In an historic first, a delegation of Israeli parliament members attended an American president’s inauguration last week, signaling a decided change in both the political and spiritual relationships between Americans and Israelis, and Jews and Christians.
The delegation to President Donald Trump’s inauguration last Friday, including two Likud members of Knesset, Rabbi Yehudah Glick, an advocate for universal prayer on the Temple Mount, and Sharren Haskel, was organized by Hayovel, a non-profit organization which brings Christian volunteers to Israel. Also in attendance, though not part of the Hayovel delegation, was settler leader Oded Revivi, mayor of Efrat and chief foreign envoy of the Yesha (Judea and Samaria) Council.
“If we want to stand with Israel, we have to start out this administration correctly,” Tommy Waller, founder of Hayovel, told Breaking Israel News, explaining the intention behind forming the delegation. “We have to acknowledge Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria and everything that means.”
Specifically, the delegation was focused on repairing Jewish-Christian relations under the unifying strength of the new administration. “We concentrated on the significant Christian events surrounding the inauguration and connecting the MKs to those leaders,” Tommy Waller, founder of Hayovel, told Breaking Israel News.
“There are so many people in the Christian community who have a heart for Israel but there is a lack of knowledge. This election signals an opening to begin bringing these people and Israel closer to each other.”
Rabbi Glick told Breaking Israel News that the difference between Trump and his predecessor was immediately strikingly clear.
“One change that made me sit up and take notice was when Trump said during his inaugural address that the enemy of the free world is radical Islamic terror, something so many have been waiting to hear a leader say,” Rabbi Glick said. “We’ve just gone through 8 years of depression from what Obama represented, and we just inaugurated a president who, throughout his campaign, connected strongly with Israel and Jerusalem.”
The American-born politician described his expectations for the next administration in Biblical terms.
“We are in a Biblical era, in which the words of the prophets are becoming reality,” Rabbi Glick said. “This new president can choose to be Pharaoh or he can choose to be Cyrus. Cyrus is mentioned in the 45th chapter of Isaiah and Trump is the 45th president. I don’t have any promises from God, but I saw so many people there who had great hope.”
The focal point of the delegation was the inauguration ceremony, but most of their time before and after the inauguration was spent meeting with leaders of Christian and Jewish communities, where the delegation members sought to act as a bridge between the two religions as well as between the two countries. The day before the inauguration, Rabbi Glick attended a three-hour prayer session with over 1,000 Christians.
Though Oded Revivi’s delegation was not connected to Hayovel and Yehudah Glick, their goals were the same. Revivi believes that Israel, and indeed the peace process, suffered because of the past administration creating a one-sided conversation.
“There are definitely a lot of people who want to help Israel, but we are used to the American administration dictating terms and telling us what they want,” Revivi told Breaking Israel News.
His delegation met with several think tanks and politicians, and the difference in administrations was immediately apparent. “I was surprised when the people we met wanted to know what we wanted, so that they could help the new administration go in that direction. That is a significant change.”