Photo Credit: Architect of the Capitol
Marble relief of Moses by artist Jean de Marco in U.S House of Representatives Chamber at the U.S. Capitol building.

While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referenced several cultural, political, and historical figures throughout his highly-anticipated speech to Congress on Tuesday March 3 – including Harry S. Truman, Queen Esther, Robert Frost, and Elie Wiesel – he concluded his historical address with the biblical figure of the prophet Moses.

The Israeli prime minister did not just mention Moses in passing, he also pointed to the image of Moses in the form of white Vermont marble relief, hanging over the gallery doors overlooking the lawmakers in the House of Representatives Chamber. Netanyahu spoke of the biblical leader, saying “Moses led our people from slavery to the gates of the Promised Land. And before the people of Israel entered the land of Israel, Moses gave us a message that has steeled our resolve for thousands of years.”


It was probably the first time that the marble relief portrait of Moses hanging in the House Chamber ever received such public acknowledgement.

The portrait, designed by artist Jean de Marco, is one 23 marble reliefs that depict historical figures noted for their work in establishing the principals that underlie American law, according to the Architect of the Capitol, a U.S. government website. The site is devoted to providing historic and current information about the function and architecture of the U.S. Capitol Building where Netanyahu gave his speech before a joint-session of Congress.

On either side of the portrait of Moses, there are 11 profiles in the eastern half of the chamber that face left and eleven in the western half, which face right, so that all look toward the full-face relief of Moses in the center. He is described on the site as a Hebrew prophet and lawgiver, who transformed a wandering people into a nation and received the Ten Commandments.

The other profiles include writer of the Declaration of Independence and the third president of the U.S., Thomas Jefferson; King of Babylonia, Hammurabi; Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Suleiman; Athenian statesman, Solon; Napoleon I, and Maimonides, among other significant leaders from different periods of history.

The image of Moses and other leaders of civilizations and societies have been hanging in the chamber for 65 years. Scholars from the University of Pennsylvania and the Columbia Historical Society of Washington D.C. chose the subjects with the help of authoritative members of the Library of Congress over six decades ago. A special committee of five Members of the House of Representatives and the Architect of the Capitol approved the selection, and the reliefs were installed when the House Chamber was remodeled from 1949-1950.

Prime Minister Netanyahu at the end of his speech quoted Moses from the Book of Deuteronomy, stating in Hebrew, “Be strong and resolute, neither fear nor dread them,” which were the leader’s parting words to the Israelites before they entered the land of Israel. For Netanyahu, they were words that highlighted the strength of friendship shared by the United States and Israel, two countries with a deep respect for the timeless road of history and the challenges along the way.


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Anav Silverman is a regular contributor to Tazpit News Agency.


  1. THANK YOU BIBI! The recognition was awesome! I and thousands of other people would never have known it was hanging there! And that’s just the least of what we would have never known if Bibi wasn’t addressing the democratic Congress of the United States of America where EVERY opinion is welcomed and respected …or at least it should be! shame on those elected officials (includes our esteemed President) who failed to show up and show respect to the U.S. MOST TRUSTED ALLY

  2. It was a beautiful and emotional speech. It’s what it comes down to. The world hates the Jewish people, but with or without Obama’s support, The Jewish People are no longer Stateless and Voiceless. They can and WILL defend themselves regardless of public opinions about them.

    The fact that he even mentioned Moses to close his speech- that just did it for me. That hit home. That glorified God in all possible ways. Because fear of the Lord brings wisdom. And this man is a wise man who is not fearful of man.

    Am Yisrael Chai ❤️❤️❤️❤️

  3. The idea that Moses had horns is based on a mis-translation when the original Hebrew was translated into Latin. Instead of translating it as “his face was glowing,” it was mistakenly read as “he had horns.”

  4. "Moses: The Righteous Sky Gazer" by Shlomo Shoham of Tel Aviv Univ was recently published. It is written as if it were an autobiography composed by Moses himself. Some grad student should compare it with "Moses and Monotheism" by Freud and "Moses" by Martin Buber (a mentor and teacher of Shoham). "Star Gazer" would make a nice movie. You can see a slide show about this book at

  5. America needs Israel! They spend money here by purchasing billions on military jets from US. Israel helps US in so many ways. Stand up and demand US to stand with them! It is we the people! Government is by the people not over it! Tell your local government! They work for us nit the other way…. God we pray for the peace of Jerusalem, Israel and the USA!

  6. Netanyahu is a man of high integrity! I wish we had a President that loved his country as much as Netanyahu loves Israel!! Netanyahu you are a true man of God! God Bless you and Israel now and forever!

  7. We all witnessed an historic moment in American History. There is some irony here. President Obama elevated the moment by forcefully drawing attention to Bibi's appearance in the halls of the American Congress, by disrespecting the President of Israel repeatedly and called attention to Bibi's message inadvertently. Chicago street politics didn't work here. Obama made Prime Minister Netanyahu a National hero in the Chambers of the House of Representative on Tue March 3 2015.

  8. Appreciate PM for mentioning Moses. I feel sad because America & all other nations should have this chosen race as leader. We have to wait for Yeshua Lord for a perfect world. Few more years to go…..God of Abraham has His own plans. He created well. We created hell.

  9. All of the other reliefs face Moses. He is the only one facing forward. And you will notice that he is "horned" in that image. The word is more like red-faced, shining-faced, protruding with irradiation, exhibiting the presence of the spirit. You get the idea.

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