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'Israel Has No Better Friends': Christians Key Contributors to Jewish Aliyah


Christians are now key contributors to helping more Jews return to their homeland in Israel.
A new poll states that Christians are funding one-third of all Jewish immigrants moving into the country.

More than 28,000 Jews made the move to Israel, known as Aliyah, in 2017 and at least 8,500 arrived thanks to Christian donations.

The figures reflect a tightening relationship between Israel and evangelical Christians.

"After 2000 years of oppression and persecution, today you have Christians who are helping Jews," said Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, a group that raises money from evangelical Christians for Jewish causes. "This is an amazing thing."

And Christians are supporting Israel in several ways. Israeli charities have raised millions of dollars from Christians around the world, while evangelical Christians also make up 13 percent of Israel's tourism. 

Israelis can also thank American evangelicals for helping put President Donald Trump in office, who officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. 

"Israel has no better friends, I mean that, no better friends in the world than the Christian communities around the world," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a Christian media summit in Jerusalem last year.

"It's a connection. It's a DNA that goes back to Sunday school, to their very being. It's a love affair, it's a romance with a nation that is connected to heaven and earth," said Mike Evans, an evangelical Christian who sits on Trump's evangelical faith advisory board.

Distrust Still Runs Deep

Although Christians are supporting Jews' trek to Jerusalem, not everyone is pleased. 

Some people in Israel are suspicious that the evangelical embrace stems from the belief that the Jewish state is a "sign of the times" or a timetable for Jesus' return.

Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of J Street, a liberal pro-Israel group in Washington thinks the Jewish community should be "wary of taking help from those who are playing with our lives to further their own religious and ideological purposes."

Serghey Lanovyy, a new arrival in Israel, said it makes no difference to him that his Aliyah is funded by Christians. 

"Religion is religion. You can believe whatever you want but if people need help, they need help," he said.

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