JERUSALEM—Defying the predictions of one angry Christian last week who declared war on Naftali Bennett and said he would lose “100% of Evangelicals,” the most respected and influential pro-Israel Evangelical leaders in the United States are moving quickly to welcome Israel’s new government and congratulate Bennett who was sworn in Sunday evening as Israel’s 13th prime minister.
They are also promising to pray faithfully for Bennett and his new government, and are calling on Christians around the world to do the same.
At the same time, these leaders are also expressing effusive praise of – and gratitude to – outgoing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his 15 years of service, extraordinary accomplishments and consistent outreach to and respect for the Christian community.
Nikki Haley, former governor of South Carolina and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations during the first several years of the Trump administration, is currently traveling through Israel on a “solidarity mission.”
A devout Evangelical, Haley was the first Christian leader to comment.
“Prime Minister Netanyahu’s contributions to Israel’s security, diplomacy and economy have been historic,” she tweeted from Jerusalem on Sunday night. “He’s a friend personally to me and Michael, and to the U.S., and I wish him and Sara the best.”
Haley added: “Congratulations to Prime Minister Bennett. We are committed to the undeniable bond between the U.S. and Israel.”
Rev. John Hagee, the founder of Christians United For Israel (CUFI), is also here in Israel, traveling the land with Haley, praying at the Western Wall, and meeting with key Israeli leaders.
Hagee also moved quickly to embrace the new government, while simultaneously praising Netanyahu’s service.
“We congratulate Israel on the swearing-in of her new government led by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett,” Hagee tweeted Sunday evening through his CUFI account.
“And we thank Prime Minister Netanyahu for his contributions to Israel’s security and commitment to fortifying the remarkable alliance between our great nations.”
Hagee re-tweeted the American Embassy in Jerusalem’s statement by President Joe Biden congratulating Bennett, and a tweet by the new prime minister showing him on the telephone with President Biden, thanking Biden “for is warm wishes on the inauguration of the new government, and for his long-standing commitment to the State of Israel and its security.”
Hagee’s warm embrace of Bennett is significant since CUFI is the largest Christian Zionist organization in the U.S. with some 10 million members.
Yet Haley and Hagee are by no means alone.
Throughout the night I have been receiving emails and text messages of many Christian leaders around the world.
Here are some of them.
EXCLUSIVE STATEMENT BY GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE
Mike Huckabee is a former Southern Baptist pastor, former governor of Arkansas, and two-time presidential candidate.
With 1.6 million Twitter followers and a weekly program on TBN, Huckabee is one of the most prominent and respected Evangelicals in the U.S.
As a founding member of the ALL ISRAEL NEWS Advisory Board, he emailed me this statement on Monday morning:
Benjamin Netanyahu has been a personal friend of mine for many years, and I’m not sure the people of Israel fully appreciate his statecraft that has led to unprecedented peace, prosperity, and security not just for Israel, but for the entire Middle East.
It will take years for the new leadership to develop the depth of relationships that Netanyahu had fostered over his 12 consecutive years and 15 total.
Having said that, Israel is where it is because of God, not any one man or political party.
I’ve also known Naftali Bennett for over 10 years and have high hopes that he will use his very significant executive skills to keep Israel stable and secure.
The major concern with a coalition that covers the entire spectrum of left to right is whether there can be consensus without capitulation on critical issues such as sovereignty in Judea and Samaria and building on the Abraham Accords.
I hope all my Christian friends will join me as we “pray for the peace of Jerusalem.”
EXCLUSIVE STATEMENT BY REV. JOHNNIE MOORE
Rev. Johnnie Moore was the co-founder of President Trump’s Evangelical Advisory Board, and the former Vice President of Liberty University, the largest Evangelical university in the world with more than 100,000 students.
He is also a former commissioner on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom and a founding member of the ALL ARAB NEWS Advisory Board.
Moore issued a statement to ALL ISRAEL NEWS that captured the heart of many Evangelical leaders that I have been speaking to around the world.
Congratulations to Benjamin Netanyahu for a historic administration — one of history’s great peacemakers.
Evangelicals also recognize that Netanyahu isn’t fading into history. Democracies, like those in the United States and Israel, are strengthened through political competition as “ambition meets ambition.” With Netanyahu as the presumptive leader of the opposition in Israel we will continue to see — to use King Solomon’s words — “iron sharpening iron” in Israel.
Netanyahu’s predecessors may have founded the modern State of Israel but his leadership witnessed its apex, and — whether or not they will acknowledge it — the foundation he leaves his successors is a gift.
We will see what they make of it.
One thing I am certain of is that Prime Minister Naftali Bennett can awake every day knowing his service is undergirded by the prayers and friendship of hundreds of millions of Evangelicals, as could his predecessor, and as will every future Israeli prime minister, as Evangelicals increasingly constitute a great firewall against global anti-Semitism in countries around the world.
I wish Bennett’s government every success and I pledge to do my part to build upon and expand the Abraham Accords and to fortify a multigenerational and multinational bridge of friendship between Israelis, Jews everywhere and Evangelicals.
It will be a privilege to collaborate with Bennett’s government on this mission.
Prime Minister Bennett should consider Evangelicals among his friends.
EXCLUSIVE STATEMENT BY CONGRESSWOMAN MICHELE BACHMANN
Michele Bachmann served as a member of Congress from Minnesota, served on the House Intelligence Committee and was a Republican presidential candidate in 2012.
A devout Evangelical, she currently serves as the co-chair of the Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast, an alliance of Evangelicals around the world who pray faithfully for Israel, its people, and its leaders. Last week, she spoke by video to the Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast audience watching around the world.
