Bibi Heaps Praise on Trump, Compares to Persian King Cyrus the Great
In remarks at the Oval Office on Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu compared President Donald Trump to a famous ruler from the Bible, the Achaemenid Persian King Cyrus the Great.
"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 said. " Twenty-five hundred years ago, he proclaimed that the Jewish exiles in Babylon can come back and rebuild our temple in Jerusalem."
The Israeli prime minister mentioned other leaders who proved essential for Israel. "We remember, 100 years ago, Lord Balfour, who issued the Balfour Proclamation that recognized the rights of the Jewish people in our ancestral homeland," he said. "We remember seventy years ago, President Harry S. Truman was the first leader to recognize the Jewish state. And we remember how a few weeks ago, President Donald J. Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital."
"Mr. President, this will be remembered by our people throughout the ages. And as you just said, others talked about it. You did it. So I want to thank you on behalf of the people of Israel," Netanyahu said.
Indeed, last year President Trump became the first U.S. leader to formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, following through on a law originally passed in 1995, which stipulated that the United States would move its embassy from Tel Aviv to King David's capital city. Trump cast serious shade, noting that former presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama refused to fulfill their promises to recognize Jerusalem.
King Cyrus the Great conquered Babylon in 539 B.C., and as Netanyahu reported, he ended the Babylonian Captivity, sending many of the Jews exiled from Judah under Nebuchadnezzar II back to the land of Israel. Cyrus even paid to rebuild the Jewish Temple, and he has been remembered as the first emperor to allow religious freedom for his subjects.
Isaiah 45:1 describes Cyrus as "the Lord's anointed," and many other Old Testament books refer to him positively.
Netanyahu's comparison between Trump and Cyrus echoed a recently-minted coin issued by the Mikdash Educational Center in Israel. The "Temple Coin" presents Trump alongside King Cyrus. Rabbi Mordechai Persoff compared the two rulers, saying that both made a "big declaration that Jerusalem is the capital of the holy people."
The center minted 1,000 biblical half-shekel coins to be purchased with a minimum donation of $50. The donations will "help spread the light of Jerusalem and the spirit of the Holy Temple throughout the world," the organization claimed.
The coin will likely rile Iranians, who consider Israel's existence an affront and yet honor Cyrus as a great Persian king.