Campaign workers for U.S. Republican presidential candidate and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie put up an American flag before his town hall campaign stop at the Hampton Academy in Hampton, New Hampshire February 7, 2016.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Although I live in the Middle East, on the Israeli side of the border with turbulent Gaza, I’m like every other ex-pat American around the world this week who couldn’t break away from the election coverage. Even though this election campaign was the most bizarre I’ve ever seen, the bottom line is I am very, very proud of America’s strong and vibrant democracy.
Even before the results were in it was certain that no matter the result, America was the winner.
As a dual citizen I take my democracy seriously. I’ve always voted.
I’ve always followed the key issues.
I’ve always been amazed that life here on my small kibbutz (a co-op farming town, population about 600) is so similar to life back in America. We value our freedom of choice and the freedom to express ourselves, to worship as we choose, to be informed by a free and lively press. As farmers we’re proud that we work the ground and produce for our nation.
America and Israel are so alike and share so many values that as a small democracy in a chaotic region we do indeed look up to the United States, knowing that in times of need we each have each other’s six.
I’m thankful and grateful that with America’s support Israel stands on its own two feet. Of the tens of thousands of American soldiers who are in the Middle East helping to protect the world, none of them are in Israel – with America’s help we protect ourselves, by ourselves.
The Gaza Strip border is just two miles away from my community and is controlled by the Iran-backed Hamas terrorist group. For the past 15 years they have been shooting rockets and mortars at us and saying that they don’t want to make peace. In many ways they are similar to Islamic State, especially with their hatred of America and Israel.
But these days the rocket threat is lessened in a big way thanks to the unbreakable support of the US that helped us produce the famous Iron Dome anti-missile system.
I know it’s a cliché, but Israel really is the island of stability and democracy in a crazy Middle East. On the other side of our northern border you can see the civil war raging in Syria, but inside Israel is a modern, exciting and peaceful country that loves working closely with America – be that with the tens of thousands of Israelis working for American companies, going to a rock concert in Tel Aviv, or enjoying a burger or pizza – there are so many American companies working here it’s unfair if I pick out one name.
We too went to the polls two years ago for a national election. Yes, we too have national controversies and crazy headlines, but just like America we have freedom, stability and the strength to push ahead and make our country and our world a better place. There may only be a small tackle football league in Israel, but that football spirit is in Israel too. I grew up in Syracuse, New York, (Go Orange!) and also got inspired by the words out of Green Bay: when the going gets tough, the tough get going.
I thought the exact same thing four years ago and for every four years before that. I knew then as I do now that it doesn’t matter who is in the White House or who is the prime minister in the Knesset – life in both countries goes on with the same strong connection between these two great nations.The author is a resident of Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak.