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For more than half a century, the United States and Israel have shared the common bonds of democracy, economic vitality, and cultural affinity. These ties remain as strong today as when President Harry Truman first recognized the creation of a Jewish State in 1948. From religious kinships to shared interests, and from military strengths to commercial relations, the enduring friendship between the United States is durable, stable, and unbreakable.

Israel continues to face serious regional threats, concerns which are also shared by the United States. From Iran and Syria to the resurgence of al-Qaida and the militant strength of Hamas and Hezbollah, these actors have dangerous consequences for the stability of the region and the security of the entire world. The United States must stand with Israel in the struggle against terrorists who would murder innocent families, blow up buses in the street, and launch explosive-laden rockets at cities and towns.

One of the biggest threats facing Israel today is Iran. Simply put, the authoritarian regime's pursuit of nuclear weapons and support for terrorism poses grave consequences not only for Israel but also for the entire global community. The anti-Semitic, anti-Israel and anti-West actions and statements of Iran's leaders should be taken seriously, and the international community has a responsibility to act. I have supported the numerous sanctions efforts in Congress, and will continue to do so as long as Iran insists on pursuing its dangerous course of action.

Throughout my tenure as a Member of Congress, I have traveled throughout the Middle East, including 14 trips to Israel. From Yitzhak Rabin to Benjamin Netanyahu, I have met with every Israeli Prime Minister and numerous other Knesset members, military officers, business leaders, and ordinary citizens. Israel never ceases to impress me, whether I am visiting the Western Wall in Jerusalem or a desalinization plant in Ashkelon. I have also met with countless other Middle Eastern leaders, urging them to seek out peaceful solutions to historically violent conflicts. As Co-Chair of the Congressional Democratic Israel Working Group, I work hard to educate Members of Congress about the importance of a strong U.S.-Israel relationship, and routinely host events in Congress for Members to learn about Israel's many successes and challenges.

As Israel continues on its journey toward peace, it is essential that the United States remain supportive of Israel's absolute right to defend itself and protect its citizens. Equally, the United States must engage fully in the peace process to ensure that all people in the region can live with dignity and freedom. I am hopeful and optimistic that one day Israel and all of its neighbors will live in peace.
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