Tuesday, December 01, 2020

US evangelical church helps Israeli settlement activities

By Ary Gotlib - December 17, 2018
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Christians ] [settlements]

Haaretz newspaper revealed on December 9, how the US evangelical church help and finance Israeli settlement activities in the West Bank.

Judy Maltz, a journalist for Haaretz, estimates the total amount of funding raised in the past 10 years at somewhere between $50 million and $65 million.
A figure based on media reports, US tax records and the Molad Center think tank composed in 2015 of 11 evangelical organizations according to Palestine News Network.
Molad Center in a report and Haaretz mentioned that the amount of financial support that evangelical organizations transfer to Israeli settlements is hard to estimate.
This is due to it not being mandatory for non-profit institutions and churches registered in the United States to furnish authorities with detailed reports on sources of funding, pointed out IMEMC.
Despite the fragility of this estimation, Haaretz highlighted three types of settlement aids.
First, the money donation of structures like Christian Friends of Israeli Communities or JH Israel, two of the biggest donors.
Major recipients are Ariel, Shiloh, Itamar and Har Bracha settlements.
Haaretz noted that the settlement Ariel gets its largest donations from evangelicals. In 2008, it received $8 million, for a sports zone.
Evangelicals also donated $1 million to the Jewish-Christian Center in Efrat.
Secondly, evangelical groups volunteer in settlements. For example, over the past decade, Hayovel US Organization - a small group of North Americans who has been making pilgrimages to the vineyards of West Bank settlements - has brought more than 1,700 volunteers (these latter must pay all travel expenses).
Third, the promotion of settlement businesses in the US. As an illustration, Blessed buy Israel organization sells products (e.g olive oil, honey, soap or jewelry) via internet and to the US churches to support the business, and especially “help to defeat BDS,” as mentioned on their website.
Haaretz estimated the selling of products amounted $50, 000 in 2017, a figure expected to double in 2018.
Tomer Persico, the Shalom Hartman Institute Bay Area scholar in residence, analyzed that the evangelical’s help to Jewish people is motivated by religion.
For them, it is essential that Israel controls Jerusalem and the whole Promised Land, in a bid to set in motion the events of the much anticipated Armageddon.
“The settlers, of course, do not believe this narrative, but they are happy to take advantage of evangelical beliefs in it,” he told to Haaretz.
Since the election of Trump, attitudes which where formerly suspicious between both communities are changing at the grassroots.
“Now, there is a sense of gratitude among residents [of settlements]. They see that the evangelicals are very good friends to us,” Rabbi Tuly Weisz, the publisher of Israel365 – a daily newsletter distributed to 150,000 evangelicals around the world - told to Haaretz.
A change especially visible is the sharp rise in evangelical tourists in Israel. There has been a 39% increase between 2016 and 2017, according to the Israeli Ministry of Tourism.
In an opposite shape, one month ago, Quakers in Britain became the first church in the UK to announce it will not invest any of its centrally-held funds in companies profiting from the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
“Our long history of working for a just peace in Palestine and Israel has opened our eyes to the many injustices and violations of international law arising from the military occupation of Palestine by the Israeli government,” Paul Parker, recording clerk for Quakers in Britain stated, as reported in MEMO.

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