The Real Friend of Israel
A brief look at America’s history with the Jewish people and what lies ahead
Many Americans are still reeling from the results of the 2020 presidential election. According to two surveys, between 76 and 81 percent of white evangelical Christians voted to reelect President Donald Trump, while only 18 to 24 percent voted for Joe Biden.
A significant percentage of Trump’s Christian backers liked his support of Israel. They said he was a true friend of the Jewish state. In fact, Israeli-American journalist Caroline Glick called Trump “the most pro-Israel president in history” whose policies in the Middle East were “remarkably successful.”
Trump moved the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem; cut aid to the Palestinians; defunded the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which has been riddled with controversy and corruption; recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights; and secured the Abraham Accords between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco.
On the other hand, many of President Joe Biden’s supporters believe he, too, is a friend of Israel. They point to his four-decades-long relationship with every Israeli prime minister from Golda Meir to Benjamin Netanyahu and talk about his involvement in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, first as a U.S. senator and later as vice president.
Netanyahu himself recently declared on Fox and Friends, “Joe Biden is a friend of Israel. I know he is. I know he is committed to Israel.”
A Look Back
Friend or no friend, America’s history with the Jewish people goes back farther than either the Trump or Biden administrations. In fact, the country’s very foundation is based on the Jewish Scriptures. For instance:
→ The three branches of the U.S. government were extracted from Isaiah 33:22: “For the Lord is our Judge [judicial branch], the Lord is our Lawgiver [legislative branch], the Lord is our King [executive branch].”1
→ The Liberty Bell’s inscription is taken from Leviticus 25:10: “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land and unto all the inhabitants thereof” (KJV).
→ Three of America’s Founding Fathers (Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and John Adams) submitted their ideas for the first official Seal of the United States based on Scripture. Though rejected, it depicted the Israelites crossing the Red Sea, with Pharaoh in pursuit and Moses standing on the other side.2
Before the State of Israel emerged in 1948, no fewer than eight presidents publicly stated their desire for Israel to exist. For example:
→ John Adams said, “For I really wish the Jews again in Judea an independent nation.”
→ Abraham Lincoln, commenting on the hope of a homeland for the Jewish people, said, “It is a noble dream and one shared by many Americans.”
→ Woodrow Wilson, the 28th U.S. president and a former president of Princeton University and professor of history, said the colonists applied the Mosaic Code to their internal lives.3
→ Calvin Coolidge believed Judaism was the faith of liberty and said, “Hebraic mortar cemented the foundations of American democracy.”4
→ Harry Truman said the Bible influenced his decision to recognize a reconstituted Israel as a nation in 1948. In fact, Truman defied the entire U.S. State Department to do so 11 minutes after Israel declared independence.
Over the years, Republicans and Democrats have shown both support for Israel and distaste for it. Pro-Jewish history runs side by side with virulent anti-Semitism. In the 20th century, iconic automaker Henry Ford and his newspaper, The Dearborn (MI) Independent, spewed vicious anti-Semitism regularly. In fact, Adolf Hitler had a portrait of Ford over his desk.
Roman Catholic priest Charles Coughlin vilified the Jewish people on his extremely popular radio program during World War II, blaming them for virtually everything. His broadcasts reached tens of millions of people, and he was so popular “a new post office was constructed in his Michigan town just to process the letters that he received each week—80,000 on average,” according to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC.
For many years, America’s Ivy League colleges—including Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Columbia—had quotas limiting Jewish enrollment. Some hotels explicitly advertised “no Hebrews”; and many fraternities, clubs, and resorts severely restricted Jewish membership. Even some neighborhoods had homeowners’ associations that regularly restricted the sale of property to Jews.
What Does the Future Hold?
Yet despite these problems, Jewish people always have called America the Goldina Medina, Yiddish for the “Golden Land,” because they have been allowed to flourish here. Consequently, God has abundantly blessed the United States of America based on the covenant He made with Abraham: “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Gen. 12:3).
That eternal, irrevocable, and unconditional promise went from Abraham to Isaac to Jacob and his progeny, the Jewish people. If we truly believe “the king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes” (Prov. 21:1), then we must believe God will accomplish His will regardless of who occupies the White House—be he friend or foe to Israel. Also based on Genesis 12:3, if the United States fails to bless Israel, it likely will suffer the consequences.
So what is America’s future? Does America appear in Bible prophecy? Traveling around the country as I do, I’m often asked these questions. Through the prophet Zechariah, the Lord revealed the future of all nations in the last days of the coming seven-year Tribulation:
Behold, the day of the LORD is coming, and your spoil will be divided in your midst. For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem; the city shall be taken, the houses rifled, and the women ravished. Half of the city shall go into captivity, but the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city (Zech. 14:1–2, emphasis added).
Every nation on Earth during that time will fight against Israel. It will be the worst period of anti-Semitism in world history. Israel will have no friends among the nations. But Zechariah also provided hope in the midst of hopelessness:
The Lord will go forth and fight against those nations, as He fights in the day of battle. And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, from east to west, making a very large valley; half of the mountain shall move toward the north and half of it toward the south (vv. 3–4).
What a day that will be! The Lord Jesus Christ will return to Earth in power and might and fight for Israel Himself, defeating all Israel’s enemies. Then “all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us” (2 Cor. 1:20).
Genesis 12:2; Jeremiah 31:35–37; and Ezekiel 37 all promise God not only will preserve the Jewish people but give them peace, as He says, “in their own land which I gave to My servant Jacob” (Ezek. 28:25).
Everything will come from the Sar Shalom, the Prince of Peace—Jesus, the Jewish Messiah and Savior of the world and the only one able to provide true shalom for Israel forever. He is the real friend of Israel—no matter who is president.
- John Farmer, “Isaiah 33:22—Our Form of Government,” justfacts.votesmart.org, June 30, 2006 (tinyurl.com/ffvn77ca).
- “U.S.-Israel Relations: Roots of the U.S.-Israel Relationship,”jewishvirtuallibrary.org (tinyurl.com/2xap3zk5).
- “American Jewry Makes Its Contribution to Country’s Life, Calvin Coolidge Said,” jta.org (tinyurl.com/ytks8793).