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National Jewish-Christian Solidarity Day in Berne

Say among the nations: The Lord reigns (Psalms 96:10)

Every year, the network of associations working for Israel (IWS) organizes a day on the Bundesplatz in Berne to show its friendship and support for the Jewish people and the nation of Israel. This network represents some forty associations throughout Switzerland.

Israel's ambassador to Berne, Ifat Reshef, Patricia Bidaux, member of the Genevan Grand Council, Rabbi Elimelekh Marelus and Jobst Bittner, founder of the March of Life movement, and IWS leaders Chrtistina Bumbacher Berli and Werner Woiwode were the keynote speakers on a day marked by solidarity and the desire to unite Switzerland and Israel, Christians and Jews, towards a common future.

On the one hand, His Excellency expressed his gratitude for the support of all Christians in Switzerland for his people and nation.

On the other hand, Mrs. Bidaux and others recalled their gratitude to God and to the Jewish people for having been able to benefit from the fruits of their faith. "I must give back my Christian faith" to the Jewish people, said the center-right member of Geneva's Grand Council, while others recalled that the Christian faith has no existence of its own, but owes everything to the Jewish people.

Jobst Bittner, founder of the "Marche de vie" movement, expressed his concern at the indifference of Christians towards the people

and Israel, and left a vibrant appeal to the 600 or so people present on the Bundesplatz today not to be indifferent.

Richard Pittet, president of the association, also spoke at the event, evoking the figure of Ruth and her indefectible solidarity with her mother-in-law Naomie.

Despite the pouring rain, all those present stayed until the end, moved and encouraged to renew their commitment by a statement led by Werner Woiwode at the end of the event.

The event drew to a close in peace and good spirits, with participants already looking ahead to next year's meeting.

Speech by Richard Pittet, President of the Gesher Ha'haim Association:

"Excellency Madame, Ifat Reshef, Ambassador of Israel in Berne, Madame Patricia Bidaux deputy of the Genevan Grand Council, Rabbi Marelus, Dear Jobst and Charlotte Bittner, Ladies and Gentlemen in your titles and functions, Ladies, Gentlemen, Dear friends,

First of all, I'd like to thank the organizing committee for the honor of being able to speak on the Place Fédérale in the context of this Judeo-Christian solidarity gathering.

My name is Richard Pittet and I live in Geneva. I'm married to Milly and we have two children. Along with six other people, I am the co-founder of an association called Gesher Ha'haïm, which came into being on January 13, 2019. The aim of this association is to create bonds of friendship between the Jewish and Christian communities. It takes a stand against anti-Semitism and all forms of defamation of the said communities. Every year, we organize a "March of Life" in Geneva, as well as other events related to Jewish and Christian history and culture.

Solidarity refers to people who feel bound by common interests and responsibilities.

I personally like this idea. But are we Christians aware of our common bond and responsibility with the Jewish people? I'd like to refer to the book of Ruth. I hope you know the story. If not, you can read it tonight.

What's most striking in this book is Ruth's uncompromising solidarity with Noami.

A solidarity that led her to abandon her people and their gods to embrace Naomi's people and God in a radical way. Her commitment to her mother-in-law was so remarkable that she was favored by all, and especially by Boaz, in whose field she came to glean food for herself and her mother-in-law. The story goes that Boaz eventually took her as his wife and ensured the descent of Elimelech, Naomi's late husband. This descent was even royal, with the birth of King David. One could almost say that this woman's attitude brought about the Kingdom of David.

It's written in the Psalms that "the Lord reigns". Yet we pray "Thy kingdom come"? What does that mean? You only have to read the newspapers to agree. If God reigned on this earth, would there still be wars?

But then why does His reign take so long? Is God busy, on vacation? Certainly not, but perhaps He is being patient with us? Are we really ready to accept this reign?

Are we aware that the one who will reign is a Jewish King of the descendants of Boaz and Ruth, since he is the son of David? He will first re-establish the kingdom of Israel, and then dominate all nations from Jerusalem?

For over 1600 years, Christianity has behaved like Ruth, trying to steal Boaz's song from which she came to glean. It then sought to distort the story to leave Naomi empty-handed.

Today, by twisting the meaning of certain biblical passages, Christianity explains to Boaz that we are in a phase of fulfillment where there is no longer any Jew or Greek, so the field is fifty/fifty.

We can't admit that we non-Jews gleaned from a field that didn't belong to us, and that we all received from the Jewish people. For in fact, the Christian faith as described in the apostolic writings has no Jewish roots; it was a Jewish faith among others.

Everything we believe, read, pray, refer to and hope for comes from the Jewish people. By adhering to this faith, in reality, we have been joined to a history that has never been interrupted, that of the Jewish people.

Can we hear this? Doesn't this give us a responsibility and a duty towards these people? We are beneficiaries of something that belongs to them, and in this we should honor them.

If Ruth's solidarity with Noamie in some way enabled the establishment of the Davidic Reign, and I'll leave you with this question by way of conclusion, wouldn't we, by accepting our common dependence, our common responsibility alongside them, create the conditions for the son of David to Re-establish the Kingdom of Israel and establish the Reign of the Lord on earth?

Thank you."

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