For an influential group of American Christians, support for Israel -- and hatred of Iran -- are based in a biblical prophecy.
When President Trump authorized the drone strike that killed the powerful Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, he wasn't just flexing America's muscle in the Middle East.
He was also acting on the advice of a politically powerful group of evangelical Christians who believe that the US and Israel are part of the Bible's plan to bring about the second coming of Jesus.
Once considered a fringe element of the religious right, evangelical Christian Zionists are playing an increasingly visible role in Republican politics. Today, unprecedented access to the Trump administration has given them an opportunity to reshape the Middle East.
A previous version of this video misstated, at 1:40, the percentage of Americans who are Christian but neither Evangelical nor Catholic. The error has been corrected.
The headline on this piece has also been updated. Previous headline: How the Bible shapes Trump's foreign policy
🎧 The Daily: Israel’s Indispensable Prime Minister? | New York Times
If re-elected, Benjamin Netanyahu could become Israel’s longest-serving prime minister — and the first to be indicted while in office.
🎧 The Daily: The Democrats and Israel | New York Times
The Democratic Party has a long history of staunchly supporting Israel, but some new lawmakers are raising questions about the future of this stance.
🔖 Shephelah | Wikipedia
The Shfela, or Shephelah, lit. "lowlands" (Hebrew: הַשְּפֵלָה, also שְׁפֵלַת יְהוּדָה, Shfelat Yehuda, the "Judaean foothills"), is a transitional region of soft-sloping hills in south-central Israel stretching over 10–15 km between the Judaean Mountains and the Coastal Plain. The different use of the term "Judean Plain", as either defining just the Coastal Plain segment stretching along the Judaean Mountains, or also including, or only referring to, the Shfela, often creates grave confusion.
Today the Shfela is largely rural with many farms.
The Bible assigned land in the Shfela to the tribes of Judah and Dan.
Acquired In the Footsteps of King David: Revelations from an Ancient Biblical City by Yosef Garfinkel, Saar Ganor, Michael G. Hasel
The remarkable excavation of a previously unidentified city in Israel from the time of King David, shedding new light on the link between the bible and history
King David is a pivotal figure in the Bible, which tells his life story in detail and gives stirring accounts of his deeds, including the slaying of the Philistine giant Goliath and the founding of his capital in Jerusalem. But no certain archaeological finds from the period of his reign or of the kingdom he ruled over have ever been uncovered―until now.
In this groundbreaking account, the excavators of Khirbet Qeiyafa in the Valley of Elah, where the Bible says David fought Goliath, reveal how seven years of exhaustive investigation have uncovered a city dating to the time of David― the late eleventh and early tenth century BCE―surrounded by massive fortifications with impressive gates and a clear urban plan, as well as an abundance of finds that tell us much about the inhabitants. Discussing the link between the Bible, archaeology, and history In the Footsteps of King David explains the significance of these discoveries and how they shed new light on David’s kingdom. The topic is at the center of a controversy that has raged for decades, but these findings successfully challenge scholars disputing the historicity of the Bible and the chronology of the events recounted in it.
🎧 ‘The Daily’: A Child of Gaza Becomes a Political Symbol | New York Times
The death of a Palestinian baby during the protests in Gaza became a rallying cry for critics of Israel. Within hours, the family’s story was being questioned.
On today’s episode:
• Declan Walsh, the Cairo bureau chief for The New York Times, who has been reporting from Gaza.
• Layla Ghandour, an 8-month-old Palestinian girl, inhaled tear gas during the protests at the Gaza border on Monday and died hours later. The tragedy became a focal point of outrage for critics of Israel’s use of force, while the Israeli military and its supporters questioned the narrative around her death as a political ploy by Hamas.
• The child was one of more than 60 Gazans killed during this week’s demonstrations, which were held to draw attention to the 11-year Israeli blockade of the territory. The violence gave way to mourning on Tuesday, the 70th anniversary of what Palestinians refer to as the Nakba, or Catastrophe, when hundreds of thousands fled their homes upon the creation of the state of Israel.
🎧 ‘The Daily’: Two Views of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem | New York Times
Many Israelis see the relocation of the United States Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv as a historic milestone for the Jewish state. But for Palestinians, who hope to see the eastern part of Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state, it’s a betrayal.
On today’s episode:
• David M. Halbfinger, the Jerusalem bureau chief for The New York Times.
• Declan Walsh, The Times’s Cairo bureau chief, who has been reporting from Gaza this week.
• At least 58 Palestinians were killed and 2,700 injured on Monday as demonstrators clashed with Israeli forces along the Gaza border fence.
• Meanwhile, an hour’s drive away, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel celebrated the new American embassy in Jerusalem at a ceremony attended by Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.
• Here are images of the two contrasting scenes, which illustrate the widening chasm between Israelis and Palestinians after 70 years of conflict.
The Netanyahu Investigations | The Atlantic
How the Israeli prime minister's scandal could spoil what should be his perfect political moment