More than 4,000 people, predominantly evangelical Christians, gathered in Washington, D.C., this week for an annual pro-Israel conference.
Organized by Christians United for Israel (CUFI), America’s largest pro-Israel organization, the three-day event focused on the growing pressures facing Israel, including those posed by a nuclear weapon-possessing Iran and those from the new U.S. administration, according to organizers.
"The message is, the clock is ticking," said David Brog, CUFI’s executive director, to Christian Broadcasting Network news.
"We are extremely worried about Iran's steady progress towards obtaining nuclear weapons,” he said. “If we don't use every means at our disposal to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons, then we will have to confront this threat of a nuclear Iran, which is an unacceptable situation not only for Israel, but for the United States as well.”
Iran is among Israel’s top arch enemies, with the Iranian president even threatening to wipe out its neighboring Jewish state.
Relations between the U.S. and Israel have cooled with the entrance of the Obama administration, which is seen as less supportive of Israel than the Bush administration. Obama is seen as a greater supporter of the two-state solution that splits part of Israel’s land to form a Palestinian state.
Many CUFI members are against the two-state solution and consider splitting Jerusalem, which a few Israeli officials have offered to do, unthinkable.
The three-day event ended Wednesday with conference attendees lobbying lawmakers on Capitol Hill to support Israel. On Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the crowd via live satellite.
CUFI was founded in 2006 by Pastor John Hagee of the 18,000-membered Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas. It was created as a national grassroots movement focused on supporting Israel through advocacy.
Although CUFI is supported by hundreds of Christian leaders, its founder John Hagee has met criticisms in recent years over his eschatological and theological beliefs.
Hagee is among a small minority of evangelical Christians who believe that Israel plays a key role in the second coming of Jesus Christ, according to JTA news.
This week’s CUFI Washington-Israel Summit is the fourth since the organization’s inception.