The Deep Roots of America’s Love for Israel

Stand for Israel  |  July 2, 2019

Israeli and American flags in Jerusalem
Israeli flag and American flag flying at the headquarters of Ren Magen David at the entrance to Jerusalem. Sourced from Flickr:

As the United States prepares to celebrate Independence Day on the Fourth of July, it’s important to look at the values that the American people share. These Judeo-Christian values, former Ambassador Yoram Ettinger writes for JNS, are shared by Israel and have had an integral role in shaping American history, morality, and culture:

Unlike America’s attitude towards other countries, its attitude regarding the Jewish state is a bottom-up phenomenon, deriving from the worldview of the American public.

That worldview draws its strength from the religious, ethical, moral and cultural roots of American society, which were planted in 1620 with the arrival of the Mayflower and bolstered by the Founding Fathers, who authored the U.S. Constitution in 1787.

For example, the Pilgrims referred to their nine-week sail across the Atlantic Ocean as the “modern-day Exodus” and the “parting of the sea.” Their destination was “the modern-day Promised Land.” Hence the hundreds of American towns, cities, parks and deserts bearing biblical names such as Zion, Jerusalem, Salem, Bethel, Shilo, Bethlehem, Dothan, Hebron, Gilead, Carmel, Rehoboth, Boaz, Moab, etc.

The Philadelphia Liberty Bell, which represents the Founding Fathers’ concept of liberty, features an inscription from Leviticus, 25:10: “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land and all the inhabitants thereof.”

The battle against slavery was based on biblical values and themes; a key leader in that battle, Harriet Tubman, earned the name “Mama Moses.”

In spite of the erosion of these roots and core values in the United States, their impact is deeper than shifting national security interests or the short-term interests of policy makers.

In fact, it is these core values (and the larger strategic, regional and global context) that have moderated the occasional short-term confrontations between the leaders of the United States and Israel.

The potency of these core American values, which are defined as Judeo-Christian values in the United States, the most religious Western democracy, is reflected in fact that 69 percent of the American public views Israel favorably…

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