March 24, 2016 : By Drew Menard
|Ron Dermer, Israel's Ambassador to the U.S., welcomed two Liberty University students, junior Chris Hill (left) and junior Gabrielle Drew (right), to his office over spring break.|
Liberty University juniors Christopher Hill and Gabrielle Drew, both Messianic Jews, had the opportunity over spring break to meet with Ron Dermer, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, at the Embassy of Israel to the United States in Washington, D.C.
Liberty President Jerry Falwell arranged the meeting after hearing that Hill and Drew did not have the opportunity to meet the ambassador after he spoke in Convocation in February.
“It was a great honor to be able to meet with him. I’m really blessed to go to a school with so many opportunities,” Drew said, expressing her appreciation for Falwell. She said Falwell offered to set up the meeting when, while meeting about another matter, he found out that she and Hill did not have the chance to meet Dermer when he was on campus.
Drew and Hill, who are engaged, each have a deep respect for the nation of Israel and are Christ followers within the Jewish tradition. Having the opportunity to meet with the ambassador meant a lot to each of them. They both hope to intern at the embassy one day. Drew is studying western legal traditions and Hill is majoring in business administration – finance.
After a rigorous security screening, the couple was given a tour of the embassy. They said the décor was striking, with frescos and other traditional Jewish design. While the security was a bit intimidating, Hill said that inside they were met with “stereotypical Middle Eastern hospitality.”
After the tour, they were brought in to meet the ambassador.
“He invited us into his office, we sat where the Obamas sit when they meet with him,” Drew said. “What I was impressed by was … It didn’t feel like a diplomatic visit where everything was stiff and formal. He was just very laid back. He really took the time to get to know us and ask us about our personal lives.”
Dermer told them that Liberty is the most Israeli friendly school in the country.
Hill and Drew each said they appreciate Liberty’s unwavering support for the nation of Israel. Hill hopes to one day receive Israeli citizenship.
Hill said that going to Liberty is a blessing and that there are many opportunities available to students because of its size and influence. The campus culture is unlike anywhere else, he said, where students see faculty and leadership “live out the Gospel” while also gaining a world-class education and hearing from prominent individuals from diverse areas of influence.
“You wouldn’t have this experience anywhere else,” Hill said.
Hill and Drew are both actively involved on campus. They are delegates in the Student Government Association and have started an initiative, Embrace the Exiled, focused on praying for refugees in the Middle East.