In the context of a golden age for Jewish-Christian relations and strong Christian support for Israel, Zionist Jews and Christians joined forces to praise the passing of a bill in the U.S. Senate that imposes sanctions on the terrorist group Hezbollah and its affiliates.
Hezbollah, a US-recognized state sponsor of terrorism in Lebanon, is an Iranian-backed proxy that has been stockpiling barrel bombs, ammunition, rockets, mortars and weapons on the southern Lebanese border with Israel. It has trained highly skilled fighters and amassed thousands of weapons directed at Israel’s civilian population, in anticipation of a third Lebanon-Israel war.
This month, the “Hizballah International Financing Prevention Amendments Act of 2017,” sponsored by Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), passed in the U.S. Senate with an amendment by unanimous consent.
Together, Christian and Jewish leaders reaffirmed the bipartisan commitment, surpassing religious difference, to confront Israel’s enemies.
Christians United for Israel (CUFI) founder and Chairman Pastor John Hagee said in a statement supporting the Act, “Hezbollah is a terrorist army. They’ve killed hundreds of Americans and Israelis and have allied themselves with the butchers in Damascus and the tyrants in Tehran. We must do everything we can to stop this evil organization and this legislation is a good step in the right direction.”
David Brog, a CUFI board member, supported the legislation, saying on Friday, “Iran’s emerging stranglehold over a vast swath of the Middle East is a dire threat to the United States and Israel. And a newly enriched, experienced and emboldened Hezbollah is the tip of Iran’s spear. This legislation is an important first step in recognizing and countering this threat that will have a real impact on the ground.”
With over 3.5 million members, CUFI is the nation’s largest pro-Israel group and one of the largest Christians grassroots movements in the world.
It is likely that Hagee’s message to his constituents partially led to the passing of the legislation. In the days ahead of legislation’s passing, his statement resulted in more than 43,000 emails sent to elected officials in support.
Further amplifying Christian support for the legislation, the chair of the World Jewish Congress American Section, Rabbi Joel Meyers, also praised the anti-Hezbollah Act, saying, “In adopting this legislation, which augments the 2015 law passed by Congress and signed by President [Barack] Obama in 2015, the Senate demonstrated that the United States will not tolerate acts of terror or those who perpetrate or support it.”
The bill seeks to amend the “Hizballah International Financing Prevention Act of 2015” to impose additional sanctions on “any foreign person that the President determines knowingly provides significant financial, material, or technological support” to Hezbollah affiliates, fundraisers and recruiters.
The bill requires an annual report on the estimated net worth of Hezbollah leaders as well as on banks that provide assistance to Hezbollah, determining whether such banks are in violation of US law.
Foreign governments, individuals, and companies who violate the regulations of the bill through supporting Hezbollah may have their assets blocked, visas and documentation revoked, and may be sanctioned economically.
Following this month’s passing of the Senate legislation, its companion House of Representatives bill, H.R. 3329, is also set to pass.