A Christian’s Guide to the Israel and Palestine Conflict

Do you find yourself asking endless questions about how to understand the conflict in Israel? Whether you’re seeking answers for yourself or looking to discuss the issue with others, the following post is a perfect place to start.

What is This War About?

The October 7 attack was not, as Hamas’s narrative frames it, an act of self-defense in the name of resistance. It was not, as Hamas’s Western apologists would have us believe, an unfortunate overreach in a cross-border skirmish. It is about everything, everywhere—a pitched battle between worldviews involving issues of God, justice, force, genocide, oppression, corruption, religion, and the nature of truth itself. It is not just geopolitical. It is theopolitical. It was never just about Israel’s right to self-determination and the plight of Palestinians. It is about diminishing the influence of the Judeo-Christian worldview, the free market system, and representative government. It is a battle over the future of Western civilization. Among Americans, there is a generational divide over support of Israel. Older generations support Israel. Younger generations oppose Israel.

Is Gen Z Anti-Israel?

Young adults are almost twice as likely as older adults to view Israel unfavorably. The level of support for Israel among Gen Z evangelicals has dropped in half since 2018, according to the Brookings Institution. Gen Z isn’t as much pro-Palestinian as it is anti-Israel. A New York Times poll in December showed that Gen Z consistently sees Israel as unserious about peace and an intentional killer of civilians, an evil power unworthy of US support. An April 2024 Summit Ministries/RMG Research poll revealed that young adults eighteen to twenty-four are more than three times as likely as the general population to deny that Israel even has a right to exist.

Is Anti-Semitism Rising?

Opposing Israeli policies and politicians or opposing some of Israel’s actions is not anti-Semitism. Denying Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state or mistreating Jews because they are Jewish is. The Israeli Arab journalist Khaled Abu Toameh, explained it this way: “Being pro-Israel doesn’t mean supporting everything Israel does but supporting their right to exist. Being pro-Palestinian doesn’t mean you must be anti-Israel.” Anti-semitism in the form of Jew hatred or Israel hatred is rising. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) says that reports of antisemitic behavior are at the highest number since ADL began charting such incidents in 1979. Toameh says that he has felt safer interviewing the PLO and Hamas leadership than he does giving lectures at US colleges. “There is more support for Hamas on US campuses than among Arabs in Israel. Not even the Palestinian territory of the West Bank hosts parades like those seen on US campuses.”

Why is Anti-Semitism Rising among Gen Z Young Adults?

Hamas propaganda, advanced by Hamas agents and progressive-left activists in the United States, is intent on destroying Judeo-Christian civilization. If it can get the rising generation to root for an apocalyptic rape and death cult such as Hamas, it can eventually destroy any biblically-based moral system. Two-hundred years ago, the philosopher Voltaire said, “Surely whoever can get them to believe absurdities can get them to commit atrocities.” History shows that it doesn’t take a majority to destroy a nation. It requires only the activation of an outraged minority and the acquiescence of the rest. Erika Chenowith from the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government has shown that if just 3.5 percent of the population embraces a radical cause, it can influence the entire nation.

What is Israel and its Relationship to Judaism?

In Scripture, Judah (Yehuda in Hebrew) was the oldest son of Jacob, whom God had renamed Israel. After their return from exile in Babylon, those who made up the people group known as Israel were called Jews, in deference to the nation’s dominant tribe, Judah. Judaism is the creed of these people. It is based on the Hebrew Bible (the Tanakh) and subsequent revered writings and interpretations. Judaism is both a set of beliefs and practices, as well as a cultural identity that was once ethnically singular but has become ethnically diverse. The ancient nation of Israel was reconstituted as a Jewish state by a United Nations directive in the 1940s, along with the Muslim nations of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt.

Is Israel a White Colonialist Settler State?

In Israel, there are migrants from 103 countries, speaking 82 different languages. This defies the “white settler colonialist” label with which Israel’s citizens—and Jews everywhere—are smeared. The Jews are the only people group to have established a nation state in the now disputed land, and they did so more than three thousand years ago. Since the overthrow of Jerusalem by Rome in AD 70, though, the land has been ruled by foreign capitals as an administrative district. This was true until the 1940s when Israel and its surrounding nations came into existence in their present form.

