In a meeting at the White House on Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised his host, US President Donald Trump in unmistakably Biblical terms, comparing him to the Persian King Cyrus.
“I want to tell you that the Jewish people have a long memory, so we remember the proclamation of the great King Cyrus the Great — Persian King,” Netanyahu told Trump. “Twenty-five hundred years ago, he proclaimed that the Jewish exiles in Babylon can come back and rebuild our temple in Jerusalem.”
“And we remember how a few weeks ago, President Donald J. Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital,” Netanyahu continued. “Mr. President, this will be remembered by our people through the ages.”
Some have noted that this larger-than-life compliment comes with historical lessons that supersede current political agendas that favor the two-state solution. The nascent Sanhedrin for one has been comparing President Trump to King Cyrus since he was inaugurated last year, calling for him to follow in the footsteps of the Biblical figure by helping to facilitate the rebuilding the Third Temple.
“There is no question that the comparison between Cyrus and Trump, two non-Jewish leaders, is apt,” said Rabbi Hillel Weiss, spokesman of the Sanhedrin, to Breaking Israel News. “But it is important to learn the lesson history teaches us from Cyrus and Balfour.”
Most recently, the Sanhedrin emphasized the apparent connections between both leaders by issuing a silver medallion with the image of Trump superimposed on an image of Cyrus with an image of the Jewish Temple on the flip side of the coin.
Rabbi Weiss emphasized that King Cyrus and the former British Foreign Secretary, Lord Balfour encountered significant pushback after promising to help the Jews return to their homeland.
“Cyrus began to back down from building the Temple after listening to Jewish sects that objected,” Rabbi Weiss said. “The British also began to renege on their promise and gave in to political pressure from the Arab nations.”
Rabbi Weiss believes that Trump’s success will hinge on whether his agenda continues to support not just the Jewish connection to Jerusalem but more specifically the Temple Mount. The Rabbi noted, however, that both President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have referred to the Temple Mount by its Islamic name, “Haram al-Sharif.” Moreover, it has been reported that Trump’s peace plan would include the creation of a Palestinian capital in parts of Jerusalem.
“Cyrus and Balfour both earned our gratitude, as has President Trump, but the source of all blessings is the Temple Mount,” Rabbi Weiss said. “If he does not continue and support the Jewish return to the Temple Mount, he will encounter the same difficulties as those who came before him.”
Rabbi Weiss emphasized that Netanyahu also needed to pay heed to this historical precedent as well.
Mark Zell, Chairman of Republicans Overseas Israel, said that he had campaigned for President Trump precisely because he believed he would make such historic changes.
“The importance of the change of the State Department’s 70-year position on Jerusalem is unquestionably of enormous historic importance on the same level of the Balfour Declaration and even of Cyrus,” Zell told Breaking Israel News.
“Moving the US embassy to Jerusalem is earth-shaking,” he continued. “Netanyahu was accurate when he said that the Jewish People will remember this.”
“This is a sure sign of his courage and demonstrated leadership. Other presidents have been generous with fine words but haven’t come through with actions on the level of President Trump. Netanyahu showed himself a true ally by expressing gratitude.”
Zell believes that Netanyahu’s remarks to Trump, comparing him to King Cyrus, was also intended as a message of gratitude for Israel’s Evangelical supporters in America.
“Netanyahu was not speaking to the American Jews who don’t appreciate this comparison to Cyrus,” Zell claimed. “Netanyahu was speaking directly to the pro-Israel, faith-based Evangelicals in a Biblical language they understand and value.”
“That shows sensitivity and foresight,” he added. “The Evangelicals are essential to both Trump and it is humbling to see how strongly they support Israel.