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Christians and Jews Rally in Support of Israel

By Sara Gold Rafel, StandWithUs/Southeast executive director

Image: IsraelMFA | flickr

On Sunday, May 30, more than one hundred Christians and Jews gathered on the broad green front lawn of Christ the Messiah Church-JAX for an exuberant rally unequivocally supporting Israel and strongly condemning the onslaught of violent and global antisemitism. The rally, hosted by the church and the newly formed Northeast Florida chapter of StandWithus/Southeast, rejoiced in a mutual love and support for the State of Israel and the shared, core values of our Judeo-Christian heritage.

Steering Committee member Dr. Alan I. Segal, Au.D greeted all and introduced Reverend Ed Bez of Christ the Messiah Church. With tears in his eyes, Pastor Bez emphasized the commonality of goals and the pain he feels for the lack of support of many Christians during the Holocaust. Pastor Bez and his wife Rachel mobilized their loving congregation to plan and host the chapter's first event.

Retired Rabbi Eliezer Ben-Yehuda made some additional comments acknowledging our collective appreciation of Christianity’s worldwide evolution towards the total support of Israel and our people.

Dr. Alan I. Segal, Au.D. addressed the crowd and stated that Israel’s citizens were randomly and vehemently attacked with over 4,000 rockets by Hamas, 600 of which mistakenly landed inside Gaza. Hiding their launch sites amidst their own civilians in densely populated areas including hospitals and kindergartens, only served to increase the numbers of the casualties, so that Israel would be blamed.

He continued, "Amidst the terror and fury of three weeks of non-stop violence, Hamas still holds the greatest advantage of all, which is peace— which Hamas, of course, refuses to deploy. If Israel’s enemies were to lay down their arms tomorrow, there would be peace. If Israel laid down their arms there would be genocide. We stand for the country that has offered peace five separate times to the Palestinians since 1947, only to be summarily rejected without so much as a serious counter-offer."

Steering Committee Member Lonnie Lane was showered by love from all as she celebrated her 80th birthday. In her honor, her children held a StandWithUs fundraiser that raised over $1,200.

Isabel Balotin, founding member of the StandWithUs Northeast Florida chapter, shared the mission of StandWithUs: an international nonprofit and non-partisan Israel education organization that works to inspire and educate people of all ages about Israel, as well as challenge misinformation and fight antisemitism. “Our common love of Israel and the Jewish people brought the two groups together in total unity. May the bond we have forged never be broken and may we go from strength to strength together to make the world a more loving and acceptable place." She encouraged everyone to report antisemitic incidents to StandWithUs/Southeast.

After the speakers, the crowd loudly sung Am Yisrael Chai and Hatikvah, followed by flag and banner waving with countless vehicles honking.

Of the fervent supporters of Israel, many were from Hadassah’s Jacksonville chapter, headed by Goldie Lansky. Others included Israeli Community Shaliach Stav Brener, local Israelis, several survivors of the Holocaust, residents from the local beach communities and members of local synagogues: Etz Chaim, Congregation Ahavath Chesed, the Jacksonville Jewish Center, Beth-El at the Beaches, Chabad, Rabbis Dov Kentof, of blessed memory, and Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, as well as congregants from two other local churches.

To learn more about StandWithUs/Southeast, contact Isabel Balotin at or visit www.

Read the full article here.


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