Why do most Americans support Israel? Israel is not only America’s closest ally but the only democracy in the Middle East. America is founded upon the Declaration of Independence, which states that all men “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Likewise, the Israeli Declaration of Independence guarantees all groups freedom of religion, conscience, language, education, culture, and equal access to and protection of all holy sites. Israel stands on similar grounds as the United States and strives toward comparable goals. Created from the ashes of the Holocaust, Israel represents not only a homeland for the Jews but a land for 1.2 million Arab Israelis, and it is the only nation in the Middle East that protects freedom of worship for all its citizens. Israel and the U.S. have similar values and will stand together fighting our common enemy and threats to Americans’ and Israelis’ “pursuit of happiness.”

America has been fighting a war against terror for many years. Some of the largest events in U.S. history are terrorist attacks like the murder of over 200 Marines in Lebanon and at least another 200 Marines in Saudi Arabia, the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the murder of hundreds of people at the United States embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the murder of our sailors in the USS Cole in Yemen, and the Sept. 11 attacks. Israel has been fighting a war against terror since its creation in 1948. Every Israeli military success and capture of terrorists in the war against terror is a symbol of protection to the free world. Terror is terror regardless of its target, and terrorist cells existing throughout the world stand for one universal purpose: the murder and destruction of Christians, Jews, Hindus and those who espouse freedom and democratic values in the United States. Terrorists who target Israeli civilians are equivalent to terrorists who target American civilians.

Former President Jimmy Carter once said, “The survival of Israel is not just a political issue, it is a moral imperative. This is my deeply held belief that is shared by the vast majority of American people. … A strongly secure Israel is not just in Israel’s interest, it’s in the interest of the United States and in the interest of the entire free world.”

I have close friends in the Israeli Defense Force and the U.S. Marines, and I support both armies in the fight to protect their people. Israel represents a homeland where Jews and non-Jews live together in a democratic society. Israel must protect her people against terror brought on by Palestinian Islamic fundamentalists, who commit homicide bombings, promote hatred and are single-mindedly dedicated to the destruction of Israel. When suicide bombers inflict destruction and death upon the Israeli people, they violate the peace that Israel gives to its people.

I write in response to the growing anti-Semitism and animosity toward Israel. Israelis face terrorists who blow themselves up on a daily basis with the sole purpose of murdering the innocent. We must unconditionally condemn this terror and recognize that terror is evil in all its forms. We should not give any credence to those who attempt to justify terror. It is important to support Israel in these trying times because she is a land standing for peace and prosperity for all people. Israel has much to offer the world with its strong military forces, flourishing land and growing technology. I believe that Israel will continue to stand for democracy and the free world, and I hope the U.S. government will continue to give Israel strong support, and that pressure will not be exerted on Israel to make concessions that will jeopardize her survival and security.

Celia Soudry is an undeclared freshman.