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Written by Julie Stahl and Chris Mitchell
JERUSALEM, Israel — Israel and the United States have enjoyed a very close relationship going back to the creation of the Jewish state. But on a recent visit to the Middle East, two U.S. congressmen said they’re troubled by the direction the relationship is taking.
In a region where radical Islam looks to seize power from long-time dictators, Israel is the sole democracy. On the frontlines of the war against terrorism, it’s also a leader in the world of hi-tech and medical advances.
On a fact-finding mission to Israel recently, hosted by a group called “Yes! Israel” and sponsored by Laurie Cardoza-Moore’s Proclaiming Justice to the Nations, U.S. Congressmen Dennis Ross, R-Fla., and Robert Pittenger, R-N.C., talked to CBN News after visiting Judea and Samaria to learn more about how the country protects its people and way of life.
“I’m concerned that we as Americans don’t truly appreciate or understand and therefore don’t appreciate how significant Israel is, not only to our survival as a country, but also the survival of the free world, especially here in the Mideast,” Ross told CBN News.
“They [Israelis] have been our surrogate fighting the terrorists,” Pittenger said. “We have helped contribute to the Iron Dome, which is a missile defense system that they’ve developed.”
The congressmen’s comments come at a time of unprecedented friction between U.S. and Israeli leadership over the issue of a nuclear Iran.
“The prime minister is the Winston Churchill of our era and regrettably President Obama is the Neville Chamberlain,” Pittenger explained. “He doesn’t see the facts. He doesn’t see the issues.”
Pittenger said he was disturbed that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared unsure of U.S. help in its time of trouble.
“Frankly, I asked the prime minister at such time that you believe that you will need America, will you believe America will be there for you? And the best answer he could give me was ‘I hope so,'” he said.
Other long-time U.S. allies — like Egypt, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates — are looking to Israel for help in fighting radical Islamic groups.
“Who came in to help Egypt? It wasn’t us. It was Israel,” Pittenger told CBN News. “Israel has been the best partner that President el-Sisi has had to defeat the Muslim Brotherhood. Israel has as well been giving significant strategic assistance to Jordan.”
The congressmen said the U.S. could learn a lot from Israel.
“We don’t understand what a resilient country that this is — under enormous pressure and challenge from its borders. In the midst of that, they’re one of the strongest, entrepreneurial economies in the world,” Pittenger said.
“We can learn a lot about not only their commitment with the young people going into the IDF and having public service, we can learn a lot from their opportunities for economic development,” Ross said. “We can learn a lot from their agricultural skills that they’ve honed and turned a desert into a very vibrant and successful agricultural arena.”
SOURCE: CBN News
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