Is America and Israel’s Good Relationship Coming to an End?
Israel has a new government led by Naftali Bennett. Will Israel’s new leadership see eye to eye with the U.S. government? What is the future of these two nations?
On Sunday, June 13, Naftali Bennett replaced the controversial Benjamin Netanyahu as Israel’s prime minister. This transition in power comes not quite five months after Joe Biden replaced Donald Trump as president of the United States.
How will the new leaders of both Israel and the United States get along? Will these two nations continue to be allies as they have been (with ups and downs) for the past 73 years, or will their paths ultimately diverge?
Does Bible prophecy give us any insight on these questions?
The brotherhood of America and Israel
When Israel declared its independence in 1948, the United States was the first country to recognize the new Jewish state—literally 11 minutes after the proclamation!
From that time on, America has been Israel’s closest ally. Every year the U.S. gives nearly $4 billion in aid to Israel. Several past U.S. presidents have spoken of Israel’s importance to America.
President Harry Truman said, “I had faith in Israel before it was established; I have faith in it now. I believe it has a glorious future before it—not just as another sovereign nation, but as an embodiment of the great ideals of our civilization.”
President George H.W. Bush said, “The friendship, the alliance between the United States and Israel is strong and solid, built upon a foundation of shared democratic values, of shared history and heritage that sustain the moral life of our two countries.”
And later President George W. Bush commented, “We will speak up for our principles; we will stand up for our friends in the world.” President Bush continued, “And one of the most important friends is the State of Israel.”
Throughout Israel’s history as a nation, the United States and Great Britain have been like older brothers, looking out for this small country that is surrounded by enemies.
In fact, during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Israeli leaders pleaded for America to come to their aid as Egypt was overpowering them. The United States answered the call and helped Israel prevail over Egypt.
America and Israel are brothers
It may come as a surprise to many, but America and Israel are not just allies. They are brothers.
Both the United States and Israel are the children of the patriarch Jacob. He had 12 sons, but “adopted” the children of his son Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh, to carry his name (Genesis 48:13-16). The British and American people are descended from these two sons of Joseph, while the Jews are the descendants of another son of Jacob, Judah.
Both the United States and Israel are the children of the patriarch Jacob. We must remember that when the Bible mentions Israel, it is not just talking about the nation called Israel today.
Some 3,500 years ago God changed Jacob’s name to “Israel” (Genesis 32:28). This, then, makes all of Jacob’s descendants “Israelites.”
So Judah was an Israelite, but so was Joseph! To say it another way, not all Israelites are Jews, but all Jews are Israelites.
The story of Israel—God’s covenant people—is a common thread throughout the Bible. It speaks of the past and the future of these people in many places. And the relationship between Joseph’s and Judah’s descendants is part of end-time prophecy.
To learn more about the biblical identity of these modern nations, read “Who Are the United States and Britain in Prophecy?”
The brotherhood will be broken
A close look at Bible prophecy reveals that the brotherhood between these nations will eventually end.
Notice a prophecy with implications for America and Israel today. “I took for myself two staffs: the one I called Beauty, and the other I called Bonds; and I fed the flock” (Zechariah 11:7).
The staff called “Beauty” represents the covenant God made with the Israelites. The staff called “Bonds” represents the family ties of the descendants of Jacob.
“And I took my staff, Beauty, and cut it in two, that I might break the covenant which I had made with all the peoples” (verse 10).
“Then I cut in two my other staff, Bonds, that I might break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel” (verse 14).
God says that because of the disobedience of Jacob’s descendants, He will remove His blessings, and instead calamities will come upon these descendants. God also says He will sever a good relationship between the Jews and other nations descended from Israel.
What is significant to notice is the original Hebrew word for “cut in two” in verse 14. This word literally means “to fell a tree.” A tree is not cut down with just one pass of a saw blade. It takes many passes of the blade before the tree is cut in two.
This indicates that the breaking of the brotherhood between the United States, Britain and Israel will not happen suddenly. Isaiah also prophesied of this coming division between these brother nations: “Manasseh shall devour Ephraim, and Ephraim Manasseh; together they shall be against Judah. For all this His anger is not turned away, but His hand is stretched out still” (Isaiah 9:21).
Watch for these nations—the United States, Britain and Israel—to become more divided as time progresses.
Signs of the U.S.–Israel relationship weakening?
Divisions between the United States and Israel became apparent during the eight-year term of former President Barack Obama. It was no secret there was a strained relationship between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu.
Though the relationship between Mr. Netanyahu and former President Donald Trump was much closer because the two men shared similar political ideologies, today there are signs that the relationship between the U.S. and Israel could be deteriorating again.
During the recent fighting between Israel and Hamas, there were vocal members of the U.S. Congress who blamed the conflict almost totally on Israel and absolved the terrorist organization Hamas of almost any blame. Some members of Congress have even called Israel an “an apartheid state.” They have taken the racial issues in the United States and have applied them to Israel, calling Israel the oppressors.
Despite some in his party being vocally critical of Israel’s actions during the recent conflict with Hamas, President Joe Biden has been much more restrained and has defended Israel’s right to defend itself. President Biden has known former Prime Minister Netanyahu for 40 years, but they’ve often not seen eye to eye on issues. President Biden has been under pressure by some in his party to distance himself from support for Israel.
Israel’s new leadership
A new chapter is beginning in Israel as a new government takes power under the leadership of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. Though Mr. Bennett shares many of the same ideological views as his predecessor, it remains to be seen what kind of relationship he’ll have, or not have, with President Biden.
“On behalf of the American people, I congratulate Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Alternate Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, and all the members of the new Israeli cabinet. I look forward to working with Prime Minister Bennett to strengthen all aspects of the close and enduring relationship between our two nations.
“Israel has no better friend than the United States. The bond that unites our people is evidence of our shared values and decades of close cooperation and as we continue to strengthen our partnership, the United States remains unwavering in its support for Israel’s security. My administration is fully committed to working with the new Israeli government to advance security, stability, and peace for Israelis, Palestinians, and people throughout the broader region” (“Statement by President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. on the New Government of the State of Israel”).
In light of the prophecy we covered above, it is interesting that President Biden’s statement describes “the bond that unites our people.” Time will tell what kind of relationship these two new leaders will develop. Though Naftali Bennett has talked of strengthening relations with the U.S., many issues have the potential to undermine that, including the United States rejoining the controversial Iranian nuclear deal and future conflicts between the Israelis and Palestinians.
What will the coming years bring for the relationship between America and Israel? We can already see that the staff of Bonds is strained. It will be only a matter of time before that staff is completely cut in two because of bad relations between these two brothers.
Yes, God says the brotherhood will be broken. The question is, will these new leaders—Prime Minister Bennett and President Biden—speed up or slow down the passing of that saw blade?
Keep your eyes on the Middle East!