Amid Growth of Evangelical Christian Movements, Support for Israel Follows
Amid the growth of Evangelical Christian movements worldwide, the clout of pro-Israel Christian groups is increasing, including some from non-traditional places.
Today, Evangelical and Pentecostal Christian groups combine to number near 869 million globally, according to the Pew Research Center. This growth has been especially exceptional in the developing world such as in Latin America, where the percentage of Pentecostals has grown from 4.4 percent to 28 percent in 2005, or Africa, where they have grown from 5 percent to 17 percent of the population.
“There is a new dynamic taking place in our world where [Christian supporters] are growing in a dramatic way, who are standing with the nation of Israel like never before,” said Jürgen Bühler, executive director of the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem, the Christian Science Monitor reported.
While the growing number of Evangelical Christian movements in developing countries has not yet matured enough to wield political influence yet, in the U.S., some argue they may be stronger than Jewish support for Israel.
“AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) is a great organization… but there’s no doubt there are more Bible-believing Christians than there are Jews in America,” says Josh Reinstein, director of the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus, according to the Christian Science Monitor.
“Already I think the Christian community is more influential than AIPAC.”
The numbers line up with this assumption. According to the Pew Research Center, about 26 percent of U.S. adults belong to Evangelical churches, while only 1.7 percent are Jewish.
“We have the numbers and geographical reach to reach every member of Congress,” said David Brog, the executive director of Christians United for Israel (CUFI), the Christian Science Monitor reported. CUFI is the largest pro-Israel organization in the U.S., with more than 1.2 million supporters.
The ability of groups like CUFI to mobilize powerful support for Israel was on display recently during the debate over Chuck Hagel’s nomination for Secretary of Defense. CUFI supporters sent over 21,000 emails to their senators urging them to vote against the nomination and more than 400 CUFI leaders converged on Washington, DC, to lobby the Senate. While Hagel was ultimately confirmed, the vote was the closet ever to approve a defense secretary, 58-41.