|PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH - THE BIBLE AND ISRAEL
by Yediot Achronot Israeli News
January 11, 2001
|The Bible and Judeo-Christian values have played a major role in shaping the state of the mind of President George W. Bush and Laura, as well as their positive gut feeling toward Israel.
At a January 21, 2001 Senate Reception for President Bush, he was introduced by Senator Mitch McConnell as a leader who follows in the footsteps of Joshua and Caleb (the two courageous Jewish leaders, who adhered to faith, conviction and long-term strategy, rather than to short-term convenience and "pragmatism.") During a January 21 sermon at a Washington D.C. church, Bush was compared to King David, "Who united the Jewish Nation, leading them during the strongest ever chapter in Jewish history." And, Marc Craig, Bush's personal pastor at the Austin United Methodist Church, compared the President to "Moses who just crossed The River, leading his People to the Mountain and from there to The Promised Land."
The long-term nature of Bush's deeply held belief and values -- dispite changing political consideration -- constitutes a unique opportunity for Israel. President Bush's view of the land of Israel as a cradle of shared Judeo-Chrisitian values could soften disa-greements with Israel. It could also, mellow the impact of some advisors who have been critical of Israel, thus strengthening the Commander-In-Chief's recognition of the joint interest and mutual threats, binding together the leader of the Free World and its sole soul ally in the Middle East.
While President Bush credits his wife Laura, and his religious faith, with the crucial transformation in his life, from Dolce Vita to a meteoric success in the public and political arena, he is not a religious fanatic. His approach towards religion is representative of most Americans. According to a New York Times poll, published on December 7, 1997, 96% of the U.S. public believes in G-d, 90% pray a few times annually, 41% attend church each Sunday, 63% (43% in 1947) say Grace, 93% of U.S. households possess at least one copy of the Bible and 33% of U.S. households read the Bible at least once a week. The Tennessee Publisher, Thomas Nelson, sells about 8,000,000 copies of the Bible each year. And, There are 257 religious T.V. Stations in the U.S., compared with 9 in 1974. This data puts President Bush as head of one of the most religious nations in the free world!
The 43rd President considers himself a successor of Thomas Jefferson, a principle-role model of harmony and moderation. Jefferson, and other Founding Fathers, referred to the American Revolutionaries as the 1776 Israelites, to the British rule as Pharoah and to America as the 1776 Promised Land. Furthermore, Jefferson proposed that the official seal of the American Republic would be the parting of the Red Sea. Benjamin Franklin, who studied Hebrew, suggested that the inscription on the seal would be in Hebrew. In denouncing the Tea Act, Benjamin Rush stated: "What shining examples of Patriotism do we behold in Joshua, Samuel, Maccabus, and all the illustrious princes, captains, and prophets among the Jews." The successors of the Founding Fathers have recently issued annually, Chanukah and Christmas stamps.
The "Old Testament - and particularly the legacy of Moses -- has played a major role in shaping the world-view of the Founding Fathers, religiously, socially, judicially and politically, including the concepts of Separation of Powers, Checks and Balances and the Bill of Rights. In fact, "Proclaim liberty throughout the land to all the inhabitants thereof" (Leviticus 25: 10) was engraved by the People of Pennsylvania upon the Liberty Bell.
The decision to locate the capital of the U.S. outside the territory of the individual states, was influenced by the precedent of Jerusalem, which was located outside the territory of the individual twelve Jewish tribes. A marble plaque of Moses features in Congress, which opens its daily business with morning prayer, conducted by its Chaplain. Moreover, on June 17, 1999 a 245-180 majority of the House of Representatives approved a bill, which would allow the display of the Ten Commandments in public schools and public buildings, as a means to curtail youth violence. President Bush, as did all his predecessors, concludes his speeches with "G-D Bless America," and the motto "In G-D we trust" is printed on the U.S. dollar bill.
President Bush, just like most Americans, does not regard Israel as a typical foreign policy issue. They view Israel as a special valued ally, deeply rooted in the American tradition. Such an affinity between the two Peoples constitutes a major reservoir of support for Israel, constituting a viable foundation for an affective strategic alliance in the face of mutual threats.
|The following Op-Ed article was published, on January 11, 2001 by Ynet, the Internet daily of Yediot Achronot,
the largest circulation newspaper in Israel.