Evangelicals' views toward Israel shifting after Gaza conflict: survey

Dome of the Rock and Jerusalem's Old City, israel, flag
A general view shows the Dome of the Rock and Jerusalem's Old City December 4, 2017. |

Evangelicals' views toward Israel are shifting slightly following the conflict that erupted in Gaza earlier this year, according to a newly released survey.

Commissioned by Chosen People Ministries and the Alliance forthe Peace ofJerusalem and designed by the University of North Carolina-Pembroke, researchers surveyed Evangelicals in July, which came on the heels of the 11 days of fighting in Gaza in May.

The survey, which was conducted by Barna, found that 43.5% of Evangelicals blamed both parties for the conflict, and 34.3% blamed the Palestinians. Approximately half of the respondents said they considered the state of Israel's actions justified, whereas only 21.6% said that Palestinians' actions in the conflict were justified. 

The Alliance for the Peace of Jerusalem is an organization that exists to promote further dialogue among Evangelicals about Israel and the Middle East. 

During those 11 days, at least 255 people died from their injuries and over 600 were injured. 

Even so, 47.6% of the respondents said their support for the lone Jewish state in the world has not changed. Additionally, 26.2% indicated their support increased, 7.3% indicating their support declined, and 18.9% said they were not sure of how the latest conflict shaped their opinion. 

“Our goal with this survey was to better understand how recent events have impacted the evolution of [E]vangelical views regarding Israel,” said Dr. Mitch Glaser, president of Chosen People Ministries in a statement. 

“The results reinforce that a new generation of [E]vangelicals are less supportive of Israel than their parents and grandparents, although the overall support for Israel remains constant among half of the [E]vangelicals surveyed. These respondents indicated no change in their favorable views of Israel and more than 25% said their support increased after the Gaza war.” 

Researchers also found that concerns about anti-Semitism are not tied to what is more broadly conceived as social justice among [E]vangelical respondents. Thus, for all practical intents and purposes, "social justice” does not include non-discriminatory treatment of Jews, in their view.

This does not mean, to be sure, that American Evangelical Christians are not concerned about anti-Semitism, the researchers say. In fact, the data revealed that a majority of the respondents are significantly worried about anti-Semitism. The data also showed that though less than 40% of African Americans showed support for Israel, 58.8% said they were concerned about anti-Semitism.

In the aftermath of the Gaza conflict, UNC-Pembroke researcher found, as reported by the Brookings Institution, that attitudes had dramatically shifted between 2018 and 2021: support for Israel among young evangelicals dropped from 75% to 34%.



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