he blessed them that they could now sit back and watch God’s work because while the actions were those of the Hagees, “ultimately it is His plan, His work.”
Echoing this, Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations noted that “When we follow our hearts like the Hagees taught us, we know God will do his part.”
Hoenlein used a biblical example to underscore how important the Hagees’ work has been. He spoke of the spies that Moses sent to scout out the Land and noted, “Today, few can name the ten spies who came back with a negative report, but everybody can remember the name of the two spies who came back with a positive report. This teaches us that those who stand with Israel will be remembered forever and those who stand against Israel will be written off and forgotten.”
Rabbis Aryeh Scheinberg and Pesach Lerner served as the Chair and co-Chair of the event. In their warm introduction of Pastor Hagee, Rabbi Scheinberg recalled the time nearly four decades ago when Pastor Hagee approached the Jewish community to put together the first Night to Honor Israel. Some in the Jewish community looked at Pastor Hagee with suspicion. In his advocacy to work together, Rabbi Scheinberg recalls imploring, “We know how to deal with our enemies but what if this guy is our friend.”
The rabbi noted, “No attempts were made to proselytize or to denigrate the Jewish community.” And he concluded, “God doesn’t perform miracles because we deserve them but because we need them. And we sure needed Pastor Hagee.”
Rabbi Lerner noted that through his ardent support of Israel, Pastor Hagee “risked his life, his future, and his family.”
Scheinberg added that in his lifetime, he’s been blessed to see many miracles including
Israel’s rebirth, the reunification of Jerusalem, recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and no less significantly the rise of Christian support for Israel embodied by the Hagees, CUFI, and its 5.6 million members. He included in the miracles the emergence of the “friendship of a rabbi from Brooklyn who didn’t find a friend but a brother.”
In addition to presenting the Hagees with gifts including a 410-year-old bible, and antiquities from the time of King David, they also presented a check for $75,000 to CUFI.
In response, Pastor Hagee spoke personally and emotionally. He shared how he paid a price for his support of Israel including being called a heretic which he noted “is the accusation of teaching people things that will damn them to hell. It’s like being told to go to hell in a special way.” Yet he expressed no regrets and only affirmed his calling. He shared how “the return of the Jewish people to Israel was the greatest miracle in the 20th century,” and reminisced as an eight-year-old boy hearing his father saying that Israel’s rebirth under Jewish sovereignty “proves that the Bible is true.”
BDS movement founder Omar Barghouti (YouTube)
Omar Barghouti, founder and leader of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, was denied entry to the United States on Wednesday.
He was informed by airline staff at Ben-Gurion International Airport in Israel that U.S. immigration officials told the American consul in Tel Aviv to block him from boarding the flight.
A State Department official told NPR, “Visa records are confidential under U.S. law; therefore, we cannot discuss the details of individual visa cases.”
The US Capitol Building. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.
Four of Israel’s most dedicated supporters in the US Congress on Friday expressed concern that the Jewish state may annex the West Bank, as results from Israel’s election earlier this week confirmed the likelihood of a right-wing government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“As strong, life-long supporters of Israel, a U.S.-Israel relationship rooted in our shared values, and the two-state solution, we are greatly concerned by the possibility of Israel taking unilateral steps to annex the West Bank,” said a joint statement from Democratic representatives Eliot Engel (NY), Chair of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs,
The final image sent by Israeli spacecraft Beresheet before it crash-landed on the moon. Photo: courtesy of Space IL.
Astronauts and scientists at the US space agency NASA commended the Israeli non-profit organization SpaceIL for its efforts afyer its spacecraft “Beresheet” failed to land safely on the moon on Thursday.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said, “While NASA regrets the end of the SpaceIL mission without a successful lunar landing of the Beresheet lander, we congratulate SpaceIL, the Israel Aerospace Industries and the state of Israel on the incredible accomplishment of sending the first privately funded mission into lunar orbit.”
