Israel and evangelicals: New U.S. embassy signals a growing alliance

The culmination of decades of lobbying, the dedication of the embassy in Jerusalem this past week doubled as the most public recognition yet of the growing importance the Netanyahu government now assigns to its conservative Christian allies, even if some have been accused of making anti-Semitic statements.

While Israel has long depended on the support of the Jewish diaspora, the Netanyahu government has made a historic and strategic shift, relying on the much larger base of evangelical Christians, even at the risk of turning off American Jews who may be troubled by some evangelicals’ denigration of their faith.

The paradox is well known: The beliefs of many evangelical Christians that Israel is special to God — and, for some, a marker in apocalyptic prophecies — lead many to hawkish support of the Jewish state while they simultaneously insist that salvation awaits only those who accept Jesus as their savior.