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Abstract

This study considers the sources of evangelical support for Israel, utilizing an original survey of 1,000 evangelical and born-again respondents. The results show that the three strongest predictors of evangelical and born-again Christian support for Israel are (1) age (older respondents are more supportive); (2) opinion of Jews; and (3) socialization (frequency of hearing other evangelicals talking about Israel). Our results also show that evangelical support for Israel is driven by respondents' beliefs rooted in evangelical Christian theology on eschatology and Biblical literalism. Thus, the most significant ideological statements that were found in the research were that the “State of Israel is proof of the fulfillment of prophesy regarding the nearing of Jesus' Second Coming” and that “Jews are God's chosen people.” Another important finding is that there is less support toward Israel among young evangelicals (ages 18–29).
Why Do Evangelicals Support
Israel?
1
Motti Inbari , Kirill M. Bumin
The University of North Carolina at Pembroke
M. Gordon Byrd
East Carolina University and The University of North Carolina
at Pembroke
Abstract: This study considers the sources of evangelical support for Israel,
utilizing an original survey of 1,000 evangelical and born-again respondents.
The results show that the three strongest predictors of evangelical and born-
again Christian support for Israel are (1) age (older respondents are more
supportive); (2) opinion of Jews; and (3) socialization (frequency of hearing
other evangelicals talking about Israel). Our results also show that evangelical
support for Israel is driven by respondentsbeliefs rooted in evangelical
Christian theology on eschatology and Biblical literalism. Thus, the most
significant ideological statements that were found in the research were that the
State of Israel is proof of the fulfillment of prophesy regarding the nearing of
JesusSecond Comingand that Jews are Gods chosen people.Another
important finding is that there is less support toward Israel among young
evangelicals (ages 1829).
INTRODUCTION
This study considers the sources of evangelical support for Israel in the
United States, utilizing an original survey of evangelical and born-again
respondents. Our primary goal is to statistically assess the relative impor-
tance of theological/eschatological, cultural, social, and political determi-
nants of evangelical support for Israel. We find that evangelical support
for Israel is driven by respondentsbeliefs rooted in evangelical
Christian theology and by their feeling of cultural and religious affinity
with Jews, rather than geopolitical/security concerns, feelings of guilt
Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Motti Inbari, The University of North Carolina at
Pembroke, 107 Sampson Building, One university Drive, Pembroke NC 28372. E-mail: inbari@uncp.edu
1
Politics and Religion, page 1 of 36, 2020.
© Religion and Politics Section of the American Political Science Association, 2020
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for historical persecution of Jews at the hands of Christians, or feeling of
commonality on the basis of political/democratic institutions.
However, and counter to other studies which argue that evangelical
support for Israel is driven predominantly by religious beliefs rooted in
evangelical eschatology and Biblical literalism, our results show that the
three strongest predictors of support for Israel are the respondents age,
opinion of Jews, and socialization ( frequency of hearing other evangeli-
cals talking about Israel). One especially interesting finding of this analy-
sis is that there are significant differences in pro-Israel sentiment between
18 and 29 years old and older evangelicals and that these differences are
not driven by the fact that the younger evangelicals are less religious (in
fact, we find the contrary).
From the late 1970s, white evangelicals have been heavily involved in
American politics, and they are mostly identified with the Republican
Party. Their political agenda is almost entirely domestic in its scope and
focuses predominantly on family issues,such as prayer in schools,
anti-abortion policies, and preservation of the traditional family.
Claassen found that race was the key issue for white evangelicalsrealign-
ment with the GOP (Claassen 2011). While evangelicals have a fairly
narrow international agenda, the support for the State of Israel is at the
top of their priorities. In this study, we seek to understand the sources
of evangelical support for Israel, utilizing an original survey of 1,000
evangelical and born-again respondents, conducted between April 3 and
April 10, 2018.
The fact that evangelical Christians express such interest and a sense of
shared destiny with Jews and Israel is both fascinating and peculiar given
the long-standing anti-Semitism embraced by many Christians and their
secular and religious authorities. A shift away from historical anti-
Semitism began during the early days of the Protestant Reformation.
Some Protestant leaders expressed their sympathy with Jews, thus
moving away from the established attitude of the Roman Catholic
Church and from Martin Luthers anti-Semitism (Ariel 2013,1534).
Evangelism became a common name for a revival that swept the
English-speaking world in the late 18th century. Evangelicalsinterest
in Jews grew even stronger with the rise of the Zionist movement.
Among its early supporters were prominent evangelical figures like
William Hechler, who was a personal assistant of Theodor Herzls, the
founder of modern Zionism (Goldman 2009,88136). Scholars even
showed that the Balfour Declaration (1917), the British promise to assist
establishing a Jewish national homeland in Palestine, was inspired by
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philo-semite
2
evangelical sentiment (Stein 1961; Schneer 2000).
Evangelical support and interest began before the formation of the State
of Israel, but it has grown much greater since the declaration of the
State of Israel on May 14, 1948.
Israels success and the expansion of its borders, including the con-
quest of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount after the 1967 Six-Day War,
triggered another wave of evangelical interest in Israel. The evangelical
theologiansinterest in the Israeli victory was connected to the predic-
tions about the second coming of Jesus Christ (Gorenberg 2000). For
example, Hal Lindsey, an American evangelical preacher, argued in
his best-selling book, TheLateGreatPlanetEarth(1970,4147),
which sold more than 10 million copies, that JesusSecond Coming
would take place within 40 years from the establishment of the State
of Israel (Weber 1987,1342). A similar theme that connects Israels
success to the imminent Second Coming was also articulated in the
Left Behind books, a series of 16 best-selling religious novels, by Tim
LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins (19952007). In these novels, Jews and
the State of Israel play a central role in the End of Days events (Ariel
2013,4653). These books demonstrate a popularized manifestation of
evangelical support of Israel and have spawned a new generation of
end-time believers, which has caught the eye of some researchers
(Gribben and Sweetnam 2011).
Most of the scholarship on the evangelical support of Jews and the State
of Israel, including its missionary activities toward Jews, is largely the
product of historians and scholars of religious studies. In these publica-
tions, the subject is researched from archives and interviews with evangel-
ical leadership, and typically entails content analysis of the statements of
different evangelical leadersspeeches. The study of evangelical grass-
roots attitudes of and support for Jews and the State of Israel has been
limited so far, with only a handful of surveys (Pew Research Center
2014; The Brookings Institution 2015; LifeWay 2017; Gallup 2018) and
academic publications (Mayer 2004; Baumgartner, Francia, and Morris
2008; Gries 2015). Our survey contributes to this growing body of
public opinion research on evangelical attitudes and our study provides
one of the first statistical analyses of the causes of evangelical support
for Israel.
The rest of the paper is organized as follows. We begin with an intro-
duction of the motivations of evangelicals in support of Israel, followed by
an introduction to the survey and some of its descriptive results. The study
then turns to the operationalization of variables and statistical analysis,
Why Do Evangelicals Support Israel? 3
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which tests hypotheses regarding the potential motivations for the support
of Israel discussed below. We finish with the interpretation and discussion
of the statistical results and identify venues for future research.
EVANGELICAL MOTIVATIONS
The literature on the evangelical support for Israel identifies several poten-
tial sources, which can be grouped into the following categories:
1. EschatologyEvangelicals adhere to a Christian school of thought
called pre-millennial dispensationalism. According to this philosophy,
the second coming of Christ is an imminent event that will take place
in several stages. In the first stage, Jesus will reappear in heaven, but
will not descend to earth. In heaven, he will meet the true believers
those who were born againby adopting Christ as their personal
savior. In an act known as the rapture,these believers will be miracu-
lously drawn up to Jesus from the earth, while true believers who died
prior to the appearance of the Messiah will be resurrected from the dead
and join Jesus. All of this is expected to happen in the near future,
although evangelical writings do not provide a specific timeframe in
most cases. For Jews, this will be a time of trouble for Jacob(Jer.
30:7). Despite returning to their homeland, prior to or during this
period, Jews will be considered lacking in faithbecause they will not
have accepted Christ as their Messiah (Boyer 1992, 25490).
Therefore, Jewish presence in what is currently identified as the State of
Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories will not be the kingdom of
God,but rather just a stage in the developments that will precede the
coming of the Messiah. During the period of the great tribulation,
there will arise a ruler
3
the Antichristwho will pass himself off as
the true Messiah and be accepted by Jews as their redeemer. Taking
over the rebuilt Temple, the Antichrist will institute a reign of terror.
