Mike Evans, founder of the Friends of Zion Heritage Center and Museum in Jerusalem, is fully aware of how few people are nominated annually for the Nobel Peace Prize. And when the committee informed him earlier this week he was a candidate for the coveted award in 2022, it stunned him.
But many others weren't, considering Evans' tireless work to combat antisemitism around the world on a daily basis. For decades, Evans has been a warrior in his efforts to eradicate antisemitism and the nomination was submitted by Bobby Brown, advisor to former Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
"I'm actually in shock," Evans said in an exclusive interview with Charisma News. "I certainly never expected something like this. I have been a victim of it during my life. But my life's work has been to combat antisemitism. I never thought I would be recognized for it in such a way.
"What drives me to the cause is that I feel like I'm the happiest person on earth because I have a cause that is greater than myself. It's a huge honor. And, I'm not sure of this, but I know of no other evangelical that has ever been nominated for the award. I could be wrong about that."
There is little question in Brown's mind that Evans is deserving of the honor.
"The reason I nominated Mike Evans is because I know of no living person doing more to combat antisemitism."
Evans himself was a victim of antisemitism early in his life, and within his own family. Evans' father attempted to strangle him when Evans was 11 as he defended his Jewish mother against violence.
"I got a call from my sister, who is not a believer, and she said to me, 'Mike, I know what you went through as a child with Dad. I went through the same thing. I want you to know how proud I am of you,'" Evans says. "When you start seeing family members touched in that way, it's incredible."
Because of his work with former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin in combatting antisemitism, Evans gained his share of enemies. In 1984, a man named Richard Snell, who was involved in the planning of the Oklahoma City bombing, made plans to come to Evans' home in Colleyville, Texas to kill him. Evans received that information from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and Snell actually killed an Arkansas state trooper on his way to Colleyville.
Fortunately Snell, a self-proclaimed Jew hater, was intercepted by authorities and never reached Evans' home.
"I had written a book called Israel: America's Key to Survival, and Richard Snell's mission was to take me out," Evans said. "My son, Michael, who runs our museum in Jerusalem, reminded me that his mother was pregnant with him during this time. He said God not only protected me, but he also protected him and his mother."
Evans was one of the first on the scene in a recent antisemitic attack on Congregation Beth Israel synagogue near his home in Colleyville.
"Antisemitism is alive and well right now," Evans says. "It used to be considered antisemitism when an individual Jew was attacked. Now, the new antisemitism is all about Zionism in Israel. It's the canary in the coal mine. There is a tremendous rage against Bible believers who support the Jewish people and against the state of Israel."
Prominent Israeli and Jewish leaders extolled Evans' virtues in separate statements.
"Mike Evans, a fighter for freedom in a world of darkening horizons," former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement provided to Charisma News. "In his devotion to Israel, Mike has consistently demonstrated the moral clarity that is necessary to defend Israel against the lies and distortions of its enemies, and championed the Jewish people's claim to the land of Israel."
"I know of no person who has done more in my lifetime to combat antisemitism, and especially someone who has been a victim of antisemitism," says Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, a survivor of the Poway, California synagogue mass shooting in 2019.
Nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize will continue to be taken through Jan. 31. The winner will be announced later this year in Oslo, Norway.
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