More than 5,000 Christian pilgrims from over 80 nations arrived in Jerusalem in recent days to take part in this week-long celebration, making it once again Israel’s largest annual tourist event and the largest solidarity mission to Israel this year.
On Tuesday, during the annual Jerusalem March, Feast pilgrims were in national costumes while others wore specially designed “Jerusalem United” T-shirts to convey Christian support for a "united Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty."
“The status of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is once again being assailed, even to the ludicrous point of denying the 3,000 year old Jewish connection to the city. The Christian Embassy was founded 30 years ago on the principle of marshalling global support for a united Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty and we have never left that mandate,” said Malcolm Hedding, ICEJ Executive Director.
Referring to the recent Arab riots that erupted amid rumors that a group of Jewish extremists was planning to visit the Temple Mount, Hedding stated that Israeli authorities have shown great responsibility in handling the tensions. “The way Israel has responded to the recent scenes involving crowds of agitators trying to deny the rights of others to visit Jerusalem’s holy sites only reinforces our confidence in Israel as the proper guardians of this city, to ensure freedom of access for all peoples,” he said.
“The world is constantly declaring that Israel should adhere to human rights, parity and greater access of movement but is absolutely silent when Israel tries to ensure all of these. As Christians, we call on all of those who see Jerusalem as a holy and important city to reject this double standard.”
Hedding also referred to the importance of Jerusalem in general and the work the ICEJ was undertaking in the political realm.
“At this our 30th Feast we are reaffirming our commitment to stand with the Jewish people in their deep spiritual attachment to Jerusalem, and to working in our home countries for diplomatic recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s unquestioned capital,” he said.