Some of the most interesting results to emerge from the Pew Research Center’s new study of American Jewry concerns findings about Jews and Christians. Many were surprised to learn that, according to the survey, 40 percent of American Jews feel that a person can believe in Jesus and still be considered a Jew. But perhaps even more surprising is the study’s conclusion that Christians believe in greater numbers than Jews that Israel was given to the Jews by God.
According to the study, 82 percent of white evangelicals believe that God gave the land of Israel to the Jewish people, compared to only 40 percent of American Jews. The Pew Center explained the results:
Twice as many white evangelical Protestants as Jews say that Israel was given to the Jewish people by God (82% vs. 40%). Some of the discrepancy is attributable to Jews’ lower levels of belief in God overall; virtually all evangelicals say they believe in God, compared with 72% of Jews (23% say they do not believe in God and 5% say they don’t know or decline to answer the question). But even Jews who do believe in God are less likely than evangelicals to believe that God gave the land that is now Israel to the Jewish people (55% vs. 82%).
Batya Ungar-Sargon is a freelance writer who lives in New York. Her Twitter feed is @bungarsargon.