Should Evangelicals Cooperate With Muslims for Israel's Sake?

Wednesday, April 03, 2019 |  David Lazarus

That is one of the questions a new survey tries to answer among US Evangelicals and Muslims.

The survey, conducted by the Federation of Ethnic Understanding (FFEU), an interfaith group lead by Rabbi Marc Schneier, suggests that there is some room for Evangelical cooperation with Muslims toward improving relations with Israel. But on most issues, the two groups remain divided.

In light of the more positive statements coming from some Sunni Muslim countries, the survey asked, “If a Muslim nation were to engage in cooperation with Israel (developing bilateral, strategic and economic relations, have an active Jewish community, supply oil to Israel) how would you feel toward that Muslim nation?” An overwhelming 82 percent of Evangelical respondents said they would feel either “very favorable or somewhat favorable to such a nation.” Interestingly, as many as 72 percent of Muslims would also favor improving relationships between Muslim nations and Israel.

How far will Evangelicals go in cooperating with Muslims concerning Israel and the Palestinians? The survey asked: "With regard to the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians which of the following is the closest to your opinion?" One-third of the Muslims said that Israelis are the main aggressors and most responsible for the conflict. For Evangelicals, the exact opposite is true. Most blame Palestinian aggression for the ongoing violence.

Muslims tend to be more optimistic in regards to an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement than Evangelicals. Fifty-eight percent of the Muslims questioned said they believe that a mutually-agreed upon peace settlement could be reached between Israel and the Palestinians. Only 42 percent of Evangelicals think the same, while a full 37 percent believe it is impossible under any terms.

Evangelicals strongly support US policy toward Israel, including moving the embassy to Jerusalem (78 percent). Unsurprisingly, Muslims believe US policy is too supportive of Israel (45 percent).

Almost 50 percent of Evangelicals believe that it is right that Jerusalem was recognized as the capital of Israel, and the Holy City should not be a part of any future Palestinian state. Predictably, only 17 percent of Muslims agree that Jerusalem should be the capital of Israel. Intriguingly, however, a full 29 percent percent say it should be an international city and not the capital of a future Palestinian state. Almost no Evangelicals believe Jerusalem should be an international city, or the capital of a future Palestinian state.

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