Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
Older American Evangelicals march in Jerusalem on Sukkot, September 24, 2013. The younger generation is not as interested in Israel.

Nearly half of young American evangelicals (under 30) support neither Israel nor the PA Arabs (42.2%). Only in 2018, for reference, this figure stood at 25% while support for Israel was overwhelming.

In a series of in-depth public opinion surveys conducted between 2018 and 2021, and released in a new book, “Christian Zionism in the Twenty-First Century: American Evangelical Opinion on Israel,” Prof. Motti Inbari (University of North Carolina at Pembroke) and Dr. Kirill Bumin (Boston University) demonstrate the transforming nature of American evangelical attitudes towards Israel. As late as 2021, only 33.6% of young evangelicals conveyed support for Israel while 24.3% supported the PA Arabs.


This suggests a major drop in pro-Israel feelings in just three years: in 2018, for comparison, more than two-thirds of young evangelicals (68.9%) supported Israel – over twice as many as in 2021. Concurrently, a stark increase in support for the PA Arabs is evident: if in 2018 only a little over 5% of young American evangelicals supported the PA ARABS, in 2021 that number quadrupled to reach 24.3%.

Inbari and Bumin will present the major findings from their book, published last week with Oxford University Press, at a virtual conference organized by The Center for the Study of the United States (CSUS) at Tel Aviv University on Tuesday, February 13, at 7 PM.

The conference will also feature expert analysis and commentary by two leading scholars of American evangelicalism: Prof. Diane Winston (USC) and Dr. Daniel Hummel (The Luman Center and the University of Wisconsin-Madison).

“The current young generation of American evangelicals grew up in a very different informational environment than their parents and grandparents,” says Prof. Inbari. “While the older generations have witnessed Israel’s struggles existing in a hostile Middle East, for the younger generation, Israel is portrayed as the aggressor while the PA Arabs are victims.”

“Also, young Americans receive their information from different channels than older Americans, relying mostly on social media rather than traditional media. These factors have created a perfect storm where the different generations of evangelicals hold different views on many social and political matters, including Israel,” he notes.

However, Inbari calls for caution: “As situations change and as people age, their opinions might be swayed in other directions, and only time will tell if these trends will become mainstream evangelical opinions.”

Inbari believes that “What we see with young evangelicals might reflect a sort of youthful rebellion, where the under 30 evangelicals are defying their parents’ politics, rallying against the evangelical establishment and its decade-long support for Israel.”

Kirill Bumin, who co-authored the study, emphasizes the changing nature of evangelical theology: “Almost seven out of ten evangelical and born-again young evangelicals that we surveyed in Spring 2021 adhere to the postmillennial and amillennial (an eschatological position in Christianity which holds that there will be no millennial reign of the righteous on Earth) theological views, which see the Jewish people and the state of Israel as no longer necessary in the fulfillment of God’s plan for the second coming and the end times.”

He points to the generational differences among pastors as indicative of the changing trends. “Our survey shows that pastors who adhere to the most pro-Israel theology, called premillennialism, are older and less diverse than pastors who adhere to the amillennial and postmillennial theological views, which see the Jewish People and the State of Israel as no longer important for God’s plan for the second coming and the end times.”

Bumin explains, “Many young evangelicals probably seek out pastors that are younger, more ‘hip,’ more like them, and, as a result, it is quite likely that under-30 evangelicals are exposed to both inhospitable media environment which paints Israel as aggressor and eschatological traditions that assign little theological importance to the contemporary Jewish people or the State of Israel.”

Dr. Yoav Fromer, head of the CSUS at TAU which is organizing the event, warns of the potential strategic ramifications for the future of US-Israel relations. “This should be a wake-up call for Israeli policymakers. For decades, consecutive Israeli governments – especially under Benjamin Netanyahu – have taken for granted the Evangelical support and neglected other groups within American society, including Jewish Americans,” he says.

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