(Photo: Wharton Photography)
John Hagee Ministries (JHM) raised over $6 million on Sunday to benefit Jewish charities as a part of the 30th annual Night to Honor Israel event at Cornerstone Church in San Antonio. The money was divided between 45 different organizations and will help to fund projects addressing a variety of financial, educational, emotional and medical needs of Jewish people, but not everyone was happy about it.
Lee Wunsch, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston (JFGH), has been a friend of Hagee for 25 years, and serves as an adviser to JHM with regards to the funds it distributes to Israel every year. He, along with other advisers, helped determine which charities would get the money and also helps with distributing it.
On Wednesday, he indicated via his Twitter account that a few people in the Jewish community aren't supportive of his work with JHM.
“Love the tweets from people accusing me of taking money from anti-semitic, proselytizing #Christians like #JohnHagee,” Wunsch said on his account. “They have no clue.”
Wunsch described the Night to Honor Israel event as “30 years of love” on Twitter, and told The Christian Post on Thursday his organization is “on record in support of working with our Christian friends that support Israel.”
Over 7,000 people participated in the Night to Honor Israel and listened to speakers like Hagee, Israel’s Consul General to the Southwestern U.S. Meir Shlomo, and controversial radio host and former Fox News host Glenn Beck.
In his speech, Beck said it was time for a “Third Great Awakening” and that God is preparing a “surprise party for Satan,” according to the San Antonio Express-News.
“All we have to do is the next right thing, and the right thing is to stand with the good people of Israel, our good Jewish friends who are just like us – we're all brothers and sisters under God,” he said.
He also said a number of different opponents – communists, socialists, revolutionaries and Islamacists – are working together to see Israel, the U.S. and “the Western way of life” come to ruin.
No reference was made during the event, by Beck or any other speaker, of Beck's Mormon beliefs.
U.S. Rep. Francisco “Quico” Canseco (R-Texas) of San Antonio attended the event, and said he was honored to have been there.
“I strongly believe the U.S.-Israel alliance is of tremendous importance and must continue,” Canseco said, though the reasons he shared were mostly political.
“The United States and Israel have maintained strong bilateral relations based on a number of factors,” he said, “including strong domestic U.S. support for Israel; shared strategic goals in the Middle East; shared democratic values; and historic ties dating back to U.S. support for the creation of Israel in 1948.”
According to Christians United for Israel (CUFI), “as Christians we have a biblical obligation to defend Israel and the Jewish people in their time of need.” CUFI is an organization Hagee founded and serves as national chairman of.
CUFI's website names one danger to the Jewish people in particular, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, who has frequently made anti-semitic comments and denies the Holocaust ever occurred. The site also says Christians waited too long to speak out against the atrocities of the Holocaust, and should never again wait while serious threats against the Jewish people are being made.
“Our 30th Night to Honor Israel was one of our largest and most spirited to date,” Hagee said after the event. “At a time of such peril for Israel, it is deeply encouraging to see San Antonio's Jews and Christians come together for the State of Israel with unprecedented enthusiasm. I think this event sends a powerful message to all concerned that Israel and America will never be separated.”