Jews who accept the kingdom of Christ during this period will be perse-
cuted by the followers of the false messiah, and some of them will even be
killed. There will be a series of attempted invasions of the Holy Land from
all corners of the world. The period of the great tribulation will end with
the return of Christ to earth, together with his true believers, to establish
his kingdom. He will defeat the Antichrist, establish a regime of justice
throughout the world, and make Jerusalem his capital. During these antic-
ipated events, most Jews would open their hearts to accept Jesus as their
Messiah (Weber 1987; Ariel 2013,921; Sturm 2010).
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There might be more than one way to interpret the prophesies of the
Book of Revelation and the prophetic literature, but the evangelicals
who prescribe to pre-millennial dispensationalism connect the establish-
ment of the State of Israel and events such as Israels victory in the Six
Day War and its conquest of the Temple Mount as a temporal fulfillment
of prophecy regarding the Second Coming of Christ. Thus, one potential
evangelical motivation to support Israel is grounded in messianic expecta-
tions and in participation in the divine plan for redemption (Gorenberg
2000).
All monotheistic religions contain eschatological visions of End Days.
In most times, these visions have no significant meaning to the life and
well-being of the community of believers. However, at certain points,
these visions can become central, thus pushing the true believers to
action in anticipation of imminent redemption. On the spectrum of
hotor cold,we can identify hotas active anticipation for a redemp-
tion that would transform humanity and bring about an end of times.
These hotepisodes are followed by long coldperiods of time, some-
times even blended with negative attitudes toward messianism, in which
the possibility of a sudden transition to the End Days exists, but the
general public takes no action to hasten it, or even thinks of it as reason-
ably possible (Talmon 1966; Wessinger 2000; Landes 2011). An example
of hotmessianism can be found in Cohn (1957) research which shows
how several movements rose to significance in Medieval Europe, expect-
ing the Second Coming of Christ as an imminent event. Some of them
have concentrated their attention on the First Crusade (10969), which
was viewed as a holy war that would lead to the End Days. During the
17th century, a mass movement developed among Jews, who identified
Shabetai Zvi as the Jewish messiah (Scholem 1973). In the history on
American evangelism, a notable example of hotmessianism is the
Millerites movement, based on the leadership of William Miller, that
expected the Second Coming for the year 1843 and later recalculated
their predictions to 1844 (Rowe 1985). The Jehovah Witnesses is
another contemporary example, albeit not of an evangelical movement,
steeped with messianic expectations that already calculated the End six
times (Zygmunt 1970). Olson (2018) argues that the 1967 Arab-Israeli
war and the Israeli capture of Jerusalem brought about hotmessianism
amongst many American evangelicals, as discussed earlier in the writings
of Hal Lindsey. These hotepisodes of messianic expectations are not the
normal state of religion that is mostly coldtoward acute messianism.
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2. BlessingsOne of the fundamental principles of evangelical
Christianity is Biblical literalism.
4
Genesis 12:3 mentions that God
would offer a blessing to the nations who would support Abrahams off-
spring: I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will
curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.In Allies
for Armageddon, Clark (2007: 263) suggests that a fear of the wrath of
God plays a major role in Christian Zionist support for Israel: if
America abandons Israel, then God will cancel Americas most
Divinely Favored Nation status.Another example is from the work of
journalist Koenig (2011), who prepared a study claiming that a statistical
correlation can be seen between American pressure on Israel to make ter-
ritorial compromises and natural disasters in the United States. Koenig
claims that within 24 hours of an American president pressuring Israel,
a natural disaster (such as floods, hurricanes, tornados, wildfires, or earth-
quakes) or terrorist attack takes place in the United States. This line of
thinking led some evangelicals to argue that Israels 2005
Disengagement Plan and the evacuation of the Gush Katif settlement in
Gaza brought the destruction from the hurricane Katrina onto the
United States (Berkowitz 2015). Thus, evangelicals believe that support-
ing Israel could bring blessings on them, as promised by God, and aban-
doning Israel will be detrimental to Americas future prosperity.
3. A Belief that Jews are Gods Chosen PeopleAnother aspect of this
literal reading of the Bible includes a belief that Jews are the offspring of
Abraham and are thus Gods chosen people. Evangelical preachers usually
oppose the replacement theologythat argues that Jews lost their election
on earth after rejecting Jesus as the Messiah. By rejecting replacement the-
ology, the evangelical message stands in contrast to a long-standing
Christian belief that God is finished with the Jewish people, that all of
his promises of good to Israel have been transferred to the Church.
Christian Zionists refer to this belief as supersessionismand consider
it a profound theological error (Spector 2009,2122; Vlach 2009). For
example, Pastor John Hagee, leader of Christians United For Israel,
said, It is time that Christians remove the self-imposed scales from our
eyes placed there by the sanctimonious teachings of the replacement the-
ology. God never rejected the Jews or replaced them because they could
not see Jesus as Messiah. God still loves and cherishes the Jewish
people and has a glorious future in store for them(Hagee 2007, 156).
The three potential reasons for evangelical support for Jews and Israel
discussed above are deeply rooted in evangelical theology. Beyond these
explanations, we consider several other potential determinants of
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evangelical attitudes. These explanations are secular in scope and concern
political, cultural, and historical reasons for evangelical support for Israel.
4. GuiltAnother potential rationalization for supporting Israel may
come from a sense of guilt, rooted in the belief that the long history of
anti-Semitism in Christianity eventually culminated in the horrors of the
Holocaust. An example of this sentiment can be seen in the preaching
of Pastor John Hagee, who declared that anti-Semitism that led to the
Holocaust has its origins in Christianity: A thread connects the crusades,
the Spanish Inquisition, Martin Luthers attacks on the Jews, Adolf Hitler,
and the Final Solution. All these acts were committed by baptized
Christians(Hagee 2007, 6). As Hagee points out, European history of
anti-Semitism may therefore provide a strong incentive to evangelicals
to support Israel in a mea culpa type of reaction. This sense of atonement
for previous sins of the Christian nations may be further amplified by a
belief in Gods blessings (curse) for those who support (attack/oppose)
Jews and Israel, which we discussed earlier.
5. Shared Political ValuesIsrael enjoys widespread support by the
American public and the political elite on both the left and the right,
although this sentiment is weakening among liberals (Baumgartner,
Francia, and Morris 2008; Cavari 2013; Gries 2015). A Gallup poll con-
ducted in 2018 showed that Americansstance on the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict is as strongly pro-Israel as at any time in Gallups three-decade
trend. Sixty-four percent say that their sympathies in the dispute lie
more with the Israelis, tying for the highest levels of support previously
recorded in 2013 and 1991 (Saad 2018). The annual conventions by the
American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a lobbying group
that advocates pro-Israel policies, are an expression of that support,
where politicians from across the political spectrum come to express
their support for Israel. For example, in 2016, the Democratic presidential
candidate Hillary Clinton gave a speech at the convention where she said
that weve always shared an unwavering, unshakable commitment to our
alliance (with Israel)(Beckwith 2016). It is undeniable that Israelis and
Americans share many (if not most) Western socioeconomic and political
foundations.
Thus, it would not be farfetched to argue that evangelicals may see
Israel as an American ally because both societies share a set of
common political principles and democratic practices, such as compet-
itive politics, rule of law, individual liberties, free press, and limited
government. As DeLay (2003), a former House Majority Leader and
an evangelical Christian, emphasized this sense of political affinity or
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kinship in his speech to the Israeli Knesset on July 30, 2003: The sol-
idarity between the United States and Israel is deeper than the various
interests we share. It goes to the very nature of man, to the endowment
of our God-given rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is
the universal solidarity of freedom.This solidarity of freedomsand
democratic values could be a powerful reason for evangelicals to
express high levels of support for Americas only democratic ally in
theMiddleEastIsrael.
6. Common Geopolitical and Security ConcernsEvangelicals may
also perceive Israel as an ally due to shared geopolitical and strategic inter-
ests. Accordingly, support for Israel can reflect a belief that Israel is
Americas best ally in an important but volatile part of the world. In
that regard, many evangelicals may see Israel as a partner in containing
Iran and in fighting radical Islam (Spector 2009,76110). Sturm (2010)
argues that Muslims replaced the Soviet Union as Americas and Gods
enemies, thus reshaping evangelicalsforeign policy priorities. From
this perspective, as Gries (2015, 72) notes, the Israelis are on the frontline
of a battle to keep the Palestinians and other Muslims from upsetting the
global pecking order.
In addition to shared Israeli and American geo-political concerns, evan-
gelicals may see Israel as a guarantor of Western civilizations security in
the Middle East, in general, and a guarantor of Christian access to the holy
sites in Israel and the Occupied Territories, more specifically. Such con-
cerns for the physical safety of Christians visiting the Holy Land and
the security of Christian religious sites may prompt evangelicals to
support the State of Israel.
