Those of you who were alive fifty-six years ago today surely remember where you were when you heard news of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. But did you remember that this visionary young American leader also firmly stood for Israel? In the above photo, taken less than a year before Kennedy’s death, the president escorts Golda Meir, who was then Israel’s Foreign Minister, but who would later in the decade become her first female Prime Minister.
During his short presidency, Kennedy did much to solidify the bonds between the United States and Israel that are still strong. Before him, America had placed an embargo on sending arms to the nascent Jewish state. Kennedy not only lifted said embargo, but was the first American president to vow to protect Israel and her people, something he believed was morally necessary, even in these remarks he made in 1960, when he was still a senator running for the presidency:
“Israel will endure and flourish. It is the child of hope and the home of the brave. It can neither be broken by adversity nor demoralized by success. It carries the shield of democracy and it honors the sword of freedom.”
Kennedy’s words still ring true these many years later. May his memory be a blessing.Tags: Golda Meir History JFK John F. Kennedy US-Israel Relations