A new study released this week, shows a sharp drop in support for Israel among Evangelicals aged 18 to 29 that could have “dramatic implications” on long-term US-Israel relations.
The study: “Change of the Guard: Young Evangelicals and [the] Israeli-Palestinian Dispute” shows that from 2018 to 2021, the rate of Evangelical young adults’ support for Israel dropped from 69% to 33.6% while support for the establishment of a Palestinian state rose from 35% to 44.7%.
The study was conducted by Dr. Motti Inbari and Dr. Kirill Bumin of the University of North Carolina at Pembroke and presented at a conference by the Center for the Study of the United States, in partnership with the Fulbright Program, at Tel Aviv University on Thursday.
The study surveyed 700 Evangelicals from across the US. It found that among those who are supportive of Israel the highest level of support is in the Midwest followed by the Northeast, the West and the South at the lowest level regionally.
According to Inbari, respondents had to verbalize why they were more supportive of Israel or the Palestinians. Those who were supportive of Israel generally had religious reasons like the Jews are God’s Chosen People or God will bless those who bless the Jewish people. But those who said they’re supportive of the Palestinians had more political reasons, he said.
Inbari noted that this is the third survey that they have conducted. In the first survey in 2018, the survey found that overall, 75% of American Evangelicals were supportive of Israel. But even then, the age group of 18-29-year-olds was less supportive of Israel than their parents.
“They were less supportive of Israel but not because they are less religious,” Inbari told CBN News.
Inbari said he believes at least in part that’s because of the generation gap.
“Young Evangelicals and older Evangelicals don’t look at political issues the same way. It’s a generational divide,” Inbari said.
Support for Israel is highest among Republicans, but Inbari said that while the perception of Evangelicals is that they are largely Republican, that was not the case among the survey respondents.
They found that 39.5% identified as Republican or Republican-leaning while 48.5% identified as Democrat or Democrat-leaning. Only 24% said they voted from former President Trump while 45.8% said they voted for President Biden.
Surprisingly, an overwhelming, overall majority -- 71.6% of those surveyed believe that all of Jerusalem should be the capital of the state of Israel and it should not be shared with the Palestinians.
And 41.5% of those surveyed believe Israel’s treatment of Palestinians is fair.
Dr. Yoav Fromer, head of the Center for the Study of the United States at Tel Aviv University said the overall results don’t necessarily bode well for Israel and he blamed the Israeli government.
“It seems that the Israeli government’s decision to abandon large segments of the liberal, progressive Democratic public and gamble only on the Evangelicals might end up costing us dearly,” Fromer said.
Fromer said he believes this shows that the Israeli government during the last decade or more have put “all its eggs” in one political basket: Evangelical voters in the Republican Party.
“If the trends clearly reflected in this study continue, we will discover in the not-too-distant future that the basket is broken, because the support has not been transmitted to younger generations. And the result? The loss of Israel’s most important strategic pillar: the unreserved support of the United States,” Fromer said in a statement.
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