(December 28, 2020 / JNS) Honduras just became the Israel Allies Foundation’s (IAF) 50th country to join its Parliamentary Israel Allies Caucuses network.
Achieving its goal to reach 50 countries by the end of 2020, IAF president Josh Reinstein said “what started out as an effort by former Knesset member Yuri Shtern 15 years ago to reach out to Christian supporters of Israel has now spread to six continents, 50 countries and 1,200 parliamentarians around the world whose support for Israel is unwavering. This group of pro-Israel parliamentarians is the greatest tool that Israel has in its diplomatic arsenal.”
New pro-Israel parliamentary caucuses were also recently formed in Central Africa Republic, South Sudan and Cameroon, joining a network that mobilizes political support for Israel based on shared Judeo-Christian values—a movement that the IAF calls “faith-based diplomacy.”
Reinstein told JNS that “faith-based diplomacy takes biblical support and turns it into real political action.” Whereas, he continued, “being pro-Israel used to be a personal thing that you only discussed, now Israel is a political issue that Christians are getting involved with, organizing within their own parliaments and taking the lead on pro-Israel issues all over the world.”
Such diplomacy is vital for the State of Israel, stressed Reinstein, as matters of faith are a common language that don’t waver with political or economic events. “People of faith are coming together to stand with Israel because it is a major part of the Bible. If faith and values are what your support is based on—with Israel as the only free democracy in the Middle East—that support doesn’t change with current events.”
Both Jews and Christians, he added, “understand why we are here, what God is doing, and share a view of our role in the fulfillment of prophecy. … If you love and support the Bible, inherently you support Israel.
The Parliamentary Israel Allies Caucuses network originated in 2004 with the formation of the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus; the aim was to strengthen cooperation. Since then, the U.S Congress created the first “sister-caucus” (Congressional Israel Allis Caucus) in 2006, which IAF says is the only bipartisan pro-Israel caucus in the U.S Congress. The network then expanded to parliaments around the world, generating an official mechanism to strengthen the ties between their country and Israel.
“It is heartwarming to see the unconditional support for Israel from Central American countries like Guatemala and Honduras, especially in recent years as both countries move their embassies to Jerusalem,” IAF’s Latin America director, Leopoldo Martínez, told JNS upon the formation of the 50th Israel Allies Caucus in Honduras. “We are very excited to work with faith-based leaders in Congress and build more political support for Israel from Honduras with the formation of a pro-Israel Caucus.”
Deputy Tomás Zambrano, secretary-general of the Congress of Honduras, said “we are proud to work with the Israel Allies Foundation and to support Israel from the Honduran Congress with the formation of a group of Deputies who support Israel, especially at this important moment with the excellent relations between both countries, when the president of Honduras announced the transfer of the embassy to Jerusalem.”
Chairman Hon. Anne Nguenkam Eps Welako of Cameroon, the 49th country to establish an Israel Allies Caucus, said “I am honored to be appointed as first chairperson of the Cameroon Israel Allies Parliamentary Caucus. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve and to connect pro-Israel legislators in Cameroon to the Knesset.”
The success of faith-based diplomacy has seen a rise in interest in recent years in light of the Trump administration’s moving of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and more recently, with the Abraham Accords that have normalized relations between Gulf and Muslim countries with Israel.
According to Reinstein, while IAF has yet to see caucuses in the Middle East and North Africa, he maintained that “as countries come closer to Israel, they’ll want to be involved in our network.”
“Israel has become a strong and influential country, not just in the region but worldwide, and other countries want to be involved in that—they want to work with a regional power dedicated to freedom and democracy,” he said.
According to Reinstein, several other caucuses are currently in development, including in Sri Lanka, Croatia, Mexico, Côte d’Ivoire and El Salvador.
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