With the advent of midterm elections in the USA in November 2018, increasing voices in Israel are warning against the consequences of deepening the divide between Israel and the Democratic Party. Prime Minister Netanyahu is consolidating his alliance with extremist Evangelical Christians, including leaders and proponents of the Republican Party. According to Netanyahu, these are ardent supporters of Israel and Israeli regional policy, particularly towards the question of Palestine and its settlement.

Some advocates believe that the Evangelicals have always supported Zionism. In recent years, support has turned into an essential component of Evangelical beliefs. In fact, Israel’s governments started to build relations with the Evangelicals after the June 1967 war. Of particular note, the more right wing Israel is, the greater the Evangelical influence is in the relations between both states. The election of Donald Trump has brought this influence to a climax. This was evident in the audience, who attended the unprecedented ceremony of moving the US embassy to Jerusalem on 14 May 2018. The Israeli ambassador to the USA seeks Ron Dermer has recently joined his counterpart, US ambassador to Israel David Friedman, in making US support to Israel exclusively reliant on the Evangelicals, who support Israel’s hawkish and rejectionist policy towards the Palestinians. According to these advocates, this alliance further erodes the status of Israel in the eyes of traditional power centres, mainly US Jews who view the Evangelicals as a real threat to their values.

In this context, it has been warned that Netanyahu is dangerously associating his government with conservative and Evangelical circles within the Republican Party, further widening the rift with the Democrats. If a Democratic president and congress are elected in 2020, Israel will face a serious problem if Netanyahu continues to be in office.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

MADAR CENTER

The Palestinian Forum for Israeli Studies (MADAR) is an independent research centre specialising in Israeli affairs, based in Ramallah, Palestine. MADAR was established in 2000 by a group of Palestinian intellectuals and academics, including the late poet Mahmoud Darwish, Dr. Lily Feidy, Dr. Ali Jarbawi, Dr. Ahmad Harb, Mr. Walid Al-Ahmad and Mr. Akram Haniyyeh. The centre was registered as a not-for-profit organisation with the Palestinian Ministry of Interior, and obtained a research centre’s operational licensing from the Palestinian Ministry of Information.

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