Decked with robes, dresses, flags, and banners of many national colors, more than 3,500 Christians from 29 countries gathered in Jerusalem last month to celebrate the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles and show their support for Israel.
The celebrants could not have met with better timing for their purpose and enthusiasm. The gathering coincided with the wrenching introspection many Israelis went through over the massacre by Christian militia troops of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon who were in camps under Israeli charge. It also coincided with the burning down, in a suspected act of arson, of Jerusalem’s Narkis Street Baptist Church. Many at the feast opened their wallets to help rebuild the gutted structure.
The eight-day celebration, organized by the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem, began October 3, and filled the city’s largest auditorium and conference center. The days were taken up with seminars, mostly dealing with a biblical view of modern Israel. The evenings were devoted to a common meeting in the main auditorium.
Prime Minister Menachem Begin addressed the opening night crowd of 4,000 people. Apart from Knesset debates, it was his first public address after the massacre. He received a standing, whistling ovation—better, as one in the audience said, than he would have gotten from Israelis.
Looking weary and leaning on a cane, Mr. Begin called the meeting “one of the greatest manifestations of the brotherhood of nations and of Christian-Jewish solidarity. We, believing Jews and believing Christians, can work together so that our children and our children’s children can live in peace,” he said. He briefly defended Israeli actions in Lebanon and outlined proposals for Palestinian self-administration on the West ...1
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