Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2012, 6:55 pm

WallBuilders founder to speak at Night to Honor Israel

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By Leon Lagerstam, llagerstam@qconline.com

Photo:
David Barton will be the keynote speaker at an annual Night to Honor Israel event, sponsored by the Quad City Association of Evangelicals, to be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18, at Calvary Church of the Quad-Cities, 4700 53rd St., Moline
MOLINE -- When George Washington was inaugurated, rabbis, ministers and priests participated in the ceremony, according to a Texas historian.

David Barton, founder and president of WallBuilders, a national pro-family organization, will be keynote speaker at an annual Night to Honor Israel at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18, at Calvary Church of the Quad-Cities, 4700 53rd St., Moline. The event is sponsored by the Quad City Association of Evangelicals.

Many of President Washington's officers also were synagogue leaders, Mr. Barton said during a telephone interview.

People may not be familiar with how cooperatively Jews and Christians worked together back then, he said, adding that he hopes people who attend Night to Honor Israel will ''get a better picture" of the long history of political, cultural and military cooperation since America was founded.

WallBuilders is dedicated to presenting ''America's forgotten history and heroes, with an emphasis on our moral, religious and constitutional heritage,'' according to www.wallbuilders.com.

The organization's name is taken from an Old Testament Nehemiah passage Mr. Barton called ''the largest grassroots rebuilding project ever told about in the Bible.''

The story told of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem to ''restore its strength and honor,'' he said.

''In the same way, WallBuilders seeks to energize the grassroots today to become involved in strengthening their communities, states and nation,'' according to the website.

The local Night to Honor Israel is an opportunity for Christians and Jews to work together and strengthen ''what unites us,'' Allan Ross, executive director of the Jewish Federation of the Quad Cities, said.

''After all, Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East,'' he said. ''It is a country which shares America's values and is America's forward front lines against international terrorism and fanaticism.''

The event will feature dancing, singing, giving honor to the state of Israel, and raising money through a free-will donation, according to a Jewish Federation news release.

The event has raised $363,132 during its eight-year run.

'"The goal this year is to raise money to help fund an education laboratory in southern Israel, near Gaza, for the 600 new Ethiopian immigrant children and their parents who will be arriving in Israel beginning this month,'' Mr. Ross said.

''In addition, 10 percent of the funds raised will be designated to counter anti-Semitism and anti-Israel hate on our American college campuses.''

Other guest speakers this year will be:

Michael Stevens, Christians United for Israel African American outreach director, and founder of University City Church of God in Christ in Charlotte, N.C.

Maya Karmely, Israeli consul for public affairs for the Midwest.

Mr. Barton speaks to about 400 groups a year. He said WallBuilders has four other speakers on its 30-person staff, so the organization reaches about 1,000 to 1,200 groups a year.

''We are into historical reclamation,'' he said. ''Our emphasis is on presenting forgotten American history.''

Mr. Barton is a consultant to state and federal legislators, has participated in several cases at the Supreme Court, was involved in development of the history/social studies standards for states such as Texas and California, and has helped produce history textbooks used in schools across the nation, according to the website.

Time Magazine once named him one of America's 25 most influential evangelicals.

Mr. Ross complimented local evangelical association leaders for their ''incredible and amazing support year after year,'' saying they, too, continue to make positive, influential differences in the world.