December 29, 2016
Dear Friend of Israel
In his speech on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry put even more distance between the United States and its greatest ally — Israel.
The distance was created last week, when the U.S. refused to exercise its veto power to stop passage of a one-sided and unfair U.N. resolution declaring that Israeli “settlements” — communities in East Jerusalem and biblical Judea and Samaria — are illegal. On Wednesday, Secretary Kerry drove a wedge into that rift, and pushed two traditional allies farther apart.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s strongly-worded rebuttal to Kerry’s speech cut to the heart of the matter, challenging the notion that Israel is the obstacle to peace. “See, this conflict is not about houses, or communities in the West Bank, Judea and Samaria, the Gaza district or anywhere else,” the Prime Minister said. “This conflict is and has always been about Israel’s very right to exist … The persistent Palestinian refusal to recognize a Jewish state remains the core of the conflict and its removal is the key to peace.”
It is clear that now is the time for friends of Israel to stand up and be counted, and to let their support for the Jewish state be known. There are many ways to do so. Please, continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Continue to speak out on Israel’s behalf. And continue to support our programs that do so much to fill the needs and preserve the security of impoverished and struggling Israelis.
I continue to believe that the strong bonds between Israel and the U.S. — based not just on common strategic and economic interests, but on what columnist Jeff Jacoby once called a “kinship of common values” — will endure. Even when many of America’s senior leaders fail to do so, the American people recognize in the state of Israel a kindred spirit, a nation based on the same principles of freedom and democracy embraced by the U.S.
Especially at times like this, I am so grateful to you, my Christian and Jewish friends, for all you do every day to show your love for Israel and her people. And from where I sit now, in the Holy City of Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the Jewish people, I can assure you that the people of Israel are grateful, too.
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President