Evangelical leader: Deal of Century will be great for Israel

Mike Evans says if Benny Gantz had turned down President Trump’s invitation to meet this week on the peace plan, it would have been “a bad mistake.”

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Mike Evans, a top American Evangelical leader, says the Trump administration’s peace deal is the best offer ever made to Israel, and it’s a good thing that Blue and White leader Benny Gantz is going to the White House this week, Ynet reported on Sunday.

Evans is part of an informal circle of Republican Christian heavyweights who have President Donald Trump’s ear. His Jerusalem Prayer Team on Facebook boasts nearly 70 million followers.

Both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Gantz are flying to Washington on Sunday to meet the president.

Gantz had reportedly hesitated about going due to his fear that he would be upstaged by Netanyahu, who is a close friend of the president.

Evans said that would have been a huge error.

“If Gantz had turned down Trump’s generous offer, it would have been a terrible mistake that would have cost him in the elections,” the Conservative Christian leader told Ynet.

“There are leaders in the world who have been waiting for three years and dreaming to meet Trump, and still have not been invited. Trump is raising Gantz to the level of a world leader, and if Gantz had told him ‘no,’ he would have insulted him and hurt his trust [in Gantz].”

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According to Evans, this invitation shows that Trump very much wants Gantz to form a unity government with Netanyahu after the March elections, due to the Iranian threat to Israel, which he said is a “serious problem” for the Jewish state.

“A prime minister who is brilliant in foreign affairs and the economy, and a brilliant general is a ‘dream team,’” he said. They could deal with Iran, which he fears “will do everything in its power to harm Israel through Hezbollah, Hamas and the Islamic Jihad.”

The main topic of discussion at the White House will be the administration’s long-awaited peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, dubbed the “Deal of the Century.”

Evans noted the president’s pro-Israel bona fides.

“Trump is really like Santa Claus, giving Israel more gifts over the last three years than all other American presidents put together,” he said, referring to the move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, the recognition of U.S. sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and the blame laid at the Palestinians’ feet for not wanting to negotiate.

“This [peace] plan doesn’t give the Palestinians airspace to fly planes over Israel. It doesn’t give them the ability to sign treaties with countries that will be a threat to Israel. It doesn’t give the Palestinians an army. Israel’s security will be great… The plan has milestones. It’s based on execution. If the Palestinians continue to teach their children anti-Semitism – they’ll get nothing. If they don’t change their behavior, they’ll get nothing,” he said.

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“In all the other plans, time was Israel’s enemy. In this plan, time is a friend, because in his genius, the president formed a strong Sunni alliance. Israel will be blessed and has to remain calm. There will be some people in Israel who will criticize the plan and the president because they have personal ambitions. I hope that Gantz won’t listen to Netanyahu’s enemies,” Evans said.

Netanyahu and Gantz received an invitation to the White House from Vice President Mike Pence to “discuss the prospect of peace in the Holy Land.”

Pence was in Jerusalem last week for the World Holocaust Forum’s event at Yad Vashem commemorating the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.