From a garden lookout offering a heavenly view of Jerusalem's Old City, 150 Christians from around the world raised their hands to the skies. Speaking in their own languages, they prayed together for Israel and its inhabitants.

Their prayers were offered at the closing of a three-day Zionist Congress that drew more than 600 Christians from around the world to Jerusalem in late February in a show of solidarity with the Jewish state.

The conference, sponsored by the Jerusalem-based International Christian Embassy, an ardently pro-Israel organization, was designed to demonstrate strong Christian support for Israel after the collapse of the peace process and the violent disturbances that have accompanied the recent Palestinian uprising.

The three-day meeting coincided with the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center's Christian-Palestinian solidarity conference occurring just a mile away in Arab East Jerusalem.

"The impressive achievement of a Jewish state in Eretz Israel [the land of Israel] remains under assault from formidable adversaries both without and within," said Malcolm Hedding, executive director of the Christian Embassy. "The threat facing this people is not really a Palestinian-cum-Israeli question; it is a far deeper problem. Time and time again various Palestinian representatives, including the Hamas, have said that their goal is the total dismantling of the Jewish state. This is the threat that the Jewish people face under the guise of the peace process."

Hedding added, "The Palestinians refused to sign a generous peace offer that would have laid to rest this whole issue. We've come together to encourage Israel, to comfort Israel, to be a blessing to Israel as the Bible teaches us, and to stand with her right to exist in the ancient home of her forefathers."

Related Elsewhere

See today's related story, "Holy Land Roadblocks | Christian pilgrims learn about Palestinians' everyday indignities."

Previous Christianity Today stories about conflict in Israel and Palestine include:

Between a Rock and a Holy Site | Muslims have stepped up their efforts to take control of places revered by Jews and Christians. (Feb. 13, 2001)

The Peace Regress | What's behind the current outbreak of hostilities in the Holy Land? (Jan. 11, 2001)

Conflict in the Holy Land | A timeline of trials for the most contested piece of real estate in the world.

Christmas in Palestine: Hunger and War | Starvation threatens Palestinian villages if U.N. aid continues to be delayed, Vatican official warns. (Dec. 13, 2000)

Between the Temple Mount and a Hard Place | Palestinian Christians want both peace in their villages and justice for their Muslim brothers. (Dec. 5, 2000)

Messianic Ethiopians Face Discrimination | Sisters appealing decision to revoke Israeli citizenship. (Dec. 4, 2000)

Christmas Plans for Bethlehem Scrapped | Escalating violence cancels millennial celebration in town of Christ's birth. (Dec. 1, 2000)

Lutheran Bishop's Appeal from Jerusalem | Religious leader's letter requests prayer for Christians, Jews, and Palestinians in troubled region. (Nov. 10, 2000)

Latin Patriarch tells Israel to Surrender Lands to Palestinians | Catholic leader says Israel will never have peace unless it "converts all of its neighbors to friends." (Nov. 1, 2000)

Fighting Engulfs a Christian Hospital in Jerusalem | Lutherans call conflict on their hospital grounds "an affront" to humanitarian purposes. (Oct. 16, 2000)

Preparing for Pilgrims | Religious rivalry complicates millennial planning. (June 14, 1999)

How Evangelicals Became Israel's Best Friend | (October 5, 1998)

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