Yesterday, a group of prominent Christian leaders sent an open letter to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, congratulating him on the formation of his new government and affirming their support for “the world’s only Jewish state.” The missive—the result of the efforts of the writer and activist Robert Nicholson—expresses its signers’ “strong sense of friendship with Israel based on shared values that originate in the Hebrew Bible.” Elliott Abrams comments:
[T]he letter is signed by dozens of Christian leaders from very mixed ethnic and denominational backgrounds. Certainly their followers are in the tens of millions, many times the population of Israel—or the U.S. Jewish population. The list includes the leader of one of the largest black denominations in the U.S., a member of [former] President Trump’s evangelical advisory board, the CEO of the largest evangelical broadcasting channel, and a range of clergymen and -women, academics, writers, and public intellectuals.
Israel’s new leaders have certain advantages and other disadvantages as they replace Benjamin Netanyahu after his twelve years in office. Many of the relationships he developed, for example with foreign heads of government, were personal and not easy for his successor to jump into. In the United States and in Europe, where many on the left and center-left saw Netanyahu as an opponent, relations may improve; certainly, Democrats in the United States who saw Netanyahu as tied to the Republican party have an opportunity to rebuild relations now with the new team in Jerusalem. This statement by Christian leaders makes a different argument: that their support is for Israel, not any particular leader.