I was privileged to attend the dedication of the new American Embassy in Jerusalem on May 14—an event of enormous import that will remain with me forever.
I am deeply grateful to Ambassador David Friedman and his wife, Tammy, for inviting me to this historic event. The United States recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is important not just for the United States and Israel but also for the entire world.
We might start thinking about this by considering the unique relationship between these two countries.
Regardless of how some choose to think about the United States today, the country’s founding generation was largely Christian men and women.
Alexis de Tocqueville, author of “Democracy in America,” widely deemed to be the most insightful book ever written about the United States, wrote in 1835, “There is no country in the world where the Christian religion retains a greater influence over the souls of men than in America.”
Perhaps there is no better example demonstrating this truth, and the deep roots of Christian Americans in the Hebrew Bible, than the inscription on the Liberty Bell from the Book of Leviticus: “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all inhabitants thereof.”
The United States and Israel are different from other nations in that both are defined by a creed and by principles. I would go so far to say that the extraordinary success of both countries springs from these principles.
What are the great principles that can be extracted from the Ten Commandments in the Hebrew Bible?
Reverence for the Lord, reverence for family, reverence for the sanctity of life, reverence for private property and personal responsibility, and a prohibition of envy.
Some surely will say that the United States has strayed so far from these principles that they no longer define the country. But I travel constantly. I have been in every state of the union. And I have met enough of the many millions of Americans that still subscribe to these truths to know they are still very much alive in America.
And I also believe that the problems that plagued America in the past, and that plague America today, trace to abandonment of these great truths—these great truths rooted in the Hebrew Bible.
I see President Donald Trump’s courageous step forward to lead the United States to be the first nation in the world to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel, and to move the United States Embassy to Jerusalem, as implicit recognition that the common ground on which both nations stand is our shared belief in these great and holy truths.
The achievements of the young state of Israel, which celebrates its 70th birthday this year, have been truly awesome.
Writer, social philosopher, and investor George Gilder wrote a book called “The Israel Test.” What is the Israel Test according to Gilder?
He asks the question: How do you react to those who excel you in innovation, in creativity, in wealth? Do you envy them and feel diminished by them? Or do you admire what they have achieved and try to emulate them?
Those who say the latter pass the Israel Test. According to Gilder, it is the Israel Test that drives today’s tensions in the Middle East. I would take it a step further and say that it is the Israel Test that drives the tensions in America.
Gilder says that those who pass the Israel Test tend to become wealthy and peaceful. Those who fail it tend to become poor and violent.
The great principles that join America and Israel are equally true and crucial for all of mankind.
Congratulations to Trump for helping America pass the Israel Test. Now we wait for the other nations of the world.