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Christians United for Israel logo

Christians United for Israel (CUFI) is an American Christian organization that supports Israel. Its statement of purpose is "to provide a national association through which every pro-Israel church, parachurch organization, ministry or individual in America can speak and act with one voice in support of Israel in matters related to Biblical issues." It is the largest pro-Israel organization in the United States,[1] with 7.1 million members.[2] It operates under the leadership of John Hagee as founder and Chairman[3] along with Diana Hagee and Shari Dollinger as Co-Executive Directors.[4]

Contents

HistoryEdit

"Christians United for Israel" was originally established in 1975 by Dr.David A. Lewis. The evangelical minister John Hagee sought and received permission from Dr. Lewis to use the title for his own organization.[citation needed] Hagee called upon Christian leaders in America to join him in launching his new initiative. Over 400 leaders, each representing a denomination, mega-church, media ministry, publishing company, or Protestant university voiced support and Christians United for Israel was created.[5] Hagee would legally incorporate the revived organization on February 7, 2006. Since its reorganization it has operated out of San Antonio, Texas, where Hagee has long operated his own ministry.

The first college chapter of Christians United for Israel was established at California State University, Bakersfield.[6] At the 2011 CUFI Washington Summit, it was reported that "CUFI on Campus" chapters had been formed or were in the process of formation on over 75 college campuses and CUFI was reported to have a presence on 225 campuses.[7] As of November 2017, when CUFI Action Fund Chairwoman Sandra Hagee Parker testified before Congress during a hearing examining evidence of anti-Semitism on college campuses, CUFI on Campus reported 200 established chapters across the nation with an active presence on over 300 campuses. Parker testified that CUFI on Campus has trained over 3500 students since the campus program began in 2008.[8]

In March 2012, the number of members passed one-million, a milestone that meant CUFI was the largest US-based pro-Israel organization.[9] By January 2015, the membership passed two million.[10] As of December 2018, CUFI's membership had grown to over 5.1 million people.[11]

In April 2018, the executive director position at CUFI changed hands for the first time since its founding. After founding Executive Director David Brog stepped down and took an alternate position as Director of Strategic Affairs for CUFI, the executive board chose two women to fill the position as Co-Executive Directors. Diana Hagee, wife of CUFI founder and Chairman John Hagee, and Shari Dollinger, a Jewish woman who had been the Associate Director of CUFI since 2007, assumed joint responsibility for leading the day-to-day operations of Christians United for Israel. Pastor Hagee voiced his support for the two women, saying, "For years, Diana and Shari have been working hand-in-hand behind the scenes to harness the power of the American Christian Zionist community into an effective voice for Israel. Without their vital contribution, we would not be the organization we are today, and with these two women leading the staff, I am extremely optimistic about our future."[12]

ActivitiesEdit

 
Mike Pence speaks at the 2019 Washington Summit

A Night to Honor IsraelEdit

CUFI host "Nights to Honor Israel" events in cities across the United States to express Christian solidarity with the State of Israel and the Jewish people.[13] Such "Night to Honor Israel" events have often sought to include members of local Jewish communities.[14] Funds raised are often given to the local Jewish federations to assist with efforts in Israel. One such "Night to Honor Israel" event was covered by Minnesota magazine TC Jewfolk in 2010.[14]

Washington/Israel SummitEdit

CUFI holds an annual summit to enable delegates to personally speak with their representatives on behalf of Israel. In response to particular current events, CUFI also mobilizes its members through Rapid Response Alerts to raise popular support for Israel and lobby the U.S. Congress in support of Israel.[citation needed] On July 17, 2017, Vice President Mike Pence spoke to thousands of CUFI members at the annual CUFI Washington DC Summit's Night to Honor Israel ceremony.[15]

National Night to Honor Israel 2008, 2009, 2010Edit

On July 22 CUFI held their 2008 National Night to Honor Israel. Ambassador Dan Gillerman, Pastor John Hagee and Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) spoke with live music interludes. For the first time CUFI hosted several prominent Catholic leaders in a show of unity between Pastor Hagee and the Catholic Church. CUFI held an annual Washington Summit July 20–23, 2009. Israeli PM Netanyahu addressed the gathering by video conference at the Washington Summit in 2010.[16]

Daughters for ZionEdit

Daughters for Zion is a Christian prayer ministry that is part of the Christians United for Israel Organization (CUFI), a national association for every church, organization, christian ministry, or individual in the United States of America who wants to speak and act in support of the State of Israel. In August 2007, the CUFI organization implemented the Daughters for Zion association, whose mission is to organize a national network of prayer for Israel in every major city in the United States of America. These prayer groups can be implemented in the church, at home, in the office, or in any appropriate place for worship. The Daughters of Zion association was created under the leadership of the protestant pastor John Hagee and the female pastor Lynn Hammond.[17]

CUFI on CampusEdit

The first university chapter of Christians United for Israel was established at the California State University, in Bakersfield, California and was called CUFI on Campus. Plans were also made to create more similar chapters on other US campuses. In 2011 at the CUFI annual meeting in Washington, D.C., it was announced that several chapters of CUFI on Campus had been formed and that new chapters were in the process of being formed on more than 75 campuses and that the CUFI organization was present on 225 campuses across the country.[18]

