I was pleasantly surprised to see American flags flying alongside Israeli flags at the major intersection where I live here in Israel. The date was January 20th, inauguration day in the United States, and in a show of support and solidarity with the American people, Israel flew the American flag.
It was a visual reminder of the deep bonds of friendship between our two countries, and a relationship that I pray will only grow stronger in the coming years.
An even more evident display of this bond was the unexpected invitation that my town’s mayor, Oded Revivi, received to attend the Presidential inauguration. Revivi is mayor of Efrat and also the chairman of the council for Judea and Samaria, known to the world as “the settlements.”
For the last 50 years, our area, arguably the Jewish heartland, has been shunned, vilified, slandered, and scrutinized through a biased lens. We were all reminded of this grim reality just a month ago when the United Nations Security Council voted to condemn all settlements and labeled us as the obstacle to peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
It wasn’t the hate taught to the children of our Arab neighbors, not the glorified terrorism, nor the incitement from the Palestinian leadership against Israelis, but rather our families and houses that were declared the obstacle to peace. That the United States did not veto this resolution as in the past when America refused to let such horrible resolutions pass was a blow to all of us.
So when our mayor, along with two other colleagues, received an invitation to the inauguration of the new President of the United States, it was a welcomed sign of change. This along with President Trump’s promise to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital is a clear indication to us that Israel might begin to get the fair and just treatment that has eluded us for decades. America is leading the way.
With mutual honor and respect, it is my fervent prayer that our two nations can stand side by side, fighting for the same causes and protecting our shared values. We make great partners and as I watched the Israeli and American flags dance and wave in the bright sunny sky that day I was more than hopeful for a brighter future for us all.