Mike Huckabee visits the excavations at the City of David archeological site in Jerusalem on 17 August 2009
Governor Mike Huckabee could have driven less than 100 miles north of Little Rock to visit Jerusalem. Instead he chose to fly 6,730 miles to reach Jerusalem.
The Governor could have taken I-40W out of Little Rock toward Fort Smith, turned on to AR-105 toward Atkins at exit 94, then followed AR-247 to AR-124 to Jerusalem Road that would lead him right into Jerusalem. He could have visited the 357 citizens of his state that live in Jerusalem, Conway County, one of the twenty Jerusalems in the USA.
In addition to the Jerusalem in Arkansas, there are Jerusalems in Alabama, Georgia, Maryland, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, and Vermont. The people of Huckabee’s home state of Arkansas are invited to acknowledge the special friendship between Americans and Israelis by participating in ‘JerUSAlem-USA,’ a participatory art project that links the twenty Jerusalems in the United States with the original Jerusalem.
To Mike Huckabee, a Southern Baptist preacher, it is inspirational that the name of these American Jerusalems was inspired by the Bible where we read about King David establishing Jerusalem as the capital of the unified state of the Israelite nation 3,013 years ago. Today, Jerusalem is the vibrant capital of the modern State of Israel that Huckabee has visited 11 times since 1973.
The people of Huckabee’s home state of Arkansas are invited to collaborate in creating ‘JerUSAlem-USA.’ People throughout Arkansas are urged to drive to Jerusalem in Conway County, photograph everyday life there (people, homes, shops, community events and celebrations, signs with the name ‘Jerusalem’), and send them as jpg images to firstname.lastname@example.org.
These photographs of the American Jerusalems will be matched by images of everyday life in Jerusalem, Israel. They will be posted on the blog site http://jerusalem-usa.blogspot.com that was created by the head of the School of the Arts of Emuna College on Bethlehem Road in Jerusalem. In addition to being posted on the art project blog, the matched images will be exhibited in museums and art galleries in Israel and the USA, and incorporated in a book ‘JerUSAlem-USA.’ The juxtaposition of photographs of the original Jerusalem with Jerusalems in USA thorough the Internet creates an interactive network of people with shared values that deepens the friendship between them.
The Governor of Arkansas carries on the special relationship between USA and Jerusalem that was forged by the Founding Fathers who were inspired by the Hebrew Bible. On being elected the first president of the United States, George Washington sent a letter to the Hebrew Congregation of Savannah: “May the same wonder-working Deity, who long since delivered the Hebrews from their Egyptian oppressors, planted them in a promised land, whose providential agency has lately been conspicuous in establishing these United States as an independent nation, still continue to water them with the dews of heaven and make the inhabitants of every denomination participate in the temporal and spiritual blessings of that people whose God is Jehovah."
Governor Huckabee, following in the footsteps of George Washington, expressed his appreciation and admiration of Israel’s miraculous vitality after his meeting with Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat. “I continue to be amazed at the places that I remember desolate at one time, now producing food, commerce and families. The dry bones have come alive,” he said referring to the prophecy in the biblical book of Ezekiel.
Complementing America’s link to Israel through their shared religious values in pursuing life, liberty and freedom, is their shared creativity in the sciences, technology and the arts. Tiny Israel, barely the size of New Jersey, stands only second to the United States in new inventions in digital and biological technologies. Israel dwarfs all the nations of the world in per-capita innovation. The ‘JerUSAlem-USA’ blogart project provides a forum for shared aesthetic creativity as images of American Jerusalems interface with images of the original Jerusalem in Israel.