Christian Zionists in the Holy Land: Evangelical churches, labor migrants, and the Jewish State

Adriana Kemp, Rebeca Raijman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this article we trace the creation of Evangelical churches created by and for Latin American undocumented migrants in Israel. First, we relate to the social significance of religious practices and beliefs for migrants' individual and collective identity in the host society and the ways through which non-Jewish labor migrants in Israel are creating alternative spaces that operate simultaneously as a new community of belonging. We consider the possibilities latent in the churches as "free spaces" for foreigners in the Jewish State, along with the limitations that participation in such a church entails for the migrant community. The second theme involves the universe of meanings through which believing migrants interpret their existence and place in the Jewish State. Here we probe how religion becomes a way of legitimizing the migrants' presence in a Jewish state and a means of channeling their claims for inclusion in the host country. We delve into the modes whereby the theological position of Christian Zionism is translated into a sociological position of Christian migrants in a Jewish state.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-318
Number of pages24
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2003

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Address correspondence to Adriana Kemp, Dept. of Sociology & Anthropology, Tel Aviv University, Ramat Aviv POB 39040, Tcl Aviv, Israel. E-mail:; Rebeea Raijman, Dept. of Sociology and Anthropology, University ofHaifa. Haifa 31905, Israel. E-mail: This researeh was supported by the Israeli Science Foundation and by The Israel Academy ofSciences and Humanities. The authors wish to thank Tamara Barsky, Alejandro Paz, and Valentin Nabcl for their kind research assistance. Weare also grateful to Karl Schneider and Zvi Sobel for their careful reading and helpful comments.


  • Christian Zionism
  • Ethno-national state
  • Evangelical churches
  • Protected space
  • Undocumented labor migrants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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