JERUSALEM—The cradle of Old Testament and New Testament history in Israel is the departure point for a feature-length film called “Route 60: The Biblical Highway” that is slated to open on Monday in 1,500 U.S. theaters across the country.
Former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, an evangelical Christian, and David Friedman, the son of a rabbi who served as the U.S. ambassador to Israel, are the film’s guides along a highway packed full of spectacular biblical events and history.
Pompeo told Fox News Digital, “David Friedman and I walked where the prophets and Jesus traveled. From Nazareth to Beersheba, Route 60 shows where the events of the Bible happened. Whether you’re a believer or just care about history, you won’t want to miss this.”
Pompeo and Friedman traversed the 150-mile road from the north to the south in the Holy Land.
Friedman states at the start of the film that Route 60 in Israel is “the road that Abraham, the father of nations, walked as the first believer in monotheism” and “It is a road walked by Jesus, the central figure of Christianity.”
The ambassador said, “Route 60 follows the ancient path from Nazareth to Beersheba. It connects many holy sites and biblical events, in what could be called the original biblical belt.”
In an interview with Fox News Digital, Friedman said the movie presents “the perspectives of a Jew and a Christian.”
Route 60 cuts through Judea and Samaria, the ancient Jewish biblical names for the region. “At the end of the day, in addition to be it being a place of dispute, it is also a place of great holiness to the people of the Jewish faith and Christian faith,” Friedman noted.
The movie is the brainchild of Friedman, who termed it “a very uplifting and spiritually invigorating film” because Route 60 “houses such a high percentage of our biblical heroes and stories.”
Palestinian Arabs consider the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) as the land for their future state. Israel says the land is contested territory and argues Jews have a right to live in Judea and Samaria, where most of the Bible’s history unfolded.
In January, Fox News Digital reported Israel remains the only Middle East country where the Christian population continues to grow while Christians face severe persecution in a number of Muslim-majority countries in the Islamic heartland.
Pompeo and Friedman take viewers to the archeological wonder of the City of David in Jerusalem, where Jesus healed a blind man at the Pool of Siloam.
Friedman said Route 60 is “the road that had been carved out for pilgrimages to Jerusalem.” They traveled the road with camels and sheep, noted Friedman.
Friedman said the Founding Fathers wrote in the Declaration of Independence about the human rights of “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness” and these rights find their source in the Old Testament in Jerusalem. “The City of David is an American heritage site” because “the spiritual bedrock of America comes from Jerusalem… in the City of David.”
The film draws additional parallels between biblical history and contemporary American politics.
Jerusalem’s old city is a central part of the film. The former diplomats devote attention to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which is venerated as the burial place for Jesus Christ.
Pompeo, who is well-versed in Christian history, shows the viewers the Garden of Gethsemane in Jerusalem where Jesus visited after the Last Supper. “He knew what was before him, “said Pompeo about the hardship Jesus was about to face at the base of the Mount of Olives, where he was arrested.
Friedman and Pompeo travel to Rachel’s tomb. Friedman said Rachel “is considered to be the biblical Jewish mother.” People visit Rachel’s tomb to pray “when they are in need, when they are suffering, and, especially women who have trouble conceiving a child.” Rachel’s tomb is located near Bethlehem, where Jesus was born.
Friedman and Pompeo provide insights into some of the Trump administration’s most important Middle East diplomatic achievements, including the Abraham Accords and the relocation of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, the capital of Israel. Friedman played a crucial role in the establishment of the American embassy in Jerusalem.
The team of Friedman and Pompeo brought about the normalization of diplomatic relations (Abraham Accords) between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan.
Pompeo established during his tenure that Jewish residences in Judea and Samaria – “the original Bible belt” – are not violating international law by living in the region.