7. Shared Cultural and Religious ValuesFinally, and similar to the
political kinship argument above, one could argue that evangelical
support for Israel is rooted in a belief in a shared Western culture, includ-
ing religion, ethics, traditions and customs, and etiquette. From this per-
spective, supporting Israel can reflect a sense of cultural kinship based
on feelings of shared cultural and ethical values between Jews and
Christians (Silk 1984).
There is a lack of scholarly consensus on which of the factors identified
above are the primary drivers of evangelical support for Israel. Some
scholars put more emphasis on the evangelical belief that supporting
Jews would bring blessings on them and thus view it more as a philo-
Semite sentiment (Inbari 2012, 15184). Other scholars go in the
completely opposite direction and see the motivations of conservative
evangelicals in supporting Israel as hypocritical and as bordering on
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anti-Semitic, because evangelicals believe that there would be a mass con-
version of Jews after the Second Coming, which is considered as an immi-
nent event (Abraham and Boer 2009; Michaelson 2018).
Given that with the possible exception of Jewish Americans, the evan-
gelicals are the most ardent supporters of pro-Israeli U.S. foreign policy
(Mayer 2004), it is important to understand whether evangelical support
is rooted predominantly in religious beliefs or in more broadly-conceived
cultural and political affinity and common geopolitical interests, or both.
Our paper aims to fill this gap by using a new survey of evangelical
and born-again Christians.
5
THE SURVEY
We analyze the sources of evangelical support for Israel using original
survey data, compiled for us by LifeWay Research, a national polling
company that specializes in surveying attitudes of various Christian
communities.
The survey was conducted on April 310, 2018.
6
The sample was
screened to include only those who consider themselves an evangelical
and/or born-again Christians.
7
A demographically balanced online panel
was used. Maximum quotas and slight weights were used for gender,
region, age, ethnicity, and education to more accurately reflect the evan-
gelical population in the United States (as defined by 2014 Pew
Religious Landscape Survey). A total of 2,754 respondents started the
survey, 1,694 were screened out by quotas or the screening criteria,
and 60 were incomplete or dirty. The completed sample is 1,000
surveys. The sample provides 95% confidence that the sampling error
does not exceed plus or minus 3.27%, accounting for weights.
Initially, we expected to conduct a set of telephone or face-to-face
surveys, but chose to implement our survey online instead. This decision
was driven by several reasons. First, completing a survey online signifi-
cantly reduced the costs and the amount of time needed to generate a
nationally-representative sample. Second, as Gries (2015) points out,
completing a survey online in the privacy of ones own home potentially
reduces biases or self-presentation effects that are more likely to manifest
themselves in telephone or face-to-face interviews, especially when con-
troversial or delicate topics are addressed in the survey. Third, all of our
questions are measured on a five- or seven-point scale, and such ques-
tions are easier to employ via an online survey rather than over the
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telephone because an online format allows for easier use of categorical
rating scales. In sum, utilizing an online format helped us decrease
costs and time needed to carry out this survey, as well as reduce measure-
ment error.
WHO ARE THE EVANGELICAL RESPONDENTS AND WHAT
VIEWS DO THEY HOLD?
In our survey, the majority of evangelicals and born-again Christians
are white (65% of the sample), concentrated mostly in the Southeast
(38.3%) and the Midwest (22.5%), and are most likely to hold a high
school diploma (37%) or have some collegeexperience (29.8%),
without obtaining either an associate or baccalaureate degree. They
live predominantly in rural (37%) and suburban locations (42%), and
their mean household income is roughly $40,700. Sixty-one percent
of the respondents in our survey are female.
8
An average age of our
respondent is 49.3 years of age and 57.3% of the respondents are
married. As expected, our respondents exhibit a relatively high level
of religiosity (demonstrated by the frequency of church attendance
and frequency of reading the Bible) with over a half reporting attending
church at least once a week and reading the Bible at least twice a week
(see Table A1 below).
One of the principal findings of LifeWay ResearchsEvangelical
Attitudes Toward Israel Research Study (2017) was noticeably lower
levels of support for Israel among young evangelicals. This study shows
that American evangelicals under 35 are less likely than their elders to
offer strong support for Israel and are more likely to have a critical
view of the country and its policies. These findings prompted us to
examine this age group more carefully in our research. The authors of
the LifeWay Research (2017) note that The majority of those with
Evangelical beliefs attribute the primary reason for their support of
Israel to the Bible(p. 4) and that frequent church attendance is linked
with strong support for Israel (p. 18). Are younger evangelicals less sup-
portive of Israel simply because they are less frequently attending church
and/or reading the Bible?
Our survey results do not lend support to this hypothesis. The data in
Table A1 show that lower rates of church attendance and Bible reader-
ship are not likely to be the reason why younger evangelicals (1829
years old respondents) express lower levels of support for Israel than
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other age groups. In fact, 1829 years old evangelical respondents have
lower, rather than higher, rates of seldomor neverattending church
or reading the Bible than the older (30+) evangelical respondents. The
differences are particularly pronounced in the seldomcategory of
responses.
Our results regarding ideological positions of the evangelical and born-
again Christians are consistent with other surveys and with the voting pat-
terns of the evangelicals in the 2016 presidential elections (see Table A2).
Exit polls after the election showed that only about 16% of evangelicals
voted for the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton (Baily 2016).
Similarly, in our survey, only 17.1% described themselves as slightly
liberal,”“liberal,and extremely liberal.The vast majority of the
respondents indicated a preference for conservatism (55.9%).
It is noteworthyand this will become more relevant in the analysis of
evangelical attitudes toward Israel and Israeli-Palestinian conflict later in
this paperthat ideological preferences of the 1829 years old reflect
more of a normal distribution, with moderates/centrists comprising the
largest proportion (30.36%) of this cohort. The older generations, on the
other hand, are more likely to adopt a more conservative platform, with
the largest proportion of the respondents (32.73%) picking the conserva-
tiveresponse category.
The survey also uncovered an interesting contrast between the opin-
ions of different evangelical age cohorts toward Jews and Muslims.
Data show that 1829 years old respondents manifest much warmer
feelings toward Muslims than the older evangelicals (see Table A3).
A total of 46.33% of 1829 years old express goodor very
goodopinion of Muslims, while only 21.14% of older evangelicals
responded with positive feelings toward Muslims. Darrell Bock, a
bible scholar and professor at the Dallas Theological Seminary,
argues that What drives a millennial are justice questionsand
there are real questions related to justice and how Israel handles the
Palestinians(Connelly 2016). Perhaps, the differences in support for
Muslims that we observe here are linked to different conceptions of
justice held by the different age groups, with younger evangelicals
more likely to perceive the Palestinians as victims of Israeli occupation
and maltreatment. No such cohort differences were discovered regard-
ing respondentsfeelings toward Jews, with 65% of both cohorts
expressing a positive view of Jews, and with another 22.6% (1829
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years old) and 25.76% (30-year-old and older respondents) expressing
a neutral attitude.
MAPPING EVANGELICAL AND BORN-AGAIN CHRISTIAN
SUPPORT FOR ISRAEL: THE DEPENDENT VARIABLE
We chose to employ a relative measure of support for Israel (vis-à-vis
Palestinians), rather than a separate set of measures of support for
Palestinians and Israel. We did so, in part, because we wanted the respon-
dents to assess their degree of support for these actors in relation to each
other rather than in the abstract. The existing literature supports this
choice. For example, Gries (2015) found that Pentecostals, white
Baptists, and other white evangelical Protestants displayed the largest
gaps (with the exception of American Jews) between their warmth
toward Israel and their coolness toward Palestinians. In addition,
Mayer (2004, 697) argues that the comparative favoritism for Israel is
greatly lessened when respondents are not asked to choose only
between Israel and the Palestinians, but given an option for neutrality.
In order to capture this potential effect, we also employ a neutral cate-
gory in our survey question.
The dependent variable in this study is based on the following ques-
tion: Where do you put your support?The respondent was offered
the following range of responses: (1) Very Strong Support for
Palestinians; (2) Support Palestinians; (3) Lean Toward Support
for Palestinians; (4) = Support Neither; (5) Lean Toward Support for
Israel; (6) Support Israel; (7) Very Strong Support for Israel; and (8)
DontKnow.
We recoded the original variable in the following manner: (1)
Support Palestinians (1.51%); (2) Lean Toward Support for
Palestinians (1.28%); (3) Support Neither (22.04%); (4) Lean Toward
Support for Israel (14.39%); (5) Support Israel (60.79%).
