What do you mean by “The Two Israels?”
“The Two Israels” refers to the modern State of Israel and the United States as two separate and different legacies of “The Hebrew Republic” – a political concept developed in the middle of the seventeenth century, during the Age of Enlightenment. “The Hebrew Republic” regards the Hebrew Bible as a framework for republican self-governance incorporating principles of free will and “natural law,” among others.
The Hebrew Republic greatly influenced the American Founders, many of them well-read scholars of political philosophy. Many were also descended from the American Pilgrims, who had cited the Hebrew bible for guidance on living good lives, named towns after biblical locations, named their children Hebrew biblical names, and self-identified with the Hebrew narrative. During the first American century, a great many political speeches of the day cited Old Testament references.
Zionist and American values stress the role of their respective nations to be exemplars of individualism, morality, goodness, excellence, and prosperity. They stand as standard-bearers of western civilization, in stark contrast to post-modern moral relativism, the rejection of individual human rights and freedoms, domestic and foreign antagonism towards western civilization. Both Israel and the United States present their unique lights against the darkness of anti-humanistic barbarism.
The project acknowledges the historic influences of the Hebrew national narrative, including shared “Judeo-Christian” values, as these informed the thinkers of the Enlightenment and the American Founders – and served as the basis of western civilization. American exceptionalism is not based upon conquest but upon serving as a beacon of freedom and civil society, characteristics which also apply to the nation of Israel in its ancient and current forms.
The Pilgrims and the Founding Fathers of the United States described their homeland as “New Israel,” and compared themselves to the ancient Hebrews. This project relates the vision of America to the “shining city on the hill” to Israel’s mission to be a “light unto the nations.” It will include articles and information resources to inform and engage in conversation and debate.
As distinct legacies of the concept of the ancient Hebrew Republic, what can both the U.S. and Israel learn from one another’s concepts of governance, citizenship, freedom, rights, and national character? What does “New Israel” mean to you?
Why the Two Israels Project?
The Two Israels Project provides a forum for discussing how Israel and the United States, the two modern legacies of the Hebrew Republic – formed with similar values and influences – can compare notes. We contrast, compare, and share governance-related philosophies, methodologies, and experiences.
The models of free society presented by The Two Israels face challenges – and threats – from both the outside and the inside. From within, there are the debates about how government is formed and how it functions.
From without, free societies are threatened, sometimes existentially, by tyrannies which oppose the examples presented by free societies of vitality, prosperity, and morality to their oppressed peoples.
Free societies also deal with internal, dissenting ideologues who promote “transformation,” sometimes through revolution, to impose a centralized, authoritarian order, constraining basic freedoms and rights to serve ideological purposes.
What the Two Israels Project is NOT:
The Two Israels Project DOES NOT promote or support any kind of “replacement theology.” It does not question the specification of the Jewish People as the descendants of the biblical Hebrew nation and the related protagonists of prophecy as stated in the Torah.
While we would generally state that Israel and the United States are natural allies – and kindred national movements, the Two Israels Project DOES NOT propose that the United States should be some kind of replacement or extension of the land or State of Israel NOR vice-versa.
The Two Israels Project IS NOT a theological argument. While biblical concepts of justice, charity, individual rights, and governance might be cited from scripture, this IS NOT a discussion about divine origin. While the project might discuss natural law, it does not discuss the nature of God. While the project might discuss morality, values, and human motivation, it IS NOT a discussion on spiritual salvation, messianism, or the afterlife. The “Two Israels” is a comparative study of governance based on the historic concept of The Hebrew Republic in political philosophy.
The Two Israels Project was conceived by J. Michael Jaffe, PhD. Michael has worked as an electrical engineer, logistics specialist, freelance technical writer, technical marketing consultant, and patent scientific associate. Michael is also active in the areas of electoral, governance, and regulatory reform in Israel.
Check out the Two Israels blog!