by Melanie Lidman, The Jerusalem Post
The International Israel Allies Caucus Foundation (IIACF), an umbrella organization for an international network of pro-Israel lobbies in governments around the world, opened its headquarters in east Jerusalem on Wednesday with a ceremony attended by 40 supporters of Christian-Israel partnerships.
The building, located across from the American consulate on Nablus Road, will act as a headquarters for both IIACF and the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus, headed by former MK Rabbi Benny Elon (National Union).
“This will be a center with the theme of a united Jerusalem,” said Josh Reinstein, the director of the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus.
“That’s why we opened our headquarters here. We believe there should always be a united Jerusalem, and this is going to be the frontlines of that battle.”
The IIACF oversees the actions of 18 Christian-Israel Allies Caucuses around the world, including caucuses in the US, Uruguay, Brazil, South Africa, Finland, England, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, Canada, Malawi and Hungary, among others.
“The caucuses are made up of members of parliament who are dedicated to standing with Israel and advocating for Judeo-Christian values in their government,” said Reinstein.
The Knesset Christian Allies Caucus was formed in 2005 and has 18 members from 6 political parties from across the spectrum. The largest branch of the Christian Allies Caucuses is the House Israel Allies Caucus in Washington, which was formed in 2006.
“You can fit a synagogue in a phone booth in my district,” said House Israel Allies Caucus founder Mike Sodrel, a former representative from Indiana. “I didn’t support Israel for political reasons; I support it for biblical reasons.”
“It’s really heartening to see they have a headquarters and there’s momentum building internationally to support Israel,” he told The Jerusalem Post.
The east Jerusalem center will give the international network a physical spot for coordinating the activities of the caucuses, including planning conferences and providing political resources.
At the opening ceremony, the IIACF also presented the First Annual Peace of Jerusalem Award to Pastor Sandor Nemeth – leader of the Faith Church, Hungary’s 4th largest religious denomination – for his work toward passing a law that makes Holocaust denial a crime in Hungary.
“It was a big surprise,” Pastor Nemeth said. “The things I do, I do from the heart. I’m certain that people like us, Israel’s friends, should help as much as we can.”
The event was attended by about 40 supporters and board members of IIACF, including Mike Little, the president and chief operating officer of the Christian Broadcast Network, and Malcolm Hedding, executive director of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem. The embassy recently hosted 7,000 Christians in Jerusalem for the Feast of the Tabernacles, which falls on Succot.
Elon thanked all the attendees for their continued support of Jerusalem.
“We the Jews have so much experience finding our enemies, we can smell them,” he said. “But sometimes when people want to love us, it’s hard for us to open up.”