Israel’s safety must be America’s priority


In many corners of the world today, instability and democratic backsliding reign supreme. We see this phenomenon playing out in real time as Russia continues its malicious invasion of Ukraine, China further cracks down on human rights, and Sudan braces for a potentially protracted civil war.
In the face of such a deteriorating international security situation, it is extraordinarily important that the United States reaffirms its commitment to standing for freedom, and continues to nurture democracy around the globe wherever there is fertile soil. America’s greatest ally in this generational struggle is Israel — a free country whose miraculous establishment by the Jewish people and survival against great odds has often drawn the ire of its antisemitic, authoritarian neighbors.
Recently I had the opportunity to travel to Israel as part of a bipartisan congressional delegation led by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, to see for myself the manifestation of that country’s great democracy and celebrate the 75th anniversary of Israel’s hard-fought freedom. During our time in Israel, my House colleagues and I met with President Isaac Herzog, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Speaker of the Knesset Amir Ohana, and several other Israeli lawmakers, and briefed them on ways Congress is working to help Israel combat violence perpetrated by terrorist groups and state sponsors of terror, such as Iran.
While speaking to our Israeli partners, my colleagues and I reaffirmed our support for enhancing Israel’s “Iron Dome” missile defense system, and announced our participation in a new joint U.S. House-Knesset Parliamentary Friendship Group — a bilateral association of legislators from the United States and Israel designed to promote avenues of cooperation between our countries.
What’s more, the American delegation formally delivered a copy of a congressional resolution I co-sponsored that calls for the strengthening of the Abraham Accords. The accords — a historic framework brokered by Nassau County’s own David Friedman, who served as America’s ambassador to Israel — provide a path to lasting peace in the Middle East, and I am proud that a Long Islander played such a large part in their formation.

We were shown such warmth by the Israeli people as we toured large swaths of Jerusalem, including the Western Wall and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre — moving visits to sites important to my Catholic faith. I also paid my respects to the victims of the Holocaust at Yad Vashem, which serves as a palpable reminder to the world that we must work tirelessly to prevent such evils from ever being carried out again.
Indeed, Jerusalem truly is a holy city, and I am grateful to the Israeli people for their considerate caretaking of so many important religious places of worship and other sacred sites. Sadly, however, the carefully maintained peace established by Israel that I observed was shattered as rockets fired from Gaza targeted innocent Israelis in the southern sections of the country near the end of my visit — a painful reminder that Israel remains under siege, and that underscores the need for the United States to continue supporting our greatest ally in its struggle for survival.
On my flight back to New York from Jerusalem, I couldn’t help but think of those poor Israeli men, women and children forced to live in fear of indiscriminate death falling from the sky. We cannot allow this to remain the reality for the people of Israel.
I have seen firsthand how Israel stands as a beacon of hope in a world cloaked by darkness, and a shining example of the power of liberty in building a free, fair and just society. The United States must do everything in our power to safeguard our Israeli allies, for Israel’s very existence is a victory for the free world, and its success is America’s success. As a member of Congress, I will continue to do everything in my power to provide Israel the tools necessary to ensure that the blue and white banner forever flies high over the country’s eternal capital of Jerusalem. Israel will remain.

Congressman Anthony D’Esposito represents New York’s 4th Congressional District.