As of this moment in time, the United States recognizes and stands with the Jewish state. But the strong bond that has been built over time did not come without opposition—even for those in leadership.
Like anything in this world, if it’s worth having, it’s worth fighting for. Our country’s past presidents put this principle into action.
- “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.”—Theodor Roosevelt
Let’s take a sneak peek into some of the battles our past presidents chose to take on as they fought to support Israel, even with opposition coming at them from their closest colleagues…
Harry Truman | The United States-Israeli Relationship in 1948
Harry Truman, the 33rd president of the United States, stepped into office in 1945. World War II was coming to an end, and emotions were high after the death of President Franklin Roosevelt, whom Truman succeeded.
President Truman was met with opposition from the State Department in his efforts to support Israel. In the face of resistance, Truman rested on the foundational values of the United States—morals, ethics, and human rights.
At the height of British control running out for the Palestine state, the Jewish Agency was prepared and intended to announce the birth of a new state in May 1948.
The Secretary of State, George Marshall, was considered by President Truman to be “the greatest living American.” However, they were like oil and water when it came to agreeing upon the recognition of the Jewish state. And Marshall was not alone in his opinion.
Many men in leadership positions such as members of the State Department, the Secretary of Defense, and the Director of the Office of United Nations Affairs were of the same mind as Marshall.
As tension rose within the walls of the Oval Office, Clark Clifford—President Truman’s advisor—made this argument against Truman’s opposers who based their decision not to support Israel on the nation’s small size and numbers…
“…the President knows just as well as you do what the numbers are but he doesn’t consider this to be a question of numbers. He has always supported the right of the Jews to have their own homeland, from the moment he became President.
“He considers this to be a question about the moral and ethical considerations that are present in that part of the world. For that reason, he supports the foundation of a Jewish state. He is sympathetic to their needs and their desires, and I assure you he is going to continue to lend our country’s support to the creation of a Jewish state.”
On May 12, 1948, Truman stood his ground and stated this…
“In an area as unstable as the Middle East, where there is not now and never has been any tradition of democratic government, it is important for the long-range security of our country, and indeed the world, that a nation committed to the democratic system be established there, one on which we can rely. The new Jewish state can be such a place. We should strengthen it in its infancy by prompt recognition.”[i]
While many doubted Truman and Israel, the truth is what stands the test of time. As Israel thrives and the relationship between the two countries continues to grow, we can see the wisdom that resided in President Truman prevailed.
The connection has benefited our country through technologies such as military intelligence that strengthens U.S. borders and easier road navigation on our way to work through innovations such as Waze.
Richard Nixon | The United States-Israeli Relationship in 1973
Richard Nixon, the 37th president of the United States, was in office from 1969 to 1974. Often remembered for his involvement in the infamous Watergate scandal, memories of President Nixon are not always favorable.
However, in the midst of the Watergate scandal, one could say there were moments of clarity for the past president.
On October 6, 1973, in the early morning hours, a ringing telephone woke the president in his home in California. A voice on the other end declared the news of an Israeli attack by Egypt and Syria. The Chief of Staff, Alexander Haig, was the one to break the news of the Yom Kippur War to Nixon.
Nixon’s memory of his mother’s words echoed in his ears. Nixon’s mother, Hannah, had told her son years before, “Richard, someday if you are in a position to help Israel, do it.”
As the hours ticked away during the Yom Kippur War, Nixon couldn’t shake his mother’s voice… even when those who surrounded him were not for helping the Jewish state.
This is proof that God uses the most unlikely people at times to accomplish His will. It became clear that Israel faced a grave threat by the surprise attacks, and they needed help.
Nixon went to Congress and requested emergency aid for Israel with a resupply airlift, Operation Nickle Grass…
“…567 missions were flown, delivering over 22,000 tons of supplies, and an additional 90,000 tons were delivered to Israel by sea. Later in her life, Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir would admit that upon hearing of the airlift during a cabinet meeting, she began to cry.”[ii]
Your Relationship with Israel
When you stop and think about the individuals who had resistance coming at them from every angle, and how they persevered with what they knew to be right, it spurs determinism in the human heart. It inspires us to do something—anything—when we believe it makes a difference.
On one hand, we have an example of a leader who believed in the establishment of a nation even before it was born.
And on the other, one whose character was questionable yet still rose above the circumstances and the voices pulling him back, instead choosing to do what was right. As a result, a nation was saved.
Today, you have a choice to stand with Israel. You have an opportunity to sow seeds of hope. You might not be the president of the United States, but you can make an impact on a nation for generations.
To learn more about your impact, go HERE! Many are waiting for their hero.
Click HERE to find out why the relationship is still important and how the United States and Israel continue to join efforts to strengthen security and promote peace.