A 12th grade student at the Shalom Hartman Institute Charles E. Smith High School for Boys has won honorable mention in an essay writing contest sponsored by the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv on the occasion of Israel’s 60th anniversary.
Shlomo Roiter’s essay, written in English, titled, "60th Anniversary of US-Israel Diplomatic Relations," follows:
By Shlomo Roiter
The 60th anniversary of US-Israel diplomatic relations is a very unique one. No other two countries in the world are as closely tied as the US and Israel or have such a warm relationship. The relationship is one so strong, that to try and break it would be like attempting to break the law of gravity. The United States and Israel have been standing behind each other for the past 60 years, through thick and thin, no matter what the circumstances. Loyalty of this nature is simply exceptional.
America, having been the first country in the world to recognize the Jewish state when it was founded in 1948, has continued to assist it in any possible throughout the past 60 years. Israel has received hundreds of billions of dollars worth of aid from the US to ensure that America’s only democratic ally in the Middle East continues to exist. Despite a host of enemies who would like nothing more than to see the Jewish state wiped off the map, America has allied itself with Israel. In return, Israel has consistently helped promote America’s interests in the Middle East, while Israeli intelligence helps the United States with both gathering intelligence and preventing attacks on US interests in the region. The mutual loyalty displayed by the US and Israel is both unwavering and unconditional.
The 60th year of US-Israel diplomatic relations is a milestone very important to me as an American teenager growing up in Israel. This milestone signifies not only the eternal bond between the two nations, but the mutual belief in liberty, justice and freedom for all regardless of race, religion or ethnicity. This belief is one so integral that tens of thousands of individuals in both the US and Israel have sacrificed their lives while attempting to ensure that these principles eternally remain a part of our way of life. Living in a world where Israel and the Jewish people’s existence is threatened on a daily basis by an array of enemies due to our democratic way of life, it is important to know that we have an ally who shares the same ideals and is ready to stand up for them no matter what the price may be. Unfortunately, both countries know the price all too well.
That price has been paid in blood by innocent soldiers and civilians in both the United States and Israel. In Israel, it is almost impossible to find one who has not been affected either directly or indirectly by the sadness and loss of life that this country has encountered in its attempt to defend its values. I myself lost a half brother in a bus bombing in September of 2002. America’s promise to Israel and the Jewish people that it will never stand alone insures that all those whose blood has been shed, did not die in vain, my brother included.
The importance of US-Israel diplomatic relations stretches way beyond the scope of protecting our homeland and that of the American people. It also impacts on the lives of all those living under oppression and persecution the world over. The knowledge that a dynamic duo such as America and Israel exist, a duo that not only cares about their own welfare and that of their citizens but rather is also concerned about the suffering of others, gives those living in the far corners of the earth a spark of hope. Perhaps one day they too will have the opportunity to be part of an alliance so great and taste the sweetness of democracy these two superpowers epitomize.
No two countries in modern history have succeeded in positively influencing the world as the US and Israel have in only 60 years. I strongly believe that either country could not have accomplished all that it has without steadfast material and moral support of one another. It is therefore integral that both the US and Israel continuing working together, no matter what the cost, to help make our world a place my brother would have been proud of. It is the least we can do to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.