Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder and president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, passed away suddenly Wednesday afternoon at the age of 67:
The American-Israeli rabbi died from sudden heart failure and his funeral will be held in Jerusalem on Thursday.
Eckstein was an author, philanthropist and activist who served on the boards of various Jewish organizations, including the Joint Distribution Agency, Jewish Agency and Anti-Defamation league.
He brought in $1.4 billion in donations for Israel, mostly from evangelical Christians, since founding the IFCJ in 1983.
In addition to assisting with Jewish immigration to Israel, the organization arranges trips and activities for immigrants inside Israel, job market guidance, child care solutions and help for those in need. The IFCJ also helped lone soldiers — Israel Defense Forces personnel, many of them new immigrants, who either have no family in Israel or are not in contact with their families.
He was honored on May 23, 2017, at a US Congressional tribute event marking Jewish American Heritage Month, for his work to build bridges between Christians and Jews…
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Eckstein “worked very hard to benefit the citizens of Israel and to strengthen the connection between the Christian communities and Israel. May his memory be a blessing.”
President Reuven Rivlin eulogized Eckstein as a “great man, a great Jew and a great Zionist.”
The IFCJ said that millions of people owe their gratitude to Eckstein, whose legacy was “the construction of bridges between the Christian and Evangelical communities in the United States and elsewhere in the world for support and cooperation with the State of Israel.
“From the fruits of his efforts over the past forty years, Israeli citizens enjoy tourism today, Israel’s diplomatic boom and a social contribution of billions of shekels,” the organization said in a statement.
In a statement, Pastor John Hagee paid tribute to Eckstein for his work in bringing Christians and Jews together.
“I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein. His impact on the state of Israel and on bringing Jews and Christians together will be felt for generations,” the Christians United for Israel founder said in a statement. “I pray God brings comfort to the Rabbi’s family during this very difficult time, and I know that his memory will be a blessing to us all.”
…Abraham Foxman, former director of the ADL, has accused Eckstein in the past of “selling the dignity of the Jewish people” by pandering to Christians.
His work also came under criticism from liberal Jews, who make up the majority of the American Jewish community and bristle at evangelicals’ ties to the political right and their support for Israel’s settlement enterprise in the West Bank, a major sticking point in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
But Eckstein pushed back against Jewish leaders who distrusted evangelical support of Israel. “[T]he majority of evangelicals are passionately pro-Israel because it is part of their theology to love and support the Jewish people,” Eckstein wrote in 2002. “I could not accept the conditional love of those who expect a payback on behalf of my people. I could not embark on a relationship that would compromise my personal integrity and ideals or that of the Jewish community I represent. But having been the first — and most often the only — Jew to build bridges with the right-wing Christian community, I have a view and understanding of their pro-Israel fervor that most people ‘on the outside’ lack.”
So, in other words, Rabbi Eckstein gladly accepted money from these deluded Christian evangelicals as long as they didn’t want anything in return. The Jew took in over a billion dollars from Christians to promote his pro-Zionist agenda, and what do these Christians receive for their money? Nothing, as the rabbi made clear. What kind of Jew turns down a billion dollars free and clear just because it comes from Christians with no strings attached?
Perhaps these Christians truly believe that by giving this rabbi a billion dollars, they would somehow help bring about the Second Coming of Jesus, and that’s what is motivating them. They must literally believe that God will be so pleased that these evangelicals gave a billion dollars to this rabbi that He will speed up his timetable on when He plans to come again. If that’s truly the case, then the rabbi’s death is certainly a devastating loss to these evangelicals, who will now have to find another rabbi who has the ear of God.