Israel’s prime minister has addressed the pro-Israeli Christians’ annual gathering in Washington, calling the United States and Israel one and the same.
Benjamin Netanyahu spoke via video link to Christians United For Israel (CUFI), which gathered in their thousands to reassert allegiance to Tel Aviv, Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz reported on Wednesday.
"When you support Israel, you don’t have to choose between your interests and your values; you get both," he told the mostly-evangelical Christians in the gathering.
"Our enemies think that we are you, and that you are us. And you know something? They are absolutely right," he said.
The US and Israel have each considered the other as its most strategic ally.
Washington has invariably stonewalled the United Nations’ actions against Tel Aviv. It also provides Tel Aviv with USD 3 billion in military aid each year.
Israel’s Ambassador to the US Michael Oren also addressed the attendees and admired the CUFI’s backing of Israel.
He compared the US support of Israel with British military officer Orde Wingate’s training of Jewish paramilitary units before Israel’s 1948 occupation of the Palestinian land.
The military action, after which Israel proclaimed existence, forced 711,000 Palestinians to leave their homeland. The number of Palestinian refugees is put at over 4.6 million, according to 2008 estimates.
In 1967 and during what became to be known as the Six-Day War, Tel Aviv went on to occupy and later annex the Palestinian territories of the West Bank, East al-Quds and Gaza Strip in a move not recognized by international laws.
Israel carried out a so-called withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, but has been keeping the coastal sliver under recurrent attacks. An all-scale Israeli offensive on Gaza at the turn of 2009 killed more than 1,400 Palestinians.