American presidents like to say that the special relationship between the United States and Israel is based on shared democratic values. That sentiment is often echoed in similar statements by European leaders. But for Christians on both continents, the connection to Israel goes deeper than a modern form of government.
“How deep” is the question.
My perspective on the matter is that of an American. But I am fully aware there are parallel and even more intriguing episodes from Europe of pre-state Christian engagement with Israel’s restoration. Back to Washington, where in 1891 a petition came across the president’s desk at the White House calling for the physical restoration of Israel in its historical homeland. Written by Christian evangelist William Eugene Blackstone, the petition came to be known as the Blackstone Memorial and was circulated in America’s five largest cities. There, it was signed by 431 prominent citizens, including the cities’ mayors, the editors of all major newspapers, members of Congress, top businessmen like John D. Rockefeller, the Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, and future president William McKinley.
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