Regent launches ‘Institute for Israel Studies’ to help Christians fight ‘anti-Israel propaganda’

The Robertson School of Government of Regent University, an Evangelical Christian school based in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
The Robertson School of Government of Regent University, an Evangelical Christian school based in Virginia Beach, Virginia. | Courtesy Regent University

Regent University has announced that it will be launching a new academic program known as the Institute for Israel Studies, which seeks to help students fight "anti-Israel propaganda."

The institute will be within the Robertson School of Government and is scheduled to begin offering courses at the Virginia Beach, Virginia-based Christian school in the fall.

A.J. Nolte, assistant professor of government at the Robertson School and chair of the institute, told The Christian Post that the program's launch “was driven by a gap in Israel education for biblically-faithful Christians.”

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“While there are some programs that focus on the biblical and theological aspects of Israel, there are a lot fewer academic programs geared toward educating Christians about the history, politics, society and culture of the modern state of Israel,” Nolte said.

Nolte has been working alongside Robertson School Dean and former Congresswoman Michele Bachmann on the program since she first came to Regent, and a donor who agreed to fund the institute for its first five years of operation.

“Our institutional commitment to supporting Israel is as old and strong as the university itself,” Nolte told CP. “I would say that past efforts have focused on biblical and theological aspects of Israel — which is vital work that I hope and believe will continue and advance.”

“Our institute will supplement that with a robust, scholarly engagement with the history and contemporary realities of the modern state of Israel — which a school of government is well-positioned to provide.”

According to Nolte, the institute has three “main lines of effort,” which are “scholarship, education and public engagement,” with the hope that they will “increase Regent’s formal Israel-related course offerings over time.”

“Within year one, we’re looking at some additional non-degree course offerings as a pilot program,” he said. “More immediately, expect on campus and virtual events, reading groups for interested students, robust social media engagement including a podcast, and facilitation of opportunities to visit Israel through well-established organizations.”

Nolte told CP that he hoped the new academic program would, first of all, “equip students and the public with fact-based responses to the anti-Israel propaganda that has poured out of academia, particularly since” the Hamas' Oct. 7 attacks on Israel, triggering the latest major outbreak of violence in the region.

“Second, we hope to foster biblically-faithful scholarship on contemporary Israel,” he continued. “Third, we hope to help Regent emerge as a destination of choice for those who want to deepen their passion for Israel with understanding of Israel.”

“This institute is a partial response, born out of a conviction that Christian support for Israel will increase, not decrease, with an accurate understanding of Israel’s contemporary realities.”

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