Olmert picks anti-Islam evangelist as Jerusalem Fund co-chair By Yair
Sheleg, Ha'aretz Correspondent, and Agencies
(Photo: AP) Pat Robertson: Mohammed was 'an absolute wild-eyed fanatic...
a robber and a brigand.'
Pat Robertson, the Christian evangelist American TV preacher who
heads the 700 Club and recently referred to the prophet Mohammed as
a "killer," has been picked by Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert to co-
chair an organization of pro-Israel Christian activists to raise
money for Olmert's New Jerusalem Fund.
In a recent TV appearance on Fox News, Robertson said Islam's
prophet, Mohammad, was "an absolute wild-eyed fanatic... a robber and
a brigand. And to say that these terrorists distort Islam, they're
carrying out Islam... I mean, this man was a killer."
Robertson has come under fire in the U.S. for the anti-Islam
comments, which have led to challenges to the Bush administration's
decision to make a Robertson-led organization a recipient of one of
the first "faith-based initiatives" for social welfare, promoted by
President George W. Bush.
Olmert set up the New Jerusalem Fund, dubbed "Praying for Jerusalem"
as a competitor to former Jerusalem mayor Teddy Kollek's Jerusalem
fund. Robertson will join two other chairs of the new pro-Jerusalem
organization established by Olmert's fund; Olmert himself and Mike
Evans, a leading U.S. Christian evangelist.
Evangelical Christian support for Israel is derived from their belief
that Jesus will only return after the people of Israel return to
Zvi Raviv, CEO of the New Jerusalem Fund, said the fund established
Praying for Jerusalem in partnership with Evans' United Churches for
The new organization is meant to hold Christian prayer rallies for
Jerusalem, where money will be raised, tourism to the city will be
encouraged, and Israeli - particularly Jerusalemite - products will
be promoted. The organization's first event took place in June,
raising $400,000 at a Texas rally of some 4,000 people who prayed for
Jerusalem, says Raviv. Noting there are estimated to be some 50
million evangelical Christians in the U.S., belonging to some 320,000
churches, Raviv calls the Christian community "a huge market for
Israeli goods, tourism, and donations."
A few weeks ago, Raviv says, Olmert asked Robertson to become a co-
chair. Less than 24 hours later, an enthusiastic replay was received
at the New Jerusalem Fund offices.
"This is indeed a critical time for the world, and certainly for your
country," Robertson wrote to Olmert, "and as always I am ready to do
what I can to support Israel."
Kertesz said Thursday he was surprised and happy to have won the
prize and that it should be help writers from eastern Europe.
"It was a mixture of surprise and joy," Kertesz told reporters at the
Ernst Reuter Scientific Institute in Berlin, where he is doing
research and writing a new book.
"This should bring something to the countries in eastern Europe," he
Kertesz said he had just talked to Hungarian Prime Minister Peter
Medgyessy on the phone and added he would celebrate with a dinner and
then seek out close friends.