Guest Essays, Letters to the Editor, Opinion

Guest essay: U.S.-Israel alliance makes the world a safer place

by Stuart V. Pavilack

The Dominion Post published a guest essay Aug. 22 entitled “Teaching about Sept. 11 in America.” It had less to do with teaching than to slander our country, its leadership and Israel.

Does anyone believe the United States is involved in choosing Saudi rulers that will listen to it? Saudi Arabia is a monarchy and has been governed by the Saud family continuously since 1932. The king chooses his successor and names him the crown prince.

The reality is the U.S. and Israel are close allies because the two are democracies with shared values. Both countries support a free marketplace and value human life. Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East. Its citizens, including Muslims, Druze, Christians, women and the LGBTQ community, enjoy more freedoms and civil rights than anywhere else in the region. Additionally, Israel is the only Middle Eastern country where Christianity is growing rather than being diminished.

Not one American soldier has ever defended Israel, let alone died for it. From the end of the Vietnam War to the Persian Gulf War, Israel was the primary active testing ground for U.S. planes and military hardware.

The U.S. has purchased two units of Israel’s Iron Dome system, which were delivered earlier this year, to defend American soil. The system destroys incoming missiles in air. This past May, Hamas indiscriminately fired over 4,000 rockets into Israeli civilian population centers. The Iron Dome destroyed almost all of them, and the U.S. is now considering purchasing additional units.

Lately, Israel has served as a laboratory for the study of COVID-19. Due to the country’s size and population, coupled with the Israeli health care system, it has provided a trove of information and statistics. This is being used in the U.S. and around the world to help stop the pandemic.

Israel is the 24th largest trading partner of the U.S. In 2019, the total bilateral trade between the two totaled $47 billion. That included the export of goods and services to Israel of $20.4 billion and the import of goods and services of $27 billion.

Israeli businesses have also opened branches in the U.S. Massachusetts hosts nearly 100 companies that have Israeli founders or Israeli licensed technologies. Georgia hosts more than 50 Israeli companies and Virginia has more than a dozen. Other “hubs” include California and New York. In 2019, the U.S. Department of State estimated direct Israeli investment in the U.S. totaled more than $36.6 billion and supported more than 36,000 U.S. jobs.

Iran is the most concerning issue in the region and the world. It has been trying to develop nuclear weapons since early part of this century. The U.S. and other countries tried to come to an agreement with Iran to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons. The agreement, which resulted in 2015, simply delayed the process.

Iran has been found to be violating several parts of the agreement. Iran has not allowed inspectors into several “military” facilities. Germany has found Iran trying to purchase technology prohibited under the agreement. And Iran has said for years it doesn’t seek to develop nuclear weapons, but a treasure trove of records captured and secretly taken out of Iran, by Israel, prove otherwise. Now Iran is bragging about its ability to enrich uranium.

Why is Iran going nuclear a world-wide problem? For years it has been saying “death to Israel” and “death to the United States.” Additionally, it has been developing inter-continental missiles. An argument can be made that Russia and the U.S. have enough nukes to destroy each other several times over. But the difference is that each country respects that, and it serves as a deterrent. Iran would not hesitate to give nuclear weapons to its proxies like Hamas, Hezbollah and others. That, coupled with people willing to die for the cause, could cause a host of problems.

The world is a better and safer place due to the close relationship between the U.S. and Israel.

Stuart V. Pavilack is the  executive director of the Zionist Organization of America: Pittsburgh Office. He is a West Virginia University alum living in Wheeling.