9
The
DontKnowcategory was recoded with missing values to drop
these observations from the data. This resulted in a drop of 138 obser-
vations, giving us 862 respondents (see Appendix 1 for descriptive
statistics).
As the descriptive statistics and previous research on the subject show,
evangelical and born-again Christian support for Israel is substantial. Over
75% of the respondents either lean toward supporting Israel or manifest
strong or very strong support for Israel.
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DETERMINANTS OF EVANGELICAL SUPPORT FOR ISRAEL
Hypotheses
First, we hypothesize that evangelicals and born-again Christians are moti-
vated in their support for Israel by their messianic expectations of the
Second Coming of Jesus Christ and by the necessity to participate in
the divine plan for redemption. Since pre-millennial dispensation theology
expects that the events of the Second Coming would take place in a near
future that Jews would build a Temple for God prior to these events, and
that, eventually, many Jews would convert to Christianity, we expect that
the respondents who follow this religious belief would also express higher
levels of support for Israel, because do so would contribute to the fulfill-
ment of prophecy. We also hypothesize that evangelicals are motivated by
their belief that Jews are Gods chosen people due to their literal reading
of scripture.
In addition, we argue that evangelicals may be motivated to support
Israel if they perceive that common cultural and political institutions
unite the Americans and the Israelis. We also hypothesize that evangeli-
calssupport for Israel is rooted in their geopolitical and security concerns.
If evangelicals see Israel as a guarantor of Western civilizations security
in the Middle East, in general, and a guarantor of Christian access to the
holy sites in Israel and the Occupied Territories, more specifically, then
they are more likely to express a high degree of support for Israel.
Another potential rationalization for supporting Israel comes from a
sense of guilt rooted in the long history of anti-Semitism by Christians
that eventually culminated in the Holocaust. From this perspective, we
hypothesize that the evangelical support for Israel is perceived to be
one of the ways that Christians can right the old wrongs perpetrated
against Jews by Christians.
In addition to the factors discussed above, we expect that support for
Israel will be affected by the frequency with which a respondent hears
other evangelicals expressing support for Israel. We hypothesize that
this process of socialization, through which individuals become aware
of politics, learn political facts, and form values and attitudes, is an impor-
tant part of the explanation of evangelicalssupport for Israel, which has
been ignored by the previous studies on this subject.
Similarly, we hypothesize that respondents who exhibit a relatively
high level of religiositydemonstrated by the frequency of church
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attendanceshould express more positive attitudes toward Israel. We
expect that more frequent exposure to the message about the importance
of Jews and Israel to evangelicals should promote more support for
Israel because of the increased potential for socialization, which we dis-
cussed above.
A number of previous studies identified ideology and partisanship as
important determinants of evangelical attitudes toward Israel and Israeli-
Palestinian dispute. For example, Mayer (2004) finds that evangelical
Republicans are more supportive of Israel than evangelical Democrats,
even after controlling for the effects of pre-millennial dispensationalism.
Gries (2015, 73) argues that liberals are less sympathetic toward Israel
than conservatives because the greater value that liberals place on com-
passion and fairness contributes to their opposition to what they view as
Israeli oppression of the Palestinians in the occupied territories.Thus,
we control for the respondents political ideology and hypothesize that
more conservative respondents will express higher levels of support for
Israel.
This study also controls for the respondents general opinion of
Muslims and Jews. We hypothesize that negative attitudes toward
Muslims and more positive attitudes toward Jews will increase a respon-
dents degree of support for Israel. We similarly expect that people who
express neutral opinion toward both groups are also more likely to
support neither Israel nor Palestinians, or only express weak level of
support for Israel or Palestinians.
Finally, we control for standard demographic factors (age, education,
income, gender, race/ethnicity, and region of residence
10
). However, in
light of recent results reported by LifeWay Research (2017) survey, the
effect of age on support for Israel is of particular interest. The authors
of the LifeWay study show that young evangelicals are less attached to
Israel than are the older cohorts. Accordingly, we anticipate a lower
level of support for Israel among the respondents who self-identify as
1829 years old in our survey than among the older age groups.
Additionally, previous findings by Weisbord and Kazarian (1985) and
Shapiro (2018) lead us to expect that black Americans will be less sympa-
thetic toward Israel than are other Americans, due to the close relationship
Israel developed with South Africa during the apartheid era and due to the
black Americansgreater concern for racial justice. We do not have clear
theoretical expectations about the impact of other demographic variables
on support for Israel and therefore employ a two-tailed test of statistical
significance to take into account all potential effects.
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Operationalization
To measure whether theological, cultural, political, or security-related atti-
tudes impact support for Israel, we rely on a battery of questions from our
survey, which rank respondentsresponses according to the following
scale: (1) strongly disagree; (2) disagree; (3) somewhat disagree; (4)
neither agree nor disagree; (5) somewhat agree; (6) agree; (7) strongly;
and (8) dont know.
11
The theological questions included in our analysis include the
following:
I support Israel because its existence is proof of the fulfillment of prophesy
regarding the nearing of JesusSecond Coming.
I support Israel because Jews are Gods chosen people.
I support Israel because it needs to build a temple for God on the Temple
Mount in the near future.
We attempt to tap into broader cultural, political, and security-related
motivations for support through the following set of questions:
I support Israel because of my shared cultural and/or religious values.
I support Israel because of my shared political or democratic values.
I support Israel because it protects the holy sites and is the only guarantor of
Christian access to them.
The following question looks at whether guilt (for the historic persecution
of Jews by Christians) is a factor that accounts for evangelical support of
Israel:
I support Israel because Jews suffered discrimination and extermination at the
hands of Christian nations in the past.
The distribution of responses to these questions appears in Table A4.
To control for potential socialization effects, we ask the respondents to
estimate how often they hear other evangelicals express support for Israel.
Respondents were given the following response options: (1) every week
(23.3% of respondents); (2) once a month (26% of respondents); (3)
seldom (35.7% of respondents); and (4) never (15% of respondents).
The variable was then recoded, with higher values to indicate more fre-
quent expressions of support.
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The measurement of the remaining variablesopinion of Jews and
Muslims, respondents ideology, and standard demographic variables
has been discussed above and the summary statistics for all variables
appear in Table A5. Appendix 2 provides variable descriptions and
coding rules for all of the variables used in this analysis.
FINDINGS AND DISCUSSION
To explore the factors influencing evangelicalssupport for Israel, we
utilize a multivariate ordered logistic regression.
12
Sampling weights
and robust standard errors are used in the analysis. All tests for parallel
lines assumption (Wolf Gould, Brant, score, likelihood ratio, and Wald)
were insignificant, as expected (Table A6).
13
Table A7 displays the statis-
tical results and odds ratios for the explanatory variables.
14
As expected, the results show that evangelical support for Israel is
driven by respondentsbeliefs rooted in evangelical Christian theology
and by their feeling of cultural and religious affinity with Jews.
Hypotheses regarding geopolitical/security concerns, feelings of guilt
for historical persecution of Jews at the hands of Christians, or feeling
of commonality on the basis of political/democratic institutions were not
supported by the data.
Respondents who stated that they support Israel to fulfill the prophesy
regarding the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and because Jews are
Gods chosen people are more likely to manifest high levels of support
for Israel than respondents who either disagreed or responded with
weak support to these statements. The odds ratio shows that for one unit
increase (in favor of a stronger agreement) to the statement The State
of Israel is a proof of the fulfillment of prophesy regarding the nearing
of JesusSecond Coming,the odds of very strong or strong support
for Israel (versus expressing lukewarm/weak support for Israel support
for Palestinians, or expressing neutrality) are 1.368 times greater, given
that the other variables in the model are held constant. Similarly, for
one unit increase (e.g., from somewhat agreeto agree) in support
for the statement I support Israel because Jews are Gods chosen
people,the odds of a significant level of support for Israel are 1.385
times greater.
In contrast, we find no support for the hypothesis that pre-millennial
dispensation theology, which expects that Jews would build a Temple
for God prior to the events of the Second Coming, is a statistically
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significant predictor of support for Israel. The coefficient for this variable
is positive, as hypothesized, but the variable fails to achieve commonly-
accepted levels of statistical significance. This finding is important,
since many commentators do associate evangelical support for Israel
with the reconstruction of the Temple in the near future. Our results fail
to find support for this evangelical motivation.
This study similarly fails to find support for political affinity and geo-
political/security concerns hypotheses. In bivariate regression, both
reasons for support show positive coefficients and high levels of statistical
significance, but in a fully-specified model, the effects of these variables
wash out. However, we find strong support for the cultural affinity hypoth-
esis. Perceptions of a kinship, on the basis of common cultural and reli-
gious values, play a major role in generating high support for Israel.
