Christian cross 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense subcommittee on Foreign Policy urged the
government Tuesday to garner support from Evangelical Christians around the
world, and to strengthen its connection to those outside of the US.
of the topics that most intrigued subcommittee chairman Robert Ilatov (Israel
Beiteinu) and MK Einat Wilf (Independence), who attended the meeting, is that of
Evangelicals in Brazil and other South American countries.
Evangelical Christians are a growing group in the US, and an increasing
percentage of the population of Latin America is leaving Catholicism for
Evangelical Christianity, Foreign Ministry representative Shmuel Ben- Shmuel
According to Ben-Shmuel, there is an equal number of
Evangelical Christians in the US and in Brazil – each approximately 60 million.
However, the infrastructure and influence of the two groups are
Evangelicals in the US are more organized and politically
involved, he said.
The Foreign Ministry is trying in North and South
America to appeal to televangelists to speak about Israel and invite Israeli
ambassadors to their television and radio shows. In addition, the ministry is in
touch with pastors of large churches.
But all this is just “the tip of
the iceberg” when it comes to the Evangelical Christian community, Ben-Shmuel
Christian Allies Caucus President Josh Reinstein presented a more
optimistic picture of Brazil, saying that of 16 prominent Evangelical leaders,
10 are members of parliament. In the US, he said, 70 percent of Evangelicals
belong to smaller churches, which the Foreign Ministry does not
Ilatov called for the ministry to increase its activity in Brazil,
where there is “potential to change the government’s positions” due to the large
He criticized the government for not having a
more focused policy in connection to pro- Israel Christians.
she finds it exciting that there is a “new, young generation in Latin America
that sees Israel as part of the foundations of its faith,” adding that this is a
chance for the Foreign Ministry to do work for the long-term.
fascinating that in South America, an area that we’re used to seeing as either
apathetic or anti-Israel, has hope for a deep change,” Wilf
According to Wilf, such a “transformation” could take 10 to 20
years. Therefore, she said she understands that it is difficult to strengthen
pro-Israel sentiment in Brazil, where Evangelicals are “not used to translating
their spiritual admiration to political support,” as opposed to the US, where
there are organized and politically influential Evangelical groups.