“Der ewige Jude” – “Theeternal Jew” movie poster . (photo credit: WIKIPEDIA)
The lead article Thursday on the opinion page of the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper compared Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with the 1940 Nazi antisemitic movie The Eternal Jew.
The article was titled in the paper “The Eternal Netanyahu” in a word play in connection with director Fritz Hippler’s antisemitic pseudo-documentary, based on the medieval legend of the wandering Jew, that served as a cinematographic justification for the Holocaust.
As an orthopedic surgeon for 30 years in Washington, D.C. I see patients from all over the world and from every walk of life and what has become clear to me is that everyone is fundamentally the same. As a rule, I shy away from political or religious discussions with my patients as they have no bearing on their care. But occasionally, the discussions are thrust on me.
Several years ago I treated a professor of political science from a local university and had established a good rapport with him. On his last visit before saying goodbye he popped a question.
It is well-known by some and wholly ignored by others that Islam has a long, sad history of antisemitism, a bigotry that originated in the seventh century CE (the first Islamic century) and has grown more vicious in the 21st. Combined with an almost universal anti-Zionism and bolstered by many on the political “left”, it is today the most ubiquitous and deadliest form of Jew-hatred. It takes the form, not just of insults, boycotts, and lawfare, but of wars, terrorist attacks, and calls for the destruction of the Jewish state and the genocide of the Jews.
Amman – The streets in Amman’s Jebel al-Weibdeh are crowded in the early evening with sounds of young people looking for a place to relax. Coffee shops intermix with art studios selling crafts for tourists. At the Maestro bar and restaurant, a band is getting ready for a live performance. The lights are dimmed and someone has put “no smoking” signs on the tables – they are out of place with the ash trays. Apparently, Monday has jam sessions and anyone can bring their instrument to join in. But it’s Wednesday.
A few of my readers recently asked me to explain the difference between “Palestinians” living inside and outside of Israel’s borders. Who are the “Palestinians” anyway? First, see below:
“Palestine” does not exist today as a nation-state, but at multiple times in history, including the present, it has been one of the names of a place. The Romans, recalling the defunct Philistines – non-Arab Sea People – coined it after defeating [Jewish general] Bar Kochba in 135 CE to disassociate what had been Judaea from Jews.
President Trump’s peace plan for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict surfaced two years ago and to this day – remarkably – only he and a handful of aides know its precise details. A stream of leaks, however, contains enough internal consistency that their collation, supplemented by conversations with administration officials, provides a plausible outline of the plan’s contents.
On March 31, a South Bend grandma brought her grandson to the hospital. The 11-month-old baby boy had been shot. His grandmother’s car had also taken fire. It was another early morning in South Bend.
Around the same time, Mayor Buttigieg, was toting up the $7 million in donations from his charm offensive as his bid for the 2020 Democrat nomination got underway. The national media never bothered reporting the shooting of an 11-month-old boy in the city he was supposed to be running, but instead confined its coverage of South Bend matters to a publicity stunt wedding officiated by Buttigieg.
The Palestinian students are being targeted because of their political affiliations and not because of any crime they committed.
While the Palestinian Authority and Hamas are busy beating up each other’s supporters, “pro-Palestinian” activists on US and Canadian university campuses are busy blaming Israel for Palestinian woes.
As an American Christian who has had the privilege of working in senior-level positions for four US presidents and who has enjoyed a close association with three of Israel’s prime ministers, I believe it is my obligation to provide the Israeli people with my views. I think my viewpoint is important because a vast number of American Evangelical Christians believe as I believe. In addition, Evangelical Christians are, without question, Israel’s strongest supporters in the United States.
Does Case 3000 – known as the submarine affair – prove that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is guilty of doing something illegal? Well, all Likud supporters believe with absolute confidence that it’s a political plot. Netanyahu’s opponents, however, believe – also with absolute confidence – that it’s the largest corruption case to ever occur in the State of Israel.