June 23, 2021

U.S. evangelicals show support for Israel's new prime minister Naftali Bennett

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by Camille Westphal Perrier

A diverse group of American evangelicals issued a letter welcoming Benjamin Netanyahu’s successor. They promise him prayers and support, after the founder of the Friends of Zion pledges to oppose the new leader.

“We pray that God will grant you wisdom and strength as you make difficult decisions that will affect the lives of millions of people, and we hope that he will answer these prayers,” wrote more than 80 religious leaders in a letter published on June 17 by the Philos Project, a group that promotes “positive Christian engagement in the Middle East”.

A letter addressed to the new Prime Minister of Israel , Naftali Bennett , elected on June 13. A major change for Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu having held this position for 12 years.

As the elections approached, Ron Dermer , Israel’s former ambassador to the United States, had said Israel had to worry about losing the support of American evangelicals if Benjamin Netanyahu was not re-elected.

Fears that were confirmed even before the election of the new prime minister, when the founder of Friends of Zion in Jerusalem, Mike Evans , who was also a member of the Evangelical Advisory Board of the White House during the Trump administration, s ‘is won against Naftali Bennett in an open letter.

In this aggressive letter, Mike Evan goes directly to the future prime minister, “what a disgusting disappointment you turned out to be”, “I will fight you every step of the way” he wrote before adding: “You have lost 100% evangelical support ”.

Mike Evans later apologized for using foul language at a press conference, but reiterated his opposition to Naftali Bennett and any other politician who would like to replace Benjamin Netanyahu, All Israel News reports . The evangelical Christian insisted that only his friend, “Bibi”, could unite the evangelicals and that without him they would abandon the State of Israel.

“Bibi Netanyahu is the only man in the world who unites evangelicals. “

By issuing a statement welcoming the new prime minister, the Philos Project intends to show that not all evangelical Christians share Mike Evans’ opinion .

While the signatories of this letter praised the work of the former prime minister, and all he did to “strengthen Israel and its alliances” during his successive terms, they also celebrated the change made by Naftali Bennett who joined a coalition of several parties.

“We would like to thank you in advance for protecting our common values ​​as they apply to the citizens of Israel, whether they are Jews, Christians, Muslims or Druze; for the care of the holy places and the reception of religious pilgrims from all over the world to discover the cradle of their faith; for defending Israel against external aggression; and for continuing to work for peace with Israel’s neighbors. “

Christians in turn pledge to “deepen” their friendship with the Hebrew state “and its wonderful people”.

In a statement , Robert Nicholson, president of the Philos Project, said the letter was designed to show broad support. The signatories representing “tens of millions of Christians from across the denominational spectrum,” Christians “who differ on many points but agree on the importance of Christian friendship with Israel on the basis of shared values ​​that come from the Bible “.

Camille Westphal Perrier

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