When It Comes to Israel, Most Hispanic Christians Are Ambivalent

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Hispanic evangelicals, Mainline Protestants and Catholics are more likely to say the nation of Israel has the right to exist than the average American.

They worry about the fate of Christians in the Palestinian territories and sympathize with both Palestinians and Israelis.

But the Bible, most say, has little to do with how they see Israel.

Those are among the findings of an online survey of self-identified Hispanic Christians and their views on Israel from Nashville-based LifeWay Research.

The response was mixed, said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research. Few Hispanic Christians have a negative view of Israel, he said. But many have no opinion.

“Overall, Israel isn’t a major concern for many Hispanic Christians,” said McConnell.

More supportive than Americans in general

Hispanic Christians are generally supportive of Israel, according to LifeWay Research’s survey.

Half (50 percent) say the modern state of Israel, which was founded on May 14, 1948, has the right to exist. Only 15 percent disagree. About a third (35 percent) aren’t sure.

For comparison, a 2015 LifeWay Research study found Americans much more skeptical about Israel. Forty-two percent agreed when asked if they support Israel’s statehood. Thirty-five percent disagreed, while 23 percent were not sure.

The 2017 survey found only a quarter of Hispanic Christians in the U.S. have a negative view of Israel (26 percent). Forty-five percent have a positive view. Twenty-eight percent aren’t sure.

About a third (34 percent) think the U.S. is doing enough to help Israel. Fewer say the U.S. does too much (19 percent) or too little (18 percent) to help Israel. Twenty-nine percent are not sure.

Hispanic Christians seem reluctant to take sides in the dispute between Israelis and Palestinians. Two-thirds (66 percent) sympathize with the hardships faced by both Israelis and Palestinians. A quarter (27 percent) sympathize more with Israelis. Seven percent sympathize more with Palestinians.

Most Hispanic Christians also worry about the welfare of Christians in parts of the Holy Land. Three-quarters (72 percent) say they are concerned about the safety of Christians in territories governed by the Palestinian authority. Ten percent disagree, while 18 percent are not sure.

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SOURCE: LifeWay
Bob Smietana

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