By Alice Dubenetsky
When Joni Lambert heard radio talk show host and former Fox News Commentator Glenn Beck announce plans for a rally in support of Israel, she knew she had to be part of the event, even though it meant travelling half way around the world. Lambert, a Connecticut native and the Northeast Regional Coordinator for the 912 Project, recently visited Vermont to share her experiences and photos with fellow Vermont “912-ers” in Essex Junction.
The 912 Project is a non-political organization whose primary purpose is to educate and promote a set of values and principals that creator Glenn Beck believes were shared by America’s founding fathers. The name 912 refers to the day after September 11, 2001 when Americans stood together in solidarity in the wake of the murderous terrorist attacks by Muslim extremists that took over 3,000 lives in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. It also refers to a list of nine principals and 12 values that were shared by the founders. The 912 Project does not identify with any political party or group, including the Tea Party.
The Restoring Courage event took place this past August 21 to 24 in East Jerusalem. It was conceived as an affirmation of support for Israel in the wake of growing anti-semitism and saber rattling by Israel’s enemies in the Middle east, specifically Hamas, which has called for nothing less than the destruction of the state of Israel.
The rally was intended to encourage supporters of Israel to stand up and show their support of Israel. “In Israel, there is more courage in one small square mile than in all of Europe,” said Glenn Beck during his address to the crowd. “In Israel, there is more courage in one soldier than in the combined cold hearts of all the bureaucrats in the United Nations.”
More than three thousand people attended the gathering. It was held near the fiercely disputed Old City of Jerusalem, a site that is holy to the three major religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. It was also just steps from the Temple Mount and the Western Wall. Participants were from all walks of faith, Jews, Christians, Americans, Israelis; there were a number of politicians, as well as actor John Voight, singer Dudu Fischer and Rabbi Schumuel Rabinovitch, known as the Rabbi of the Western Wall.
Lambert, who had been suffering from on-going medical issues, had just been cleared to fly by her doctors when she heard the announcement about the Israel event. “It was the top thing on my bucket list – to go stand up for Israel,” she said during a recent interview. Lambert maintains that the enemies of Israel hate the United States just as much, if not more, than Israel. She is one of many people who are convinced that radical Islam is intent upon establishing a global caliphate to dominate not only the Middle East, but also Europe and eventually the United States and Canada as well.
Lambert said that the Israeli’s were initially suspicious of the event. “They’re not used to being loved on,” she said, and were surprised that a group of Americans would take the time and expense to stand and support their right to exist. “We helped them understand that the (Obama) administration isn’t speaking for the American people,” she said, referring in part to Obama’s recent statement, just prior to a visit from Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu, that a return to the borders that existed before the 1967 Arab-Israeli war should be the basis for deal between the Palestinians and Israelis. The Israeli government protested and Netanyahu soundly rejected the idea, saying a return to such borders would be “indefensible.”
Lambert travelled to Israel with a tour group of 912ers from around the country, and made many new friends among her travelling companions, including their tour-guide David Tal, who also is the commander of an Israeli tank brigade. Tal told them that his generation of Israelis had hoped that someday their children would know peace. Today they just hope that their grandchildren will live in a more peaceful country – one that is free of the types of rocket attacks that occurred in nearby Gaza while the 912-ers were in Jerusalem.
Tal noted that the people in Lambert’s tour group were unlike other groups he had hosted, that the group member’s questions and passion convinced him they were sincere. Lambert says that Tank Commander Tal actually became a bit teary eyed as he thanked them for their time and the expense involved in this trip to Israel to stand before the world in support of the Israeli people.