By Paul Miller, Originally published in Breitbart
One year after their 2006 debut, Christians United for Israel (CUFI) consisted of less than 8,900 members. As they celebrate their tenth anniversary, CUFI proudly proclaims itself the largest Israel advocacy organization in the world, with a membership of nearly 2.8 million.
CUFI Founder and Chairman, Pastor John Hagee, has had an eventful decade. But his journey to this point began 35 years ago when he organized the first “Night to Honor Israel.” The Evangelical pastor ran into skepticism from the San Antonio Jewish community; but with the blessing of the local rabbi, Hagee got the green light.
“I met Pastor Hagee and was convinced that it was worthwhile to give this person an opportunity,” explained Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg. “I told the [Jewish] Federation that I was very impressed with the pastor and we should give his idea a shot. At that point I think the community was ready to participate in a Night to Honor Israel.”
Hagee credits this first celebration of the Jewish state as the catapult that started it all, telling the Haym Salomon Center, “If we had never done the first one, there would never have been a Christians United For Israel.”
“I don’t think anyone could have expected such extraordinary growth. But we did know, from day one, just how special this effort is. CUFI is an organization, but Christian Zionism is a movement,” explained Hagee. “Israel has a deep well of support among the American Christian community. And while CUFI’s size and strength have put us on the map in a very real way, I believe we’ve only scratched the surface.”
As CUFI looks toward the future, Hagee can’t help but reflect on the past.