Front Page Article
Illinois Support for Israel
By Joyce Geiler
The nation of Israel is very much in the current news. This article will explore how Illinois is responding to the October 7 attack on Israel and the resulting war plus why Illinois’ response is important.
Christians are responding with prayer. For example, it was posted on the “Illinois 102 counties NETwork” Facebook page that on Thursday October 12, representatives from Illinois counties gathered on a zoom call to pray for Israel.
The 20th annual Quad Cities “Night to Honor Israel” was held October 15 at River City Church in Moline. The annual event is a gathering where Christians and Jews from Illinois and Iowa stand together in support of Israel and support peace. Interestingly, this year’s event was already scheduled prior to the attack on Israel. This year’s free will offering has been designated to go directly to the Jewish Agency for Israel to help Jewish families and communities that have been devasted by the attacks in southern Israel. The event has raised over $850,000 over the past 19 years for humanitarian projects in Israel and programs that fight anti-Semitism. Danielle Mor, the Vice President and Global Philanthropy Director of the Christian Friends of the Jewish Agency for Israel, was scheduled to be the evening’s keynote speaker but was unable to leave Israel so she sent a video presentation. (1) One attendee at the event reported that $44,000 plus was collected at this event.
Chicago aldermen are responding. The Chicago City Council on October 13 approved a resolution declaring solidarity with Israel and condemning the brutal attack by Hamas over the weekend, even though pro-Palestinian protesters angrily disrupted the proceedings. (2)
Illinois’ governor is responding. On October 10, Gov. JB Pritzker condemned the deadly attacks on Israel telling those gathered outside a synagogue in Chicago’s north suburb of Glencoe that Illinois “unequivocally stands” with the people of Israel. The governor, whose heritage is Jewish, was one of a handful of elected officials and faith leaders who spoke at the gathering. Pritzker acknowledged the militant group isn’t representative of all Palestinians – including those who live in Gaza under the de facto rule of Hamas. “There are many peace-loving Palestinians, and we must honor them,” Pritzker said. “But Hamas – Hamas is a terrorist organization. An army of murderers backed by Iran.”
Meanwhile, other Illinois elected officials have weighed in on the conflict, including Attorney General Kwame Raoul and a bipartisan group of a dozen other attorneys general. In a statement Tuesday (October 10), the coalition said it was “aghast and outraged at the wanton, calculated attacks on civilians going about their daily lives.” (3)
Illinois responds with the purchase of Israel Bonds. Illinois is one of several states that have purchased additional Development Corporation for Israel Bonds, commonly known as Israel Bonds, in response to the war in Israel. Along with Illinois, Florida, Texas, Georgia, New York, Mississippi, and Ohio have previously purchased Israeli Bonds and have made additional purchases to support Israel.
Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs says the state of Illinois will buy an additional $10 million in Israel Bonds to help the Jewish state. Frerichs’ office has invested in Israel Bonds since he became treasurer in 2015 “to diversify the state’s portfolio, achieve good returns from a safe investment, and to draw attention to a global partnership between the state’s economy and Israel.” Frerichs also has invested in Israel Bonds to affirm the special relationship between Illinois and the only democracy in the Middle East. The bonds have never defaulted in their more than 70 years as an investment. Under Frerichs’ leadership, Illinois’ investment in the United States’ strategic partner has now exceeded $100 million. (4)
In Illinois, the treasurer’s role differs greatly from the state comptroller, who handles the check-writing as the state’s chief fiscal officer. The treasurer serves as the chief investment and banking officer in Illinois. According to the Illinois Constitution, “the Treasurer, in accordance with law, shall be responsible for the safekeeping and investment of monies and securities deposited with him, and for their disbursement upon order of the Comptroller.” While the treasurer does the investing, where he can put the money is largely regulated by state law as written by the Illinois General Assembly, which does not approve of investing in the stock market or in gold or baseball cards. Investments are made in things that carry little risk while maintaining liquidity. (5)
Israel Bonds, the commonly-known name of Development Corporation for Israel (DCI), is the U.S. underwriter of debt securities issued by the State of Israel. Sales have increased steadily since the initial Independence Issue was offered in 1951, with total worldwide sales now exceeding $48 billion. Over 90 U.S. state and municipal pension and treasury funds have invested more than $3 billion in Israel bonds to date. (6)
Interestingly, a man who made his home in Peoria was one of the founders of Israel Bonds. Samuel Rothberg (1910-2007) was a Jewish-American businessman and philanthropist born in Bila Tserkva in the Russian Empire. Together with his parents, he immigrated to the United States in 1913 where they settled in Philadelphia. After College and his first job, Rothberg moved to Peoria. In 1947, after he visited children orphaned by the Holocaust, he became one of the founders of the Israel Bonds. (7)
The Illinois General Assembly is responding. The Chicago Republican Party statement supports Israel (8) while bashing the 16 Democrats who signed a call for de-escalation and peace and blamed the inequity of the Palestinian situation as the root cause. In other words, their document did not support Israel. (9) The U.S. House of Representatives Assembly made statements signed by 24 members, including Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Evanston, Illinois, showing solidarity with Israelis statement from 24 members of the House. (10)
Why is it important to note that Illinois supports Israel? When God called Abraham and told him that He would make Abraham a great nation, He said “And I will bless (do good for, benefit) those who bless you, And I will curse [that is, subject to My wrath and judgment] the one who curses (despises, dishonors, has contempt for) you. And in you all the families (nations) of the earth will be blessed.” (Gen. 12:3 Amplified Bible) In 2008, Chuck Pierce of Glory of Zion International, expressed what he was understanding regarding the nations and Israel. He saw “Twenty-one states that would stand strong with the God of Israel . . .” He described the twenty-one states as those that had made and maintained a covenant with Israel. Illinois was identified to be one of the twenty-one states. (11)
On October 13, 2023 Chuck Pierce was interviewed by Stephen Strang, founder and CEO of Charisma Media. Strang asked Pierce to share what he sees prophetically about the war in Israel. Chuck Pierce declared, this will be “a year of sorting out the nations, goat and sheep nations. We must keep a Kingdom perspective or get lost in the emotion of what’s happening. Each nation has to determine their alignment with God’s covenant.”
Israel was the original nation with whom God made Covenant through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Savior of the world was born from the seed line of Abraham, and Jesus lived out His life in the land of Israel. America is also a nation that has its origins in Covenant with Israel’s same God (consider Robert Hunt’s 1607 prayer of covenant). Israel and America share belief in the God of the Old Testament patriarchs; and the two nations have embraced and lived by the Judeo-Christian ethics. America and, by implication, Illinois, will be blessed by continuing to align with Israel.
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