What Rev. Jerry Falwell Got Right...
Rabbi Mourns Death Of Great Christian Friend Of Israel--Reverend Jerry Falwell
By Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
It is with great sorrow that I come to you to tell you of the death of a true friend of Israel and the Jewish people—and a man that I was honored to call a personal friend as well.
The Rev. Jerry Falwell passed away today suddenly at the age of 73. When I started The Fellowship 25 years ago, he was among the first Christians to step forward and express interest in being involved in our bridge-building work. And, over the years, he proved his solidarity repeatedly. His involvement helped break down the barriers of mistrust that characterized the relationship between Jews and evangelical Christians at the time.
There were those who remained skeptical of Rev. Falwell's support. I recall on one occasion nearly 30 years ago, I invited him to speak at my synagogue and was criticized by many in the Jewish community who questioned his motives. But this did not deter him one bit in his unfailing support for Israel and the Jewish people.
Very directly, but always graciously and lovingly—I never saw him behave otherwise towards people—he would remind those who questioned him that, as a Christian, his support of Israel was based on eternal biblical truths and, because of that, it would not falter. I am happy to say that he managed to win over many of his skeptics through the consistency and obviously genuine quality of his love for Israel and the Jewish people.
The Rev. Falwell once said that "the Bible Belt is Israel's safety belt." Over the years, he helped me realize the truth of that saying. Wherever there are faithful, Bible-believing Christians, I can be assured of finding true friends and supporters of Israel. And the Rev. Falwell himself did much to ensure that "safety belt" remained strong as ever.
Please take a moment today to join with me and Fellowship staff to pray for the many friends and family of Rev. Falwell, and all the staff and students at his school, Liberty University, who mourn the loss of their leader and are now left to carry on his great legacy. He will be sorely missed.