ICEJ Organizes Rallys in Nashville and Washington, DC to Support Israel
By: ICEJ USA Staff
Nashille, TN – “Our Time is Now!”
On October 27, 2023, Jews and Christians gathered in unity to support Israel in Nashville, TN, to respond to one of the darkest days of history, when Hamas terrorists slaughtered over 1,400 Israelis and hundreds of mostly civilians were taken hostage to Gaza. ICEJ USA Deputy Director Daryl Hedding spoke at the rally that drew hundreds of Israel supporters, enthusiastically declaring to the crowd: “We come together today to tell Israel, ‘You are not alone!’ and ‘You [Israel] have a right to self-defense! We will support you no matter how long this war takes to win.’” Hedding’s powerful speech included the following commission:
“During the Holocaust, there were three main groups of people: the Nazis and their collaborators, the Jewish victims, and the bystanders. Most people were bystanders who thought they were innocent. But Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a pastor who gave his life trying to stop the Holocaust, had this to say about bystanders: ‘Silence in the face of evil is itself evil. God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.’
“Brothers and sisters, bystanders are not innocent. Our time is now. This might be the defining moment of our generation when we find out what we are really made of. We cannot look evil in the face and shrink back in fear. The command Moses gave Joshua in Deuteronomy 31 before taking on the giants in the promised land is a rallying cry for us today: ‘Be strong and courageous. Do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.’ May God give us and Israel the strength and courage for the days ahead. And may God bless Israel and the United States. Am Israel chai—the people of Israel live!”
Marching Together for Israel in Washington, DC
By Shannon Bennett, ICEJ Leadership Outreach Coordinator
“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” —Psalm 133: 1
That’s the passage that comes to me when I think of the November 14 March for Israel rally in Washington, DC. It was a united effort from day one. We learned from our Jewish friends that the Council of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations and the Jewish Federations of North America were planning a rally and seeking to bring all who loved Israel to Washington, DC, on November 14. The challenge: November 14 was less than two weeks away. For this to succeed, we needed the cooperation of many diverse groups—and a miracle.
The American Christian Leaders for Israel (ACLI) network was activated to publicize the event to their constituencies. The Jewish community activated their own networks. And on a beautiful, sunny November 14, 290,000 people met on the National Mall to support Israel and call for the freedom of the more than 200 hostages held in Gaza.
For us, the morning started at David’s Tent DC, a 24/7 worship and prayer ministry on the National Mall. They devoted that morning to intercession for Israel while we staffed a table to check in those who preregistered with us for the rally. We then joined the throngs of people at the March for Israel. Our signs read “Christians for Israel,” and we were stopped many times by Jewish attendees who wanted to share their heartfelt thanks, give hugs, and take photos with us. I think we were all a bit overwhelmed by the warm reception. It clearly mattered that we were there to stand with them.