The variable is statistically significant and for one unit increase in favor
of stronger support for the cultural affinity statement, the odds of a respon-
dent expressing strong support for Israel increase 1.414 times, with other
variables held constant.
We fail to find support for the argument that evangelicals are pro-Israel
due to latent feelings of guilt or responsibility for the Christian persecution
of Jews in the past. The data show that this is not a significant predictor of
Israels support. While the coefficient is in the hypothesized direction, it
fails to reach acceptable levels of statistical significance (although in a
bivariate regression, the coefficient is positive and highly significant, as
originally hypothesized).
The analysis reveals that the frequency of church attendance (religios-
ity), ideology (specifically, preference for a conservative point of view),
and opinion of Jews and Muslims are all significant predictors of
support for Israel among evangelical and born-again Christians. More fre-
quent attendance of church and religious assemblies increases the odds of
strong support for Israel by 1.215 times. Similarly, respondents who select
slightly conservative,”“conservative,or extremely conservative
responses to the ideology question are 1.312 times more likely to
express high levels of support for Israel than the more liberal or centrist
evangelicals.
Socialization is a particularly important variable in explaining evangel-
ical support. The odds ratio of 1.56 shows that being around other evan-
gelicals who talk about Israel and about its importance to the evangelical
community is one of the most significant predictors of support for Israel,
second only to the influence of positive opinion of Jews. Put simply, more
frequent exposure to positive messages about Israel generates high levels
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of support, even taking into account the influence of other variables.
Together, frequent church attendance and socializing with other pro-
Israel evangelicals increase the odds of high levels of support by almost
threefold (2.775 times).
However, it is worth noting that these positive effects are less pro-
nounced for the 1829 years old evangelicals. As we discussed earlier
in the paper, and as the statistical analysis shows, age is one of the
three strongest predictors of support for Israel. In particular, we find that
young evangelicals are less likely to express strong support than their
parents and grandparentsone unit increase in age (i.e., moving from
1829 years old category to the 3049 cohort, or from the latter to the
5064 age group, and so on) also increases support for Israel 1.481
times. We also wanted to know if the effect of age was isolated to a par-
ticular age group only. To consider this possibility, we tested the impact of
age on support for Israel for each age category. In a fully specified model,
only 1829 years old age category carries statistical significance (negative
effect on support for Israel).
15
Thus, even though the survey shows that
absenteeism or infrequent church attendance is lower among the
younger cohorts than in the older age groups, the positive effects of reli-
giosity and socialization on support are less consequential for this age
group.
Perhaps, the explanation for this lies in the fact that younger respon-
dents, as Table A2 shows, are more likely to profess middle of the
roador centrist political positions than older respondents. Among 18
29 years old, moderates/centrists comprise the largest proportion
(30.36%) of respondents, with another 29% expressing a preference for
liberal positions. The older generations, by contrast, are more likely to
adopt a more conservative platform, with more than 59% of the respon-
dents picking a slightly conservativeor a more conservative position.
Only 14.6% of 30-year-old and older respondents identified with the
liberal ideology. Our findings are consistent with Mayer (2004)who
found that the older, white, Republican respondents were most sympa-
thetic toward Israel.
Another potential answer lies in the different conceptions of justice
among younger and older evangelicals, particularly in regard to the
Israeli-Palestinian dispute. For example, Gary Burge, a professor at
Calvin Theological Seminary and former professor at Wheaton College
(an evangelical university), said that the younger generation is less
likely to quote Bible passages about Jerusalem, and more concerned
with ethics and treatment of the downtrodden(quoted in Lovett 2018).
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Similarly, Darrell Bock, professor at the Dallas Theological Seminary,
argues that millennials find Israeli treatment of Palestinians as inhumane
and counter to their conceptions of fairness and justice (Connelly 2016).
Our current data can only provide a tentative, and admittedly speculative,
glimpse at the reason why 1829 years old might express more support
toward Palestinians over Israel, but these results are consistent with
Burge and Bocks impressions and certainly merit more attention in
future research.
The statistical analysis also confirms that respondentsopinion of
Muslims and Jews impact their support for Israel. As we hypothesized,
negative opinion of Muslims increases support for Israel, while a favorable
view of Muslims reduces support for Israel by 0.723 times. Also, a favor-
able view of Jews has a highly statistically significant and positive impact
on support for Israel. In fact, the opinion of Jews is the most significant
predictor of support for Israel in our analysis, increasing the odds of reg-
istering high support by 3.03 times. While this is, in some ways, an
obvious conclusion, there is an important message here. While church
activities, interaction with other pro-Israel evangelicals, belief in a
common Judeo-Christian culture, and theology all play their expected
role in explaining evangelical support, our analysis shows that nurturing
a positive opinion of Jews, irrespective of theology or other potential
explanations, may be the best way for evangelical leaders to promote
support for Israel among their congregations.
Finally, it is important to note that with the exception of the effects of
age, no other demographic variable rose to the level of statistical signifi-
cance. Our analysis shows that neither education, race and ethnicity,
income, marital status, nor region or area of residence has an impact on
evangelicalslevels of support. We initially expected that race and ethnic-
ity may play a role, hypothesizing that the African-American support for
Israel would be low. As Shapiro (2018) argues, The voting patterns,
emphases and styles of white and black evangelicals tend to be distinctive.
African-American evangelicals are less consumed by issues like abortion,
LGBT issues and the war on drugs than are their white counterparts, and
more focused on issues of racial justice and poverty.The last issue
racial justice and povertymay certainly have an impact on black evan-
gelical support for Israel and their perceptions of Muslims and Jews.
While we did not discover the statistically significant impact of race on
evangelicals support in this analysis, a more detailed examination of
black evangelical views on Israeli-Palestinian dispute and of their levels
of support for Israel is merited.
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NOTES ON EVANGELICAL IDEOLOGY: ESCHATOLOGY AND
BIBLICAL LITERALISM
In the survey, the most significant ideological statements that came up in
the multivariate model were that the respondents support Israel because it
fulfills the prophesy regarding the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and
because Jews are Gods chosen people. Thus, eschatology and Biblical lit-
eralism are important factors among evangelicals. In this section, we
would like to expand upon these two ideological aspects, based on the
results of the survey.
As we know, evangelical Christianity is highly influenced by the escha-
tological vision of pre-millennial dispensationalism. Thus, we asked the
respondents their attitude toward the following statements:
The State of Israel is a proof of the fulfillment of prophesy regarding the
nearing of JesusSecond Coming.
I support Israel because I believe it will lead to the Second Coming of Jesus.
As the responses indicate, there is an overwhelming support for the notion
that the State of Israel is connected to the idea of the Second Coming of
Jesus (83.94%). These data strengthen the literature that emphasizes
eschatology as a major motivation of evangelicals when it comes to
Israel. However, the survey responses showed more caution (67.4%
support) in the following statement, which emphasizes more direct con-
nection between the support toward Israel and the Second Coming. In
the second statement, I support Israel because it will lead to the
Second Coming of Jesus,we saw a larger number of respondents who
express rejection of the link between the two, or higher level of
uncertainty.
Since pre-millennial dispensation theology expects that Jews would
build a Temple for God prior to the events of the Second Coming, and
eventually many Jews would convert to Christianity, we also asked
respondents to respond to these statements. The results in Table A8
show that evangelicals are almost evenly divided over these statements.
Since we identified the building of the Temple is an event that needs to
take place in the near future, only about a half of the respondents
express support for this statement. The uncertainty of the respondents
regarding the question of the conversion of Jews at the Second Coming,
with only about half expressing positive support, is also important to note.
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Biblical narrative relates to a covenant made between God and
Abraham, thus offering him and his offspring eternal blessings and
turning them into chosen people. Since certain Christian readings argue
that Jews lost their election by rejecting Jesus as their Messiah, we
asked in the survey: Do you believe Gods covenant with the Jewish
people is eternal?The results show strong support. A total of 72.8% indi-
cated that yes, the covenant remains,5.6% said that no, the covenant
has ended,2.7% said that God never had a covenant with the Jews,
and 18.9% responded with dont know.Similarly, the statement: I
support Israel because Jews are Gods chosen peoplegenerated high
levels of agreement, with 84% responding in favor (taking into account
somewhat agree,”“agree,and strongly agreeresponses). We can
thus conclude that the majority of evangelicals do, indeed, reject superses-
sion theology.
