June 29, 2017
Dear Friend of Israel,
On Independence Day, Americans will gather to celebrate the great blessings of freedom. This is a day to give thanks to God, to pay respects to the Founding Fathers whose genius helped build America’s institutions, and to remember the many who died to secure the country’s freedom – and those who put their lives on the line to keep it secure.
Though today I call Jerusalem home, I have lived both in Israel and the U.S. So, at this time of year, perhaps it is natural that I find myself reflecting on the unique and enduring relationship between these two great nations.
It is a natural alliance. Both Israel and the U.S. are democracies that grant to their citizens certain fundamental rights – the Declaration of Independence states that all American citizens have a right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” while the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel declares that all Israeli citizens shall be granted “freedom of religion, conscience, language, education, and culture.” These similarities mean that Israel and the U.S. more often than not stand united on important issues.
This alliance transcends politics. Polls consistently show that the American people support Israel. As columnist Jeff Jacoby once wrote, Americans stand for Israel because Americans like Israel; they “instinctively sympathize with Israel's fight for survival in one of the world's most dangerous neighborhoods.”
We are further drawn together by what Jacoby calls our “kinship of common values”: a shared faith in God, a common Judeo-Christian heritage, and trust in the institutions built upon that heritage. We share a love of freedom, and a belief that freedom is best secured through a democratic political system. And, as the threat of Islamist terrorism becomes greater, we know that we are facing a common foe and recognize the importance of standing in solidarity.
Thirty years ago, President Ronald Reagan said, “The people of Israel and America are historic partners in the global quest for human dignity and freedom.” These words remain true today. So, as Americans take time to celebrate the blessings of freedom, take a moment to reflect upon the many blessings of the great and longstanding friendship between the U.S. and its “historic partner,” Israel. And, as you pray for America, please continue to pray, too, for the peace of Jerusalem.
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President
PS The U.S. and Israel also stand united in the battle against radical Islamist terrorism! Join our Stop Terror Now campaign to encourage the President and members of Congress to stop funding nations that support terror.