A popular evangelical leader warned former US President Donald Trump to end his conflict with ex-Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying that the rift can risk support among Christian Americans.
Mike Evans, Trump’s former adviser who also has a close relationship with Netanyahu, penned a letter to Trump, that was published in the Washington Post, expressing that he was “horrified” by Trump’s recently reported sentiments.
The letter comes following a leaked interview with Trump by Israeli reporter Barak Ravid. During the interview, Trump blasted Netanyahu over his congratulatory message to President-elect Joe Biden after his victory was announced last year.
Trump said that Netanyahu’s message to Biden came too fast after the highly contested US election results were announced.
“He was very early. Like earlier than most. I haven’t spoken to him since. F–k him,” Trump can be heard saying.
The recordings also revealed that Trump believed that it was Netanyahu, not the Palestinians, that were the main hurdles to peace. He added that Netanyahu mad and surprised Trump with a plan to annex regions of the Judea and Samaria.
“Please, I beg of you, don’t put us in the position to choose between you and Bible land,” the letter said according to the Post. “There is no possibility you can win again if Bible-believing evangelicals see you as the ‘F–k Netanyahu’ president who . . . blames the State of Israel, and not the Palestinians, for not making peace.”
Evans called on Trump to “understand that Benjamin Netanyahu,” as farashe is concerned, “has much greater support among evangelicals in America than you.”
Evans, heads the “Jerusalem Prayer Team,” boasting roughly 77 million followers. This isn’t the first time he has come to Netanyahu’s defense.
Earlier this year, when a Naftali Bennett was forming a coalition to dethrone Netanyahu, Evans warned that the maneuver could compel AmericanChristians to abandon support for Israel calling them a coalition who would “wave a white flag” and surrender to radical Islam.
“Bibi Netanyahu is the only man in the world that unites evangelicals,” Evans said.
But Trump isn’t the only one using expletives in this story. Evans also sent a letter to Bennett, accusing him of “s–tting on the face” of American evangelicals.
He later apologized for the statement.
Netanyahu has led the shift in Israel’s American civilian support from relying on the backing of the America’s Jewish community — which is largely leftist and even anti-Israel — to garnering evangelical support. Netanyahu’s son Yair has worked closely with evangelicals and could often be seen speaking at churches.
Netanyahu’s ambassador to the Washington Ron Dermer recommended that Israel prioritize the “passionate and unequivocal” backing of evangelical Christians over that of Jewish Americans, who he noted are “disproportionately among our critics.”
Other evangelical leaders expressed a more diplomatic view of Trump’s sentiments than did Evans, but were still appeared concerned with the rift.
“Evangelical support for Israel is rooted in our Biblical tradition which transcends both politics and personalities,” wrote Sandra Parker, the action fund chairwoman for Christians United for Israel, the biggest American pro-Israel lobby.
Johnnie Moore, who helped craft Trump’s evangelical advisory board in the 2016 election year, said that US evangelicals wouldn’t abandon Trump.
“The relationship between American Evangelicals and Bibi preceded the relationship with President Trump by many, many years,” Moore said. “But Bibi was an Israeli prime minister, and Trump was an American president. There’s a difference between the two for Americans.”
Others Christian leaders said that even if the reports were accurate, it did not damage all the good that Trump did for Israel, citing his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, transferring the American embassy fromTel Aviv to Jerusalem, exiting the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA) and recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
“Even if the alleged comments are true, it doesn’t diminish in the least that President Trump’s policies have been the most pro-Israel in history,” noted Robert Jeffress, senior pastor at First Baptist Church of Dallas.
In his conversation with Ravid, Trump said no one had helped Netanyahu more than he did and that this is why the former US president saw it as a betrayal when Netanyahu congratulated Biden on his victory, while Trump contested the results.
“Nobody did more for Bibi. And I liked Bibi. I still like Bibi,” Trump said. He was “the man that I did more for than any other person I dealt with.”
“But I also like loyalty. The first person to congratulate Biden was Bibi. And not only did he congratulate him, he did it on tape. And it was on tape.
“I was personally disappointed in him,” he said. “Bibi could have stayed quiet. He made a terrible mistake.”
Israel365 News also revealed that in that same recording, Trump seemed to oppose Netanyahu’s plan to annex parts of Judea and Samaria.