CUFI Summit 2019Edit

Christians United for Israel hosted a summit on July 8, 2019 in Washington D.C. The summit hosted the founder John Hagee, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and US Vice President Mike Pence as speakers. However during the event, the Christians United for Israel were confronted with over 100 Christian, Muslim, and leaders due to CUFI supporting the cause of Israel occupation. While holding banners, protesters retaliated against the cause by shouting "Zionism is racism!" One of the main protesters that caught a lot of attention was Tarek Abuata, director of Friends of Sabeel North American (FOSNA). Tarek Abuta shouted, "People of God, wake up! Protect the Palestinian people.” Other chants that were heard during the protest were "“Israel kills children. Jews and Christians say no to Zionism.” Outside of the summit, many protesters blocked the entrance ways as well as some intersections along the street by singing hymns, and reading the names of children killed by Israel policies. [19]

PositionsEdit

Support for Jewish peopleEdit

At CUFI's 4th annual convention, CUFI Florida state director Scott Thomas, who is senior pastor at Without Walls Central in Lakeland, Florida, states that CUFI's support of Israel is not related to Christian eschatology (one of the features of dispensationalism, which holds that the modern state of Israel has a central role in bringing about the second coming of Jesus Christ) since Christians believe that there is nothing they can do to speed up that process. Thomas also cited Chapter 12 of Book of Genesis, which states that God will bless those who bless the Jews and curses those who curse the Jews, and said that his Christian faith couldn't exist without the foundation of Judaism.[20] CUFI partners with Jewish interfaith organizations such as the Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation (CJCUC).[21]

Opposition to HamasEdit

In November 2012, the group filed a petition calling for Twitter and the US government to "ban Hamas from Twitter."[22]

Executive BoardEdit

  • Pastor John Hagee, Founder and National Chairman, CUFI
  • Pastor Scott Thomas, Free Life Chapel, CUFI Florida State Director
  • Bishop Keith A Butler, Founder and Pastor, Word of Faith International Christian Center
  • Pastor Happy Caldwell, Founder and Pastor Agape Church, Founder Victory Television Network
  • Pastor Mac Hammond, Senior Pastor, Living Word Christian Center
  • Michael Little, Principle Representative to Israel, The Christian Broadcasting Network
  • Pastor George Morrison, Founder, Truth and Life Ministries[23]

Prior to his death in 2007, Rev. Jerry Falwell sat on the Executive Board.

CUFI CanadaEdit

CUFI UKEdit

CUFI UK was started in 2015.[24]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Onward, Christian Zionists", Jennifer Rubin, August 2, 2010, Vol. 15, No. 43, Weekly Standard.
  2. ^ JNS (10 December 2018). "Pro-Israel Christian group tops 5 million members". JNS. Retrieved 15 May 2018.
  3. ^ Parke, Caleb (26 July 2018). "Evangelicals cheer Trump administration's pro-Israel policies". Fox News. Retrieved 9 June 2019.
  4. ^ "Jewish woman, founder's wife to helm Christians United for Israel | Jewish Telegraphic Agency". www.jta.org. Retrieved 21 May 2018.
  5. ^ "Pastor John Hagee". Christians United for Israel (in Kinyarwanda). Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  6. ^ Michael Lando (14 May 2007). "Christians to train in Israel advocacy,". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 23 May 2008.
  7. ^ Winchester, John (17 July 2011). Establishing A CUFI Chapter on Your Campus (Speech). CUFI on Campus Student Advocacy Day. Washington, D.C.
  8. ^ Parker, Sandra (7 November 2017). "Examining Anti-Semitism on College Campuses" (PDF). House Judiciary Committee.
  9. ^ Hillary Zaken (18 March 2012). "Evangelical group to welcome millionth Israel supporter". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  10. ^ "Christians United for Israel Reaches Two Million Members - Christians United for Israel - We speak and act with one voice in support of Israel". www.cufi.org. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  11. ^ "Pro-Israel Christian group tops 5 million members". Retrieved 15 May 2018.
  12. ^ "Jewish woman, founder's wife to helm Christians United for Israel". Retrieved 15 May 2018.
  13. ^ "Christians United for Israel has hundreds of Nights to Honor Israel in cities across America". Christians United for Israel. 2010. Archived from the original on 10 February 2011. Retrieved 26 February 2011.
  14. ^ a b Jenna Mitelman. "A Jewish Girl Walks Into a Church -- a Jewish view of a "Night to Honor Israel"". TC Jewfolk. Retrieved 25 April 2011.
  15. ^ "Mike Pence to CUFI: I Support Israel Because I Am a Christian". CBN News. 18 July 2017. Retrieved 15 May 2018.
  16. ^ Keinon, Herb (17 December 2017). "Netanyahu thanks United States for 'defending Israel's truth'". The Jerusalem Post | JPost.com. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  17. ^ www.daughtersforzion.org/
  18. ^ www.timesofisrael.com/
  19. ^ "Faith leaders disrupt U.S. Vice President Mike Pence during CUFI summit".
  20. ^ "Christian Zionist parley: Don't pressure Israel" Archived 26 July 2009 at the Wayback Machine by Eric Fingerhut, Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA), July 23, 2009.
  21. ^ "Riskin: CUFI Convention is a Historic Revolution". The Center for Jewish–Christian Understanding and Cooperation. 19 August 2012. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  22. ^ Gur, Haviv Rettig; Wootliff, Raoul; Bachner, Michael (20 November 2012). "Christian Zionists try to ban Hamas from Twitter". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  23. ^ CUFI official website https://www.cufi.org/impact/leadership/executive-board/Archived 12 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ Frazer, Jenni (29 May 2015). "Amid rising national anti-Semitism, British evangelicals step up". Times of Israel. Retrieved 6 June 2019.

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