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Evangelicals emerge as Israel’s best friend during Oct. 7 war, reports Religion News Service

Joel Rosenberg: ‘Evangelicals as a bloc are about the only friends that Israel has’

Supporters of Israel attend a rally calling for the release of people held kidnapped by Hamas terrorists and in support of the state of Israel, at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., Nov. 14, 2023. (Photo: Shay Shohat/Flash90)

Evangelical Christians have historically stood by Israel as some of the most ardent supporters of the Jewish people and the Jewish state. Since the war broke with Hamas’ invasion of Israel on Oct. 7, many Evangelicals have participated in solidarity tours to the nation's southern communities, met with families of hostages and raised funds for humanitarian relief efforts. 

As global support for Israel appears to be dwindling the longer the war goes on, Evangelicals continue to jump to defend the country’s cause in a war that it didn’t start. They are making a moral, material and spiritual difference on the ground, spreading influence that spans from media outlets to political circles. 

This is why the special connection between Evangelicals and Israelis was very much evident at this year’s National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) Convention in Nashville, Tennessee. It was reflected not only as a subject of discussion in the various panels and on-stage speeches – including a keynote address by former U.S. President Donald Trump – but also in the significant attendance of Israeli government officials and representatives of Israeli organizations.

Israel’s foreign ministry arranged a private screening of the 45-minute footage of Hamas’ atrocities from Oct. 7 during the NRB. Attendees also had the opportunity to bear witness to the horrific events of that day through a virtual reality experience using a special headset. 

ALL-ISRAEL-NEWS Editor-in-Chief Joel Rosenberg told Religion News Service that he saw more Israelis at the NRB this year than in the past. Rosenberg explained that Evangelicals offer more loyal support to the Jewish state than any other group of advocates. 

“Evangelicals as a bloc are about the only friends that Israel has,” he said. “Where else are you going to find people who will listen, and then have a platform and a motive to act?”

Tal Heinrich, who serves as a spokesperson for the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office, told the outlet: “We will not stop fighting for a lack of support. But it’s a nice thing to have — knowing that you are not alone.”

She urged Evangelical broadcasters to keep playing their important role at this historical moment.

“We need you to speak the truth,” she said. “Don’t let anyone forget what happened. Don’t let anyone forget why Israel is fighting.”

In the report, Religion News Service quoted Mordechai Inbari, a professor of religion at the University of North Carolina - Pembroke, who discovered that of the estimated 80 million U.S. Evangelicals, between 50% to 70% currently support Israel. 

“The most common argument right now would be that God made a covenant with Abraham and his offspring and this is why they need to support Israel,” Inbari said of Evangelicals. 

Along with Kirill Bumin, Inbari authored a book titled “Christian Zionism in the Twenty-First Century.” Their research showed that younger Evangelicals tend to be more skeptical about ties to Israel and have become more supportive of Palestinians. 

Inbari and Bumin found that among Evangelicals aged 19-29, support for Israel dropped from a high of 69% in 2018 to only 29% in July 2021.

Dov Waxman, professor of Israeli studies at the University of California, noted that “firming up support for Israel among the Evangelical community is really essential.” 

Israeli leaders understand the significance of the alliance with Evangelicals as part of the larger picture of continuous U.S. government support for Israel, he added.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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