CHRISTIAN ZIONISM: EMERGENCE AND DEVELOPMENT OF AN UNEXPECTED POLITICAL AND RELIGIOUS PHENOMENON

Boris Havel ; Ministry of of Foreign and European Affairs, Zagreb, Croatia

Fulltext: pdf (146 KB), Croatian, Pages 129 – 154 , downloads: 154 *

Abstracts
Christian Zionism is a political and religious phenomenon which has shaped
the current Middle East to a very significant degree. Prompted by their religious
beliefs, Christians played an important role in facilitating Jewish return
to Zion, and in subsequent establishment, justification and defense of
the State of Israel. Faith as motive behind Christian support of Israel became
a more discussed topic during the recent years. That phenomenon was, however,
usually superficially explored, particularly in Europe, where it was often
perceived as a new and bizarre American excess, prompted by some other,
non-religious and obscure interests. By inquiry in its history, this article demonstrates
that such a view of Christian Zionism is largely incorrect. Christian
Zionism can be traced all the way back to early 19th-century European and
American Christian Evangelical movements. It grew out of a certain view of
ecclesiology and literal interpretation of the Bible. The article suggests some
explanations for reasons why it took so long for Christian Zionism to become
recognized as a political and religious phenomenon, and argues that Christian
Zionism by mid-20th century underwent a profound transformation. From an
eschatological, proselytizing evangelistic movement it became more focused
on ideology and geopolitical circumstances. The movement is still based on
Christian religion, but support to the Jewish state is not focused on end-time
prophecies any more. Among the main themes of the movement’s current
phase are recognition of Jewish and Christian common roots and civilizational
proximity, fulfillment of Old Testament promises to Jews, resistance to global
jihad, and Christian remorse for the horrors of the Holocaust. In conclusion,
Christian Zionism is probably an unprecedented interfaith phenomenon,
which is, in spite of being complex, multifaceted, and multilayered, genuinely
and primarily religious.

Keywords
Christian Zionism; Israel; Palestine; Middle East; Philo-Semitism