MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) -- During a visit to Kansas State University Tuesday, Israel’s ambassador to the United States touched on the long-standing relationship between the two countries, saying the alliance is one that continues to flourish.
Michael Oren, a historian and author, delivered the prestigious Landon Lecture at K-State’s Student Union and told the crowd that the U.S. and Israel have strong spiritual connections and democratic shared values and well as a strategic military alliance.
Oren called Israel “unabashedly and unequivocally pro American” and said support for Israel in America is at an all-time high.
“Roughly three quarters of Americans define themselves as pro Israel,” he said.
He said the two allies have the best intelligence sharing relationship in the world and that Israel is dedicated to helping promote American defenses in combat.
“Israel and the United States have developed together the most advanced multi-layered antimissile systems in the world beginning with the iron dome system which is for short range missiles which has proven to be the first and only antimissile system to work in combat conditions during the recent fighting in November. The iron dome system took down 85% of the short range missiles that were fired at Israeli cities and that’s an historic record,” Oren said during his speech.
Israel has also been involved in armoring some 20,000 American fighting vehicles serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and provided drone aircrafts and Israeli components which are incorporated into “every American military aircraft, whether it be fixed-wing or helicopters.
Oren also said that Israel has helped save American lives. A small Jerusalem company developed a high-tech bandage that applies pressure from the inside of a wound. The bandage was used when Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head and the company has provided $1 million of the bandages to American fighting forces.
“There’s really nothing like this relationship between the United States and Israel on the battlefield or in medical hospitals or in the intelligence sharing community,” Oren said.
He also talked about the commercial connections between the two countries. Israel is the U.S.’s 20th largest customer in the world and the 12th largest exporter for the United States, surpassing Russia, Ireland, Spain and Argentina. Israeli companies are out-sourcing to the United States, employing thousands of Americans and trade between the United States and Israel over the last two decades has increased by 350%.
No matter what happens in the Middle East, Oren says the bond between the U.S. and Israel has proven to be “one of the great and unbreakable friendships in history.”
“We’re living through turbulent times in the Middle East. The entire region is roiling…what is occurring in North Africa, Egypt, Syria- everywhere you look we are engaged in change. The United States and Israel are together meeting these challenges… At times we have not agreed on everything… We’ve had differences on matters related to the peace process. We’ve had differences on relating to the Iranian nuclear challenge but the fact of the matter is today, on both these issues, our positions are almost identical,” he said.
"We both call for the direct and immediate resumption of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian leadership, leading to a two state solution for two peoples. We both are both committed to preventing Iran from developing and acquiring nuclear weapons. The great litmus to any alliance is not whether the two partners agree on everything. The great test is how you can overcome those differences and how you can move forward and find common ground,” he added. “Israel is not only America’s ally; Israel is America’s ultimate ally.”