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Speaking by live satellite feed from Budapest, Hungary, a tired-looking Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the 12th Annual CUFI—Christians United for Israel—Summit in Washington, D.C., at the close of its Monday morning plenary session. Although embroiled in controversy and accusations at home, the prime minister was enthusiastic in his acclamation of Israel’s friendship with CUFI.

“You are always there for us,” he said. “We have no better friends than you.”

Netanyahu focused on Jerusalem, recalling his personal history and anticipating the city’s future.

“My heart is always in Jerusalem. Your hearts are always in Jerusalem, the eternally undivided capital of the Jewish people and the Jewish state. And that it will remain.”

He recalled being at the wall 50 years ago, as an 18-year-old. “Thousands streamed to the Western Wall. When we touched those stones, we felt a connection.”

His sentiment would be reiterated by Pastor John Hagee, who Monday evening detailed the sense of “spiritual peace” he experienced when visiting the Western Wall in 2006.

“Only Israeli sovereignty can ensure freedom of access and to all,” Netanyahu continued, noting that Israel is the only place Christian communities have “a future in the Middle East.”

Mirroring a theme dominant throughout the 2017 CUFI summit, the prime minister said, “We are engaged in a great struggle—a struggle of civilization, of free societies against the forces of militant Islam, both Sunni and Shiite.”

Concluding, Netanyahu again expressed appreciation for CUFI’s support: “You have always stood with us because you stand with yourselves representing a heritage of freedom that goes back thousands of years.

“America has no greater friend than Israel. Israel has no greater friend than the United States; and in the United States, Israel has no greater friend, CUFI!”

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