— Adam Milstein (@AdamMilstein) May 17, 2015
Christian? In college? Want to go to Israel for $500? Haaretz reports:
Conservative Jewish funders and Christian donors of Hobby Lobby fame have joined forces to launch a Christian Birthright trip, modeled after the successful program that has taken thousands of Jewish young adults to Israel for the past 16 years.
Covenant Journey, a subsidized evangelical 11-day trip to Israel that was officially announced May 8, will bring 250 students to the Holy Land by the end of the summer. It aims to bring thousands more in the upcoming years.
Just like the Taglit-Birthright Israel program it is modeled after, Covenant Journey seeks to strengthen American students’ love for Israel. But instead of having them mingle with young Jewish soldiers, participants walk in the footsteps of Jesus Christ and visit Christian holy sites. According to the program’s founder, the results from a recently launched pilot tour were encouraging. Participants in the trip were transformed into enthusiastic pro-Israel advocacy messengers.
…The Philos Project, a pro-Israel group with a stated mission of promoting “positive Christian engagement in the Middle East,” offered its backing early on. The group’s board includes Richard Lang, president of the Southern Evangelical Seminary; Mark Tooley, president of the Institute for Religion and Democracy, which is a conservative religious think tank, and Republican Jewish activist Dan Senor, who served as spokesman for the Coalition Provisional Authority, in Iraq, during the administration of George W. Bush. The group’s main funder is Paul Singer, a Jewish hedge fund billionaire who is also one of the single largest donors to Republican politics.
Politically it’s a smart move. With anti-Semitism on the rise on college campuses and Obama stacking the decks against the Democrats when it comes to the pro-Israel vote, subsidized Israel trips are yet another great way to solidify bonds with Israel’s Christian supporters who vote in America. Targeting the millennial generation is more than a wise idea. These young adults are the ones who have been the most exposed to an anti-Israel, anti-Zionist agenda in the history of public education. What’s more, whether it is in the form of BDS, Christ at the Checkpoint, the Soros-backed Telos Group, or Palestinian Liberation Theology, the Christian community is far from immune to anti-Zionist influences.