US: For Mike Evans, a Christian Zionist minister in the United States, the decline of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was more than a legislative setback for a campaign that forged deep ties with the former Israeli chief. It was a resentful betrayal of biblical prophecy by Israeli electors and a new generation of political leaders. Evans has excited Israel’s new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in a brutal, evil-filled mission for joining a coalition of Israeli centralists and Arab Israelis he fears could support a Palestinian state.
“We have given you four years of miracles under Donald Trump, and that is how you show appreciation,” Evans wrote, promising that he and his followers will work with the outgoing prime minister in opposition to the government. His outburst reflects fears among U.S. Christian leaders who fear that the extraordinary influence they exerted in the era of former U.S. presidents Donald Trump and Netanyahu will be severely diminished, and the prospects for a Palestinian state renewed, which many considered antithetical to God’s plan for a Greater Israel.
The change of political guard in both countries comes at a time when evangelical Christians have reached the pinnacle of political power in Washington and are shaping American policies on human rights, abortion, reproductive health care, LGBT rights and increasingly Israel, where they assist build its political backing for Trump’s decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. It also coincides with a growing gender division in the evangelical church, and an increasing proportion of younger evangelists view Israel more critically than their elders.
An increasing number of younger evangelists view Israel more critically than their ancestors.
In an exit conference with local television, Netanyahu’s US envoy Ron Dermer said that the evangelical Christian community has largely obscured the American Jewish community as Israel’s most important political ally in the United States.
“People need to understand that the backbone of Israel’s support in the United States is evangelical Christians,” Dermer said. ‘About 25 percent [of Americans] are religious Christians. Less than 2 percent of Americans are Jews. So if you just look at numbers, you need to spend a lot more time reaching out to evangelical Christians than you would to Jews. ‘
A former senior U.S. official who served intimately on U.S. policy in Israel told Dermer merely said in public what Netanyahu had preached privately to his cabinet: “He told many of his own ministers that the Americans’ Jews was not so important, that they are not going to remain another generation of Jews, and that there is more to be gained by cultivating a relationship with evangelists, ‘said the former official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
“Israel has no better advocate in America than you,” Netanyahu said at a conference of evangelical Christians in 2017 during an yearly conference hosted by Christians United for Israel.
Observers note that some conservative American Jews, including Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner; Jason Greenblatt, his Special Representative for Middle East Peace Talks; and David Friedman, his envoy to Israel, played a crucial role in shaping Trump’s policy toward Israel, including the decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. But conservative Christians, with their deep roots in the Republican Party, helped in the first place to advance the support of Israel as a core principle of the Republican platform.
The present-day Israeli leaders have pushed back the idea that Israel can only look to Republicans and that evangelists should serve over American Jews. ‘The fact that we are supported by evangelical groups and others in the USA is significant, but the Jews of the world are more than allies of Israel. They are family, ”said Yair Lapid, Israel’s alternative prime minister, who is currently serving as Israel’s foreign minister.
Evangelical Christians’ political muscles will surely wane under the new US President Joe Biden’s government, but their relationships with Trump Republican politicians continue strong as evermore. They will also continue a powerful ally for any eventual government in Israel.