US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. Pompeo is an Evangelical Christian.
Information publicized these past few days reports that the American Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, came to Israel Wednesday to visit, among other places, the settlements beyond the Green Line, among them, Yekev P'sagot. From his viewpoint, this is not only a diplomatic visit but a Gordian Knot with deeper roots. All in all, this will be the first visit from a top diplomatic official from the U.S. to the settlements beyond the Green Line.
Many eyebrows were raised, especially regarding Pompeo, who will shortly be exiting his office, though not all paid attention to this fact, since it involves a devout Christian evangelistic figure. This is what connects him to assistance to the Rightists and the settlements beyond the Green Line, which coincides with his particular religious vision.
The U.S. elections are already behind us. Trump's defeat raised significant waves, especially in Israel, and not for naught. He was a supporter of Israel par excellence, as proven by his opening the American embassy in Jerusalem, recognition of the Golan Heights as Israeli sovereign territory, the "Abraham Agreement" with the Emirates, the acute sanctions against Iran, the budget cutting to the Palestinian Authority and to UNWRA, and more.
They were undoubtedly partners, but a deeper examination reveals an additional factor involved in the matter: a factor which was more significant than all the others, causing the relocation of the embassies, which was no more than what the evangelists demanded from Trump on the eve of the previous elections in 2016 in exchange for their support. They did, in fact, receive a clear obligation on his part, for which 80% of them actually voted for Trump while only 16% supported Hillary Clinton (while in these elections, the percentage of their support declined).
Without this commitment it is doubtful if this group, numbering some 25% of the American voting population, would have supporting him again, or at least without the enthusiasm of the past. As if this was not enough, Trump even made good his immediate guarantee through the appointment of Mike Pence as his vice president, and later, appointed an additional evangelist, Mike Pompeo, as Secretary of State.
We investigated the matter in depth, especially after Channel Caan broadcast a comprehensive study about the real motives of the Evangelists regarding their support of Israel, of the Rightists in particular. We had a long talk, even before the release of the election outcome, with the author of the report, Maya Weinstein, who investigated this group over many years (together with photographer Avraham Ben Zion Truan), studying their beliefs and activities, as well as the broad activities of Keren Yedidut (the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews) founded by Dr. Yechiel Eckstein, and after his death a year ago, succeeded by his daughter Yael.
An interview with one of the top leaders of the Evangelists, Mike Evans, proves the solid bond and rare and especial cooperation between Trump and this Christian group which was reflected very decisively and significantly in his policy with Israel in all of those issues where he came out pro-Israel. This is what Mike Evans, one of the leading Evangelists in U.S. and appointed to the team of advisors to the President, discussed in the interview: The whole campaign carried on in Israel was for the sake of Trump's transforming Israel into a great and strong entity. He organized and funded it and also told about an organization called "Trump Faith Initiative", numbering 25 members who meet often with Trump.
"Actually, we are the largest single body which supplied votes for the President and brought about his victory. He likes us and believes in us. We meet with him often and advise him. We have open access to him and to the White House office. The President recognizes our sentiments; we are very close to him. We believe that this is the Land of the Bible and have strong feelings toward this land, its security and sovereignty. I am convinced that the president relates to all this in full seriousness and he consults us all the time."
As if this was not enough, after Trump's decision to transfer the embassy to Jerusalem, he publicly stated: "Those who most esteem this move are the Evangelists. I receive more messages of thanks from them than from Jews. The Jews do appreciate this, but not as much as the Evangelists."
For good reason: 100 million Evangelists constituted 75% of his sworn supporters so that this step was made primarily because of them and for their sake. The impressive ceremony which took place in Jerusalem was not at all geared for the Israelis, nor for American Jewry, but purely for that huge body of Evangelists. This was expressed in a most extreme manner through the innumerable interviews with Evangelistic priests who blessed this step in words that bordered on absurdity.
According to Maya Weinstein, there is a fascinating fact about the Zionist aspect of the Evangelists. "Not all of them are aware of it but Balfour was an Evangelist. When I began studying this subject in 2017, it coincided with 100 years since the Balfour Declaration; it was the Evangelists who celebrated this date even more than the Israelis. They believe that the establishment of the State of Israel is to their credit, because it was Balfour who began establishing centers of their faith."
In order to explain their motives, Weinstein enumerates the basics of the Evangelist credo. "The Jewish People are the Chosen People. They are destined to return to their homeland and recapture all of the land promised to Avraham Avinu. This is the basis of their tremendous support of the settlements. They believe that the Jews will rebuild a Third Temple on the Temple Mount, whereupon their Christian faith will be established according to their beliefs. Only those who join their religion will be saved and will survive. The process being carried out by the Rightists is a preparatory step towards the actualization of their dream. Israel is the pawn in their program and they support whoever and whatever hastens their vision. They believe that Israel is promoting their interests and if Trump agreed to pursue this path, they promised the support of their millions of followers. This is their religious platform, which also serves a political and diplomatic interest of the Israel Right.