This past week, the historic Jerusalem Cinematheque, located across from the walls of the Old City, was host to a diverse mix of Christians and Jews united by their desire for mutual understanding and support for Israel at the Reconciliation with Israel Conference.
The conference took place during the Ten Days of Repentance between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, a period in which Jews attempt to reflect and repent on the last year’s deeds before the Book of Judgement, which contains one’s fate in the New Year, is signed and sealed on Yom Kippur.
The conference was the brainchild of Kellen Davison, who sat down with Breaking Israel News to talk about the event.
“When I first came to Israel last March it felt like I was coming home, ” Davison said. He and his family cut their trip to Israel short when her wife realized she was pregnant, but now he is back with a group of equally enthusiastic supporters from all walks of life and places throughout the globe.
“We have people from the United States, Canada, South Africa, Ethiopia, South Sudan, the Czech Republic, and other countries,” Davison said enthusiastically. “And there are many more watching the live stream on the internet.”
The assembled array of guest speakers had one thing in common: a passion for Israel and a desire to counter anti-Semitism.
Davison was born in the United States and currently lives in Canada, where he runs an online magazine and hosts a radio show. It was about 20 years ago that he started developing his ideas about support for Israel within the Christian community.
“We need to dispel the inaccuracies both historic and contemporary,” he explained. “Education can help people understand what was done in the name of Christianity.”
Some Christian organizations are taking an actively anti-Israel stance, Davidson explained, mentioning specific Christian organizations planning conferences to support such causes as “ending the occupation of Palestine” and highlighting perceived wrongdoing by the Israel. However, after personally visiting the country, Davison sees things differently than his coreligionists.
“People who have never visited Israel and never met a Jewish person may be caught off-guard because they don’t know the facts,” he said.
Davison planned to have small discussion groups in North America following video presentation of the conference. But to his pleasant surprise, people from various cities have begun to contact him on their own to arrange “truth shops.”
Rather than simply coming to Israel in an attempt to change people’s points of views religiously or politically or to protest against certain governmental policies, Davison wants the participants of the Reconciliation with Israel Conference to truly learn about the Jewish nation.
“This isn’t about discussing conversion or missionaries,” Davidson explained. “It’s about having real, heart-to-heart conversations about our commonalities.”