At the end of last month, the Hawai'i-Israel Alignment, working with Christians United for Israel and local churches, hosted "A Night to Honor Israel" at the Maui Lu Resort in Kihei. The event was an all-day conference concluding with dinner and an evening program emceed by Pacific Media Group Production Manager Shane Kahalehau.
Participants came from as far away as South Africa, Nigeria, Jerusalem, the U.S. Mainland and throughout the Hawaiian Islands to show support for Israel.
"My wife and I came to express love and devotion to Israel," said Pastor Elisee Yao from Bloemfontein, South Africa. "We want to organize the same event next year in South Africa."
“My wife Sarah and I came to express love and devotion to Israel,” said Pastor Elisee Yao from Bloemfontein, South Africa. “We want to organize the same event, ‘A Night to Honor Israel,’ next year in South Africa.”
Photo: Paul Schumacher
Ron Prosor, Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, was the guest of honor. Others who provided informative talks included Randy Neal, West Coast regional director of Christians United for Israel; Dr. Robert Mawire, Nigerian founder of Project Now Airlift for Russian Jews; Mark Biltz, author of "Blood Moons;" David Siegel, Consul General of Israel; and others.
"The Hawai'i-Israel Alignment is a focused and dedicated effort to effectively organize and mobilize a movement of support for Israel and the Jewish people in Hawai'i and in Polynesia," said Rev. Kaatee Bailey. She and Rev. Nowlin Correa organized the alignment event on Maui, and took the same program to the University of Hawai'i at Manoa the following day on Saturday, May 31.
The Hawai'i-Israel Alignment Declaration has been honored and commended by the Hawai'i State Senate spearheaded by Sen. Mike Gabbard. (See "The Hawai'i-Israel Alignment Declaration" at the end of this story online for the full text.) The resolution is both an invitation and an opportunity for participants to make a steadfast commitment to defend and support the Jewish nation. Given the political unrest in the Middle East and the daily threats facing Israel, Rev. Baily and Rev. Correa believe it is important that the people of Hawai'i stand in strong solidarity with Israel and its people.
"Anti-Israel propaganda is infiltrating our schools, college campuses, Christian denominations and our country," said Rev. Bailey. "More than ever, Israel needs unwavering friends to stand and speak up on her behalf."
"As citizens of the United States of America, we have the right and the responsibility to make our voice heard," Rev. Bailey said, hoping the petition will make a statement to the leadership of Hawai'i, not only by showing popular support for Israel, but also by encouraging the Hawai'i State Legislature to join in efforts to strengthen the vital U.S.-Israel relationship.
Rev. Bailey went on to explain, "The state of Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East that offers freedom and hope to all citizens, regardless of race, religion, gender or creed, and is the greatest friend and ally of the United States."
On July 25, 2013, Rev. Bailey and Rev. Correa visited the Hawai'i Congressional Delegation in Washington, D.C., in order to voice their support for Israel.
"We presented them a plan of action that included a petition called the Hawai'i-Israel Alignment Declaration," said Rev. Bailey. "Our objective is to draw unequivocal support for Israel from every district on every island in Hawai'i. We requested their support and their endorsement on our documents."
Once the signatures are obtained, a copy will be sent to the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C., and the original will be hand delivered to the Israeli Knesset in Jerusalem.
"This is the hour when nations are in the valley of decision," Rev. Bailey said, noting that many states in the U.S., including American Indian nations, are responding to this call.
"It is also because of the interest in Israel shown by other states that we were moved to form the Hawai'i-Israel Alignment," said Rev. Bailey.
Speaker Randy Neal made a point of saying that being pro-Israel is not synonymous with being anti-Arab, and that he prays the peace process will someday take root.
Cam Cavasso, candidate for the U.S. Senate in Hawai'i's special election, strongly affirmed the support for Israel that he would bring from Hawai'i to the Senate.
"I support Israel's right to exist as a free nation and friend of America," Cavasso said, praising Rev. Bailey and Rev. Correa for their leadership in Hawai'i and the Hawai'i-Israel Alignment.
Cavasso also encouraged voters to participate in this coming election, stating, "This is a critical election for both the U.S. and Israel. It is time for Hawai'i to re-establish itself as a leader in the nation with the highest voter participation rate in the country."
"I promise we will continue to be strong and reach out to anyone who wants peace," said Ambassador Prosor. "We are continually fighting against demonization of Israel and the Jewish people; however, we stand strong and call it out. We fight against radicalism and extremism for values we all cherish, including a culture of life."
Maui pastors from different Christian denominations spoke of their support for Israel and against "the evil that calls evil good and then calls good evil."
"I want to stand up for what is true and right," said Pastor Rob Finberg of Grace Church in Pukalani. "I continue to pray for peace and an end to terrorism."
Joel Richman from the Jewish Congregation of Maui addressed the gathering and thanked all the participants for their support.
Holocaust survivor Michael Resmo thanked the Hawai'i-Israel Alignment for the wonderful things they are doing to support Israel.
"Perhaps if this kind of organization existed, it would never have happened," said Resmo. "Thank you, Hawai'i, for representing us. I will always remember this."
To read and sign the petition in support of Israel, go to www.khmhawaii.com or call Rev. Bailey at (808) 385-3898.
