ASHKELON, Israel -- Christians are among the strongest backers of Israel. Recently, a high profile visit by Christian leaders from the U.S. demonstrated that support.
Christians United for Israel, known as CUFI, brought a group of 50 pastors and Christians leaders from every state in the nation and the District of Columbia to Israel.
"To come and simply show to the people of Israel, we support you. We understand you," CUFI Executive Director David Brog said.
"There are still people in America who can distinguish morally between Israel and Hamas. There are still people in America who appreciate what Israel is doing - not just to protect their own citizens, but we believe deeply that when Israel battles Hamas they're also protecting us in America," he continued.
They visited Sderot, nicknamed "Rocket Town," where more rockets have fallen than any other town in Israel. They found Israelis profoundly grateful for the visit.
Bible teacher Billye Brim said the appreciation began on the flight over from a flight attendant.
"She said, 'Oh, thank you, thank you for what you're doing for our country.' And that's what they're saying everywhere. 'Thank you. Thank you for standing with us. Thank you for coming.' It's just amazing," he said.
The visit provided a front-lines view of Israel's war against Hamas, including Israel's now famous anti-missile defense system, the Iron Dome.
They also got a front row look into Gaza. For many it was eye opening.
"To be here, to stand and to look over it goes deeply into your soul," Pastor Jay Bailey said, adding that he has plans to bring a message back home.
"I'm going to let them know I looked over the place where those rockets originate from, stood on the observation point in which tunnels are being developed and dug underneath this community. Here, Sderot, the dangers these precious people face every day of their lives," he continued.
They also expressed concern for the people of Gaza.
"One thing that's really concerned us on this trip is the loss of life, innocent children and innocent civilians, caught in this battle," Pastor Harry Jackson said.
"We're praying for the cessation of violence. We're praying for the peace of Jerusalem. We're praying for the safety of the Palestinian people, the regular citizens. But we are praying that this nation will be wise enough to defend herself with the minimum amount of lives lost," he added.
They also believe Israel's war against Hamas, an enemy of both Jews and Christians, is just.
"After the Jews come the Christians. After the Saturday people come the Sunday people. It's the same extremist ideology that drives al Qaeda," Brog said. "These are people determined to kill Jews and Christians, Americans and Israelis."