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Trump and Kushner at the White House. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Ahead of the launch of President Trump's Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, the White House has been engaging with Evangelical leaders to reassure them about the plan.

Why it matters: Evangelicals are a crucial part of Trump's political base and senior officials in his administration, like Vice President Pence and Secretary of State Pompeo, are Evangelicals. Most U.S. Evangelicals are strong supporters of Israel, and many Evangelical leaders are stanch allies of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.

On Thursday a group of Evangelical leaders arrived at the White House for a briefing with Trump's Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt.

  • Among those present were Pastor John Hagee, Pastor Jentezen Franklin, Pastor Paula White and others. Although the meeting was off-the-record many of the attendees tweeted about it.
  • A source who attended the meeting said that several of the Evangelical leaders raised concerns about the peace plan, especially about the possibility it will give the Palestinians a capital in parts of East Jerusalem.
  • "They didn't give many details about the plan but they wanted to hear concerns and red lines and answer questions the Evangelical leaders had," the source said.
  • The source added that Greenblatt told the group the peace plan will be fair and can benefit both sides — but both will have to make compromises. The White House declined to comment on this account.

Joel Rosenberg, an author who heads an evangelical foundation and has attended the meetings, refused to give any details of their content.

  • Rosenberg, who is also a personal friend of Pence and Pompeo, says he told the other Evangelical leaders in the meetings that Palestinian President Abbas is never going to make a deal, so there is no need to be too worried that Jerusalem is going to be sacrificed.
  • Rosenberg said he stressed to the other Evangelical leaders: "We need to allow the President freedom of movement and latitude to present a plan that would allow those Arab states which are more willing than ever to make peace with Israel to move forward. We need to give the Arab States the ability to support this. If the Saudis, the Egyptian and others can say that this plan is credible it will open the door for, after the Palestinians say no, to talk about how to move forward with Israel."

Go deeper

58 mins ago - World

Pentagon: 8,500 troops on high alert for possible deployment to eastern Europe

Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has placed 8,500 U.S. troops on "heightened preparedness to deploy" to eastern Europe in case NATO activates its rapid-response force over tensions with Russia, the Pentagon announced Monday.

Why it matters: No decisions have been made to actually deploy U.S. forces, but the heightened alert level will allow the military to rapidly shore up NATO's eastern flank in the event that Russia invades Ukraine. The Pentagon warned that Russia has shown "no signs of de-escalating," and continues to amass troops on Ukraine's borders.

Updated 1 hour ago - Economy & Business

S&P 500 on track for worst-ever start to year

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Stocks suffered their steepest drop of the year early Monday, putting the S&P 500 on course for its worst-ever start to a year.

Driving the news: The benchmark S&P 500 dropped for its fifth straight day, with losses nearing 3% in early trading, momentarily putting it on track to fall into a "correction." Some of the steepest losses were recovered in early afternoon trading.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
3 hours ago - Health

Health care workers hit new breaking point

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The ranks of health care workers are dwindling and stretching what it means to be reaching their "breaking points," particularly at small nonprofit hospitals.

The big picture: Even as Omicron cases have begun to wane in some places, many hospitals are still fielding a crush of patients amid record employee callouts.