ALL ISRAEL NEWS Founder and Editor-in-Chief Joel C. Rosenberg interviewed legendary American singer, composer, actor, writer and spokesman, Pat Boone, at the Honoring Israel Breakfast during the National Religious Broadcasters Convention in Dallas last week.
Boone, age 87, is a great Christian friend and staunch supporter of Israel, having stood and identified with the nation and its people for decades.
One of Boone’s greatest legacies to Israel is the famous Zionist song he wrote and performed in the 1960s, “This Land is Mine,” which has inspired many to support Israel and earned him the Zionist Cultural Impact Award for his contribution on the Academy Award-winning soundtrack for the movie Exodus.
Boone has visited Israel at least 20 times and, in 2018, led a 10-day Evangelical Christian tour, “Historic Pilgrimage to the Holy Land,” visiting popular tourist sites. That same year, he hosted Israel’s 70th Anniversary gala event.
During the interview, Boone spoke about growing up in Nashville, Tennessee and how early on he became “a Bible guy,” learning that Jesus was a Jew, committing his life to the Lord at age 13, and being drawn into a deep love for Israel and its people.
Boone considers himself a Jew by adoption, and regarding the Bible, says, “every word was written by Jews, about Jews, for Jews, all about little Israel from whom the Messiah would come."
Rosenberg asked Boone about his first trip to Israel with CBN, his close relationship over 25 years with former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his perspective on today's young generation and their lack of biblical understanding.
Boone’s passion for Yeshua – hebrew for Jesus – is undeniable and inspiring.
"The call – for those of us who know – is share, share, share what we do know to be true. And that's what I'm writing in my last book, my last songs and trying to let God use me in whatever way he can.”
Read the interview transcript below:
ROSENBERG: I'm here with the legendary Pat Boone, one of the great Christian friends of Israel who has just stood with Israel and the Jewish people for so many years. I'm at the Breakfast Honoring Israel here at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention. Pat Boone, it's such an honor to meet you. I want to hear a little bit of your story and how God has drawn you into this deep love and consistent love for Israel and the Jewish people.
BOONE: Well, I'm a Bible guy, since I was a young boy in Nashville. My dad, a building contractor, very practical profession. Mom, a registered nurse, also very practical. These weren't just people who were ideologues. Daddy got up early in the morning before his construction work – he had a building contracting company – but he would study the Bible for 30 minutes, 40 minutes in preparation for a Sunday school class he would teach on Sunday. He would put in six or seven hours a week to teach a half hour class to adults. Well, of course, I grew up knowing the Bible was written by Jews about Jews for Jews, all about little Israel from whom the Messiah would come, a Jew to be the savior of the world, the Messiah. I knew this as a boy and that day came when I was just over 13, just barely 13. It was expected, of course, that young boys would confess their faith in God or in Jesus, who – those of us who were trained and educated like I was – knew was Jewish. And so, when I was barely 13, I walked down that aisle and confessed my sinfulness, whatever it might have been. Barely 13, I wasn't a bad guy and then received God and committed my life to Him.
ROSENBERG: Where were you living?
BOONE: In Nashville, Tennessee. And my dad, the contractor, built the biggest church in Nashville at that time. And eventually when I and my wife came into what's called the baptism in the Holy Spirit, Ruach Hakodesh, the infilling of the Spirit, which was not part of our ideology. My wife and I were disfellowshiped, which is like saying excommunicated from the one congregation where we were best known members.
ROSENBERG: Where your father had built the building?
