On March 9, 2011, the Honorable Susan M. Michael, Director of the United States Branch of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem presented this Season’s final program in the Saul Stern Cultural Series at the Jewish Congregation of Marco Island.
Susan Michael has been a supporter of Israel for all of her adult life beginning with her years as a student at a Christian school in Israel which became Jerusalem University College. She grew up in a small community in Kentucky, part of a Presbyterian church environment. Her world was very small, her spiritual life centered on reading the Bible until she traveled to Israel and “the Bible came alive for her.”
She speaks now for the Christian evangelical movement as it builds a relationship with the Jewish community in Israel, the United States and throughout the free world. In 1980 she was present in Jerusalem when the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem was established following the pronouncement by the Knesset that declared “Jerusalem the undivided capital of Israel.” The declaration caused outrage among Arab countries and consternation among other “so called friendly countries” many of whom packed up their embassies and went home.
Christian supporters of Israel prayed for the beleaguered country and through their new embassy committed to help all the people of Israel. They provided assistance to Israeli Arabs as well as Jews. The embassy helped Jewish citizens of other countries make their journey “home to Israel.”
In the 1980’s, shortly after the formation of the Christian Embassy, the group helped Russian refusniks leave Russia and cross Europe on their way to Israel. Branches of the Christian Embassy now exist in more than 60 countries and continue to assist Jewish families and individuals emigrate to Israel.
Director Michael recalled the long millennia of anti-semitism and ignorance which Christians for Israel are trying to dispel by being physically present in Israel, working daily with the Jewish people, assisting in meeting basic needs of families in every town and village and educating both Christians and Jews about the promises of Scripture which instruct us to stand with Israel.
Israel’s greatest danger is Iran and its nuclear threat. Lebanon is under the control of Hezbollah and in Israel’s Gaza Strip, Hamas is a constant agitator and imminent threat to Israel’s safety. Michael does not believe peace talks can be productive when Israel’s opponent has a different agenda.
Islam’s true intent is to take back the land on which Palestine exists. “There is no solution for the Palestinian question except Jihad.” Their further intent is to destroy Rome, “the capital of the Catholics” and the leading cities of America.
Director Michael’s husband, an Egyptian Christian, spoke briefly about the recent dramatic overthrow of the Mubarek government in Egypt. He described how the growing unrest of the country’s young people under their repressive government spread through modern communication, the internet, twitter, texting until their voices could not be ignored or battered into silence. He warned that in the short term Islamic extremists from the Muslim Brotherhood may try to hijack the revolution and certainly will demand a place in the new government. In the long term, with the support from the United States and the world community, he is optimistic about the formation of a democratic government which will honor Egypt’s peace pact with Israel.
The audience, attentive throughout, had a number of questions for Director Michael. She commented on the issue of “delegitimization of Israel” which is gaining support on some liberal college campuses in the United States as well as among extreme liberal organizations which use constitutional freedoms to disseminate their opposition to Israel’s right to exist.
In spite of dreadful threats against Israel she is modern, creative, technologically advanced and financially successful thanks to the talents and creative genius of her people and her supporters.
Andrea and Terrence McCreanor of Morgan Stanley, long time supporters of the Congregation, were among the sponsors of the Saul Stern Cultural Series this Season. The Jewish Federation of Collier County is also a long time supporter of the program.