Irish Christian Friends of Israel was started in the early 1980s. In 1984 we joined members of the Jewish community at a Prayer Rally attended by 200, outside the Russian Embassy to campaign for persecuted Soviet Jews and we presented a Petition signed by 1,000 Irish people. We set up the Ireland Peace and Reconciliation Forest in Beth Shemesh, south of Jerusalem in 1995 with the endorsement of the leaders of the 4 main Churches in Ireland – Catholic, Church of Ireland, Presbyterian and Methodist – together with the approval of the then Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs. Well over 1,500 trees have been planted in this Forest by Irish Citizens. For more information about our Forest click here.
We campaigned for the establishment of an Israeli Embassy in Dublin for many years and along with the Council of Christians and Jews, we presented a Petition of 3,000 signatories to Dick Spring, the then Minister for Foreign Affairs requesting the Irish Government to allow Israel open an Embassy in Dublin.
We have organised many trips to Israel over the years but the most significant ones were the two Jewish/Christian Solidarity trips. The first had 65 Christians and Jewish people and the second had 95. These were co-led by Chief Rabbi Jacob Pearlman and ICFI.
Along with the Jewish community we fundraised for an Ambulance for the Magen David Adom. There was a wonderful response from Irish Christians and Jews and enough money was raised for 3 ambulances. These are now operating in Northern Israel serving Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities – Each ambulance carries an inscription on its door along with a harp symbol. The inscription reads: “Presented to the People of Israel by the Jewish Communities of Dublin, Belfast & Cork and Irish Christian Friends of Israel.”
Two Prayer Rallies in support of Israel’s right to exist were held outside the Dail and Israeli Embassy in 2009 and 2010.
Since 1996 when the Israeli Embassy was established in Dublin we have sponsored the annual Jewish/Christian Celebration for Israel’s Independence Day.