US relationship with Israel a key, but overlooked issue

In the next few weeks, we will hear President Obama and Gov. Romney debate on a litany of issues including the economy, energy, healthcare and foreign policy. One issue that will not receive such a spotlight, but is of great importance, is the U.S. relationship with Israel.

Israel is a representative democracy in the Middle East and a leader in top-notch technologies like microchips, life-saving vaccines, and clean-energy generation. It has also been the homeland of the Jewish people for 3,000 years. Israel is an irreplaceable, Middle Eastern ally of America.

Although Israel is safe to visit and live in, it faces a grave danger from abroad, a nuclear-powered Iran. Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denies the Holocaust and wants to wipe Israel “off the face of the map.” Iran’s proxies have been at the forefront of deadly bombings in India, Bulgaria and Georgia, and have even attempted to assassinate the Saudi ambassador on American soil.

Iran also sponsors the terrorist group Hezbollah in Southern Lebanon and is the main backer of vicious tyrant Bashar Al-Assad of Syria, who has slaughtered more than 10,000 of his own people.

The threat to Israel and the U.S. is both real and imminent. As each day passes, Iran is one day closer to possessing a game-changing nuclear weapon.

Obama has an exemplary record fighting for Israel’s security and prosperity. He fought for the passage of the Iron Dome missile defense system, increased security assistance for Israel, and crippling sanctions against Iran’s banking and petrochemical industries. Furthermore, Obama stood up to a United Nations resolution that would have unilaterally declared Palestine a state and derailed the peace process.

Romney has visited Israel several times as a private citizen and has known Prime Minister Netanyahu for many years. Romney has also been unwavering in his admiration of Israel.

As such, I would like to thank both candidates for their strong support of the U.S. relationship with Israel. However, many of these accomplishments are not possible without a pro-Israel Congress. We need to support and elect congressmen with strong pro-Israel records into office.  Congress has been plagued by tumult and partisanship over the last few years, but Israel has remained an issue that unites Republicans and Democrats.

No matter the outcome of the elections in November, it is critical that we strengthen the sanctions against Iran and do everything in our power to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. Not only will these sanctions protect Israel and the U.S., but they will also guard the world from the violence and threats of Iran.

 Jordan Lewis is a senior majoring in political science.