Israeli Leader Thanks Evangelicals at Pa. 'Epicenter'

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Israel's recent military action against a Turkish-sponsored flotilla sparked international condemnation.

The hostile response was part of a growing global campaign to de-legitimize Israel as a nation.

But the Jewish state received a much different reception this past weekend in Philadelphia, Pa.

Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Moshe "Bogie" Ya'alon, the second highest ranking member of the Israeli government, received three lengthy standing ovations during an appearance at the 2010 Epicenter Conference.

The event, organized by bestselling author Joel Rosenberg, featured Ya'alon and an all-star lineup of evangelical leaders.

Ya'alon told the audience of 1,500 -- along with 20,000 tuning in worldwide via satellite -- that Christians and Jews share common threats from Iran and its jihadist allies.

"We are all in the same boat," Ya'alon said. "And we need to be united in dealing with these challenges."

Ya'alon said that means closing the gaps that have formed between Israel and the U.S. under the Obama administration.

"Divided we are weak and our enemies can take advantage of us," he said. "Only through unity can we defeat the forces of radical Islam."

Iran, Syria, Hamas, Hezbollah and now Turkey all represent imminent threats on Israel's doorstep. War seems inevitable. And the message at the conference was clear -- stand firmly with Israel in what may be its darkest hour.

"I believe we are heading into a very dark moment -- the darkest in my lifetime," Rosenberg said.

Rosenberg told CBN News he believes war is coming to the Middle East.

He says Turkey's growing alliance with Iran and the forces of radical Islam against Israel raises the possibility that the war of Gog and Magog mentioned in the book of Ezekiel could happen in our lifetimes.

"Turkey has moved from being a NATO ally to a member of the Axis of Evil, right before our eyes," Rosenberg said.

He added that as anti-Semitic fervor grows around the world, Christians need to step up and make their voices heard.

"I believe as the world turns against Israel and basically drives themselves away from Israel, the followers of Jesus Christ need to go in the other direction, towards Israel, embracing Israel-showing unconditional love and unwavering support for the Jewish people and Jewish state at this moment," Rosenberg explained.

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Erick Stakelbeck

Erick Stakelbeck

CBN News Correspondent

Erick Stakelbeck is a sought after authority on terrorism and national security issues with extensive experience in television, radio, and print media. Stakelbeck is a correspondent and terrorism analyst for CBN News.  Follow Erick on Twitter @Staks33.