First Nations group supports Israel

WINNIPEG — An aboriginal Christian leader here has founded a new solidarity organization with Israel in honour of Israel’s 60th birthday.

Rev. Raymond McLean, the pastor of the First Nations Family Worship Centre, launched the organization, World Indigenous Nations for Israel, to galvanize support for the State of Israel.

“No one in the aboriginal community has ever done this before. We will go from church to church, and I believe that within two years we can have one million people registered as members,” he said. The group’s motto is, “Wherever we stand, we stand for Israel.”

A recent celebration of Israel’s birthday in Rev. McLean’s church on Flora Avenue, in the heart of the north end of the city, was televised by Songs of Living Waters Ministries, an affiliate of the Miracle Channel. The Miracle Channel is a Canadian Christian television station.

Rev. McLean, who was in Israel for Yom Ha’atzmaut, had brought back Israeli flags, which were used to decorate the church. Dale Jack, an aboriginal woman, sang Hatikvah at the celebrations.

“We are going to be celebrating all year, because the Jewish people got their land back that God had promised them,” Rev. McLean told the revellers at the Israel birthday festivities. “As long as we’re going to be on this planet, we stand with Israel…We are commanded to love Israel and to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

“I believe that since the Jewish people are God’s chosen people, we have to stand with them.”

Christian aboriginal leader Rev. Irvin Wilson also spoke at the event. “We are going to stand with the real indigenous nation, the people of Israel,” he said.

Those attending the event sang and danced, many with Israeli flags in hand, during the celebration that lasted for more than two hours.

Phyllis Godfrey, an aboriginal woman, held a “tabert,” a round decorative item with tassles on it while she danced at the event. She said she made the tabert, which was decorated with a Magen David and a dove, by hand.

Rev. McLean has been to Israel eight times and will be leading a tour to Israel this July. “I try to lead two trips a year to Israel,” he said.

He also attended the Walk for Israel, which took place here on May 25, in celebration of Israel’s 60th birthday.

People can join World Indigenous Nations for Israel online when the organization’s website is up.