Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has proclaimed that he is “a great champion of devout Christians because devout Christians are the greatest champions of the State of Israel.”
He was addressing a virtual conference of 400 Evangelical Christian leaders in a speech that reflected on modern Israeli history and the nation’s progress. Topics included historic Christian Zionism that led to the Balfour Declaration and the foundation of the State of Israel. Mr. Netanyahu also spoke about his family’s history of Zionism. His grandfather was a Zionist political activist, rabbi, and writer. The Prime Minister described how former US President Dwight Eisenhower took inspiration from his father Benzion Netanyahu and the Jewish people.
Israel365News reports that Rabbi Elie Mischel agreed with Mr. Netanyahu’s high praise of Christian support for Israel. The rabbi is the Director of Education at Israel365 — an organisation of Orthodox Jews which seeks to build bridges with Christians. He noted: “most Christian groups come to Israel to selflessly and humbly support the Jewish people.”
Rabbi Mischel also warned of recent tensions caused by Evangelical groups that actively engage in proselytising Jews in Israel. “Given the history of almost two millennia of Christian persecution of the Jewish people, this activity is deeply inappropriate and insulting to Jews across the spectrum, from right to left. To end these tensions, the State of Israel must learn to distinguish between Christian organisations that love and respect the Jewish people, and those who are trying to convert us all to Christianity,” he said.
Josh Reinstein, the Director of the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus and President of the Israel Allies Foundation, emphasised that Christians are indeed major supporters of Israel. “It is Christians, not countries, that stand with the State of Israel, and Christians are bringing their governments with them,” Mr. Reinstein said.
“If you look at a lot of the diplomatic successes that we’re seeing, most of it is due to faith-based diplomacy. It’s people of faith putting their Biblical support behind Israel and turning it into real political action. All Israelis, up to the highest levels of government, understand that Christians are our dearest allies, and that faith-based diplomacy is the most important weapon we have in our diplomatic arsenal today.”
Tommy Waller, the head of Hayovel which oversees faith-based volunteering in Israel, acknowledged that Christian support for Israel is considerable, while adding that it must increase.
“After Christianity’s almost 2000 years of opposition to Jewish identity and the restoration of Israel, it is a blessing to see any support or trust from the Government of Israel. It is important for us to understand, both Jews and Christians, that the Biblical Prophetic purpose of the Jewish people and Israel changed when the Jewish people returned to the Promised Land. The Prophet Ezekiel says clearly that God’s Name is sanctified and hallowed among the nations when His people return,”
“It has been 75 years since the declaration of the State of Israel was made. Replacement theology should have ended then. Unfortunately, the process of Christianity understanding or waking up to this new reality has been slow and difficult. It is time for the nations to stand with Israel in a more significant way. We need to engage against the conflict now – for Zion’s sake.”
Mr. Netanyahu also assured his Evangelical audience that it was still safe for them to visit the Jewish state.