We asked another question regarding evangelicalsliteral reading of the
Bible, which taps into more recent political debates—“Do you believe the
Bible says that Jerusalem is Israels capital?. Here again, a large majority
of respondents (62%) agreed with the statement, 5.1% indicated that the
Bible does not say that Jerusalem is Israels capital,another 6.8%
said that Bible is not relevant in political matters,while 26% said
they do not know.
We tested several statements related to the promises God made to the
Jewish people and to the Gentiles. In the responses to all statements
(reported in Table A9), we saw a high level of agreement.
Since the majority of evangelicals see the Bible as the literal word of
God, they express high levels of support to several statements that,
although Biblical, have contemporary ramifications. Among them are
that Jews are Gods chosen people (84%), and that God made promises
to Jews, such as giving the Land of Israel to the Jewish people (90.6%)
and making Jerusalem Israels capital (62%). According to literal
reading, God also made promises to Gentiles to bless them if they
would stand by Abraham and his offspring (87.7%).
The combination of coldeschatology and Biblical literalism, in addi-
tion to the ones mentioned earlier, has thus significantly contributed to
shaping a favorable view of Jews and high support to the State of Israel
by evangelical and born-again Christians.
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CONCLUSION
The results of our statistical analysis show that the three strongest predic-
tors of evangelical and born-again Christian support for Israel are (1) age
(older respondents are more supportive); (2) opinion of Jews (rather than
belief that Jews are Gods chosen people; although both are significant
predictors); and (3) socialization (frequency of hearing other evangelicals
talking about Israel).
One important finding of this analysis is that there are significant differ-
ences in pro-Israel sentiment between 18 and 29 years old respondents and
older evangelicals and that these differences are not driven by the fact that
the younger evangelicals are less religious (in fact, we find the contrary).
Younger evangelicals may be less supportive of Israel due to their ideology,
which is also a statistically significant predictor of support for Israel. We
find that in general young evangelicals are more likely to express centrist
political positions than the older cohorts, who tend to be more conservative.
Additionally, we speculate that these findings are a byproduct of different
conceptions of justice, with younger evangelicals expressing a more posi-
tive attitude toward the Palestinians and more likely to perceive the
Israeli policy toward the Palestinians as unjust. Certainly, this area of
research merits more attention in the future. And, while we discover no stat-
istically significant effects of race and ethnicity on Israeli support, our intu-
ition suggests that there are some additional insights to be gained from
focusing more explicitly on the study of African American evangelicals
attitudes toward Israel. Another aspect to examine in future research
would be the growing trend among evangelicals toward post-tribulation pre-
millennial dispensationalism, a belief that the rapture happens only after the
great tribulation, so that evangelicals suffer with Jews.
Our research contributes to a small, but growing, literature on the opin-
ions of a large segment of American population regarding the question of
the support for Israel. The results are not just important from a political
perspective of what motivates evangelicals regarding foreign policy, but
also from the perspective of JewishChristian relations. At the aftermath
of World War II, many Christian organizations understood that they
needed to change their attitude toward Jews. One dramatic transformation
took place, for example, with the conclusion of Vatican II (1962), in
which the Roman Catholic Church took the blame from Jews for
Christs death, and made it a responsibility of all mankind. In 1993,
The Holy See and the State of Israel signed an agreement that entailed
mutual recognition and full diplomatic relationship. Mainline Protestant
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organizations also changed their attitude toward Jews, partly under the
influence of Reinhold Niebuhr, a leading Protestant theologian, during
the 1950s1960s. Neibuhr accepted Judaism as a religious tradition that
stands on its own, outside the confines of Christianity (Ariel 2017).
Evangelical support for Israel and favorable view of Jews, as discussed
in this paper, can be viewed as part of that transformation.
However, from the 2000s onward, some mainline Protestant organiza-
tions started changing their attitude toward Israel. In 2004, the
Presbyterian Church USA adopted a resolution to divest funds from mul-
tinational corporations operating in Israel. World Council of Churches and
United Church of Christ made similar pronouncements shortly after. As
reported in this study, some young evangelicals are also developing a
more negative outlook toward Israel. Therefore, in order to broaden the
picture of American Christian attitudes toward Israel at the grassroots
level, we encourage other scholars to explore similar questions to those
that we have addressed in this paper by studying attitudes of mainline
Protestants and Catholics toward Jews, Israel, and the Arab-Israeli conflict.
While previous studies (e.g., Mayer 2004; Gries 2015) made some initial
inroads into this subject, this area of public opinion research is ripe for a
more detailed examination.
NOTES
1. The costs of conducting the survey were covered by grants from Academic Engagement
Network, the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, and Chosen People Ministries. Neither of
these donors provided any substantive input into the design of the survey, the analysis, or the
writing of this paper.
2. Philo-Semitism is an interest in, respect for, and an appreciation of Jewish people.
3. Evangelicals have diverse approaches to the origin of the antichrist. According to John Nelson
Darbys theology, the father of modern pre-millennial dispensationalism, the antichrist should be a
Jew. However, according to the majority of contemporary views, this figure should be a European
king, who is not Jewish (Boyer 1992, 25490). Some evangelical scholars argued in the post 9/11
period that the future antichrist might be a Muslim (see Richardson 2012).
4. According to the National Association of Evangelicals, the biggest representative body of evan-
gelical churches, there are four primary characteristics of evangelicalism: a belief that lives need to be
transformed through a born-againexperience and a lifelong process of following Jesus; an expres-
sion and demonstration of the gospel in missionary and social reform efforts; a high regard for and
obedience to the Bible as the ultimate authority; and a stress on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the
cross as making possible the redemption of humanity (NAE, Publication date unclear).
5. Since evangelism is associated predominantly with white Protestant Christians, we added the
born-againoption for self-identification in order to capture minority groups (mainly, African
Americans) who subscribe to the same set of beliefs as evangelicals but prefer to identify themselves
as born again.Treating born againas a part of the evangelical movement is common practice (e.g.,
see Pew Research Centers2015 Americas Changing Religious Landscape, pp. 3132).
6. We analyzed mass media coverage during April 310 time period to determine whether any sig-
nificant events and/or reporting related to Israel and Palestine could have potentially skewed our
respondentsanswers to the survey. No such influences were discovered.
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7. We acknowledge that there are certain costs associated with the use of self-identification as a
basis for sample selection. However, as Smith et al. (2018) have shown, self-identification method
among American Protestants can be used and interoperated as an effective shortcut when
RELTRAD method is unavailable.
8. This is slightly higher than the recently obtained estimates from the Pew Research Centers
Religious Landscape Study (2014), which reports 55% of the respondents as female.
9. Any anxious readers should know that we also estimated the statistical model with the original
variable and found that recoding does not substantially impact any of the substantive results reported
below, but helps streamline the presentation and interpretation of the results.
10. We include two dummy variables, southeastand ruralto test the possible connection
between rural residence and/or living in the southeastern United States (AL, AR, FL, GA, KY, LA,
MS, NC, SC, TN, VA, WV).
11. The dont knowcategory was recoded with missing values to exclude these observations.
12. This is necessary due to the categorical nature of the dependent variable. See Long and Freese
(2003), Hosmer and Lemeshow (2000), and Agresti (1996) for introduction and explanation of ordered
logit/probit techniques and other models with categorical dependent variables.
13. The parallel lines assumption is not violated if the test of parallel lines returns a finding of non-
significance, meaning there is no significant difference between the model where the regression lines
are constrained to be parallel for each level of the ordinal dependent and the model where the regres-
sion lines are allowed to be estimated without a parallelism constraint.
14. An examination of the odds ratio allows one to assess the amount of impact a particular explan-
atory variable has on the dependent variable. The odds ratios represent the change in odds of the
outcome being a particular category versus the reference category, for differing factor levels of the cor-
responding explanatory variable. In our studys case, we want to explore whether the odds of being in a
highercategory (strong support for Israel versus expressing lukewarm/weak support for Israel,
expressing neutrality, or support for Palestinians) is associated with each of our explanatory variables.
15. This remains true no matter which category is selected as a baseline (3049, 5064, or 65+). In
addition, in a set of bivariate regressions, utilizing dichotomous variables for each of the age groups,
1829 category is negative and statistically significant; 3049 is negative but statistically insignificant;
and both 5064 and 65+ categories are positive and statistically significant.
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Appendix 1
Table A1. Respondentsreligiosity (Church Attendance and Bible Readership)
1829 years old
(%)
30-year-old and older
respondents (%)
All age
groups (%)
How frequently do you attend church or religious assemblies?
Never 1.13 3.64 3.2
Seldom 5.09 15.80 13.9
A few times a year 8.48 14.22 13.2
Once a month 3.96 4.25 4.2
2 or 3 times a month 24.29 11.66 13.9
At least once a week 57.06 50.43 51.6
How frequently do you read the Bible?
