Yom HaAtzmaut and the U.S.-Israel Relationship

This Yom HaAtzmaut is not simply a time to celebrate the 65 years of Israel’s existence. We also have to show our gratitude to nations like the United States, whose special bond with the Jewish State has helped Israel navigate through the tough waters of the Middle East, especially in recent years.

Iran is developing a nuclear weapon; the civil war in Syria is destabilizing Israel’s northern border; Hezbollah controls southern Lebanon; Hamas controls Gaza; Bedouin terrorists have engulfed Sinai; the Arab Spring threatens to terminate the peace treaties with Jordan and Egypt, and the Palestinian Authority is avoiding peace negotiations. To say the least, the alliance with a superpower like the U.S. has helped Israel maintain both its sovereignty and its security in an increasingly tumultuous neighborhood.

Because of Washington and Jerusalem’s close cooperation, the international community has imposed tightening sanctions on the Iranian regime. This economic pressure is not only slowing down Iran’s quest for a nuclear weapon, but is also forcing Teheran to reconsider the wisdom of even maintaining a nuclear program.

Coordination on the Syrian Civil War has also been a key asset in ensuring Israel’s security. The potential collapse of the Assad regime has worried Israeli officials that Syria’s WMDs may fall into the hands of Hezbollah, so cooperation with the U.S. on this issue has been crucial for the Jewish State. Not to mention that the U.S. has broken ranks with its western allies and labeled Hezbollah a terrorist organization, a move which severely restricts Hezbollah’s ability to raise money.

The Jewish State is also fortunate that the U.S. has consistently stood up for Israel during clashes along the Israel/Gaza border, most recently during Operation Pillar of Defense. Support from Congress and the Obama Administration for Israel’s right to defend itself has never been so crucial, especially since the chaos in Sinai is allowing Hamas to possibly expand its geopolitical influence.

Additionally, U.S. military aid to Israel, which amounts to more than 3 billion dollars a year, allows Israel to have the necessary weaponry to combat organizations like Hamas. This is proof that America is not simply supporting Israel’s right to self-defense, but also ensuring that it has the capabilities to truly defend itself.

America’s role in maintaining the regional order has also been significant, especially with regard to the nations that have signed peace treaties with Israel. For instance, with a Muslim Brotherhood government in control of Egypt, many analysts worried that the Egyptian regime would stand behind Hamas, an offshoot of the Brotherhood, in a future confrontation along the Israel/Gaza border. However, because of enormous American pressure, the Egyptian government has even acted to restrain Hamas rocket fire against Israeli civilians.

None of this even includes the disappointing behavior of the Palestinian Authority, which avoids bilateral negotiations and makes unilateral moves at the United Nations. Fortunately, the U.S. has not only pressured the PA to accept the principle of bilateralism, but has condemned unilateralism as well. One must not forget the friendship that the U.S. displayed during the PA’s unilateral bid for statehood at the U.N., in which the Obama Administration instructed its representatives to vote against the measure.

Yom HaAtzmaut, a day that celebrates self-determination for the Jewish people, reminds global Jewry to thank those that have helped Israel maintain its independence for the past 65 years. Luckily for Israel, it is bipartisan consensus in Washington that a strong Israel makes for a strong America, so Jerusalem can rest assured that this alliance will last for the years to come.