America is at the start of what President Trump has warned will be a painful and tough month ahead. Political and faith leaders, healthcare providers, and the entire global population are and will be tested like never before.
We are facing this together, however. And while we crave community and cannot be together physically – we can become one through faith, compassion, solidarity, friendship and cooperation.
The Book of Genesis says, “I will bless those who bless you,” and for hundreds of years – long before the reestablishment of the State of Israel – the American people have stood beside the Jewish people and supported Jewish statehood. Today, as a plague ignites our world, we are blessed to have friends in a strong, secure Israel.
It’s important to recognize that our alliance has never been more important than it is today. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said as much on behalf of his country ahead of an early March conversation with U.S. coronavirus task force response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx. “Links with the U.S. are essential,” he said. “I view them as one of our greatest assets in dealing with this crisis.”
I am thankful that Israel and the U.S. have quickly moved to overcome this pandemic together. The two states have established a cooperation mechanism for Israel’s National Emergency Management Authority and FEMA to coordinate. Leaders of both nations have instructed their coronavirus teams to consult each other on technological and scientific developments to address and overcome the challenges posed by this deadly virus, with Vice President Pence ensuring that Birx is part of these critical conversations.
But the friendship and cooperation between our great nations extends beyond government intervention alone. Israelis and Americans stand united, as evidenced by Tel Aviv City Hall’s illumination in the stars and stripes, and Israel’s Teva Pharmaceuticals, the leading generic drug company in the U.S., is donating millions of doses of potentially lifesaving drugs, like hydroxychloroquine sulfate tablets, to America.
Our bonds are both remarkable and remarkably expectable. After all, the U.S. and Israel have worked hand-in-hand for generations in myriad ways, thanks in large part to continued U.S. foreign aid. Foreign aid is often thought of in the context of defense procurement, but it’s so much more than that. U.S. foreign aid also helps to keep Americans healthy and on the cutting edge of scientific research.
Since Richard Nixon occupied the Oval Office, the U.S. and Israeli scientific communities have collaborated through the U.S.-Israel Binational Science Foundation. During the Clinton administration, the U.S. and Israel established the U.S.-Israel Science and Technology Foundation to support scientific and technological cooperation. And of course, Congress and USAID have provided tens of millions in competitive grant money to Israeli hospitals over the past twenty years, making them the most advanced in the region. The funds help cover the cost of diagnostic equipment and new technologies that save lives on the ground and alleviate economic pressure, allowing hospitals to invest in collaborations and research to cure diseases, improve patient care, and yes – even work on developing new vaccines.
This past weekend, Christians celebrated Easter and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. But first, Jews around the world marked Passover by telling the story of how the angel of death passed from house to house in ancient Egypt, helping deliver the Jewish people out of slavery and into the freedom of the promised land – Israel.
Once again, we remained huddled while a plague moves outside. Once again, we yearned for our own personal freedom. And once again, we thanked God for the miracles of the world that He Created and pray for this, too, to pass.
Israel needs America and America needs Israel. We are two nations forged in shared values and a common destiny. And together we will win the fight against this evil plague.
Pastor John Hagee is the founder and Chairman of Christians United for Israel.