Never 3.39 3.16 3.2
Seldom 15.25 23.33 21.9
Once or twice a month 3.39 8.26 7.4
Only in church 14.12 5.71 7.2
Once a week 7.91 9.72 9.4
At least twice a week 31.08 20.05 22.0
Every day 24.86 29.77 28.9
Table A2. Respondents political ideology
Respondents political
ideology
1829 years
old (%)
30-year-old and older
respondents (%)
All age
groups (%)
Extremely liberal 8.93 4.27 5.1
Liberal 11.31 6.34 7.23
Slightly liberal 8.33 4.01 4.78
Moderate/middle of the
road
30.36 26.26 26.99
Slightly conservative 16.67 10.35 11.48
Conservative 18.45 32.73 30.18
Extremely conservative 5.95 16.04 14.24
Why Do Evangelicals Support Israel? 27
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Table A3. Opinions of Muslims and Jews: comparing 1829 years old
respondents to the older evangelicals
1829 years old
respondents (%)
30-year-old and older
respondents (%)
All age groups
(%)
What is your opinion of Muslims?
Dont
know
11.86 11.79 11.8
Very
poor
4.52 15.31 13.4
Poor 7.35 15.55 14.1
Neutral 29.94 36.21 35.1
Good 19.21 13.12 14.2
Very
good
27.12 8.02 11.4
What is your opinion of Jews?
Dont
know
10.17 7.53 8.0
Very
poor
0.57 0.86 0.80
Poor 1.70 0.85 1.0
Neutral 22.60 25.76 25.2
Good 34.46 33.17 33.4
Very
good
30.51 31.83 31.6
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Table A4. Descriptive statistics for potential causes of evangelical support for Israel
Strongly
disagree
(%)
Disagree
(%)
Somewhat
disagree (%)
Neither agree
or disagree
(%)
Somewhat
agree (%)
Agree
(%)
Strongly
agree (%)
The State of Israel is a proof of the
fulfillment of prophesy regarding
the nearing of JesusSecond
Coming.
0.32 1.59 1.27 12.88 10.81 25.44 47.69
I support Israel because Jews are
Gods chosen people.
0.94 2.19 2.03 10.80 14.71 22.85 46.48
Israel needs to build a temple for God
on the Temple Mount in the near
future.
2.63 4.61 2.96 32.89 11.68 16.28 28.95
I support Israel because of our shared
cultural and/or religious values.
1.40 1.40 3.59 17.94 17.00 25.27 33.39
I support Israel because of our shared
political or democratic values.
3.80 4.44 4.44 25.52 17.59 20.44 23.77
I support Israel because it protects the
holy sites and is the only guarantor
of Christian access to them.
1.59 1.91 2.22 22.86 17.46 23.33 30.63
I support Israel because Jews suffered
discrimination and extermination at
the hands of Christian nations in the
past.
2.54 3.01 3.33 28.53 16.64 17.27 28.68
Why Do Evangelicals Support Israel? 29
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Table A5. Summary statistics
Variable Obs Mean
Std.
Dev. Min Max
Support for Israel 862 4.32 0.96 1 5
I support Israel because its existence is proof of
the fulfillment of prophesy regarding the
nearing of JesusSecond Coming.
629 5.99 1.25 1 7
I support Israel because Jews are Gods chosen
people.
639 5.91 1.34 1 7
I support Israel because it needs to build a temple
for God on the Temple Mount in the near
future.
608 5.11 1.61 1 7
I support Israel because of my shared cultural and/
or religious values.
641 5.57 1.39 1 7
I support Israel because of my shared political or
democratic values.
631 5.05 1.61 1 7
I support Israel because it protects the holy sites
and is the only guarantor of Christian access to
them.
630 5.45 1.41 1 7
I support Israel because Jews suffered
discrimination and extermination at the hands
of Christian nations in the past.
631 5.20 1.54 1 7
Other evangelicals talk about importance of
supporting Israel (socialization effect)
1,000 2.58 1.01 1 4
Religiosity (frequency of attending church or
religious assemblies)
1,000 4.67 1.66 1 6
Respondents ideology 941 4.80 1.66 1 7
Opinion of Muslims 882 2.96 1.20 1 5
Opinion of Jews 920 4.02 0.86 1 5
Age 1,000 2.57 1.01 1 4
Gender 1,000 1.61 0.49 1 2
Income 954 3.38 1.73 1 7
Education 1,000 3.14 1.36 1 6
Race/ethnicity (African American) 1,000 0.19 0.40 0 1
Marital status 993 3.73 1.65 1 5
Southeast (region of residence) 1,000 0.38 0.49 0 1
Rural (area of residence) 992 0.21 0.41 0 1
Table A6. Tests of Parallel Lines Assumption
χ
2
df p>χ
2
Wolfe Gould 18.74 20 0.539
Brant 26.31 20 0.156
Score 22.03 20 0.339
Likelihood ratio 21.77 20 0.353
Wald 21.99 20 0.341
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Table A7. Determinants of evangelical support for Israel (ordered logistic
regression results)
Variable
Coefficients w/robust standard
errors
Odds
ratio
Israels existence is proof of the nearing
of JesusSecond Coming
0.314 (0.131)* 1.368*
Jews are Gods chosen people 0.326 (0.146)* 1.385*
Israel needs to build a temple for God on
the Temple Mount in the near future
0.066 (0.129) 1.068
Cultural affinity 0.347 (0.124)** 1.414**
Political affinity 0.099 (0.119) 0.906
Common geopolitical/security concerns 0.179 (0.148) 0.836
Guilt for previous discrimination of Jews 0.181 (0.123) 0.834
Evangelicals talk about Israels
importance
0.444 (0.176)* 1.560*
Religiosity 0.195 (0.092)* 1.215*
Ideology 0.271 (0.103)** 1.312**
Opinion of Muslims 0.324 (0.146)* 0.723*
Opinion of Jews 1.109 (0.187)*** 3.03***
Age 0.392 (0.176)* 1.481*
Gender 0.439 (0.300) 0.645
Income 0.139 (0.102) 1.149
Educational attainment 0.103 (0.116) 0.902
Race/ethnicity (African American) 0.017 (0.474) 1.185
Marital status 0.130 (0.101) 0.878
Southeast (region of residence) 0.213 (0.340) 1.238
Rural (area of residence) 0.001 (0.381) 1.001
N(observations) 508
Log pseudolikelihood 171.338
Wald χ
2
126.94
Prob >χ
2
0.000
McKelvey and ZavoinasR
2
0.543
Pseudo R
2
0.3350
Difference of BICparameters 1,250.944 (very strong support for
fully-specified model)
Note: Robust standard errors are reported in parentheses; all significance tests are two-tailed; a
difference of Bayesian Information Criterion (BIC) parameters indicates that fully-specified model
(one that includes all of the variables above) is more likely to have generated the data than the null
model (with only demographic variables); McKelvey and ZavoinasR
2
provides a close
approximation of Adjusted R
2
statistic found in OLS; *p> 0.05; **p> 0.01; ***p> 0.001.
Why Do Evangelicals Support Israel? 31
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Table A8. Comparing eschatological visions of pre-millennial dispensationalism
Strongly
disagree
(%)
Disagree
(%)
Somewhat
disagree (%)
Neither agree
or disagree
(%)
Somewhat
agree (%)
Agree
(%)
Strongly
agree (%)
The State of Israel is a proof of the
fulfillment of prophesy regarding
the nearing of JesusSecond
Coming.
0.32 1.59 1.27 12.88 10.81 25.44 47.69
I support Israel because I believe it
will lead to the Second Coming of
Jesus.
1.58 3.79 3.32 22.27 12.16 21.80 35.07
Israel needs to build a temple for
God on the Temple Mount in the
near future.
2.63 4.61 2.96 32.89 11.68 16.28 28.95
Jews will convert to Christianity at
JesusSecond Coming.
4.08 5.09 5.43 31.07 13.07 15.11 26.15
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Table A9. Responses concerning Gods promises to the Jews and the Gentiles
Strongly
disagree
(%)
Disagree
(%)
Somewhat
disagree (%)
Neither agree
or disagree
(%)
Somewhat
agree (%)
Agree
(%)
Strongly
agree (%)
God gave the Land of Israel to the
Jewish people.
0.63 0.47 0.63 7.69 13.66 22.14 54.79
I support Israel because God
promised blessings to the nations
who stand by Abraham and his
offspring (in Gen. 12:3).
