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The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) is a Christian Zionist organisation based in Jerusalemmarker, Israelmarker. It was founded in 1980 by evangelical Christians to express their support for the State of Israelmarker and the Jewish people. The ICEJ is best-known for hosting an annual Christian celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles, which attracts several thousand participants and is the largest tourist event in Israel. Critics of the ICEJ claim it takes a one-sided view of the conflict in the Middle east and ignores the plight of the Palestinians.

Background

The location of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, and its name, was chosen in order to contrast the attitude of Christians to Israel, in that they did not question the State of Israel's right to have Jerusalem as its capital since 1948. For various political reasons, most countries have sited their embassies in Tel Aviv since the founding of the State, because of the disputed position of Jerusalem, which is also claimed by Palestinians as their capital (see United Nations Security Council Resolution 478 and Jerusalem Law). This ongoing dispute remains unresolved, so any decision by any country to move its embassy to Israel's capital would be seen as endorsing one side in the conflict.

Theologically, the Christian Embassy promotes a general pro-Israel stance as well as emphasizing different expressions of Christian Zionism. In this approach it contrasts sharply with the majority of Christians in the country, such as the indigenous churches such as Greek Orthodox, Greek-Catholic and Armenian, as well as the numerous foreign religious orders who care for Holy Places, run schools and hospitals and conduct academic research.

Critics of the Embassy say it has a simplistic attitude to theology and Bible exegesis. For example, its motto is the biblical text "Comfort Ye My People . .", which they take to mean that Christians are obliged to "Comfort Israel". However, it can also be read as "Be comforted, My People", a word of comfort from God Himself to His People.

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