Foreign Ministry Honors Rabbi for Jewish-Christian Interfaith Work
The award was presented to Scheinberg by Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely in the presence of Pastor John Hagee, head of an evangelical megachurch.
By Jeremy Sharon – The Jerusalem Post, November 11, 2018
The Foreign Ministry, together with the Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding, bestowed Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg with an award on Sunday for his decades of work for strengthening Jewish-Christian ties.
The award was presented to Scheinberg by Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely in the presence of Pastor John Hagee, head of an Evangelical megachurch and head of the Christians United for Israel pro-Israel (CUFI) organization, which numbers over four million members.
Also present were Rabbi Shlomo Riskin – the founder of the Ohr Torah Stone network, to which the center belongs – and Rabbi Dr. Kenneth Brander, the President of Ohr Torah Stone.
In 1981, following Israel’s bombing of Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor and the international criticism of the Jewish state that followed, Hagee decided to organize “A night to honor Israel” in his hometown of San Antonio for Christians and Jews.
Hagee approached Scheinberg to participate, and after consulting with other rabbis and advancing the stance that they should give Hagee a chance despite skepticism about his agenda, the rabbi agreed to participate, thus beginning four decades of cooperation between the two.
“Had he [Scheinberg] come back to me and said it’s not going to happen, then there wouldn’t have been a second [night to honor Israel] nor a third, would never have been a Christians United for Israel born years later that now has 4.5 million people, active people, in the US who are ready with a phone call to respond in defense of Israel,” said Hagee.
The pastor said that at the first event and ever since, he has been spreading the message that “the Jewish people are still the cherished people, covenant people, chosen of God; they have not been replaced. The Land of Israel is theirs; they are not interlopers. It is the land that God gave them by covenant and will always be there.”
Hagee said that the CUFI activists are always on standby. “If you are a congressman that gets sideways on an issue with Israel, we instantly call everyone in your district to give them the full information and flood your office with 25-30,000 emails within a 24-hour period.”
Speaking at the event, Scheinberg praised Hagee as “a person of courage and vision and spiritual strength,” who has “waged a battle” for the Jewish people.
“Pastor, you left the relative comforts of your church that was growing, you went into a desert, a place of danger for your church’s growth, but God said that I will never forget your kindness when you went into that desert to help people in their journey to the Promised Land, to help Jews to help Israel,” said the rabbi, quoting from the book of Jeremiah.
“You honor me, but there is no greater honor that I have had than to have met Pastor Hagee and [his wife], Diana, and to be with them on the journey that will lead to the days of the Messiah, speedily in our days,” said Scheinberg.
The Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding is an Orthodox organization that promotes cooperation between Jews and Christians based in Israel, and also acts as a pro-Israel advocacy group by bringing Christian ministers from around the world to Israel to present them with a positive image of the Jewish state.
The organization works in cooperation with the Foreign Ministry, which has provided financial support to CJCUC, with the ministry’s department for relations with the Christian world “outsourcing” some of its work to the group.
Hagee’s institutions have also provided financial support to CJCUC.