CUFI Nights to Honor Israel in region

Christians United for Israel will have three major events in the region this month, promoting solidarity between Christian friends of Israel and the Jewish community.

CUFI is one of the largest pro-Israel organizations in the U.S., with over 900,000 members. After the April “60 Minutes” piece blaming Israel for the decline in Christian communities in the territories, CUFI members inundated CBS with thousands of protest letters.

A major event will be held in Columbus, Ga., on June 10 at 6 p.m. (Eastern) at the 2,000-seat River Center of the Performing Arts. CUFI founder Pastor John Hagee will be the keynote speaker at a Night to Honor Israel. Israeli Consul General Opher Aviran is also scheduled to speak, along with Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson and Rep. Tom Price.

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal is also scheduled to attend. Tickets are $12, $8 for balcony.

On June 6, there will be a Gathering of Solidarity with Israel in West Monroe, La. The event will be at The Assembly West Monroe on Cypress Street at 7 p.m. Col. John Somerville, CUFI central region coordinator, will be the guest speaker. Somerville is retired from the U.S. Marines and has been involved in military intelligence and the Middle East since the early 1970s. He has traveled to Israel numerous times.

On June 7 at noon, there will be a Pastor Luncheon and Middle East briefing at The Assembly, and Somerville will speak there as well.

In recent years, there have been CUFI Nights to Honor Israel in Shreveport and Jackson.

Groups like CUFI are careful to have a non-proselytizing policy at events and work hard to demonstrate that they are not trying to get a foot in the door to try and convert Jews. In many cases, local Jewish communities actively work with CUFI chapters. That is not necessarily the case with other pro-Israel Christian organizations, however.

A “Night to Honor Israel” at the Florence Coliseum with North Alabama Friends of Israel, on June 3, has a keynote speaker from Jewish Voice International, a missionary group. The speaker’s biography on the JVI website lists him as “an ordained Christian Pastor and a Messianic Jewish Rabbi” who has produced YouTube videos including “Jewish Evangelism 101” and “America: Mission Field for Jewish Evangelism.”

Similarly, there was no Jewish involvement in a March of Remembrance held in downtown Birmingham on April 22. The march, which drew about 300 to Linn Park, was to honor Holocaust survivors and stand with Israel. However, many of the organizers are involved in the local “messianic” congregation, so the Jewish community did not attend.