By David Parsons, Israel Hayom—
The decision of U.S. President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the State of Israel has brought great satisfaction to the Israeli public. Seventy years after the State of Israel’s establishment, its capital has been officially recognized by the world’s largest superpower. Two weeks later, Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales also recognized the city and declared that he had ordered the transfer of his country’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Beyond the significant achievement of the Jewish people, this is also a dramatic achievement for tens of millions of evangelical Christians worldwide who love Israel.
Forty years after evangelicals became a mainstream political force in the United States, the movement has spread worldwide and now numbers around 700 million followers. Evangelical Christian diplomacy has now achieved its most significant success perhaps since the Balfour Declaration exactly 100 years ago. The recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel would not have been possible without the efforts of dozens of evangelical organizations, headed by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, the largest Christian Zionist organization in the world, standing alongside Israel and the Jewish people.
Trump was a true friend of Israel even before his election to the presidency. His stand alongside the Jewish state was one of the motives of many American evangelicals to support him. For these Christians, the recognition of Jerusalem and the transfer of the embassy were priority issues in the presidential election campaign and were a main reason over 85% of evangelicals voted for Trump. When he first delayed the embassy move, dozens of Christian leaders rallied together to sign a letter urging the president to honor his commitment and transfer the embassy to Jerusalem. It was a cause the president could not ignore.
Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales has now made a decision his country will follow America’s lead and transfer its embassy to Jerusalem. Morales, who identifies himself as an evangelical, is considered an enthusiastic supporter of Israel. Guatemala may have the highest rate of evangelicals in the world, with some estimates running as high as 50% of the population. Several other Central and Latin American countries also have large evangelical communities. For instance, Brazil’s population is now more than 25% evangelical Christian. The evangelical movement in these nations is beginning to mobilize and mature in its political activitism, and fair treatment of Israel is one of its main demands. So the evangelical revolution that began in the United States has swept through many countries in the Southern Hemisphere, and tens of millions of people in Latin America are now born-again Christians who have warmly embraced Zionism.
Evidence of this revolution could also be seen in the recent U.N. vote on Jerusalem, in which Arab and Muslim countries sought to condemn the United States for its support of Israel’s capital, and 128 countries joined them. But a number of heavily evangelical countries refused to go along with the anti-Israel resolution. The evangelical revolution is also sweeping Africa and Asia, as seen in the support for Jerusalem from nations like Togo, the Philippines, and a host of Pacific island nations.
Those nations that abstained or were absent also have high rates of evangelicals. Thus, for example, two of the abstaining countries are Rwanda, about one-quarter of whose population are evangelicals, and Uganda, one-third of whom are from the same religious stream.
To see these U.N. voting patterns starting to change is very gratifying for us at the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, as it is the fruit of our many years of labor defending Israel worldwide and urging that Jerusalem be respected and recognized as its capital. The head of the American branch of the Christian Embassy, Susan Michael, recently headed a coalition of Christian Zionist organizations called “American Christian Leaders for Israel,” comprising dozens of different organizations that urged Trump to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
The ICEJ’s representatives in Africa, Asia and Latin America are working with decision-makers to promote Israel’s standing. Even among secular countries, we recorded quite a few achievements. Thus, for example, the director of the Christian Embassy in the Czech Republic was behind the Prague parliament’s decision in May to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
The evangelical stream continues to grow throughout the world, and millions join it every year. The people of Israel must understand that hundreds of millions of Christians are friends of Israel and they stand in prayer, love and support alongside the citizens of the only democracy in the region, and alongside their beloved capital Jerusalem.
David Parsons is vice president of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, and serves as the organization’s senior international spokesman.