UPDATE: On Monday night we received an email from the March of the Living that resolved the controversy. It said:
“This year, March of the Living will be led by eight Holocaust survivors.
“Mike Evans will march alongside 2,500 participants from 25 countries who come to honor the memory of the Holocaust and pass on the torch of remembrance to future generations. Evans will not lead the March and has no official role in the planned events.”
According to a press release from the Friends of Zion Museum, Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion has asked Evangelical leader Mike Evans to co-lead the March of the Living with him on Wednesday.
It should be noted that Mayor Lion will not lead the march, only the Jerusalem delegation to the march, which will include himself, members of the Jerusalem City Council, the management of the municipality’s professionals, managers and employees of municipal corporations, municipal employees, representatives of the Histadrut labor union, the management teams of Hadassah Ein Kerem and Shaare Zedek Medical Centers, and, apparently, Mike Evans.
Evans is the son of a Jewish mother, Jeana Levin, whose parents had emigrated from the Soviet Union, and an abusive, antisemitic alcoholic Christian father, Robert Evans. In his origin story, Mike Evans relates how, at age 11, after his father had nearly choked him to death when he tried to protect his mother, Jesus promised he had great plans for him.
“When I became conscious after my father strangled me and left me for dead and I had vomited all over myself at the age of 11, I shook my fist at God in anger and screamed in the dark, ‘Why was I born?’ I was angry because I was alive. In my mind, my mother was being abused because of me. My father would always call her a Jewish whore when he would beat her and say that I was not his son. He believed she had an affair with a Jewish man and my father never called me son, never said he loved me, and never affirmed me. He only abused me violently from the age of four.
“But when I asked why was I born, I knew the answer. I couldn’t defend one Jew against a Jew-hater. My life’s call was to defend all the Jews and that gave me great hope.” He considers himself a Jew who believes in Jesus.
Evans, 74, who last January was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his lifetime of work combating antisemitism, is a New York Times bestselling author with 108 published books. He is the first Evangelical preacher asked to lead the March of the Living – or co-lead the Jerusalem delegation to the march.
A friend of former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu since the early 1980s, Evans told a press conference in Jerusalem after the Likud’s parliamentary defeat in 2021: “Bibi Netanyahu is the only man in the world who unites evangelicals.” He compared PM Naftali Bennett and his coalition members to “rabid dogs” out to “crucify” Netanyahu and warned that ousting Netanyahu could cost Israel its support among the Evangelicals in the US.
His group’s press release says Evans comes to the March of the Living from Ukraine, where he has been helping Holocaust survivors get out of Ukraine and “back to Israel.” He said he recently received a phone call from MK Sharren Haskel (New Hope) asking him if he could get a Holocaust survivor family of seven out of a Russian-controlled town. “Amazingly, Evans succeeded,” the press release says.
Last week, the press release continues, Evans rescued a Holocaust survivor named Shelia from Kharkov and she arrived in Israel “just before the March of the Living.” Evans said that when he saw Sheila, she said to him, “I was born in war and I thought I would die at war. But I put my faith in God and you came for me.”
Evans’ PR says he has gone into Ukraine three times in the last five weeks with more than 60 tons of food for the Jewish community and churches. Evans’ son, Michael David Evans, who just delivered food to that war zone in eastern Ukraine, will join his father in the March of the Living.
When I went to Wiki for Evans’ biography, I discovered that some editor had planted in the opening paragraph an unsupported statement saying: “Michael Evans and the Jerusalem Prayer Team are not an actual Non-Profit and do not possess a 501(3C) nonprofit tax code. They are not accredited by the Better Business Bureau and have been flagged by Charity Watch as a do not donate and advising to choose an accredited 501(3C) Actual Non-Profit. He is the head of international for-profit organizations in the U.S. and the Netherlands. Evans is a Christian Zionist.” However, on the Charity Watch website, I found no reference to the Jerusalem Prayer Team or the Friends of Zion Museum.
So, Mike Evans has enemies.