SUPPORT OF ISRAEL – DEEPLY ROOTED
by Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger
The special ties between the US and the Jewish State are uniquely driven by people-to-people, bottom-up relationship, shaped by the American public more than by the American government. US ties with the Jewish state have been exceptionally-forged by shared Judeo-Christian values.
“Americans’ sympathy for Israel is at a high-water mark,” determined a March 15, 2013 Gallup poll. According to Gallup, there is “a steady increase in relative support for Israel over the past decade…. Americans’ sympathies lean heavily toward the Israelis over the Palestinians…. Today’s 64% (compared to 12% sympathizing with the Palestinians) ties the highest Gallup has recorded in a quarter century, last seen in 1991 during the Gulf War.”
A sustained and deep identification with the Jewish state has always characterized both chambers of the US Congress, which are the most authentic representatives of the US constituent – the chief axis of the US Federalist system. Moreover, the Federalist system derived its name from the Latin term, Foedus, which means “the covenant” in a Biblical sense.
Thus, the unique roots of the enhanced American support of the Jewish state precede the 1948 founding of Israel, the 1939-1944 Holocaust and even the 1776 declaration of independence by the USA.
The foundations of America’s unique empathy with the Jewish state transcend formal treaties and the mutually-beneficial, surging US-Israel defense cooperation in the face of intensifying mutual threats. America’s covenant with the Jewish state supersedes the rapidly growing win-win US-Israel partnership on behalf of joint commercial interests.
The source of the special US-Israel covenant dates back to the 14th century, through the Pilgrims of the 16th century, the 1752 Liberty Bell, the Founding Fathers of the 18th century, the abolitionist and civil rights movements, the 1886 Statue of Liberty and contemporary USA, which is the most Judeo-Christian Western democracy.
For instance, according to a June 3, 2011 Gallup poll, 92% of Americans believe in God. Most polls determine that 80% believe that Judeo-Christian values constitute the foundations of the American culture. On October 31, 2011, the US House of Representatives voted 396-9, reaffirming “In God We Trust” (IGWT) as a national motto. President Eisenhower signed this into law on July 30, 1956.
A daily prayer starts deliberations in the House of Representatives; more than 40% of Americans participate in Sunday church services; the number of Christian TV stations has surged from nine in 1974 to almost 300 in 2013; fifteen million copies of the Bible are sold annually; over 80% of Americans wish to retain “one nation under God” in the pledge of allegiance, consistent with “endowed by the Creator” in the Declaration of Independence.
The seeds of Judeo-Christian USA were planted in 1382, when John Wycliffe, an Oxford professor, produced the first English language Bible manuscript, making it available to the public at-large. Wycliffe’s groundbreaking initiative inspired the Puritan movement, which was the hub of the early 17th century Bible-oriented Pilgrims who landed in America.
In 1620 and 1630, the “Mayflower” and the “Arabella” docked in “the modern day Promised Land.” They departed from England – the “modern day Egypt” – rebelled against their “modern day Pharaoh” and sailed through the “modern day Red Sea.” The Pilgrims referred to their mission in Biblical terms, referring to John Winthrop, the commander of the Arabella, as “the American Nehemiah.”
Therefore, the map of the USA is replete with thousands of sites bearing Biblical names. For example, there are 18 Jerusalems, 32 Salems, 18 Hebrons, 24 Bethels, 61 Shilohs, 7 Bethlehems, 14 Canaans, 9 Carmels, 38 Goshens, 4 Rehoboths, and 6 Mount Zions, etc. The 1752-erected Liberty Bell, the iconic symbol of American independence, bears the following inscription: “Proclaim liberty throughout all the Land unto all the Inhabitants thereof (Leviticus 25:10).”
Thomas Paine’s January 10, 1776 “Common Sense” cemented the rebellion against Britain, stating: “For the will of the Almighty as declared by Gideon, and the prophet Samuel, expressly disapproves of government by kings….” George Washington and John Adams were referred to as Moses and Joshua, and the Founding Fathers considered themselves to be the people of the modern-day-Covenant.
In 2013, Moses – who inspired Columbus, the Pilgrims, the Founding Fathers and the Abolitionist movement – is featured at the center of the House Chamber on Capitol Hill and the US Supreme Court. Monuments of Moses’ Tablets – which inspired the Statue of Liberty (1886) – were erected in 1961 and 2012 on the grounds of the Texas and Oklahoma State Capitols.
On December 24, 1968, the Apollo 8 crew – the first manned space mission – read the first ten verses of Genesis during the most TV broadcast at the time. On December 24, 2009, celebrating the passage of Obama Care, the liberal Democrat, Senator Tom Harkin said: “To put it in Biblical terms, Harry Reid has the patience of Job, the wisdom of Solomon and the endurance of Samson.”
Since 1948, US-Israel relations have produced a multitude of crises, all of them rectified rapidly, due to the healthy tissue of bilateral ties, nurtured by foundations of shared-values.
Shabbat Shalom and have a pleasant weekend,