BOONE: No, we had moved to California back then, but then mom and dad, who were afraid we were heretics, made a study of the Bible that we'd all been studying and realized that what we thought was just for the first century was for today. And so they came into the same infilling and were disfellowshiped from the church that they built. But they understood, they continued to sit in the second row as guests in the building that they had built. And we continued right on, always loving Israel and rejoicing in our Jewishness. I mean, the chai and the magen david that I wear sometimes at the gym where it's all I got on. And members there – some of whom are Jewish, some are not –they see the star and the chai. Are you Jewish? I said, yes. Pat Boone, you're Jewish. Yeah, I said by adoption, yes. I'm adopted into the family. I forget a little Jewish lady, when I was on the Arthur Godfrey show, I think she thought it was Arthur Gottlieb. And in Florida on the beach, built a shadow over me. She wants to put some food in front of you and she’s blocking the sun and the little Jewish lady says, “excuse me, are you Pat Bloom?” And I said we are. Aren't you descended from Daniel Bloom, Daniel Boone, the great pioneer? I said, yes. She said that we're related. And she was so happy. She went her way. And I didn't know if she thought Daniel Boone was Jewish and it just changed his name to Boone. The name Boone is the Anglo-Saxon word for blessing, by the way. It is the same as Baruch. Boone, like the King who granted a boon to his subjects.
ROSENBERG: Do you remember your first trip to Israel? What were the circumstances?
BOONE: The first trip was with CBN and a guy named George Otis who started things like the Prince of Peace and the Voice. It was Christian, but based in Israel broadcasting from Israel, of course, in Israel as well, to promote the Jewishness of what we Christians believe, everything we believe, whether we know it or not, comes historically out of historic Judaism. But the mistake that was made is separating the Old and New Testaments because the Old Testament become – in our thinking – the Jewish part of the Bible, the New Testament, the Christian or Gentile. No, they should have just all been one continuous book, right out of Malachi and Zechariah into Matthew, Mark, Luke because it was all written by Jews about Jews for Jews – it was a continuation of the story. And now since Rabbi Kaddouri, before he passed, he said, ‘the Messiah appeared to me and told me his name, which is Yehoshua, from which we, of course, get Yeshua, which through Aramaic and Greek translations, became Jesus. But his name and I've compared it, showed it, to two Orthodox rabbis who live on either side of me in Beverly Hills. I show the writing of Rabbi Kaddouri in this book, right to left and the first letters spell out the name. But I ask him, what is this word here? It's Yeshua. I said, what does Yeshua mean? Salvation. And that was his name. This boy was named Salvation. As the angel told Mary, for he will save his people from their sins. So I've written a song. It’s being produced right now called Yehoshua, a song that we Christians and Jews can sing together. Yehoshua, which Rabbi Kaddouri proclaimed is the name of the Messiah. Now, of course, there were other Josephs and other Yeshuas. It’s not an uncommon name in Jesus’ day. As I said to Prime Minister Netanyahu, who is my friend and who, I told you, calls me Speedy every time we’re together. It was Speedy Gonzalez, my record, which he loved when he was at MIT.
ROSENBERG: How many years have you known Prime Minister Netanyahu?
BOONE: 20 years, 25 years. We've been together a number of times, both in Israel and the United States because he'd come to events at the Beverly Hills Hotel – I live walking distance from the Beverly Hills Hotel – so we'd be together in one of the ballrooms at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
ROSENBERG: Any thoughts about, you know, it's been such a dramatic last few weeks. He was the longest serving prime minister in the history of modern Israel, but no longer.
BOONE: Well, I am aware of – and you may be too – of the stories in The Jerusalem Post about two prophetic Jews, both of whom who said some years ago that the time would come in the near future, that Israel would not be able to elect its leader in the electoral process and it would wind up being governed separately or congruently by two men, both named Ben. And that last election, when it was Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz and the government, for a while was divided between two men – two men named Ben, which I think means son. Anyway, the prophecies are coming true. We're living in a time of prophecy being fulfilled before our eyes. And now again, Israel, the government divided. Netanyahu, like Trump, says it's not over and we wait to see what's going to happen. But God's hand is on all of this.
ROSENBERG: Amen. One last question. Your generation has had such a deep love for Israel and the Jewish people, but new polling showing that younger Evangelicals – they haven't turned against Israel yet, but they're going into the “I don't know what I think about Israel…” What do we do about it?
