WordPress, Jerusalem 22 November 2011
There was a big, important conference held at the Israeli Knesset on the 22nd of November 2011. It honored and recognized the strengthening friendship between the international Evangelical Christian coalition and the State of Israel, in partnership to support Holocaust Survivors and other population groups in need, in Israel. Honorable Knesset members, Ministers and deputy Ministers, distinguished guests and the Evangelical Christian representatives of 50 organizations from more than 50 countries attended this conference in their honor at the Knesset, the seat of the Government of Israel. This conference came together through the combined efforts and cooperation between the Helping Hand Coalition and the Knesset, spearheaded by the Honorable Knesset member, Lea Shemtov. Following are some of the details of this momentous occasion from this observer’s point of view.
We ascended to the Knesset compound in Jerusalem, on a warm, sunny day for this time of year and were guided through the corridors to the Knesset Art Gallery for a reception where light refreshments were served. There was a special art display of Claudia Dewald photography that featured portraits depicting Holocaust survivors there in the lobby. We mingled and conversed with the various conference attendees from around the world. It was a powerful portrait, this coalition of the many, who came together from so many places, to demonstrate their continued support of Holocaust survivors and to be honored for their contributions. After about an hour of refreshments and engaging conversation, we were escorted through the corridors and ushered into the Knesset auditorium where the conference convened. Here’s what took place that day.
The conference opened with a moving video presentation produced by Ted Pearce, ‘Forgotten People’ powerful music of which was followed by the welcome and opening remarks by the conference MC Mikhail Dzhaginov. What followed were presentations, remarks and reflections about the tragedy of the Holocaust and their support (as representatives of the Israeli government) of Holocaust survivors in particular, by a number of distinguished and honorable Knesset members. Among them were: Minister of Tourism Stas Miesezhnikov, Minister of Absorption Sofa Landver, Lea Nass Deputy Minister of Senior Citizens by the Prime Minister Office, and Honorable Knesset member and conference co-sponsor Lea Shemtov. Between each speaker, the conference attendees were treated to a diverse and talented lineup of singing and dance groups. They sang thematic songs like the moving, “Tell me why” a song of ‘The Chosen Ones‘ that asked the question about why the tragedy and atrocities of the Holocaust were allowed to happen. The dance group of TOS Ministries performed a very moving creation entitled, “Shma Yisrael (Hear O Israel)”.
The International Evangelical Coalition conference participants were introduced to the forum by Dr. Andre Gasiorowski, President of the Helping Hand Coalition and the conference producer. A list of some of the speakers and a synopsis of their remarks are as follows:
- Dr. Jurgen Buchler, President of the International Christian Embassy (ICEJ) – spoke on the ICEJ’s ongoing initiatives for Holocaust survivors in Israel
- Harald Eckert, President of the Christians for Israel Germany – spoke on the upcoming Wannsee Conference 70 Years Commemoration (January 20, 2012);
- Pastor Jobst Bittner, President of the TOS Ministry – spoke on “Breaking the Silence”;
- Pastor George Annadorai, President of the Asia Pacific Coalition for Israel raised 3 thoughts: 1. We want to tell your story to my people. To accomplish this mission we are cooperating with Yad Vashem to establish a chapter in Singapore; 2. We want to teach our children, through our church programs–that the State of Israel is our friend. We want to teach them that they are not tourist when they visit Israel—but friends; 3. Friendship—that we will always have a friendly port of call in Singapore. The the plight of the St. Louis in 1939 of not having a safe haven from persecution will never be repeated.
- Rev. Jeff Sheldon, President of ICARE – spoke on the strengthening of the friendship and relationship between the Christian coalition and Israel. He described a recent event at the Rose bowl that celebrated around the theme of, “Israel’s Praise for America– America embraces Israel”;
- Leszek Lazowski, President of the International Humanitarian Network delivered summarizing remarks.
Awards granted by the Knesset to participating organizations were presented by Honorable Knesset Member Lea Shemtov and Helping Hand Coalition President Dr. Andre Gasiorowski.
After the awards ceremony we had a short intermission; after which we were escorted upstairs to the Knesset chamber for a joint session between Knesset members and conference participates. The Honorable Knesset Speaker, Ruben Rivlin, welcomed and acknowledged the International Evangelical Coalition conference participates on behalf of the Knesset and the government of Israel. Several Knesset members spoke from the podium and afterwards, a motion was passed by the Knesset that acknowledged and verified the bound of friendship and cooperation between the state of Israel and the International Evangelical Coalition in regard to the cooperation and support for Holocaust Survivors in general and in Israel in particular.
It was a great conference and a great work. When it was all said and done, night had descended on Jerusalem. Truly it was a conference worth attending and a conference that should forever be remembered.
Artists: Ted Pearce (USA) . The Chosen Ones . Be’er Sheba . Son, Wind & Reign . Claudia Dewald MC: Michail Dzhaginov (Israeli TV host and presenter) TV Networks: Media Network Intelligence . Israeli Ch.1, Israeli Ch.9, Trinity Broadcast Network (TBN) . EVS Media . Daily Israel . Jerusalem Vistas