0.63 0.95 1.89 8.82 11.34 25.35 51.02
Why Do Evangelicals Support Israel? 33
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Appendix 2.Variable descriptions and coding procedures
Support for Israel (dependent variable)Where do you put your support? Coded 1
for Very strong support for Palestinians; 2 for Support Palestinians; 3 for
Lean toward support for Palestinians; 4 for Support neither; 5 for Lean
toward support for Israel; 6 for Support Israel; 7 for Very strong support for
Israel.Coded 8 for I do not knowand then recoded as missing value to drop
from the analysis. We then recoded the original variable in the following manner: 1
for Support Palestinians; 2 for Lean toward support for Palestinians; 3 for
Support neither; 4 for Lean toward support for Israel; 5 for Support Israel.
Israels existence is proof of the nearing of JesusSecond ComingThe State of
Israel is a proof of the fulfillment of prophesy regarding the nearing of Jesus
Second Coming. Coded 1 for Strongly disagree; 2 for Disagree; 3 for
Somewhat disagree; 4 for Neither agree nor disagree; 5 for Somewhat agree;
6 for Agree; 7 for Strongly agree.Coded 8 for Do not knowand then
recoded as missing value to drop from the analysis.
Jews are Gods chosen peopleI support Israel because Jews are Gods chosen
people. Coded 1 for Strongly disagree; 2 for Disagree; 3 for Somewhat
disagree; 4 for Neither agree nor disagree; 5 for Somewhat agree; 6 for
Agree; 7 for Strongly agree.Coded 8 for Do not knowand then recoded as
missing value to drop from the analysis.
Israel needs to build a temple for God on the Temple Mount in the near futureIsrael
needs to build a temple for God on the Temple Mount in the near future. Coded 1 for
Strongly disagree; 2 for Disagree; 3 for Somewhat disagree; 4 for Neither
agree nor disagree; 5 for Somewhat agree; 6 for Agree; 7 for Strongly
agree.Coded 8 for Do not knowand then recoded as missing value to drop
from the analysis.
Cultural affinityI support Israel because of our shared cultural and/or religious
values. Coded 1 for Strongly disagree; 2 for Disagree; 3 for Somewhat
disagree; 4 for Neither agree nor disagree; 5 for Somewhat agree; 6 for
Agree; 7 for Strongly agree.Coded 8 for Do not knowand then recoded as
missing value to drop from the analysis.
Political affinityI support Israel because of our shared political or democratic
values. Coded 1 for Strongly disagree; 2 for Disagree; 3 for Somewhat
disagree; 4 for Neither agree nor disagree; 5 for Somewhat agree; 6 for
Agree; 7 for Strongly agree.Coded 8 for Do not knowand then recoded as
missing value to drop from the analysis.
Common geopolitical/security concernsI support Israel because it protects the holy
sites and is the only guarantor of Christian access to them. Coded 1 for Strongly
disagree; 2 for Disagree; 3 for Somewhat disagree; 4 for Neither agree nor
disagree; 5 for Somewhat agree; 6 for Agree; 7 for Strongly agree.Coded 8
for Do not knowand then recoded as missing value to drop from the analysis.
Guilt for previous discrimination of JewsI support Israel because Jews suffered
discrimination and extermination at the hands of Christian nations in the past.
Coded 1 for Strongly disagree; 2 for Disagree; 3 for Somewhat disagree;4
for Neither agree nor disagree; 5 for Somewhat agree; 6 for Agree; 7 for
34 Inbari, Bumin, and Byrd
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Strongly agree.Coded 8 for Do not knowand then recoded as missing value to
drop from the analysis.
Evangelicals talk about Israels importanceEstimate how often you hear
evangelicals expressing the importance of supporting Israel? Coded 1 for Never;
2 for Seldom; 3 for Once a month; 4 for Every week.
Religiosity (Church Attendance)How frequently do you attend church or religious
assemblies? Coded 1 for Never; 2 for Seldom; 3 for A few times a year;4
for Once a month; 5 for Two or three times a month; 6 for At least once a week.
IdeologyWhat best describes your political views? Coded 1 for Extremely liberal;
2 for Liberal; 3 for Slightly liberal; 4 for Moderate, middle of the road; 5 for
Slightly conservative; 6 for Conservative; 7 for Extremely conservative (7).
Coded 8 for Do not knowand then recoded as missing value to drop from the
analysis.
Opinion of MuslimsWhat is your opinion of Muslims? Coded 1 for Very poor;2
for Poor; 3 for Neutral; 4 for Good; 5 for Very good.Coded 6 for No
opinion/Do not knowand then recoded as missing value to drop from the analysis.
Opinion of JewsWhat is your opinion of Jews as a nation/people? Coded 1 for
Very poor; 2 for Poor; 3 for Neutral; 4 for Good; 5 for Very good.
Coded 6 for No opinion/Do not knowand then recoded as missing value to drop
from the analysis.
AgeWhat is your age? Coded 1 for 1829 years old; 2 for 3049 years old;3
for 5064 years old; 4 for 65 years and older.
Gender (biological sex)What is your biological sex at birth? Coded zero for
Male; 1 for Female.
IncomeWhat was your total household income before taxes during the past 12
months? Coded 1 for Less than $25,000; 2 for $25,000$34,999; 3 for
$35,000$49,999; 4 for $50,000$74,999; 5 for $75,000$99,999; 6 for
$100,000$149,999; 7 for $150,000 or more.Coded 8 for Rather not say
and then recoded as missing value to drop from the analysis.
Educational AttainmentWhat is the highest level of education you have completed?
Coded 1 for some high school; 2 for high school graduate; 3 for some college;
4 for trade/technical/vocational/two-year degree; 5 for 4-year college/university
degree; 6 for post-graduate degree.
Race/ethnicityWhat is your race/ethnicity? Coded 1 for American Indian or
Alaskan Native; 2 for Asian; 3 for Black or African American; 4 for
Hispanic or Latino; 5 for Multiracial; 6 for Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific
Islander; 7 for Other; 8 for White, non-Hispanic.Additionally, dummy
variables for each of the value categories were created, where 1 represented a
particular race/ethnicity and zero otherwise.
Marital StatusWhat is your current marital status? Coded 1 for Single/Never
married; 2 for Separated; 3 for Divorced; 4 for Widowed; 5 for Married.
Coded 6 for Rather not sayand then recoded as missing value to drop from the
analysis.
Region of ResidenceWhich U.S. region are you from? Coded 1 for MidwestIA,
IL, IN, KS, MI, MN, MO, ND, NE, OH, SD, WI; 2 for NortheastCT, DC, DE,
MA, MD, ME, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VT; 3 for SoutheastAL, AR, FL, GA, KY,
LA, MS, NC, SC, TN, VA, WV; 4 for SouthwestAZ, NM, OK, TX; 5 for West
Why Do Evangelicals Support Israel? 35
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AK, CA, CO, HI, ID, MT, NV, OR, UT, WA, WY.Respondents were presented
the name of the region and the abbreviations for the specific states to aid in their
selection. We also generated five dichotomous variables (one for each region),
where 1 reflects a particular region and the rest of the regions are coded as zero.
Area of residence (rural, suburban, urban)Which of the following best describes
the area you live in? Coded 1 for Urban; 2 for Suburban; 3 for Rural.We
also generated three dichotomous variables (one for each area of residence), where
1 reflects a particular area of residence and the rest are coded as zero.
Bible ReadershipHow often do you read the Bible? Coded 1 for Never; 2 for
Seldom; 3 for Once or twice a month; 4 for Only in church; 5 for Once a
week; 6 for At least twice a week; 7 for Every day.
36 Inbari, Bumin, and Byrd
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... Two major shifts in the Republican electoral base are responsible for new recruitment challenges faced by white supremacist agendas. First, support for Israel evolved from a Democratic issue to a Republican cause between 1999 and 2001 (Inbari, Bumin, and Byrd 2021;Oldmixon, Rosenson, and Wald 2005). For over a decade, there has been a well-documented shift toward support for Israel as the Republican Evangelical base expanded (Uslaner and Lichbach 2009;Barker, Hurwitz, and Nelson 2008). ...
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... Trump successfully linked white resentment over the increasing visibility and influence of racial minorities to foreign policy through blaming economic problems on "bad trade deals with countries like Mexico and China and on immigrants competing for jobs" (Nye, 2020: p. 20). Trump's retreat from globalization to isolation reflected a foreign policy shaped by his inexperience in world affairs, his narcissism, the adulation received from his nationalistic supporters, and his acceptance of fundamentalist evangelical religious doctrines (Inbari et al., 2021) 3 embraced by a major component of his political base. ...
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