An unwavering commitment to Israel

An unwavering commitment to Israel
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Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceTrump endorses challenger to Hogan ally in Maryland governor's race Pence to headline New Hampshire event focused on Biden spending plan The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - Arbery case, Biden spending bill each test views of justice MORE gave a truly remarkable and inspiring speech before the Knesset, an honor rarely given to foreign leaders. It has been described as one of the most strongly Zionist speeches ever given by a non-Jew in the Knesset, starting with a simple declarative statement that distinguished the Trump administration from its predecessor: “America stands with Israel.”

Echoing George W. Bush, whose views were often ridiculed as simplistic, Pence aptly stated, “We stand with Israel because we believe in right over wrong, in good over evil, and in liberty over tyranny.”

Yes, it is just that simple. It is a fundamental distinction between Israel and its neighbors.

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Pence also recognized the miracle that is Israel, without reference to the Bible, when he said, “this April, we will mark the day when the Jewish people answered that ancient question — can a country be born in a day, can a nation be born in a moment? — as the State of Israel celebrates the 70th anniversary of its birth.”

 

The vice president was rightly applauded when he reminded everyone how the president had “righted a 70-year wrong” by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Pence also undercut the State Department’s apparent intention to sabotage the president’s plan to move the embassy by delaying construction for years, perhaps long enough for a new president to come to power and reverse the decision. Instead, the vice president said the embassy will have been moved by the end of next year.

While critics hysterically claimed the administration undermined the peace process and foreclosed compromises, Pence reiterated longstanding positions on maintaining the status quo at Jerusalem’s holy sites. He did not give any endorsement to settlement construction, but he did not condemn it either. 

Perhaps his most important observation rebutted the pervasive myth that Israelis do not seek peace. “We know Israelis want peace,” Pence declared, “and we know that Israelis need no lectures on the price of war. The people of Israel know the terrible price all too well. … And you, who know the price of war, know best what the blessings of peace can bring — to you, to your children and future generations.”

In another marked departure from the previous administration, Pence promised, “The United States of America will never compromise the safety and security of the State of Israel. Any peace agreement must guarantee Israel’s ability to defend itself by itself.”

The previous administration, under Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaBiden celebrates start of Hanukkah The massive messaging miscues of all the president's men (and women) 'Car guy' Biden puts his spin on the presidency MORE, famously avoided reference to radical Islam, but Pence had no compunction about calling out the threat we face:

Radical Islamic terrorism knows no borders – targeting America, Israel, nations across the Middle East and the wider world. It respects no creed – stealing the lives of Jews, Christians and especially Muslims. And radical Islamic terrorism understands no reality other than brute force. Together with our allies, we will continue to bring the full force of our might to drive radical Islamic terrorism from the face of the Earth.

Further in contrast to Obama, Pence pledged to “work with Israel, and with nations across the world, to confront the leading state sponsor of terror: the Islamic Republic of Iran.” Echoing the president, he said the administration would either fix or withdraw from the catastrophic nuclear deal with Iran.    

Vice President Pence’s obvious love of Israel, his beautiful tribute and the serious policy commitments he offered were a breath of fresh air after eight years of tension with the Obama administration. Supporters of Israel, and Israelis themselves, sometimes take our friends for granted. We never should because in today’s world, we need all the friends we can get.

And that’s especially true of friends who unabashedly demonstrate their unwavering support for the Jewish people and Israel.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach whom The Washington Post calls “the most famous rabbi in America” is the founder of The World Values Network and is the international best-selling author of 31 books, including, “The Israel Warrior.” Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.