America, Israel’s Greatest Friend

Yael Eckstein  |  July 1, 2021

Yael Eckstein at IDF base with flags of Israel and America
(Photo: Yossi Zeliger)

Summer has officially begun, and July 4th is almost here!

This time of year, I remember my childhood in Chicago, where I was privileged to be born and raised, and where I’ll be visiting and spending time this summer for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic struck.

I remember watching fireworks light up the summer sky every Independence Day. My father, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, always spoke about how lucky we were, especially as Jews, to live in the U.S., where we were free to practice our faith and be part of one of the greatest countries in the history of the world.

Now that I live in Israel, U.S. Independence Day has taken on additional significance to me. I celebrate America for the extraordinary country that she is and because of the wonderful friend that she has been to Israel. And I deeply admire Israel and America’s shared commitment to democratic values and biblical principles.

America and Israel: A Historic Friendship

Like any relationship, the friendship between Americans and Israelis has had its ups and downs. Yet, our connection has never been severed. It has transcended challenges and changes through more than seven decades. What unites us has proven to be far more powerful than anything we might disagree upon.

In 1948, President Harry Truman was the first world leader to recognize the State of Israel, and in 2017 President Donald Trump was the first world leader to recognize Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel. And in 2021, during the worst Hamas attacks on Israel that we’ve seen in years, America stated strongly that Israel has a right to exist and a right to defend herself.

Israel, in turn, is America’s greatest ally in the Middle East and has proven herself a loyal friend. Israel is on the front lines, fighting our common enemies and defending our common way of life.

‘Two Are Better than One’

Here in Israel we have learned that, when faced with difficult times and uncertainty, nothing beats having a good friend. The Book of Ecclesiastes tells us that “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up” (4:9-10). We are blessed to have each other as friends as the world faces unprecedented challenges.

So, as we celebrate America this weekend, I hope that you will join me in giving thanks for the friendship between our two great countries. I pray that this sacred friendship continues to grow no matter what lies ahead.

May God bless America, may God bless Israel, and may He bring peace and healing to the world!

With blessings from the Holy Land,

Yael Eckstein's Signature