For decades, Israel and the United States have stood united in shared values, hopes, dreams, freedom, and peace. As the only democratic nation in the Middle East, Israel is a natural partner for our country. The United States recognized the state of Israel on the very day independence was declared, May 14, 1948, and has proved to be one of her closest allies. This relationship deepened when the 9/11 terrorist attacks brought Middle Eastern terrorism to our sacred shores. From that day forward, we shared a new bond with Israel, fighting terrorism through coordinated efforts and sharing intelligence and weaponry. The United States has also been Israel’s most dependable advocate in both the United Nations and International Courts.
Israel knows all too well the sorrow and fear terrorism creates. Anti-Israel groups have targeted civilians in their violent attempts to weaken the nation. In 2001 and 2002, for instance, Israel endured several suicide bombings calculated to kill as many Israelis as possible. Terrorists chose places where people gathered, such as a Sbarro pizza restaurant in Jerusalem, a bus in northern Israel, and a hotel where dozens were celebrating Passover.
The frequency and unpredictability of these attacks created an atmosphere of fear, which caused many Israelis to avoid attending public events or even visiting a café. Israel responded with controversial measures, establishing checkpoints and rooting out terrorist cells.
The events of 9/11 made foreign terrorism a reality for the United States. Israelis empathized with the shock and horror Americans experienced that day and mourned alongside us. They grieved over the suffering of the victims, five of whom were Israeli citizens, as well as first responders and grieving families. In response to 9/11, the Israeli government immediately declared September 12 a day of mourning. The nation also assisted practically by hosting emergency blood drives and building a memorial in Jerusalem featuring the name of each person killed in the 9/11 attacks.
Encountering terrorism firsthand increased American sympathy for the violence Israel experiences on an all-too-regular basis; it heightened our understanding of the measures Israel takes to prevent these acts of terror.
Israel has strongly supported the United States’ efforts to shut down terrorist organizations that pose a threat to both Israel and America. Israel supported our efforts in dismantling the Taliban in Afghanistan and in dealing with the existential threat posed by the radical Muslim administration in Iran.
The United States reciprocated and assisted the Israeli military in engineering the Iron Dome, a surface-to-air defense system that detects incoming rockets, calculates where they will land, and fires missiles to eliminate them before impact. This technology has effectively protected Israel against thousands of rockets fired by the terrorist group Hamas just a few months ago.
Hostile Arab extremists target Israel and the United States for similar reasons: both are democratic centers of Western culture. American support for Israel has also fanned the flames of anti-Americanism. These sentiments were expressed in a disturbing speech given at a mosque in Gaza in October 2000, during which the speaker called upon Arabs to “kill those Jews and those Americans who are like them.” In a way, Israel and the United States are united not only by shared ideals but also by the hate they face as a result.
For Americans, 9/11 surprised us as to how bitterly some people hate our country. For Israelis, 9/11 was yet another sign of how devastating terrorism is. But it also resulted in an opportunity to work more closely with the United States in opposing the threat wherever it appeared. Twenty years later, Israel and the United States are still partnering in fighting terrorism and making the world a more peaceful place.
To learn more about how 9/11 has changed the Middle East over the past twenty years, join us at our upcoming conference, 9/11 and the New Middle East. Through worship, corporate prayer and remembrance, and the testimonies of speakers who were there, we will grow in our knowledge of 9/11 and how it has changed the world. We will also gain insights into the Middle East today by learning to view the events of 9/11 through a biblical lens. Join us September 10–11 in person at Trinity Baptist Church in New York City or online.
by Rachel Larsen
 “How Israel’s Iron Dome Missile Shield Works,” BBC News, May 17, 2021, sec. Middle East, accessed July 26, 2021, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-20385306.
 “PA TV Broadcasts Call for Killing Jews and Americans,” MEMRI, October 13, 2000, accessed July 26, 2021, https://www.memri.org/reports/pa-tv-broadcasts-call-killing-jews-and-americans.