Fully 44% of Americans believe that God gave the land that is now Israel to the Jewish people, while 36% say that the state of Israel is a “fulfillment of the biblical prophesy about the second coming of Jesus.” In the July 2003 survey that recorded these findings, white evangelical Protestants and, to a lesser degree, African-Americans were most likely to accept both of these propositions. Significantly fewer white Catholics and mainline Protestants believe Israel was granted to the Jews by God or think that Israel represents a fulfillment of the Bible’s prophesy of a second coming. As Andrew Kohut and Bruce Stokes describe in their book, America Against the World, Americans’ attitudes toward foreign policy in general, and especially their attitudes toward Israel, are heavily influenced by their religious beliefs. One-in-three Americans who sympathize with Israel said their sympathy for the Jewish state arises from their religious beliefs. Read More

Russell Heimlich  is a former web developer at Pew Research Center.