In short, the U.S.-Israel relationship, through initiatives like the Jerusalem Declaration and the Abraham Accords, has helped to establish Israel as a key regional player and a partner for peace with neighboring countries that share its goal of regional security and stability.
Earlier this month, as Islamic Jihad, a proxy of the Ayatollah regime in Iran, launched some 1,100 rockets from Gaza toward Israeli communities from Sderot to Tel Aviv, Israel’s Defense Forces once again were challenged to protect their own citizens while avoiding civilian casualties in Gaza.
These objectives were achieved largely through deployment of the Iron Dome, a mobile air-defense system developed in Israel and funded since 2011 by U.S. congressional appropriations. In this latest conflict, the Iron Dome successfully intercepted 97% of the rockets aimed at Israel’s population centers.
The Iron Dome system is designed to intercept and destroy short-range rockets and shells fired into populated areas.
It is frightening to think of Israel today had the Iron Dome not been available to defend its citizens and their homes — Arabs as well as Jews — only days ago. How inconceivable would have been the losses, the suffering of this tiny nation that already has withstood decades of hatred and violence perpetrated by terrorist groups throughout the Middle East. But thanks to a lifesaving partnership with the United States, the Iron Dome defense system succeeded in stopping 380 rockets, while more than 500 rockets landed in the ocean or open spaces and another 200 rockets fell within Gaza, reportedly killing 15 of their own citizens.
Notably, support for the Iron Dome defense system — and for the safety of Israelis — has come from both sides of the congressional aisle, as well as from Presidents Obama, Trump and Biden.
President Biden, in particular, has had a warm and longstanding friendship with the State of Israel throughout his many years of public service. Thus, it was both significant and appropriate that a highlight of his 10th visit to Israel — his first as U.S. President — last month was the signing of the Jerusalem U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Joint Declaration. This is a historic document that recognizes the shared values of the two nations and paves the way for future deepening of our alliance.
In it, President Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid reaffirm their commitment never to allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons and agreed that their countries “will continue to work together to combat all efforts to boycott or delegitimize Israel, to deny its right to self-defense or to unfairly single it out in any forum.”
It’s not widely understood, but the United States’ generous funding of Israeli technology, including missile defense, has become a wise investment in the safety of its own citizens. Just recently, a joint live-fire trial of an Iron Dome was coordinated — in New Mexico — by the U.S. Army and the Israeli Missile Defense Organization.
The U.S. already has purchased two Iron Dome batteries from the system’s Israeli manufacturer, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, for defense against its own military installations. The testing proved successful, and the U.S. Army plans to deploy one in the near future.
In short, the U.S.-Israel relationship, through initiatives like the Jerusalem Declaration and the Abraham Accords, has helped to establish Israel as a key regional player and a partner for peace with neighboring countries that share its goal of regional security and stability — Bahrain, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates and Sudan so far — while looking ahead to soon welcoming Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern nations into Israel’s circle of cooperation.
Israel, in turn, shares its cutting-edge technologies and joins with U.S. manufacturers to promote the security and economic well-being of the American people.
Yinam Cohen is the Consul General of Israel to the Midwest. This essay was first published in the Detroit News.