As a Jewish woman living in the United States, I hold democratic values to be the utmost of liberties. I am privileged to have the freedom to vote, to have my voice heard and to make a difference in the future of our society — all things that my grandparents could only dream of when they were refugees in displaced person camps in Germany at my age. With the 2016 presidential election emerging, it is the duty of the students at Ohio State to pay attention and to get educated on policies from all candidates, from Hillary Clinton to John Kasich. Ohio is a battleground state, and it is our responsibility to take part in this debate by listening to our candidates’ plans for not only improving our domestic policies, but also on our foreign policy.
As a moral superpower, the U.S. has large shoes to fill in the realm of global politics. With fragility in the Middle East, where dictatorial regimes rise and fall as many times as I change outfits in the morning, the U.S. relies heavily on its unwavering, ethical, stable and democratic ally in the Middle East: the state of Israel. College students need to pay close attention to what the candidates have to say about Israel, because a strong Israel hand in hand with a strong America ensures the continuation of Western values across the world.
According to Freedom House, Israel is the only country in the Middle East that values academic freedom, the freedom of speech and the freedom of religion that the American people, our candidates and all college students must treasure as well. Today in America, we are facing serious social issues for women, blacks and the LGBTQ communities, and we must look to other western countries to see how they are actively pursuing changes.
In addition, just as entrepreneurship is integral to the American dream, Israel has taken that spirit and has become a hub for start-ups and other capitalist ventures. This plays a significant role in our state’s affairs, as Ohio has strong economic ties to Israel. For example, in 2002, the Negev Foundation launched the Ohio-Israel Agricultural and Rural Development Initiative uniting government, academic and business entities, trade associations and growers to improve agricultural trade and research and development ties between Ohio and Israel. Former Undergraduate Student Government president and current treasurer of Ohio Josh Mandel has helped Ohio make significant investments in Israel bonds compared to other states in the U.S. because not only is it a good investment for Ohio’s taxpayers, but, according to a July 12 article on Breaking Israel News: “Israel bonds are viewed as increasingly solid financial investments….”
Lastly, on a global level, Israel provides the only stability and reliability in the Middle East. The Iranian regime refers to Israel as the “Little Satan” and the U.S. as the “Big Satan,” explicitly saying that once it destroys the foothold of western civilization in the Middle East (Israel) it can move on to the king of western civilization, the U.S., according to a July 14 article from the Gatestone Institute International Policy Council website. The thought of a nuclear Iran capable of inflicting harm upon Israel and the United States should be a concern for all of us, as we will be the leaders of tomorrow.
Israel and her citizens see these issues unfolding on the ground and are victims of the brunt of it from Iranian proxies in Lebanon and in Judea and Samaria, otherwise referred to as the West Bank of Jordan. By understanding what our leaders say about the Middle East, we can get a glimpse of how they will establish stability in the region, and that can happen only by strengthening our friendship with Israel.
As students at OSU, we must take it upon ourselves to understand how our candidates approach the issues that involve Israel. We must seek to understand, not by anger, or by falsification. Failing to see the whole picture is not only harmful to ourselves but to our peers and the great country that we all reside in that we wish to keep as the moral superpower of our world today and for the safety of the children of tomorrow.