July 14, 2024

Share Tweet By Billy Hallowell Editor
July 3, 2024

Evangelical support for Israel has remained unchanged amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas war in Gaza, according to a recent survey. Researchers found the belief that “Gods covenant with the Jewish people remains intact today” serves as the greatest impact on support for the Jewish state.

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“If a respondent professes this belief, the likelihood that this person strongly supports Israel increases almost threefold (180%),” reads a press release from researchers behind the study.

Dr. Motti Inbari, a professor of Jewish studies at UNC Pembroke, and Dr. Kirill Bumin, associate dean of Metropolitan College and director of Boston University Summer Term Programs, explained to CBN News what they found most stunning about the latest data.

“We’ve been doing this research for quite some time,” Bumin said. “And one of the things that I find particularly interesting is the degree to which the attitudes that we see in the Christian community are crystallized or rigid.”

He continued, “We have seen relatively little change in attitudes towards support for Israel, support for Palestinians, or support for neither from 2021 onward.”

Bumin said this persists even after the Oct. 7 attack and subsequent war broke out.

Another factor of interest was generational differences the researchers observed among young evangelicals, who have been found to be less supportive particularly those under the age of 20 of Israel.

“[This is the case] even after we take into account their religious attendance, their specific religious beliefs, political beliefs, socialization in pro-Israel circles,” Bumin said. “There’s definitely something very distinct about the under-30 crowd, especially in comparison to the 50 to 64-year-old respondents who are even more supportive of Israel than the 65-plus crowd.”

Inbari said the younger generation has more access to information on social media and other platforms tools older generations aren’t as accustomed to. He said these platforms, by design, create an echo chamber dynamic as people are primarily served only the content they want to see and hear.

“You’re in … your own mindset [and] you’re not exposed to other views,” he said. “And this creates a lot of polarization also as a result. … Another aspect is that it’s very visual. You can see things that, back when I was younger, in that age, when I was opening the newspaper, I was reading. Now, they see. They don’t read; they see. It creates a different effect.”

As for evangelical support more generally, Bumin said an embrace of the biblical narrative, particularly the Abrahamic covenant, is “exceptionally important” to explain why evangelicals have such a positive view of Israel.

“Support for Abrahamic covenant this notion that God’s covenant with the Jewish people is intact and eternal and that, as a result of Gentiles supporting Abrahamic covenant, that there are blessings for the Gentiles to be had … that aspect has repeatedly received support, not only in the evangelical community, but indeed across all Christian denominations … that we have studied,” he said. “In fact, in our 2024 survey, that is the No. 1 most impactful variable that we’ve considered in terms of relative impact on people’s attitudes … in terms of support for Israel.”

The theological elements don’t end there, though, as Bumin also cited evangelicals’ views on the end times, particularly premillennialism. According to GotQuestions.org, premillennialism is the “view that Christs second coming will occur prior to His millennial kingdom, and that the millennial kingdom is a literal 1,000-year reign of Christ on earth.”

Bumin said premillennialism offers a “very clear-cut picture” of the role of the Jewish people and Israel in the end of days, with Jerusalem taking center stage. This theological construct, he said, helps consistently affirm support for Israel, especially in this context.

“We also find for evangelicals again and again that ascribing to a particular theology or theological view related to end times known as premillennialism has been really important,” Bumin continued. “There are a lot of different elements to these millennial views. There’s a premillennialism, post-millennialism, amillennialism, but the most important aspect in terms of these views for us is the relationship to the Jewish people and Israel in the end times.”

Inbari noted that younger evangelicals are much less inclined to take a premillennial view, showcasing how this might impact the aforementioned decreased support they show for the Jewish state.

“It’s another way to explain why young evangelicals are drifting away from supporting Israel,” he said. “It’s part of the eschatological view that is part of that mix as well.”

Inbari and Bumin also spoke about the current war in Gaza and its relation to views on Israel and Palestine. Watch the video above for more.

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