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Robert Stearns' Jerusalem Banquet in New York City is a magnificent event that brings together Jews and Christians who share a love of and support for Israel. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee gave a moving speech on how he was impacted when he first visited Israel at age 18 and how his family was moved, years later, when they visited Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem.
At the banquet, I was honored to be one of the conveners and also to be able to introduce Gov. Huckabee, a man I worked hard to get elected President in 2008. I brought down the house when I suggested Gov. Mitt Romney pick Huckabee as his running mate.
Robert is a longtime friend and exemplifies a new generation of Christian leaders who support Israel, which is why I invited him to be a guest editor of Ministry Today recently. His topic is The New Zionism.
The purpose of the gala was to raise money for the Israel Experience scholarship fund, which sends deserving non-Jewish students to Israel. The testimonies of changed lives mirrored the stories Gov. Huckabee told about Israel's affect on him.
- The situation: Our universities are being hijacked by violent anti-Semitic, anti-American ideologies.
- The need: A context by which non-Jewish, pro-Israel young people can grow in their understanding of Israel.
- The strategy: Giving tomorrow's leaders an educated heart for Israel through sending them to Israel not as a vacation but to meet leaders, visit the people and to get to know the entire nation.
It takes $5,200 to send a student to Israel. I was so moved I made a pledge and decided to reach out to our tens of thousands of readers to ask you to give a tax deductible donation through our non-profit partner Christian Life Missions. We have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years to bless Israel in many ways. Now, I'm persuaded this is one of the best ways to advance the cause of generating more Christian support for Israel, especially with the younger generation.
We will send every dollar you donate to Robert's ministry Eagles' Wings. Nothing is taken out for overhead. If you want to learn more and view some of the stories from the young people who were recipients of this scholarship from schools such as Rutgers, Boston University, Pepperdine University, University of Michigan and many more, go to www.theisraelexperience.com.
I was most impressed by Ryan Mauro who visited Israel in 2009. He now is a regular on network news shows and is an intelligence analyst with the Symmetric Asymmetric Warfare and Intelligence Center. He spoke at a Middle East briefing Friday morning, which brought to light the situation being even more serious than I previously believed. More on that in future columns.
This year's honoree at the Jerusalem Banquet gala was Harvey Krueger, the vice chairman at Barclays Capital, who has been instrumental in Israel becoming a financial and technological power house in the Middle East. A scholarship was named in his honor and he gave $50,000. Besides that, $100,000 was raised at the banquet, but to send more students, much more must be raised.
Most of us don't have the money of Harvey Krueger. But we can all do something. You can give through this link. Or you can send checks to: Christian Life Missions, 600 Rinehart Road, Lake Mary, FL 32746, noting: Experience Israel Scholarship Fund.
Won't you stand with me as you have so many times before? This scholarship is well run and proving good results. Jewish philanthropists send Jewish young people through a program called Birthright. Won't you help Christian young people take a trip that will change their lives and make them strong supporters of Israel at a time that support is needed.
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