Paul Wilbur, an acclaimed Christian songwriter, will make his first trip to the Quad-Cities as part of the 14th annual  Night to Honor Israel, set for Thursday in Moline.

Wilbur, who wrote "Days of Elijah," is internationally known and the song has been used during the Moline event every year since it began, said Tom McGovern, head of the committee that organizes the fundraiser.

McGovern has recently returned from Israel, where he witnessed, first-hand, the conflict in the Middle East.

As McGovern explained: He and others on a trade mission with Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds visited the Golan Heights, in the north of the country. "We stood on the border with an active general in the Israeli Defense Force," he said. McGovern was at the junction of Israel, Syria and Lebanon, and he could see soldiers with the Israeli Defense Force in bunkers, with binoculars, viewing the border.

Bombs were exploding in the distance, he said.

"That made it so real, on what life is like in Israel," McGovern said. This was the Moline resident's third trip to Israel but the first time he'd visited the Golan Heights.

The Moline event, at Calvary Church of the Quad-Cities, started as part of the Christians United for Israel program. Guest speaker this year is Erick Stakelbeck, an expert on the Middle East and terrorism who directs the Christians United for Israel organization.

In addition, the Consul General of Israel in the Midwest, Aviv Ezra of Chicago, will give a briefing on the Middle East and talk about the civil war in the Ukraine. This year, the event's proceeds will help assist the Jewish people fleeing the Ukraine and immigrating to Israel.

In the past 13 years, Night to Honor Israel has raised more than $621,000. The funds are for humanitarian projects in Israel, such as immigration, integration and safety.

Wilbur, the Christian songwriter, musician and worship leader, will perform with the J53 Community Choir, and QCC Dancers.

The support from Christians to Israel comes from the Bible, McGovern said, citing the many Jewish roots in Christianity. "Those who bless Israel will be blessed, those who curse Israel will be cursed," he said, citing a verse from the Bible.

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