What America Needs
When Americans tune in to the presidential debates, most of them already know what they want to hear. They’re ready for a new hope and change. That’s why CNN’s Republican debate in December was the most-watched prime-time show of the week, topping even football.
One policy in particular many Americans want changed is the present administration’s disparaging attitude toward Israel. Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian lobby started in 1983 by Focus on the Family’s Dr. James Dobson, said 90 million Christians in America consider themselves evangelical; of those, 9 to 10 percent would consider themselves supporters of Israel. According to Perkins, support for Israel could be among the top five issues voters listen for when choosing a candidate.
It seems astonishing that Israel consistently makes headlines, even in presidential debates. How is it that this small Middle Eastern country approximately the size of New Jersey, with a population of merely 8 million, is a significant topic for both Republicans and Democrats? We don’t hear debate moderators bringing up El Salvador, which is roughly the same size as Israel. We don’t see candidates visiting Slovenia to shake hands with its political leaders.
So why is Israel a vital issue in the U.S. presidential election? Because Israel stands as a beacon of hope for democracy and freedom. The Middle East seems filled with nothing but turmoil, strife, and uncertainty. Look at some of the changes that have shaken the region in the past year:
The Islamic State (ISIS) has crippled Iraq, preventing any form of positive growth. ISIS has added to the death and destruction already ruining Syria under the leadership of Bashar Assad. Iran, on the verge of acquiring nuclear weapons, recently agreed to a deal that only ensures it will obtain them in the near future.
Many of the Gulf States, such as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates, have severed diplomatic relations with Iran in what looks like an internal Islamic standoff between Sunni and Shia Muslims. And let’s not forget Turkey, the once secular country in the Middle East. Its Islamization has grown substantially over the past few years.
Even the most democratic countries in the region face issues of despotism, endless corruption, terrorism, and high unemployment, all of which help to create an unrest that shows no signs of abating; and the Western countries remain skittish about how to handle such a tinderbox.
Yet at the center of all the Middle East chaos sits Israel—a beacon of hope for democracy and freedom that is the complete opposite of every other nation in the region. In Israel there is opportunity to grow as a family; thrive as a citizen; start a business; and worship without fear, regardless of religion.
What America needs is a president who desires to support and promote Israel’s strengths and who encourages the Jewish nation to spread freedom and peace throughout the Middle East.
Many people believe Israel is the world’s biggest problem. Israel is not the problem; Israel is the solution. Israel possesses all the ingredients for stability and growth, along with the desire to share them. If the surrounding countries would only accept and partner with their Jewish neighbor, there could be a major transformation politically and economically in the Middle East.
I’m praying God will give us a president who understands the value of Israel and supports the Jewish state for being a refuge of freedom and democracy in a dark area of the world. I hope you are too.