Happy 248th Birthday America, from Israel!

Happy 248th Birthday America, from Israel!

6 Things you need to know about the special US-Israel relationship!

Two hundred and forty eight years ago today, the world changed forever when the USA declared Independence from the British empire. Since that time, the US has been a wonderful example for all of us and how we think of important values including personal freedom, individual rights and responsibilities, Democracy, religious liberty, entrepreneurship, and the American Dream. This process has enhanced the lives of countless people outside of its borders, including Israel. Indeed, this is a special day worldwide!

Although not an American, I am delighted to celebrate this wonderful day from Israel! In honor of this special day, here are 6 things you didn’t know about the unique, Israel-American relationship:

1) Both countries declared their independence from the British and had to fight existential wars as underdogs against more powerful armies and yet were still victorious!

Painting of the US Declaration of the Independence on July 4, 1776 in Philadelphia (left) and Ben Gurion’s declaring Independence in Tel Aviv on May 14, 1948

The US famously declared independence from the British Empire on this date in 1776. The British did not recognize this move, continuing to attack Colonial forces (the first battles actually started in 1775, but by 1776 it was a full blown war). Although the English had the world’s best trained army and largest navy, this new “American spirit” was victorious, eventually building one of the most successful and powerful nations on earth!

Israel’s day would come on May 14, 1948, when the British rulers left the Holy Land and Ben Gurion declared Independence. The next day, 7 Arab armies invaded Israel. Though vastly outnumbered in both troops and weaponry, Israel miraculously won the war, an outcome that no one expected. Today, Israel has become a leading nation, particularly in science, technology, its military, and so much more.

This shared history of fighting for Independence, triumphs against more powerful forces, and successfully creating two strong nations (during the most trying of circumstances) is one of the factors that had created strong bond between Americans and Israelis.

2) The US was the first country to recognize Israel after the Jewish state declared independence.

Letter written by President Truman recognizing Israel.

The US-Israel relationship began a mere 10 minutes after Israel declared independence. At 4:00 PM Ben Gurion announced the founding of the new Jewish state, and President Harry Truman reciprocated with a letter of recognition at 4:10 PM, becoming the first country to do so!

An interesting fact: No one knew what this new state would be called, so President Truman’s typed letter mentions “The new Jewish State”. Minutes later when he heard about the new name, he crossed out the typed letters and in his own handwriting wrote on top of it “The State of Israel”.

3) For the US Bicentennial in 1976, a park was planted in Jerusalem with an exact replica of the Liberty Bell.

Liberty Park in Jerusalem with the exact replica of the Liberty Bell. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

In 1976 Israel took the American Independence Day celebration a step further, and in honor of America’s bicentennial, planted a 9 acre park in Jerusalem. The park boasts sports facilities, a thousand seat amphitheater, playgrounds, several grassy areas for picnics (with plenty of trees for shade) and of course an exact replica of the Liberty Bell.

Today, Liberty Park is arguably the most popular park in Israel’s eternal capital.

4) There are three towns in Israel named after US presidents.

File:Kfar Truman 1.jpg
source: Wikimedia.org

In Israeli history, while most US presidents could arguably have been called “Pro-Israel” (with some notable exceptions) two presidents have stood out for their exceptional Pro-Israel actions and have been honored with having a town named after them during their administration. In 1949, Kfar Truman was founded in Central Israel to honor Harry Truman, the first world leader to recognize Israel’s Independence. In 2019 Trump Heights was founded in the Golan Heights, after Donald Trump recognized Israel’s legitimate claim to that land (he also recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital).

Rabbi Tuly Weisz, founder of Israel365, at Trump Heights in the Golan region of Israel (Photo Breaking Israel News)

In addition, there is a youth village is central Israel named after George Washington called Givat Washington.

For more on the historical US recognition of the Golan Heights and the founding of the town of Trump Heights, click here.

5) Outside of New York, the only September 11 memorial with the names of all 2,996 people who were killed, is found in Israel

The September 11th Memorial Plaza just outside of Jerusalem. A part of the base was built using ruins from the World Trade Center.

Good friends celebrate together during good times, but also share their pain during the bad. On September 11, 2001, the US suffered one of the worst and most tragic terrorist attacks in history. Although Israel has suffered from terrorist attacks since its inception (with most Israelis actually knowing at least one victim) we have not been desensitized to the pain of our friend and greatest ally.

To commemorate all victims of 9/11, the Jewish National Fund designed a 5-acre memorial plaza outside of Jerusalem. Etched into the monument are the names of all the victims (the only place in the world outside of New York with that distinction). Today, tourists visiting Israel may visit this remarkable site just outside of Jerusalem to pay their respects to the victims.

6) The US has vetoed at least 56 anti-Israel resolutions in the UN’s Security Council since 1972.

Then US Ambassador Nicky Haley vetoing a UN security council resolution condemning the US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital to Israel on December 18 2017

The UN has been infected with anti-Semitism from its inception. Despite Israel being a model of religious freedom and tolerance, the UN has targeted Israel more than all other countries combined. In spite of the fact that 2020 saw many countries involved in genocide, war crimes, human trafficking, religious persecution, and torture and imprisonment of political opponents, 17 of the 23 condemnations issued that year by the UN General Assembly were against Israel.

In the UN security Council since 1972, at least 56 resolutions were blocked by the US who have veto power. On the flip side, Israel and the US have introduced many resolutions against terrorist organizations such as Hamas over the years, but very few have passed because the other countries on the council have vetoed them.

The US continues to be a valuable ally and dear friend of the Jewish state! I would personally like to wish the people of America a Very Happy and Healthy Independence Day!

Nosson Shulman

Nosson Shulman is a journalist and Licensed Tour Guide in Israel specializing in Biblical toursTo allow tourists to experience Israel during the Corona era, he created the new hit Israel tour video series which brings Israel to the home of viewers by simulating actual tours. To check out his free sneak preview tour videos, click here. To view sample tour itineraries or to inquire about private tour opportunities with a personalized itinerary on your next trip to Israel, click here. 

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