The Hawai'i-Israel Alignment Declaration
The Hawai'i-Israel Alignment vision is a focused and dedicated effort to effectively organize and mobilize a movement of support for Israel and the Jewish people in Hawai'i and in Polynesia.
Rev. Kaatee Bailey and Rev. Nowlin Correa invite the community to participate in this alignment by reading and signing the following declaration at khmhawaii.com.
"If you want your church assembly or organization, or if you personally want to sign our declaration and be a part of this great and historical movement on our islands, please contact us and we will be happy to assist you," said Rev. Bailey. "All signatures will be hand delivered to the Israeli Jerusalem Knesset, where you or your organization will be recognized as supporters of Israel."
[Editor's note: This resolution calls out important and interesting facts connecting Hawai'i to the Jewish people and Israel.]
We, a coalition of people from all districts of the Hawaiian Islands, stand unified with a steadfast commitment to Israel; in so doing, we proclaim and secure God's blessing on our land, and agree:
Whereas, the land of Israel is the birthplace of the Jewish people, who have a natural and historical right to the land of Israel as ordained by the eternal God, Creator of heaven and earth (Genesis 1:1); and
Whereas, the Jewish people have a history of friendship in Hawai'i since 1798, contributing to the protection, development, economic, and political life of the Hawaiian Islands; and
Whereas, Queen Lili'uokalani appointed Paul Neumann, one of the first Jewish diplomats in the Hawaiian Kingdom, to be her personal attorney after the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1893. In Washington D.C., he protested the overthrow and pleaded for the restoration of the monarchy; and
Whereas, King David Kalakaua was encouraged in his faith, learned Biblical principles, values, and Hebrew, by a Jewish friendship with Elias Abraham Rosenberg. Mr. Rosenberg presented the Royal Family with their first Torah Scroll in 1886. Henceforth, Queen Lili'uokalani, Kalakaua's successor, received possession of the scroll. It was passed down to Queen Kapiolani, then onto the Kawananakoa family, descendants of Kaumuali'i, King of Kaua'i. Since then, the Torah Scroll has been preserved as a royal treasure in a Jewish Synagogue in the Hawaiian Islands; and
Whereas, three of the last four attorney-generals of Hawai'i, since 2005 were Jewish. Linda Lingle, the first female governor in U.S. history is also Jewish, and was elected by Hawai'i's popular vote in 2002. She visited Israel and signed a memorandum of understanding between the state of Hawai'i and Israel to encourage cooperation concerning agriculture and aquaculture research and development. They all contributed to Hawai'i's development, and to its best interest; and
Whereas, commitment to Israel's security has been a cornerstone of U.S. policy in the Middle East since Israel's creation on May 14, 1948. While visiting Israel in January 2012, the late Sen. Daniel K. Inouye recognized the strategic importance of Israel, and said, "our position is that if you attack Israel, you are attacking the United States"; and
Whereas, the relationship between the U.S. and Israel can be summed up by President Lyndon Johnson, when Soviet Premier Aleksei Kosygin asked him why the United States supports Israel when there are 80 million Arabs and only 3 million Jews, the President replied simply, "Because it is right."; and
Whereas, the Jewish people are Israel's indigenous people and have faced similar historic challenges as the Hawaiian people to its territorial integrity and survival, some of which are still ongoing today; and
Whereas, the State of Israel voted in support of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People's in the Sixty-First Session of the U.N. General Assembly held in New York City, Sept 13, 2007. Article 10 of the Declaration states, "that Indigenous peoples shall not be forcibly removed from their lands or territories"; and
Whereas, the State of Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, offers freedom and hope for all citizens, regardless of race, religion, gender or creed, and is the greatest friend and ally of the United States. Israel stands on the forefront in the battle against terrorism; and
Whereas, God, the Creator, said to Abraham, "I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, and you shall be a blessing. And I will bless them that bless you, and curse him that curses you, and in you shall all the families of the earth be blessed" (Genesis 12:2-3); and
Whereas, Israel, as a sovereign state recognized by the United Nations has the right to self-governance and defend itself against attacks from surrounding nations that do not recognize Israel's right to exist; and
Whereas, God regards Israel, Abraham's descendants, as the apple of His eye, His firstborn son, His servant, a light to the nations, and many other terms of endearment, pre-eminence, and responsibility among the nations of the world (Deuteronomy 32:10; Exodus 4:22; Isaiah 41:8; Isaiah 42:6); and
Whereas, the Jewish people remain God's covenant people and the land of Israel is still God's covenant land for them and God has in no way abrogated His covenant with the Jewish people or the nation of Israel (Genesis 17:19): and
Now Therefore, we the people of Hawai'i, stand united with the nation of Israel, extending our unequivocal support and commitment to the security, welfare, and survival of the Jewish State.
Be It Further Resolved, we align ourselves with God's plan and purpose, and petition the State leaders to continue the relationship that our Kings and Queens, and State Legislators established with the Jewish supporters in Hawai'i.
Be It Further Resolved, we stand in solidarity with the State of Israel as she stands against terrorism, and struggles for her peaceful existence. The people of Israel have an inalienable right to be secure in their historic homeland.