David Friedman and Mike Pompeo Walk the Original Bible Belt for New Documentary
(July 15, 2022 / JNS) You can get your kicks on Route 66 or travel through history on Route 60. It’s a road trip through the Bible, both old and new.
Former US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently passed through Israel’s Route 60. The highway connects the most famous events and figures of the Old and New Testaments, from Abraham and Moses to King David and Jesus Christ. That’s it for a new documentary produced by TBN called “Route 60: The Biblical Highway” which Friedman hopes will help educate people about an often misunderstood region.
“During my four years in government and thereafter there is a distinct…I don’t want to call it…ignorance because it suggests something worse than it is. , but a real lack of familiarity, especially in America, with what people call the West Bank, which, of course, is in itself an inadequate description of Judea and Samaria This road, Route 60, is really the biblical backbone of Israel,” Friedman told JNS.
Friedman, an Orthodox Jew, and Pompeo, an evangelical Christian, spent five days filming in multiple locations, showcasing the biblical and modern significance of each location. Flying to each location by helicopter, their stops included Nazareth, Shechem and Joshua’s Altar, located on Har Eval, where Friedman had never set foot before.
“I’m very happy that we were able to film it because you have a hard time getting there if you only go there as a tourist. You see that the stones of this altar are intact on a mountain with nothing other, just the natural stones. It was an amazing place to visit. It was also a great lesson in Jewish leadership that it’s not just about winning military battles. It’s also about having the moral foundations that come with being a believer in following a religious path,” Friedman said of Moses’ successor.
The trek continued to Shilo, where the tabernacle rested for nearly 400 years, and to Beit El, the site where Jacob had his famous dream. The couple continued to Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Rachel’s Tomb, then to Hebron and Beersheva, the site of a treaty of covenant between Abraham and King Avimelech, which Friedman called Abraham’s original agreement.
Friedman said the purpose of visiting these places was to focus on their biblical history; nevertheless, current events were also important.
“We arrived in Shilo at Lag Baomer [in May], which is a bit of a national holiday. So here you have this ancient city — the Tabernacle rested there 369 years — but full of children, full of people, full of life,” Friedman said. “We have gone from place to place to show that, on the one hand, the history of Judaism and Christianity began in these places. But we also show these real places of life and breath where life continues to flourish.
‘Part Jewish and Christian DNA’
Both Friedman and Pompeo are outspoken supporters of a Greater Israel and oppose a Palestinian state. Still, Friedman said he intended to make the film as apolitical as possible.
“We probably failed in our task. ‘Cause once you call it Judea and Samaria [instead of the West Bank]already, people will think you’re making a political statement,” Friedman said.
He went on to say, “It’s no secret that Secretary Pompeo and I believe this land was given by G‑d to the Jewish people, and has tremendous biblical and historical significance as part of Jewish and Christian DNA. And I guess one could infer from that that we believe it should remain under Israeli sovereignty. So, one could surely draw that inference, but we don’t dwell on it, which means we are laying out the facts and the biblical story.
“All the stories you learn – whether in day school, Sunday school, church or synagogue – all happened here,” he added.
Friedman said the documentary is in the editing phase and is slated for release in January 2023.