If America abandons Israel and the Jews, “that is the end of America as we know it,” according to American conservative talk show host Dennis Prager.
A Jew well known for his deep connection with the Christian Right, Prager expressed concern that America was abandoning the Judeo-Christian values on which it was founded and was, therefore, at risk of losing its support for Israel and, ultimately, its rank of a superpower.
“Christians [support Israel] because they cite God’s promise to Abraham that ‘those who bless you, I will bless and those who curse you I will curse,’” Prager said. “They happen to be correct. Those who have cursed Jews have ended up cursed.
“America has been the biggest blessing to Jews since Darius in ancient Persia, and America has been a blessed country.”
Darius I, “the Great” authorized the Jews to rebuild the Temple after Cyrus, his predecessor, decreed their right of return to Jerusalem from Babylonian exile.
Surveys show rising antisemitism, less religiosity
He made the comments in an interview with The Jerusalem Post in the Israel365 studio at the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) conference in Orlando last week, against the backdrop of several surveys that have shown both an America disconnecting from religion and skyrocketing antisemitism and anti-Israel sentiment in the United States.
Prager did not name any countries that have gone in the opposite direction.
However, much critical sentiment toward Israel is enunciated by groups identifying as Christian. The NRB is an association of Evangelical broadcasters that tends to be far more pro-Israel nowadays than other Christian groups. A majority, 86% of white Evangelical Protestants have a “favorable view of the Israeli people and 42% have a “very favorable view," according to a 2022 Pew Research Center report.
A 2019 Pew Research Center Survey found that more than 10% fewer people described themselves as Christian than a decade before. Moreover, a 2021 Gallup Poll found that 47% of Americans belonged to houses of worship in 2020, down from 70% in 1999.
In 2022, the Anti-Defamation League reported the highest number of antisemitic incidents in the United States since it started recording them in 1979 with 3,697 antisemitic incidents throughout the US, a 36% increase over 2021.
“The reason so many kids are leaving religion is because they are brainwashed secularly in their schools,” Prager contended. “The schools are secular. God is not in our schools... But ignoring God and religion is a form of hostility.
“Most Jews and Christians do not have a clue how to explain their religion to their children… Likewise, Americans failed to explain America to their children,” he continued. “Why are children not patriotic today?
“The idol worship of our time is experts.”
He said now is the time for Orthodox Jews and Christian believers to work together to reclaim the value system they say they care so much about.
Why do many Christians support Israel?
“Jews need to understand that the alliance for so many Christians is genuine,” Prager said.
He pointed out the extensive Jewish and Israeli contingency at this year’s NRB, which has grown over the last decade by leaps and bounds. For example, more than 700 people signed up for a “Night to Celebrate Israel” on the event’s second night.
“So many Jews are afraid that the Christians want to convert us,” Prager said. “You get people who don’t like Christians – mostly left-wing Gentiles and Jews who are naive in their understanding of what Christians really want to do. They say [the Christians] only support Israel because they believe if Jews all gather back [in Israel], then Jesus will come again.”
But Prager said that Christians understand they cannot do anything to hasten the arrival of Jesus for the second coming; this will happen according to God’s plan. On the other hand, they support Israel because they believe in the Torah as the word of God.
And this is where observant Jews and Christians can align.
“When Christians see a Jew who takes the Torah seriously, they are thrilled,” Prager said, contending that it is non-Orthodox Jews who tend to be more suspicious of Christians. “The Jews who most believe in the Divine origin of the Torah are more likely to work with Christians. There is a comfort.”
He said there is no “Judeo-Christian theology” because if there were, everyone would be Christian or Jewish. However, the two religions do share the Torah.
“I am not an optimist or a pessimist. An optimist does not fight because he thinks it will all work out. A pessimist doesn’t fight because he does not believe it can work out,” Prager said. “All I know is that I am obligated to fight – for America and American values, which are rooted in the Torah.”