Mike Evans, the preacher behind historic Israel, UAE accord

His energetic campaigns culminated in a deal that could be the game changer for peace in the Middle East

On September 15, US President Donald Trump hosted a signing ceremony at the White House in Washington, DC, for the normalisation of relations between Israel and the Arab states of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

The historic signing, dubbed the ‘Abraham Accord’ and beamed live by major world news outlets, brought together Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, UAE Foreign Affairs Minister Abdullah bin Zayed and Bahrain Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid al Zayani on the South Lawn of the White House.

Behind the highly-publicised event were people that initiated the process and worked tirelessly to ensure its success. One of these is Mike David Evans, founder of the Friends of Zion Heritage Centre in Jerusalem and Evangelical Advisor to Trump.

Dr Evans, 73, is an author, journalist, commentator and Christian Zionist who also heads several international non-profit organisations in the US and the Netherlands. He has been involved in meetings with the Arab leaders alongside Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law.

In an interview with I24 Israel News on August 13, Evans said: “This deal is part of the Trump Peace Plan that has been in the works for over two years… And Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been working on this for over 10 years.” He added: “The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia is in agreement with the UAE and many shall be shocked at how many Arab nations follow and normalise diplomatic relations with Israel.”

Author of 71 books including The Final Move Beyond Iraq: The Final Solution While the World Sleeps, The American Prophecies and Showdown with Nuclear Iran, Evans has provided analysis and commentary on Middle East affairs for a variety of media platforms. He has appeared on network television and radio shows, and his op-eds have been published in The Washington Times, The Jerusalem Post and other newspapers. He founded and serves as head of a number of politically conservative Christian organisations.

According to Wikipedia, Evans was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, to a non-practising Jewish mother whose parents were immigrants from the Soviet Union. His father was regularly drunk and violent, and frequently beat his mother claiming that Evans was not his son. At age 11, he objected to his father beating his mother and was assaulted. When he recovered, he had what he describes as a dramatic encounter with Jesus Christ, who promised him a future.

Evans purchased and restored the Corrie ten Boom house in 1983. It is a museum dedicated to telling the story of ten Boom’s family, which harboured, fed and found safe houses for as many as 800 Jews during the Nazi takeover of the Netherlands during World War II. He also created the Corrie ten Boom Fellowship, a Christian Zionist organisation.

In 2015, Evans founded the Friends of Zion Heritage Centre in Jerusalem, whose main purpose is to highlight religious tolerance and invest in dialogue between Christian Zionism, the State of Israel and the Jewish people.

Israel’s ninth president, Shimon Peres, was the international chairman of Friends of Zion and the founder of the Friends of Zion Award to honour people for their outstanding support for Israel.

Evans began the Jerusalem Prayer Team in 2002, which raised money for former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s New Jerusalem Foundation. Recently, the Jerusalem Prayer Team funded the construction of the Mike Evans Museum in Jerusalem, now officially known as The Friends of Zion Heritage Centre.

He has been accused of being a Christian missionary due to his past history. In 1977, he headed B’nai Yeshua, a ‘Hebrew Christian’ group, which was active on college campuses. A campaign accusing him of subterfuge in Long Island resulted in media coverage, and recent articles continue to simultaneously praise him for his pro-Israel activism while warning of a possible hidden agenda to convert Jews in Israel to Christianity or ‘Hebrew Christian’ beliefs.

On December 11, 2017, Evans gave the Friends of Zion Award to President Trump. The event was attended by Vice President Mike Pence, senior advisors Kushner and Ivanka Trump, and faith leaders representing more than 150 million Christians globally.

The historic ‘Abraham Accord’ is being seen by political and religious experts as a game changer for peace in the Middle East since UAE is the financial powerhouse of the region. The capital of the UAE is Abu Dhabi and the largest city, Dubai, is a global financial capital. Crown Prince Sheik Mohammed bin Zayed, 58, worked with Trump, who brokered the deal between Israel and the UAE. The New York Times recently called Mohammed “arguably the most powerful leader in the Arab world”.

Evans, who has also produced 18 documentaries based on his books about Israel, is optimistic that five to six Muslim Gulf States will make peace with Israel very soon. He says Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, who is very close to Sheikh Mohammed, has the same ideological beliefs concerning Israel.

“I had the privilege of being in a delegation that met with him. What came out of his mouth was totally astonishing. To me, he is more pro-Israel than a lot of Jews. There’s no doubt in my mind that he has the courage to do exactly what the UAE did and it will happen. It’s just a matter of time,” said Evans.