Newly appointed Prime Minister Naftali Bennett addressed the 4th of July gathering at the US Embassy in Jerusalem marking the 245th anniversary of the USA declaring its independence, noting that the US was founded on Biblical principles, binding it to Israel as an ally in prophecy.
Bennett: the son of American immigrants
Bennett referred to the period of his childhood spent in the US, describing the special edition coins minted to commemorate the bicentennial in 1976. He also reminisced about reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in school.
Bennett described how his parents were both born in San Francisco.
In point of fact, though he was born in Haifa, Bennett, like Netanyahu, spent significant periods of time growing up in the US. His parents, secular but ardent Zionists, moved to Israel in July 1967. Six years later, the family returned to San Francisco, though his father returned to fight in the 1973 war. Following the war, the family returned to Israel. When Bennett was four years old, the family moved to Montreal for two years as part of his father’s job. Though Naftali Bennett is Israel’s first religiously observant Prime Minister, neither of his parents was observant.
At the embassy event, Bennett described how his father, now deceased, was arrested in San Francisco for taking part in a protest at a hotel that would not hire black people.
“I was always proud of my dad for fighting for his principles,” Bennett said.
Washington as King David’s capitol
“There is something in common between Jerusalem and Washington DC,” Bennett continued. “Washington DC doesn’t belong to any state. Jerusalem was founded precisely because it didn’t belong to any of the tribes.”
“Washington DC, is ‘David’s capital’ and the District of Columbia,” Bennett quipped.
“On behalf of the people of Israel I’d like to wish all of you a very happy Independence Day,” Bennett said. “Two hundred and forty-five years ago the founding fathers of the United States of American put down those amazing words, ‘We hold these truths self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights and among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’ And this proclamation has echoed down generations. Inspiring people all around the world to follow in the footsteps of America’s founders.”
“Our own Declaration of Independence in 1948 reaffirmed these very commitments to those principles. But our nations’ connection runs way deeper. Anyone who has read American history knows that the revolutionary ideas expressed by America’s founding fathers sprung from their faith in and deep understanding of the Hebrew Bible, the Tanakh,” Bennett said. “They founded America on the very principles of the Bible. They saw the Bible’s insights into human nature, civic virtue, social order and political authority as essential to the establishment of this new great nation America. Being decent. Being good. Discerning between good and bad. Respecting our parents. Respecting elders. Helping the weak. Applying justice.”
“Likewise, it was the vision of our ancient prophets that the scattered exiles of Zion would one day return to the land of Israel. It is the depth of these shared ideals and shared identity that bind our countries together in the unbreakable band. The bond is expressed both in times of peace joy and happiness like these good happy days right now, but also in times of difficulty danger, and tragedy. America has had our back and we always try to help out when we can. Most recently, in the aftermath of the heartbreaking disaster in Surfside, Miami revealed again the solidarity and partnership between our two countries. “
“May God bless the United States of America,” Bennett concluded. “May GodBless Israel. And may God bless the remarkable and enduring friendship between us.”