[VIDEO] By: Sandy Eller. Emotions ran high at a bi-partisan “Tribute to the U.S. Israel Security Alliance” at the Russell Senate Office Building, co-chaired by Elliot Gibber, Stanley G. Tate, Simcha Lyons and Jason Lyons and organized by The Friedlander Group in honor of the U.S. Israel relationship and special appreciation for Iron Dome funding.
Several speakers made reference to the bloody massacre, noting that it highlighted the significance of the special bond between the two countries and brought out passionate identification with the State of Israel in the aftermath of the brutal murder in the Jerusalem synagogue.
Tehilim (Psalms) in memory of the 5 kedoshim (murdered) was recited by Rabbi Sheftel Neuberger of Ner Yisroel of Baltimore.
“We tragically received yet another reminder of the importance of this very relationship, of this very alliance that we have to both countries,” remarked Senator Mike Lee of Utah.
“You have this kind of random murder and you see Hamas celebrating and people dancing in the streets of Gaza,” said New York Congressman Jerry Nadler. “How can you trust any kind of agreement with people like this?”
Master of Ceremonies Jason Lyons introduced Senator Ted Cruz by acknowledging the recent event where Senator Cruz walked off the stage after being booed for supporting Israel. Lyons told the Senator, “this much I can guarantee, you will not be booed off the stage here.” Indeed, the crowd gave Cruz a minute long standing ovation and applauded enthusiastically throughout the speech.
For Texas Senator Ted Cruz the tragedy hit even closer to home.
“A good friend of mine studied under one of the rabbis who were murdered this week,” said Cruz. “And to see in the aftermath Hamas and Fatah celebrating and justifying that murder, communicating with crystal clarity to anyone that was paying attention.”
Cruz noted that the need for strong ties between the United States and Israel is greater than ever before, despite tensions between the two countries.
Cruz remarked that he has been to Israel three times in the last two years and on one trip he visited Raphael Industries (company that manufactures the IRON DOME) where he joked with them that “naming a company after me, Raphael (Cruz’s first name) Ted Cruz, was a bit much.”
New York Senator Chuck Schumer took the New York Times and other media outlets to task for their coverage of the Har Nof bloodbath, pointing to blasting coverage that reported Palestinian loss of life without saying that the dead Palestinians were the perpetrators the brutal attack.
Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski, chair of the Senate Appropriations committee, spoke powerfully about allowing Israel to stand up for itself in the face of terror.
“Israel must always be able to defend itself, whether it is against horrific attacks in a synagogue or at a bus stop,” said Senator Mikulski. “Whether it is missiles coming over, attacking communities like Ashkelon or preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon…there is no right to nuclear weapons to annihilate a treasured ally.”
Taking on those who have proposed cutting funding to Israel, Senator Johnny Isakson of Georgia noted that money sent to Israel is a sound investment.
“We give Israel $3.5 billion a year,” said Isakson. “$2 billion of it comes back in purchases of US military equipment and the rest of it is security we couldn’t buy for ten times as much in that neighborhood.”
The United States support of Iron Dome was mentioned frequently throughout the tribute.
Event co-chair Simcha Lyons who categorized the Iron Dome as “a miracle,” observed that he felt it was crucial to thank Congress for the defense system which saved an untold number of lives during recent missile attacks.
“We know that Iron Dome works,” said Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida. “America is safer when Israel is safer. Israel is safer when America is safer. Those bonds can never be broken.”
While the tribute was intended to thank Congress for its support of Israel, the feeling of gratitude was evident throughout the room.
“As you here today are thanking us, we thank you. Words and actions matter,” said Florida Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart.
Other speakers included Missouri Senator Roy Blunt, Illinois Senator Mark Kirk, Michigan Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Special presentations were made to Senator Mikulski and Senator Isakson for their efforts on behalf of the American-Israeli alliance.
“It’s not an overstatement to say that we the Jewish people live in a ‘malchus shel chesed,'” said Ezra Friedlander, CEO of The Friedlander Group which organized the Capitol Hill tribute. “To observe the identification with the Jewish people by so many members of Congress is a testament to that and we have to be grateful, which is why the tribute to the Congress for its security alliance was so important.”