What is Islam?

A sixth-century nomad named Muhammad claimed an angel revealed to him the sin of polytheism and demanded that humanity unite around the worship of one God—Allah, in Arabic. Islam teaches that we all are born Muslim (“those who submit”). Disobedience must be conquered through jihad, through which humans cease their rebellion against Allah. It’s a collective salvation. The needs of the individual must be subsumed by the interests of the collective, which is called the Ummah. If anyone opts out, it threatens the fate of the rest.

Are All Muslims Radicals?

Two main streams of Islam exist: Sunni and Shia. In both the Sunni and Shia communities, a small but influential percentage of Muslims dream of establishing a global Islamic state and are willing to use violence to achieve this end. These individuals are called Islamists. They believe that Shari’ah law, the moral code of Islam outlined in the Quran and other historical teachings and rulings, should trump all other laws. Diet, sexual practices, and the punishment of crime are all covered by Shari’ah law. Many of its provisions seem shockingly harsh to the Western mind, including slavery, wife beating, heavy taxation of Christians and Jews living in Muslim lands, and the killing of Muslims who convert to another faith. Islamist radicals are hard to identify because they are often financially successful, educated, and technologically adept. They are not necessarily more religious. The key difference is that Islamists are more likely to believe that the West “threatens and attempts to control their way of life.”

 What is Jihad?

Muslims and Islamists differ in their understanding of jihad. In Islam, everyone who has ever been born in the world was born in submission to Allah. That is, everyone starts out as Muslim. Those who are not now Muslim are in rebellion against Allah. Jihad means to fight against this rebellion. It is clearly commanded in the Quran of all Muslims. Most Muslims believe that jihad is a call to self-discipline. Islamists, on the other hand, see jihad as the conquest of non-believing nations. Islamists include as legitimate “defense” anything that defeats resistance to Islam. Peace will only occur when non-believers submit.

How Does Iran Fit into the Equation?

Iran is Shiite. Its leaders control a Shiite army of one hundred thousand fighters in Lebanon, to Israel’s north. Although very few of Gaza’s residents are Shia, Iran allies with Hamas because of their mutual interest in the destruction of Israel. Shiites have an apocalyptic vision about the return of the twelfth Imam, who will turn the entire world into an Islamic state. The main obstacle to achieving this vision is the existence of the state of Israel.

What is Hamas?

“Hamas,” is an Arabic acronym for Islamic Resistance Movement. It is both a political and a military structure that has controlled the Gaza territory for nearly 20 years. Hamas was founded in the late 1980s by Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, a Palestinian cleric involved with Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood. In 1997, the United States designated Hamas a foreign terrorist organization.

What is the Bottom Line?

The modern nation of Israel has a right to exist and defend itself. Whether you agree with how it came about, Israel exists, has a right to exist, and has a right to defend itself against aggression. Hamas is one of many Islamist groups that want to bring about the annihilation of the state of Israel. Hamas is willing to see the residents of Gaza suffer and die if it helps achieve this aim. It seems like the current situation is one that must be managed but may never be fully solved. Managing situations doesn’t bring the closure we humans desire, but it can prepare the way for flourishing. This is the reality in other places in the world, such as with the ceasefire between North and South Korea and the fragile relationship between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of China (Taiwan). South Korea and Taiwan have been able to flourish, despite existing in a state of uncertainty.

All this seems impossible. And yet seemingly impossible things have been accomplished in the past. In 1979, following four armed conflicts between Egypt and Israel, the two nations came together to sign the Camp David Accords. At the time, Gaza and the West Bank were the primary sticking points, just as they are today. But agreement became possible through frameworks of economic security, military security, opening of trade routes, and economic aid from the US to both nations as certain benchmarks were met. Israel and Egypt broke through their stalemate by realizing that the enemies surrounding them were a greater threat than the enmity they had toward one another. The peace between Israel and Egypt has held for forty-four years.

Should Christians Support Israel? by Jeff Myers


These answers are based on the book Should Christians Support Israel? by Dr. Jeff Myers. Find out more about the book and get your free copy here.