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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2018 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved. 


 

May 18, 2018  RSS feed
World News

Text: T T T

U.S. Israeli ambassador chose ‘controversial’ pastors who gave embassy prayers


Robert Jeffress Robert Jeffress (JTA) – Two controversial pastors who offered prayers at the dedication of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem were invited by U.S Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman.

Robert Jeffress, the Dallas pastor of a Southern Baptist megachurch who has disparaged Jews, Mormons and Muslims delivered the opening prayer at the Jerusalem embassy dedication. Robert Jeffress, is a Fox News contributor, a prominent supporter of President Donald Trump and host of radio and television shows broadcast throughout the United States.

He has said “you can’t be saved by being a Jew” and “Mormonism is a heresy from the pit of hell.”

Prior to the embassy dedication ceremony on May 14, former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney lambasted Jeffress as a religious bigot.

The other minister, Pastor John Hagee, head of Christians United for Israel, who gave the closing benediction, has also made controversial remarks including that Hitler and the Holocaust were part of God’s plan to bring Jews to Israel.


John Hagee John Hagee The day following the embassy dedication, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in response to a reporter’s question that it was Friedman’s decision to bring Jeffress on board for the ceremony. “We would certainly not agree with the pastor’s remarks, some of his controversial remarks that he has made about various religious groups, but he was chosen by Ambassador Friedman, who was certainly welcome to do so, and made that decision,” Nauert said.

“(E)mbassies certainly have their free will sometimes to make decisions about who they want to bring in as guest lecturers or people to lead a ceremony or some sort of a celebration. To my knowledge, we did not have any role in making that decision,” she also said.

Friedman, who is Jewish, defended the participation of Jeffress and Hagee in an interview with Breitbart News. “I chose those pastors because they deserve to speak,” he said, “because they represented a community very much in support of what happened yesterday.”

Added Friedman: “The evangelical community in particular shares the same belief that Jewish people have, that Israel is a special place, that its existence is evidence of a covenant between God and the Jewish people, and that the relationship between the United States and Israel is a blessed one, and that America itself will receive blessings – if not Godly blessings, then certainly the benefits that come to people who act righteously and courageously.”

According to the New York Times, Hagee told an NPR interviewer that he believes Jews will be saved during the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. While Jews do not believe in Jesus as their savior, Hagee said, they will accept him when he appears and “they will weep as one weeps for his only son for a period of one week.”


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