Hispanic Christians unite in fasting, prayer for Israel

More than a dozen Hispanic Christian organizations and leaders have issued a statement in support of Israel and against antisemitism and have called on their constituencies to join in fasting and prayer until Hamas releases the remaining Israeli hostages.

“We call on the church and all Christian Latinos and Hispanics to join us as we commit to fasting and prayer until the remaining hostages are returned; to speak up against evil with good (Romans 12:21); and to defend the cause of those in need (Proverbs 31:8-9),” the statement reads.

The signatories represent over 230,000 churches in the United States and millions of American Hispanics. The statement was spearheaded by the Philos Project, an organization promoting positive Christian engagement in the Near East.

“These are organizations and Hispanic leaders that we have worked with throughout the years to create awareness about Israel,” explained Philos Latino Director Jesse Rojo. “As an organization, we are focused on the Near East, but it all starts with Israel.

“Israel represents our spiritual and historic heritage,” he added. “To understand what is happening in the region or the world starts by knowing what is happening in Israel.”

Philos Latino Director Jesse Rojo. (credit: Courtesy Jesse Rojo)

When the war hit, Rojo was en route to Israel with a group of Hispanic pastors. Some signatories had been in Israel for Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles) and were stranded in the country, including the National Hispanic Pastors Alliance president, who had to find his way back to the United States via Jordan.

The joint statement signifies the Hispanic Christian community’s unified voice for Israel. It also emphasizes a commitment to combating antisemitism and promoting peace.

“We, the undersigned, condemn the level of hate and violent incitement that has been exacerbated by Nazi symbols and antisemitic euphemisms promulgated by Hamas sympathizers to the point where it has made it unsafe to be Jewish in Western societies,” the statement further reads. “We reject and condemn unequivocally such actions and come together to express our solidarity and friendship with our Jewish neighbors.”

Rojo noted that “antisemitism is an attack on all of us and an affront to the very values we hold dear and which we plan to defend.” He said, “No one should feel unsafe to be who they are or to practice what they believe.”

Notable signatories of the statement

NOTABLE SIGNATORIES of the joint statement include National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, Reformed Church in America, National Hispanic Pastors Alliance, International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, South Central Hispanic District of the Assemblies of God, Confraternidad Latina de Pastores, Cathedral of Faith, Harper Collins Christian Publishing, Lifeway Global, Altar7, Asociacion Glocal de Comunicadores, One for Israel, and Latino Coalition for Israel.

The statement was released on Friday, just one week after Philos Latino brought a group of more than 30 pastors from 17 states to Capitol Hill to rally in support of Israel and push their senators and congresspeople to support the additional financial aid package to Israel.

“We wanted to let them know that the Hispanic community has always been pro-Israel, and now we are coming together as a unit to let them know that we are standing up for Israel and our Jewish neighbors,” Rojo said.

The Hispanic community in the United States has nearly quadrupled in the last four decades. It now amounts to almost 19% of the population – more than 62 million people, according to the 2020 census, updated in 2022 by the USAFacts Team.

Rojo said that some 33% identify as Evangelical Christians and are pro-Israel. According to the Pew Research Center, about 32m. Hispanic Americans will be eligible to vote in the presidential election this year.

Rojo said that while historically Hispanics voted Democrat, in recent years, the community is leaning more conservative and more Republican. Moreover, he stated, “It is evident that the Hispanic community has gained a greater awareness of our numbers. As Hispanics in the United States, we are coming together as alliances to demonstrate our strength in numbers, show our vote matters and we are willing to use our vote for the things we care about.”

He said that Israel is not just a political issue but a “spiritual issue” for the Hispanic Christian community and that they see it as their role to stand for Israel and against efforts “to sabotage one of the only beacons of democracy in the Middle East.”

So, will Hispanics vote “for Israel” in 2024?

Said Rojo: “To the extent that Israel becomes a topic in the presidential election, Hispanics will be paying attention very closely, and Israel will be a huge matter for us when it comes to the ballot.

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