Guest Columnist

“I had faith in Israel before it was established, I have faith in it now. I believe it has a glorious future before it — not just as another sovereign nation, but as an embodiment of the great ideals of our civilization.”Sixty-two years ago, President Harry Truman spoke these words, recognizing the relationship between the United States and Israel. It took 11 minutes for the United States to recognize the state of Israel, and since that moment, the two have established bonds that began strong and continue to strengthen as both Israel and the United States commit themselves to democracy, human rights, freedom of the press and religion, and regional peace.In recent weeks, some have questioned the viability of the United States–Israel relationship. The announcement of 1,600 new apartments to be built in East Jerusalem came from the Israeli Interior Ministry during Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Israel in early March. This abrupt announcement surprised both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — because of its timing — and Vice President Biden — because of its content — and it was a shock felt by both governments. The American administration was insulted by the announcement and believes that Israeli building in East Jerusalem — beyond the 1949 Armistice lines — impedes the peace process.The Israeli government, for its part, apologized profusely for the inappropriateness of the announcement’s timing, but not for its content, as Jerusalem is its capital. However, while some may say the relationship is at risk, neither government has proclaimed this.It is now our time as students to encourage members of Congress and the executive branch that the alliance between the United States and Israel is not one that merely benefits Israel. It is vital to the United States as well. Our elected officials must remember that this alliance is one that is essential. We each must ask: How do we remind our government of the vital nature of this relationship?  The first thing we can do is build relationships with members of our state government, our members of Congress and candidates for federal office. By getting involved in the upcoming election the pro-Israel community can ensure that the alliance between the United States and Israel remains strong. Students can call and write their congressmen to let them know directly about the issue at hand and urge them not only to talk to the administration, but also to speak for the relationship between the United States and Israel. Such efforts helped Congress recently declare that the relationship between the United States and Israel is an unbreakable one.  We can make a difference.Since Israel became a state in 1948 there have been 12 U.S. presidents. Each has spoken out in favor of the strong relationship and allegiance between the United States and Israel. It is our time as students to speak out in favor of this alliance and to ensure that it continues to grow and strengthen today, tomorrow and for generations to come.