(Jerusalem, Israel) — The Israeli newspaper Haaretz has just published a feature-length article exploring how American Evangelicals will react once President Trump’s Middle East peace plan is released.
I was interviewed by reporter Amir Tibon for the story, as was Dr. Darrell Bock, one of my fellow co-founders of the Alliance for the Peace of Jerusalem.
To read the article in full on-line, please click here. I found it quite fair, balanced, even nuanced.
The following are selected excerpts:
- [A]s the Trump administration finalizes its long-expected Middle East peace plan, the bond between Trump and the evangelical community could face a serious test.
- Trump’s Mideast team has been working on the peace plan for more than 18 months. Last week, a White House official told Haaretz that the administration is aiming to release it within the next two months. On Sunday, Israel’s Channel 10 News reported about a “crucial” meeting in the White House that will determine when and how exactly the plan will be presented….
- The Palestinian leadership has frequently accused Trump’s son-in-law and special adviser Jared Kushner, and special envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt, of being biased toward Israel. However, the administration has insisted for months that its plan will be fair toward the Palestinians, and that both sides will be required to make tough decisions once the plan becomes public.
- If the plan does indeed include certain Israeli concessions, it could also create a dilemma for many in the U.S. evangelical community.
- “It’s too early to say how evangelicals will respond to the plan, because we have no idea what will be the contents,” says Prof. Darrell Bock, a New Testament scholar who has also conducted research on evangelical public opinion in recent years. “However, it could definitely be uncomfortable to some evangelicals if there are territorial concessions included in it.”…..
- “There is enormous trust among most evangelical Christians in President Trump’s love and support for Israel,” says Joel Rosenberg, an evangelical author-activist who lives in Jerusalem. Rosenberg has participated in a number of headline-making meetings over the past year between evangelical leaders and Arab heads of state, including Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi and, more recently, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
- Rosenberg told Haaretz this week that if the Trump peace plan can bring Israel closer to the broader Arab world, that would make many evangelicals more eager to support it.
- “If this leads Arab countries to get closer to Israel, most American evangelicals will give Trump enormous credit for that,” Rosenberg explains. “It would be huge inside our community. Evangelicals overwhelmingly support peace. We pray for the peace of Jerusalem.”
- However, he concedes there are “different shades” within the evangelical world, and that “there are some evangelicals who think that if you support Israel, you should be against the Arabs and the Palestinians. But that’s not representative of all evangelicals. Most of us do care for the Palestinians and truly want to see peace and prosperity in the region,” he says.…
- Both Bock and Stearns seemingly agree with Rosenberg’s analysis about the importance of broader Arab support for the peace plan.
- “Many evangelicals would support a plan if they saw that it enhances the stability of Israel and its acceptance by other countries in the region,” Bock says. Stearns adds that “those of us who visit Israel more frequently, and are aware of the complexity of the region and the nuances of the conflict, are very encouraged to see Israel get closer to some of its neighbors in recent years. So if there is an opportunity to make genuine peace between Israel and some of these countries in the region, we’d be in favor of that.”….
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