Step-by-Step Guide to Talking about Israel with Gen Z

can we talk?

When deadly viruses attack, doctors focus on combatting infection and infusing patients with massive doses of fluids and electrolytes to keep the body from going into shock. This buys time to help the body fight for itself. The research of William McGuire, a psychology professor in the 1950s, showed how to inoculate people against bad ideas. He suggested the following four steps:

    • Articulate the truth,
    • Reveal the lies that stand against the truth,
    • Show how to respond to the lies, and
    • Help people develop strong thinking skills.

Conversations about tough topics, such as the conflict in Israel, will be tense. How should you handle them?

Ask good questions. Blaming and shaming don’t produce solutions. Thinking hard together often does. Here is a quick example of how indoctrination can give way in the face of honest questioning.

    • “What can I do to better understand you and build my relationship with you?”
    • “How can I communicate my questions and concerns without seeming critical?”
    • “What do you mean by that?”
    • “Would you be willing to tell me what you’re thinking?”
    • “How did you arrive at that conclusion?”
    • “How do you know that’s true?”
    • “It sounds like we have a major disagreement that may take time to work through. I believe by talking about it, we can come closer to the truth. How do you see it?”
    • “Have you considered?”
    • “Can you tell me more about that?”
    • “May I share something I’ve learned that has helped me a lot?”

The goal of these questions is never to make someone feel stupid or even to get them to “see the light.” It is to help them learn to make decisions for themselves, to be free from mind control, and to grow.

Express caring concern.What you want to communicate is: “I care about you; I care about our country and our world; and I care about doing what makes sense.” In conversations with thousands of young adults, I’ve learned that anger and judgment arise out of paralyzing fear. For 70 percent of Gen Z, the top fear is being alone. It’s important to communicate, often, that you care.

Give them the facts. The facts matter to Gen Z, and they aren’t getting them from social media. When they do get the facts, they respond surprisingly well. In April 2024, Summit Ministries conducted an in-depth poll with RMG Research. We asked eighteen-to-twenty-four-year-olds if Israel’s greater wealth and military power made its military campaign against Hamas unjust. Forty-seven percent said yes, and just 11 percent said, “Not sure.” Then we asked, “Hamas leaders have become wealthy by skimming international aid designated for Palestinian citizens. Do such actions on the part of Hamas leaders make their cause unjust?” Fifty-seven percent said yes, and 23 percent said, “Not sure.” Just one question that cast factual doubt on Hamas caused respondents to significantly readjust their impressions about who was being unjust, and half of those who had expressed anti-Israel views were cast into indecision.

Don’t give up hope.I’ve always thought it odd that surrounded by enemies and under constant attack, Israel is one of the happiest nations in the world. In fact, it is fourth on the list. The United States is fifteenth. Israelis feel a sense of mission for maintaining and strengthening their nation. When I asked about this, many Israelis distinguished between optimism and hope. Optimism is a good feeling about something; hope is a willingness to act. Optimism is a passive virtue; hope is an active one. The respected rabbi Jonathan Sacks wrote, “To be a Jew is to be an agent of hope. Every ritual, every command, every syllable of the Jewish story is a protest against escapism, resignation, and the blind acceptance of fate.”

Pray. Prayer is not about making things easier; it is about imploring God to move in the ways he has promised. Jesus taught his disciples about the power of prayer and said, “‘In this world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world’” (John 16:33). Psalm 122:6-9 offers a biblical prayer that can be a starting point:

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!
“May they be secure who love you!
Peace be within your walls
and security within your towers!”
For my brothers and companions’ sake
I will say, “Peace be within you!”
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
I will seek your good.

Should Christians Support Israel? by Jeff Myers



This discussion resource is based on the book Should Christians Support Israel? by Dr. Jeff Myers. Find out more about the book and get your free copy here.