Jerusalem Day Prayer Breakfast
As Israelis celebrated on the streets of Jerusalem on June 1, around 100 people gathered at the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill in celebration as well. Attendees hailed from the East Coast to the Midwest, with a few making the trip all the way from Israel to celebrate the reunification of Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty with the Jerusalem Day Prayer Breakfast. The prayer breakfast, hosted by the International Israel Allies Caucus Foundation, sought to not only celebrate this historic event and the significance of Jerusalem, but to highlight legislation that is currently making its way through the House of Representatives, the Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act of 2011.
Sponsored by Rep. Dan Burton of Indiana, H.R. 1006 would remove the presidential waiver of the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995. The waiver gives the President the power to delay the movement of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem for “national security concerns.”
Despite Wednesday reportedly being one of the busiest days on the Hill, there was a solid bi-partisan attendance from members of the Congressional Israel Allies Caucus and the signers of the legislation. Israel Allies Caucus co-Chairs, Rep. Shelley Berkley, Rep. Eliot Engel and Rep. Doug Lamborn were joined by other Congressional members as they reiterated their commitment to Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel and to Israel’s right to live in peace within secure borders.
Former Israeli Minister of Tourism, Rabbi Benny Elon opened the meeting with prayer, while Noam Katz, Minister of Public Diplomacy at the Israeli Embassy, read a specially prepared statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the attendees gathered (Click here to read the PM Netanyahu’s statement). Speaking from his personal experiences in Jerusalem and on the Temple Mount, Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld of the National Synagogue in DC addressed the attendees on Jerusalem’s overall importance to the Jewish people.
ICEJ USA Director Susan Michael focused on the Christian connection to the Holy City and how this stems directly from Christianity’s Jewish heritage. While highlighting current threats to Christian holy sites that border Muslim areas, Susan reiterated that since 1967, religious liberty and the sites holy to all faiths have been protected, respected and safe guarded under Israeli control.
By commemorating Jerusalem Day, the IIACF and its partner organizations want to ensure that the reality of a united Jerusalem continues into the future. The Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act is certainly a positive step toward that goal and a practical way that the pro-Israel community can tangibly express its support for its long held beliefs.
Watch CBN news coverage of the event here.
Click here to view pictures from the Prayer Breakfast on the IIACF's Facebook page.