More than a dozen of US President Donald Trump’s faith advisers are in Israel on a Ministry of Tourism trip, the ministry confirmed.
The advisers arrived in Israel on February 17 for a five-day mission. The visitors “comprise some of America’s foremost leaders of the Evangelical Christian community,” L. Marc Zell, chairman of Republicans Overseas Israel and a vice president of Republicans Overseas, Inc., told Breaking Israel News last week.
The faith advisers are Trump’s own evangelical advisory board, a loose band of around 20 conservative Christian pastors and advocates from around the United States who have advised the president since his campaign days. The delegation of faith advisers is being lead by Michael (Mike) Evans, an evangelical Christian author who in 2015 founded the Friends of Zion Heritage Center in Jerusalem.
Other members of the faith advisory team are Michele Bachmann, former Republican politician; Mark Burns, pastor, Harvest Praise & Worship Center; Tim Clinton, President of the American Association of Christian Counselors; Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, founders, Kenneth Copeland Ministries; James Dobson, founder, Focus on the Family; Jerry Falwell, Jr., president, Liberty University; Ronnie Floyd, senior pastor, Cross Church; Jentezen Franklin, senior pastor Free Chapel Worship Center; Jack Graham, senior pastor, Prestonwood Baptist Church; Harry Jackson, senior pastor, Hope Christian Church; Robert Jeffress, senior pastor, First Baptist Church of Dallas; David Jeremiah, senior pastor, Shadow Mountain Community Church; Richard Land, president of the Southern Evangelical Seminary, North Carolina; Johnnie Moore, author and president, Kairos Company; Robert Morris, senior pastor, Gateway Church, Texas; Tom Mullins, senior pastor, Christ Fellowship, Florida; Ralph Reed, founder, Faith and Freedom Coalition; James Robison, founder, Life Outreach International; Tony Suarez, executive vice president, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference; Jay Strack, president and founder, Student Leadership University; Paula White, senior pastor, New Destiny Christian Center; Tom Winters, attorney, Winters and King, Inc.; Sealy Yates, attorney, Yates and Yates, and Jim Garlow, senior pastor, Skyline Church, La Mesa, Calif.
It is unclear how many of these advisers are in Israel.
The ministry has kept the itinerary largely under wraps, including cancelling a press briefing that was originally scheduled for Sunday, February 18 at the Tower of David. Breaking Israel News learned the visit has already including stops at high-traffic Christian tourist sites, such as the Garden of Gethsemane and the Mount of Olives. In addition, participants met and are meeting with several high-level politicians, including Knesset members and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.
Additionally, Garlow, who heads the Schindler Society, will use the visit as an opportunity to launch the first-ever Jewish-Christian Bible study at the Knesset on February 20 in collaboration with the Knesset Caucus for the Encouragement of Bible Study and Israel365.
Garlow runs the society with his wife, Rosemary Schindler Garlow. The society has introduced ongoing Bible study in the US Congress and the United Nations.
Garlow spoke with Breaking Israel News from his airplane en route to Israel last Thursday and expressed gratitude to Trump for his decision to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
“We consider it a tremendous honor for us to come to Israel at this particular time by virtue of the fact that President Trump and now the president of Guatemala announced the move of their respective embassies to Jerusalem,” he told Breaking Israel News.
“We want to stand with Israel and with the Jewish people during this time, and we are very much in hope that other nations will follow suit and recognize Jerusalem as the eternal and indivisible capital of the state of Israel.”
“The Evangelical community is one of the most influential voting blocks in the United States and could easily determine the outcome of the 2018 midterm elections as they did the presidential race in 2016,” said Zell. “The visit is coming at a crucial time in US-Israeli relations and in the Middle East, when the American peace plan is being formulated and President Trump’s regional strategy is being tested in the wake of Iranian expansionism and Russian interference.
“The members of the faith advisers will be in an important voice on matters concerning Israel. We look forward to welcoming them to the Holy Land.”