Christians look at lit candles in the Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem
Christians look at lit candles in the Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem, Monday, Dec. 23, 2013. Photo by AP
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An annual evangelical Christian conference in Bethlehem is being used to incite against Israel, says the Foreign Ministry, according to Israeli media sources.

The conference even poses a long-term threat to the country, a ministry spokesman told Israeli media.

Taking place in Bethlehem, the "Christ at the Checkpoint" conference is being abused to manipulate religious faith for the sake of political interests, spokesman Yigal Palmor stated.

The 'Christ at the Checkpoint' conference at the Bethlehem Bible College, which ends Friday, aims to help resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on the teachings of Jesus. Its stated objectives include exploring the challenges and discussing "the theological and practical implications of the inauguration of the kingdom of God in the land."

Another stated goal is to "discuss the realities of the injustices in the Palestinian Territories."

Shadi Khalloul, chairman of the Aramaic Christian Association in Israel, accused participants of serving Islamic propaganda at the expense of Israeli Christians, according to Israeli media.

While evangelical Americans have long supported the State of Israel, the younger generation seems less automatically devoted. As The Forward reported this week, hard numbers are not available – but evangelical leaders on both sides of the divide on Israel agree that members of the millennial generation do not share their parents’ passion for the Jewish state; many are seeking some form of evenhandedness when approaching the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.