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Americans Must Stand Strong in Support of Israel

In response to Mr. Robert F. Boyd’s recent letter, “Israel: the ungrateful ally,” published in the Roanoke Times, I, along with my wife, am writing this letter.  I’m a native of Roanoke, graduate of William and Mary and Union Presbyterian Seminary.  I have traveled to Israel 18 times and have first-hand knowledge of Israel and the tremendous asset Israel is to the USA and the world.  Space does not permit the long list of Israeli contributions but I will address here a few cogent and factual points.

 Seventy-five percent of Foreign Aid provided to Israel remains in the US.  Foreign Aid not only helps our ally protect itself from the surrounding terrorist groups committed to its destruction, it also provides thousands of jobs throughout our country, including here in Virginia.  As well, joint American-Israeli collaboration and innovation resulting from this Foreign Aid has saved the lives of countless Americans through brilliant Israeli research and invention, especially in the scientific and medical fields.

The fact that Israel flags made in the USA are flying throughout our country on public buildings and private residences is a testimony of the strong bond between these two nations. Not to mention the support and friendship Israel has shown for the United States in times of crisis.

 In 1947, when the United Nations approved the Partition Plan which offered both Arabs and Jews a state, the Arab leadership refused while the Jews accepted.  I can list 64 years of rejected Israeli overtures but Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza stands out:  Israel relocated 8,000 Jewish citizens from their homes in Gaza in 2005 in the hope that Gaza would become a successful and thriving Palestinian state.  In return, Hamas, a US-designated terrorist organization, took power.  Using Gaza as a launch pad, they have sent over 12,000 rockets onto over one million Israeli civilians, causing them to live in 15 second increments in-between Red Alerts.  Hamas locates their rocket launchers intentionally near schools, mosques, hospitals and apartment buildings.

 In addition to being an important ally, Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East.  Over one million Arabs live in Israel and enjoy freedoms that would be unimaginable in the neighboring countries. Arab women have freedom in Israel with basic rights such as the ability to vote and drive.  Arabs serve in the Knesset, the Supreme Court and in other high levels of Israeli government.

 We have recently seen an unfortunate call from certain Christian leaders asking Congress for a cessation of Israel’s Foreign Aid.  The leaders responsible for this misguided action have overlooked the very nature of terrorism which sacrifices its own people in its intention to destroy Israel.  These leaders are wrongly hanging the albatross of blame on Israel.

 As Americans, we stand with our democratic ally, Israel, and strongly support the Foreign Aid to Israel that helps both in Israel and here at home.

 John and Mary Elizabeth Kepley

Roanoke

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