On Sunday night, she texted me this statement:
In my lifetime, I have not seen an Israeli government quite like the one established today.
My prayers and best wishes are with the new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. As a Member of the U.S. Congress, I’ve enjoyed only positive conversations with Mr. Bennett. He is an impressive man.
I extend my deep and sincere thanks to former Prime Minister Netanyahu for his service to the Israeli people and for his commitment to secure the Jewish state. I’ll never forget PM Netanyahu leading a time of silence in the UN when he forced the world to confront the Iranian nuclear threat.
I believe PM Bennett shares a clear-eyed view of the Iranian threat, and will ensure his first duty will be to the safety of the Israeli people and the survival of the Jewish state.
EXCLUSIVE STATEMENT BY PASTOR SKIP HEITZIG
Skip Heitzig is the founder and senior pastor of Calvary Albuquerque, one of the largest Evangelical congregations in the U.S. with some 15,000 weekly attendees.
On the board of Franklin Graham’s Samaritan Purse, Heitzig also serves on the board of NEAR EAST MEDIA, the non-profit organization that runs ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS.
Here is the statement Heitzig emailed to me Monday morning:
I have traveled to Israel since 1978 and have witnessed no less than ten Prime Ministers ply their hand at governance.
I have prayed for them all.
I will now pray for the newest prime minister, Naftali Bennett.
As a Christian leader, I am grateful for the strong and effective leadership that Benjamin Netanyahu has provided for many years, especially for the security he has successfully provided the Jewish state. I have had an opportunity to sit with the former prime minister in his office in Jerusalem and enjoy warm conversation, talking over a range of subjects including the life of Jesus.
But I support Israel not because of its politics, nor its politicians.
I support Israel because of the covenant God established with this people millennia before any of us were born. As the only nation on the face of the earth to have been created by a sovereign act of God, Israel has given us the Bible, the prophets, and most importantly the Messiah.
I look forward to future trips to Israel and I encourage all Christians to support the land and people who gave us such a rich heritage and to pray for continues peace in the region as specifically for Prime Minister Bennett.
EXCLUSIVE STATEMENT BY DR. JÜRGEN BÜHLER
Dr. Jürgen Bühler is the president of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem. As such, he represents pro-Israel Christians from 120 countries around the world.
He also serves as a founding member of the ALL ISRAEL NEWS Advisory Board.
Here is the letter he sent to Bennett and Lapid on Monday:
Monday, 14 June 2021
The Honorable Naftali Bennett
Prime Minister of Israel
The Honorable Yair Lapid
Foreign Minister and Alternate Prime Minister of Israel
On behalf of the leadership and global following of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, allow me to extend our warmest congratulations to you on the formation and approval of a new government in Israel. There is much responsibility on your shoulders now, but we know you represent a new generation of forward-looking leaders who care deeply about Israel’s future. We hope and pray your government and cabinet will bring stability and success to the entire nation.
We also want to reassure you and the Israeli people that Christian support for your nation is steadfast and anchored in timeless biblical principles. You can rely on us to always be responsible partners with Israel as we seek to make practical and constructive contributions to the safety and well-being of the whole nation, while respecting Israel as a democracy to make its own internal decisions.
We consider it a privilege and our moral duty to stand in friendship and solidarity with Israel, to fight antisemitism around the world, and to contribute towards peaceful relations between Jews and Arabs in the Land, and between Israel and its Arab neighbors.
May God bless and keep Israel!
EXCLUSIVE STATEMENT BY KAY ARTHUR
Kay Arthur is an internationally renowned and beloved Bible teacher.
She is the founder of Precept Ministries International and has served on the board of the National Religious Broadcasters.
On Monday afternoon, she emailed ALL ISRAEL NEWS the following statement:
It saddens me to think that Bibi Netanyahu will no longer be the prime minister of Israel. I believe God used his leadership to keep Israel from ceding land that God had ordained as belonging to His nation and His chosen people.
It’s interesting knowing the sovereignty of God and understanding that He is the one who promotes and removes leaders and has allowed this to come to pass.
As for us, we are to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and the coming of His kingdom.
EXCLUSIVE STATEMENT BY MICHAEL LITTLE
Michael Little is the former president of the Christian Broadcasting Network.
He formerly served on the board of the National Religious Broadcasters, Christians United For Israel, and NEAR EAST MEDIA, the non-profit organization that runs ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS.
On Monday afternoon, he emailed us the following statement:
True Christians love the Jewish people!
Our God – the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – mandates in Psalm 122:6 that we support Israel and pray for the peace of Jerusalem, regardless of Israel’s political leadership.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and American Evangelicals have enjoyed a mutual love and appreciation for many years.
We desire and anticipate a fruitful and fulfilling relationship with new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and his administration.
No matter what, we stand with Israel!
EXCLUSIVE STATEMENT FROM TONY PERKINS
Tony Perkins is one of the most influential Evangelical leaders in the U.S.
He is President of the Family Research Council.
He is also the vice-chairman of U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.
On Monday afternoon, he sent ALL ISRAEL NEWS the following statement:
Like most Evangelical followers of Jesus, my support for the Jewish people, and in particular the nation of Israel, is resolute. Believers should value that which factors prominently in the economy of God.
I look forward to engaging with Prime Minister Bennett in the weeks and months ahead to advance our mutual priorities that will benefit Israel.
Having met with Benjamin Netanyahu on several occasions and observing him in some of the most challenging of circumstances, I have a deep and genuine appreciation for his remarkable leadership.
Joel C. Rosenberg is the editor-in-chief of ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS and the President and CEO of Near East Media. A New York Times best-selling author, Middle East analyst, and Evangelical leader, he lives in Jerusalem with his wife and sons.