Support for Israel linked to church attendance

AP Photo/Bernat Armangue

A new Gallup poll has found that regular churchgoers are more likely to support Israel than those who attend church less frequently or not at all.

The findings are based on an aggregated sample of over 14,000 US adults surveyed each February from 2001 to 2014. 

The poll found that two-thirds of Americans who attended church either weekly or almost every week were sympathetic to Israel, while only 13 per cent were sympathetic to the Palestinians.  

The figures are strikingly different among those who never attend church, with sympathy for Israel at less than half (46 per cent), while a higher proportion of non-churchgoers were sympathetic to the Palestinians (23 per cent).

Among those who attend church only monthly or seldom, 58 per cent were sympathetic towards Israelis while 16 per cent were sympathetic to Palestinians. 

Jews were found to have the greatest sympathy for Israelis (93 per cent), followed by Mormons (79 per cent) and Protestants (66 per cent).  

Across all religious groups, however, sympathy for Palestinians was low.  Those with no religious identity had the strongest support for Palestinians at only 25 per cent.  Only two per cent of Jews said their sympathies lay with Palestinians.  

Gallup concluded: "There are several possible reasons for the relationship between religiousness and support for Israelis. Many explanations focus on roles that Israel and Israelis play in the Bible, the centrality of the saga of the Israelites in the Old Testament, and the promises God made in the Old Testament to the ancient prophets that he would create a promised land for them. Some evangelical Christians also connect Israel to their views of the second coming of Christ at Armageddon."