Jewish community should re-prioritize outreach to Christian allies

The Jewish community should “dramatically” and “urgently” re-prioritize outreach to its Christian allies in 2024, according to a rabbi and evangelical Christian analyst.

“Christian support is more vital than ever before, since the pro-Israel Jewish community is so small and weak,” said Rabbi Tuly Weisz, founder of Israel365, an organization that builds bridges with the evangelical community. “The American Jewish community is powerless to stop the progressive mob that they largely created.”

Weisz belongs to a community of Orthodox Jews dedicated to fostering understanding and connection with the Christian community over the past two decades. Their commitment involves deepening their knowledge about Christians and imparting insights about Judaism to the Christian community.

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Several evangelical leaders have come to Israel during the last few months, such as Reverent Franklin Graham; former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee; and most recently, former US vice president Mike Pence. Moreover, many other evangelicals have come to Israel to volunteer, engage in humanitarian relief efforts and, in certain instances, contribute to safeguarding the Jewish community through roles such as security work.

FORMER US vice president Mike Pence speaks at the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition Spring Kick-off, in West Des Moines, in April. (credit: Eduardo Munoz/Reuters)

“Christians are trying to communicate in this war to the Israeli people that we love you and we are standing with you, no matter what,” said Joel Rosenberg, a well-known evangelical author who now edits the faith-based website All Israel News. “That is the message we have always been saying, but it becomes more apparent when the rest of the world jumps on the last plane out, and many people in the media and academia attack Israel.

But as the younger generation of both Jews and Christians becomes disconnected and even hostile toward Israel, according to dozens of recent surveys, Weisz said there is “certainly no guarantee that evangelicals will be pro-Israel in the second half of this century.” That is why, he said, the Jewish establishment must start taking Christian outreach seriously.

Weisz recommended setting up faith-based task forces through which local rabbis could begin reaching out to their communities’ pastors. He also said that individual, pro-Israel Jews should start a dialogue with their colleagues and co-workers about what Israel means to them.

Rosenberg had similar ideas. He recommended that these rabbis and pastors spend time listening to one another and travel to Israel together to see the country through each other’s eyes.

In addition, he urged Israeli leadership to enhance its hasbara (public diplomacy) endeavors within the Christian community. This could be achieved through interviews with Christian media outlets or social media platforms to deliver targeted messages directly to Christian Zionists that offer a clearer understanding of the situation and educate them on the most effective ways to support Israel.

“Jews are very traumatized by centuries of Christian antisemitism,” Weisz admitted. “But we need to start focusing on building relationships.

“I think the Jews will start to see that not all Christians are missionaries, and there are millions of American Christians who love Israel out of their reading of the Bible with no strings attached.” 

The writer is deputy CEO – strategy and innovation for The Jerusalem Post and a senior correspondent. She also co-hosts the Inside Israeli Innovation podcast.

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