In The News
Tulsa community turns out in support of Israel at 'Night to Honor Israel'
By BILL SHERMAN World Religion Writer
Several thousand people from dozens of Tulsa-area churches met Sunday night at Victory Christian Center to show their support for the Nation of Israel and the Jewish people.
It was an evening of music, dancing, waving the Israeli flag, speeches and prayer, all honoring Israel.
Tulsa’s Night to Honor Israel, one of numerous such events being held across the country, came just five days after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made an impassioned plea before the U.S. Congress urging America to do whatever is necessary to keep Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.
Several speakers cited that address in their remarks.
The Rev. Sharon Daugherty, co-founding pastor of Victory, said she thought Netanyahu’s speech to Congress was historic.
“We’re in an hour when we need to have a strong voice (in support of Israel)” said Daugherty, who is director of Christians United for Israel in Oklahoma, the sponsoring organization.
Keynote speaker U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., said Netanyahu’s speech was one of the best ever in America, likening it to a speech by Patrick Henry before the American Revolutionary War.
He said Israel, and the United States, have not faced a greater threat than Iran, even in the Cold War with Russia, when the policy of Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) prevented a nuclear holocaust.
“We’re in the most threatened position in the history of our country,” he said.
“MAD means nothing to the terrorists over there. They want to die.”
He said the treaty being negotiated with Iran would lead to a nuclear Iran, and the Middle East would soon become a crisscross of nuclear trip wires.
He called on everyone at the event to talk to other people about the situation.
“We’ve got to get the American people to understand what’s at stake,” he said.
Oklahoma First District Congressman Jim Bridenstine, a fighter pilot who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, said that Israel is a beacon of hope for religious liberty in the Middle East.
He said his father was recently baptized in the Jordan River at age 66, which was only possible because Israel honors religious freedom.
“Israel has always stood with us. The question is, are we going to continue to stand with them?” he said.
The Rev. Negiel Bigpond speaking on behalf of the Native American people, said, “I say to Israel, you’re like a river that gives us life, and without you we cannot exist,” a Native American expression of love.
Tulsa mayor Dewey Bartlett said by video that the Jewish community has long supported Tulsa, and “now it’s our turn to stand up with them.”
Gov. Mary Fallin said by video, “Israel is a friend to Oklahoma, … It’s important that the people of Israel know that all of America stands behind them.”
The Rev. Paul Daugherty, senior pastor at Victory, said the next generation of America “gets it. We’re with you.”
Shiri Achiash-West, the Israeli emissary to Tulsa, said that keeping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons is a great challenge facing America and Israel.
“Israelis and Palestinians are desiring peace,” she said. “We are always wishing for peace.”