A little over one year ago, the United States moved its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. With that single action, President Trump delivered a major victory for the Jewish state and its supporters in the U.S.
Still, relocating the embassy to Jerusalem is just one piece of a broader policy agenda meant to better the U.S.-Israel relationship. Under the Trump administration, Israel has seen its sovereignty recognized, enemies confronted, and even found new partners in a hostile region. Surely, it’s clear that Israel has a friend in President Trump.
Israel and the U.S. have shared a special relationship since the Jewish state was established.
President Truman sidestepped the recommendation of his own State Department by casting a key vote that led to the birth of the Jewish state at the United Nations. President Nixon airlifted crucial weapons and equipment to bolster the Jewish state during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Israel has regularly received military aid from the U.S. and our two countries have long-standing free trade agreement.
However, this relationship isn’t just special just because of geostrategic importance, but also from shared values. Both America and Israel were built on the foundation that all men are created equal and human rights should be protected. This important cornerstone ensures our two nations will never drift apart.
Building on past victories, President Trump came into to office with a pledge to make the U.S.-Israel relationship even closer. In particular, he promised to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, something previous presidents said they would do but failed to deliver on.
But President Trump is no normal politician. When he makes a promise, he keeps it.
And that’s exactly what he did in December 2017 when he declared that the U.S. would move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and recognize the Holy City as Israel’s capital. The president’s decision was not only a bold one but the right thing to do.
Jerusalem embodies thousands of years of Jewish historical and religious significance. Not to mention that western Jerusalem hosts the Israeli Knesset amongst other important government functions.
Still, the president recognized that the Jerusalem declaration was just the first step. To truly deliver for the Jewish people, President Trump understood that Iran needed to be put in check.
Up to this point, the president’s words have followed strong action as he’s put the squeeze on the radical Islamist regime in Tehran. In a move that advanced both Israeli and American interests, President Trump nixed the disastrous Iran deal in favor of putting stringent sanctions back on the regime.
These sanctions, which have largely been targeted at the regime’s energy sector, are having their intended impact. Oil exports have plummeted, and the inflation rate for the Iranian Rial is skyrocketing. Lower oil exports and a weakened currency means the regime has fewer funds to wage conflict.
In conjunction with confronting the regime in Tehran, President Trump has taken the gloves off against its radical Islamist proxies. Large bounties have been placed on leaders of Hezbollah in an effort to cripple the group’s operations. In effect, this better positions Israel which faces a serious threat from Hezbollah’s growing influence in Lebanon and Syria.
While the president has confronted Israel’s enemies, he’s also pushed other countries towards smoother relations with the Jewish state. For decades, Arab states like Saudi Arabia have refused to recognize Israel, but that dynamic is slowly shifting thanks to lobbying from the president and his advisors.
At an event in April 2018, the Saudi Crown Prince declared that Israel does, in fact, have a right to exist, a major shift from Riyadh’s traditional position. Nearly two weeks before that statement, a commercial jet headed to Israel flew through Saudi Arabian airspace for the first time in 70 years.
Reports have also suggested that Israel and Saudi Arabia are sharing intelligence to bolster one another’s pressure campaign against Iran. Though these actions may be small in isolation, they are important steps on a long path towards Arab countries normalizing relations with Israel.
The U.S. has a long history of defending and looking after nations who share our values. Because when America’s friends are empowered and respected, so are we. That’s why we should be proud of President Trump for standing with our greatest friend in the region.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.