BOONE: Our goal – I've written a book about it as well, my last book, I’ve written million-selling books. The first was when I was still in college. I wrote a book for teenagers. I was asked to do it by the publisher and to my amazement, it's sold well over million hardcopies. It was the number one non-fiction book and I was still in college. It's like Dennis Prager, who wrote a book on the history of Judaism when he was in college. He and I are very close, Dennis Prager, and we had similar experiences. So I've written other books about our spiritual journeys. But this latest book is called “If,” the one word, “If.” And it's, “are we going to go to heaven or hell?” Because the Bible, God in the Bible, clearly states – in the Old and New Testaments – that a day will come when the sheep will be divided from the goats. Those who love him, he only wants the people in heaven who want to be there. And the choice is ours. His choice is that we all come. That's his choice. What's ours? Well, millions of Americans, over half of our population, according to the latest polls, don't go to a church or synagogue. They don't know if there is a God. They may pray sometimes without knowing if they're heard. They're ignorant. I mean, I don't mean that pejoratively. It is surely a lack of knowledge. They are not brought up now to know things that you and I know. So I'm trying to reach them in this book, trying to reach the 150 million Americans who simply don't know if there is a God. I'm trying to let them know from God's own Word – what we called Old and New Testament, to me it's all one book and it is in perfect harmony, both the old and new, except the Covenant changed, which made it a little easier to become a believer for Gentiles, especially as Moses and others – Isaiah had foretold that a light was coming that would be a light to the Gentiles, as well as to the Jews. Well, that light, we believe has come. We're sharing it, we’re Christians and Jews, we’re really followers of what we do believe are realizing how close we are, what we hold in common, not the differences that may seem to separate.
ROSENBERG: Why the disconnect? Why do you think that young people are not...are they not being taught it or they’re not absorbing it?
BOONE: Their parents don't take them to church or synagogue. They don't continue – if they believe – they don't stress it with their kids. I mean, the great thing about Judaism is with the festivals and all the requirements that God made because he knew how quick we were – not just the Jews, but we human beings – are quick to forget him and forget his ways. So, he created a system that caused us as families to keep. Rabbi Eckstein, a dear friend of mine, I was part of the Fellowship of Christians and Jews with him and helped raise millions of dollars through that Fellowship for Jews coming from behind the Iron Curtain and so on and settling in Israel. And so, he explained to me a lot of the Jewish festivals and rituals.
BOONE: What a Jewish man says to his wife in front of his kids – blesses his wife and the calling together of the family – this kept everybody on a faith path. It's not happening in many Jewish households, certainly not happening in Christian households. The kids are growing up without knowing. They don't know the Bible. They don't know there is a God. And so, of course, we're lost. Our society is more and more lost. We've lost our way. So the call is – for those of us who know – is share, share, share what we do know to be true. And that's what I'm about writing my last book, my last songs and trying to let God use me in whatever way he can. Just use me up.
ROSENBERG: He's gotten…he's rung a lot out of this washcloth. I don't think you're done yet. And I love just sitting next to you at a breakfast honoring Israel. And you not only love Israel and the Jewish people – you love Jesus so much, it's just coming out of you. You’re sharing the gospel with me and I believe. I love it. I just love your passion.
BOONE: Jesus is a Jew. Even Jewish scholars today recognize there was a man named Jesus, historically, and that many believed he was the Messiah and that he died on the cross and rose from the dead. But they don't believe that man that they know historically existed – according to Josephus, another historian – they don't believe he was the Messiah, even though he claimed to be. And many thousands believed even in his own day, including rabbis, believed he was. But as Isaiah says, Isaiah 53: He came to his own and his own received him, or perceived him, not. And that's what my song Yehoshua pictures. It’s the old man waiting , the promise by the Ruach that he would see the Messiah before he died. And he tells him, as this young woman is walking with this 40-day old child in her arms, this is the one. I have a painting of him holding this baby in his arm, this old man, thanking God with tears streaming down his face and he is holding the Messiah in his arms. Yehoshua, Yeshua, salvation.
ROSENBERG: Amen. Thank you, sir. It's great to chat with you. Wow.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.