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Christian, Jewish leaders say Hamas must be destroyed, warn against 'premature ceasefire'

Palestinian militants move towards the border fence with Israel from Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on October 7, 2023. Barrages of rockets were fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip at dawn as militants from the blockaded Palestinian enclave infiltrated Israel.
Palestinian militants move towards the border fence with Israel from Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on October 7, 2023. Barrages of rockets were fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip at dawn as militants from the blockaded Palestinian enclave infiltrated Israel. | SAID KHATIB/AFP via Getty Images

A coalition of Christian and Jewish religious leaders urged President Joe Biden not to pressure Israel into a "premature ceasefire" and demonstrate "unlimited and unqualified" support for the Jewish state amid its conflict with Hamas. 

More than 50 notable Israeli and American religious leaders signed a letter published on the second page of The Jerusalem Post Wednesday, as Biden visited the country to express solidarity with the American ally.

While the signatories expressed gratitude that Biden visited Israel "in her darkest hour," they urged him to "take stronger action on behalf of Israel" and call for the release of the 199 hostages taken in the Oct. 7 attack.

Hamas terrorists killed over 1,400 people, many of whom were civilians, as they attackedcommunities in southern Israel near the border with Gaza. The attack prompted retaliatory airstrikes and a potential ground invasion by the Israeli military into Gaza. The Palestinian health officials say over 3,000 have been killed and 12,500 injured. 

The leaders urged Biden "not pressure Israel into a premature ceasefire."

"Israel must do all that is necessary to destroy Hamas," the letter warns. "It is not sufficient for Israel to degrade or even defeat this brutal terrorist regime, which oppresses its own people. Israel must completely destroy every Hamas terrorist, so that this evil is erased from human history. If America pressures Israel into a ceasefire, Israel's enemies will be emboldened, and Israel imperiled, long into the future."

Prominent signatories include former Prestonwood Baptist Church Pastor Jack Graham, Harvest Christian Fellowship Pastor Greg Laurie, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference President Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, Congress of Christian Leaders President Johnnie Moore, former U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, former Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., and former President Donald Trump's spiritual advisor Paula White. 

The leaders called on Biden to "send a message to terrorists who would threaten Israelis by retaliating your administration's commitment to enforcement of the Taylor Force Act." The legislation passed in 2018 allows some aid to Palestinians to be cut until they end stipends for terror convicts and families of slain terrorists. 

The faith leaders expressed confidence that Israel would "do everything possible to minimize civilian casualties" as they continued to fight Hamas, stressing that "Israel must do everything necessary to completely uproot and destroy" the terrorist group.

"As Israel's greatest ally, America must demonstrate UNLIMITED and UNQUALIFIED support for Israel in its righteous battle against Hamas," the letter reads.

In a statement shared with The Christian Post, Friedman, the lead signatory on the letter, said the leaders are "united in demanding that the United States afford Israel the time, the space, and the resources to eradicate Hamas and the atrocities which it commits against Jews and Palestinians alike."

Friedman contends, "What happened on October 7 can never happen again."

Public opinion polling shows that a majority of Americans agree with the signatories' declaration that it was necessary to "destroy Hamas."

A poll of 1,007 likely U.S. voters conducted by Rasmussen Reports between Oct. 10 and 12 found that 66% of Americans seconded the assertion from Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., that "Israel has no choice but to seek the complete eradication of Hamas in Gaza."

Forty-one percent of respondents told pollsters that they "strongly agreed" with Rubio's statement. By contrast, just 19% expressed disagreement with Rubio. Fifteen percent were unsure whether they agreed or disagreed with the senator.

The publication of the letter to Biden by The Jerusalem Post comes as the president held a meeting with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Wednesday. Biden informed Netanyahu that "you are not alone," adding, "We will continue to have Israel's back as you work to defend your people."

Recalling how the founders of Israel envisioned the nation as one "based on freedom, justice, and peace," Biden assured Netanyahu that "the United States stands with you in defense of that freedom, in pursuit of that justice, and in support of that peace today, tomorrow, and always."

In addition to meeting with Netanyahu, the president spoke with "Israelis impacted or involved in the response to the Oct. 7 attacks. 

The president is expected to give a speech from the Oval Office on Thursday addressing the ongoing violence in Israel and the conflict in Ukraine. The address will take place at 8 p.m. ET.

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: ryan.foley@christianpost.com

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