They vowed "to consistently pray for the peace of Jerusalem and that Israel's capital will not be divided by others," and asserted that "God entrusted the stewardship of the land of Israel to the Jewish people," adding that they "stand along with Jewish and Palestinian people to pursue true peace".
An Orthodox Jew, David Nekrutman, executive director of the Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation, who had been invited to the event by pastors Joseph and Christian Koo, told the gathering:
"I am truly honored to be invited to this historical event and see first-hand a miracle of God that is transforming the hearts of Christians in Korea to advocate for the State of Israel and its people....People like you and others who have personally touched my life have shown me a world where Christians are indeed our 'Watchmen on the Wall'. The people of Israel appreciate your support. It is the reason why I stand here today in fellowship with you."Last year the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) opened an office in South Korea (as well as one in Australia), Chicago-based Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, the IFCJ's founder and executive director telling the Jerusalem Post:
"Our goal is to deepen Christian bonds with Israel and the Jewish people and allow tangible and meaningful ways for supporters to express their love for Israel.
With offices already in the US and Canada, the IFCJ currently raises more than $90 million a year from Christian supporters for social welfare projects in Israel and other humanitarian projects around the world.
Our goal is to strengthen Christian and Jewish ties around the world and provide supporters of Israel with the vehicles to demonstrate their support....
We recently opened up our new office in South Korea and that is where 80 per cent of our emphasis will be in the coming year....
What I have done essentially is judge where there is a growth of Protestant Evangelical and Pentecostal movements and wherever there is a growth, wherever I see there is a potential for a pro-Israel position, I have tried to develop it....
Wherever I see a community that is tied to the Bible, I know that I have an audience for Israel..."Not long ago, South Korea's ambassador to Israel Il Soo Kim observed that
'Many Koreans believe that Jews win more Nobel Prizes than others because of the wisdom hidden in the Talmud. That’s why an abridged version of the Talmud can be found "in every household" in South Korea. "That makes our two nations understand each other better," he said.'Indeed, as noted here, some Korean schools teach Talmudic Studies.
Around 50,000 South Koreans, many of them evangelical Christians, visit Israel every year, and there is a small but growing Korean community in the Jerusalem area, estimated by Il Soo Kim to consists of some 800 persons, attracted there by their Christian faith; many are enrolled in Biblical Studies programs. Then, too, as reported here:
"There are a number of similarities between Israeli and Korean cultures: a strong focus on education, a proficient high tech-sector, compulsory military service for males and, perhaps most importantly, an existential threat from neighbors.... South Korea and Israel established full diplomatic relations in 1962. Today, the trade volume between them is roughly $2.5 billion annually; it is especially heavy in automobiles and cell phones. In 2007, Korea-based Samsung acquired Transchip, an Israeli chip design firm that specialized in image sensors in digital cameras. Israeli streets are filled with Korean-made Hyundais and Kias. Korea also buys Israeli weapons to the tune of almost $50 million a year, according to Kim."And a Korean-American sociologist remarked:
"There is a massive evangelical presence in Korea. There is a general acceptance or understanding and looking to as Jews as really smart, well-educated, financially strong people. For a country that has experienced a lot of economic and political change over such a short time that hasn’t always been on the upswing, it’s not surprising that they would look to Jewish texts and to the Jewish people as examples of a people that have weathered the worst of all storms for close to 6,000 years."Into this essentially positive scenario (there are certainly elements in South Korea hostile to Israel and advocating BDS) has stepped a certain Anglican vicar of our acquaintance.
Yes, the Reverend Stephen Sizer is now in Seoul. He's gone there for a week, during which he will appear at various churches and seminaries promoting the just-published Korean edition of his book, which of course opposes all that Christian Zionism holds dear:
Let's hope the South Korean Christian Zionists are as steadfast in their beliefs as this writer:
'When it comes to the Christian situation in the Middle East, Islam is just not a problem. It’s all those pesky Jews.
The Church in general has a long history of dedicating resources to harassing the Jews and painting them as the "enemies of Christ[ians]," which the Bible specifically warns against.
Many thought we had moved beyond all that, that the horrors of the Holocaust had finally woken the Church to how wrong it had been. In fact, those Christians involved today in this new brand of Israel-bashing will most loudly protest the label of anti-Semitism. But, as the saying goes, "methinks they do protest too loudly."
What the World Council of Churches and others like it are doing is rebranding that most anti-Semitic of doctrines – Replacement Theology.
Instead of calling for their heads, this new brand of Replacement Theology sheds crocodile tears for the Jews as mistreated lost souls who once tasted God’s goodness, but have since been replaced as His "chosen" because of their rejection of Jesus.
They do not hate the Jews (at least not openly), but they believe the biblical promises made to national Israel have expired. And that is where the State of Israel comes in. If God’s promises to national Israel are no longer valid, then modern Israel has nothing to do with biblical prophecy or God’s plan of global redemption....
Ultimately, the aim of groups like the World Council of Churches is not biblical, it’s not even about genuine social justice. Whether they know it or not, whether they accept it or not, their agenda is about advancing the cause of Islam and reversing what God is doing in this land.'Update: The Reverend Sizer has reacted to my article, at any rate as it appears on Ruth King's Ruthfully Yours blog:
The link surely makes clear that it is from the pro-Zionist "Israel Today".
But since the Reverend Sizer has reacted with such indignation, I am happy to clarify for his benefit and that of anyone else that I did not intend to imply that the quoted passage is his.
I sincerely regret any distress caused to him over this matter.