Christian And Religious Leaders Express ‘High Hopes’ Over Israel’s New Prime Minister Naftali Bennett

Israel's new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett
Israel's new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett |

Following the formation of Israel's 36th government, many Christian leaders and Evangelicals declared continuous support for the country despite Benjamin Netanyahu's shift as a member of the opposition against the new coalition headed by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

Though Netanyahu articulated strong criticism towards Bennett, a number of leaders still conveyed their confidence on the latter, The Christian Post reported.

Joel Rosenberg, founder of The Joshua Fund, wrote that the Christians' love for Israel is not bound to a person but based on the "Abrahamic covenant" and the command stated in the Bible to bless the nation and the Jews.

He urged Christians to pray and support the state regardless of its leader. Rosenberg is also hopeful of a good relationship between evangelicals and Bennett, along with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid.

Johnnie Moore, the Congress of Christian Leaders president, said that it is not appropriate for American evangelicals to intervene with Israel's internal affairs beyond "praising" its democracy.

"Even though most evangelical leaders have enjoyed a tremendous friendship with Netanyahu- which will continue - their friendship with Israel transcends the machinations of Israel's politics and its political parties," he added.

Nikki Haley also declared that the United States will continue to stand with Israel regardless of its leader. In a tweet, the former U.S. Ambassador to United Nations expressed her appreciation on Netanyahu for his contributions to the Jewish state. She then congratulated Bennett.

"We are committed to the undeniable bond between the US & Israel," she further said.

But Haley warned against reviving the Iran nuclear deal.

"The one thing we don't want to see happen is giving money back to Iran and have the world be a more dangerous place," she said.

Former Arkansas governor and former Baptist pastor Mike Huckabee said that he has "high hopes" on Bennett's executive skills to keep Israel's stability and security but is concerned whether the new coalition will have a "consensus without capitulation" on critical issues such as the Abraham Accords and sovereignty in Judea and Samaria.

Huckabee stated that his "personal friend" Netanyahu's "statecraft" resulted to "unprecedented" prosperity, peace and security to the state and the Middle East. He added that it will take time for the new leadership to develop the same level of relationships that Netanyahu had built during his 15 years in power.

However, the former politician argued that Israel's current status is solely because of God.

"Having said that, Israel is where it is because of God, not any one man or political party," Huckabee said.

Georgia pastor Jentezen Franklin also congratulated the country for its new government and called for Christians to pray for Israel. He was also hoping for an "open and congenial relationship" with the current leadership as Christians had under Netanyahu.

Moreover, the pastor mentioned that the former prime minister "deserves credit for his extraordinary efforts" on strengthening the state's economy, building foreign relationships and establishing peace and security in the Middle East. He also noted of Netanyahu's handling of the pandemic, calling it "the envy of the world."

"Bibi has not only been one of Israel's longest-serving prime ministers but one of its historic leaders. Evangelicals are proud of our friendship with Netanyahu, a friendship that will continue," Franklin added.

Calvary Church pastor Skip Heitzig said that he will pray for Bennett, stating that his support for Israel is due to the covenant that God has established with the Jews and not because of politics or the politicians.

"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," he continued.

He is also grateful with Netanyahu's leadership that has brought security to the state.

On the other hand, Mike Evans, founder of the Jerusalem Prayer Team and Friends of Zion Heritage Center, criticized the recent Israeli election, comparing it to a striptease show wherein people involved are "unpleasant, vulgar and disgusting."

He said that he was fascinated with Israel before for being "beautiful, attractive and seductive" but has now turned horrifying to him.

Further, he claimed that the recent election was done "to crucify a man they hate," referring to Netanyahu, destroying the nation.

The founder also called the newly elected officials as "amateur nobodies" who are "making a mockery" of the country.

Evans then vowed to "spend the rest of [his] life fighting for Israel, adding that he now "understand[s] how the Holocaust happened."