Members of the National Religious Broadcasters have landed back in the United States after concluding a four-day Christians in solidarity trip to Israel this week.
“Our purpose was two fold. One, to show the people of Israel we support them in a time of crisis because Hamas is attacking them and this isn’t a time for neutrality. Hamas is a terrorist organization, we saw that, that they were using terror and the Israelis are trying to protect innocent civilians. It was good for us to see that and just show solidarity with those who were under attack,” NRB President Dr. Jerry Johnson said at Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv before boarding his flight back to the United States early Friday morning. “And then also with the tourism industry just to say you know, 'We think other Americans should come, other Americans should get flights and hotels, go to the restaurants. It’s a time to support the economy and the life, the nation of Israel.'"
Johnson brought 10 Christian broadcasters on behalf of the NRB to Israel who have a combined listening audience of 60 million people per day through religious radio and television programs. He put the trip together specifically because Israel is under attack from Hamas and to combat rising anti-Semitism not just in the United States, but also around the world. Participants included President of AnGeL Ministries and daughter of Billy Graham Anne Graham Lotz, President of the Family Research Council Tony Perkins, President & CEO of the Total Living Network Jerry Rose, Evangelical Action Director at The Institute on Religion & Democracy Chelsen Vicari, Co-Founder of Precept Ministries Kay Arthur and others.
“We want to send a message back to Christians, to churches, to Americans, this is the time for you to take a stand with Israel and to get involved,” Johnson said.
NRB board member and President of Son Broadcasting Annette Garcia, who visits Israel often, also stressed how now is an important time to visit the Jewish country.
“I think that this trip was just a magnificent way to be able to show our solidarity and I think like Israel always does, Israel unites Christians together on their behalf and that’s what I feel like we did,” Garcia said. “As our guide said, as he was leaving [after dropping off the group at the airport] he told us he had to come back in because he missed us. His heart, the way he expressed it, is the way I feel when I leave Israel. This is our family and these are the people that we support and that we love and my heart is full when I get on that plane and I feel like I’m actually leaving home instead of going home.”
Editor's note: I was in Israel this week on a trip sponsored by the National Religious Broadcasters and hosted by Israel's Ministry of Tourism.