From Rabbi Eckstein in Jerusalem:
I think itâ€™s important to share with you the following speech that Congressman Tom DeLay, House Majority Leader, gave to the Knesset here this week. He and other wonderful Christian friends of Israel are a tremendous boost
to the morale of the Israeli people. They remind us that we have true friends in America and that we are not alone in these difficult times.
Tom DeLay is also a true partner of The Fellowship - he was one of two Stand for Israel honorees, based on his steadfast support for Israel at our major dinner in Washington this spring. To receive a video of that magical evening when Congressmen DeLay, a Christian, and Tom Lantos, a Jewish Holocaust survivor, were honored for their shared love for Israel, please click here .
For more information on Congressman DeLayâ€™s trip to Israel and on other issues and events that touch the Jewish State, please click here.
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, Founder and President
August 1, 2003
EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the text of the speech House Majority Leader Tom DeLay delivered to the Israeli Knesset on July 30, 2003.
Mr. Speaker, thank you very much for your invitation and for that warm reception.
I want to take this opportunity to thank the citizens of Israel for their generous welcome and hospitality to my wife, Christine, and me over the last three days.
My traveling partner, Ander Crenshaw, and I look forward to bringing the lessons we've learned here back to America and to our colleagues in Congress.
I also look forward to sharing my experiences with President Bush, whose leadership and clarity make peace in the Middle East possible and victory in the war on terror inevitable.
In his comments yesterday, the president reaffirmed America's support for Israel's security and our commitment to fight "terrorism wherever it is found."
He made clear that the prospects for peace are the responsibility of the Palestinian Authority. They must maintain sustained, targeted and effective operations to fight terror and dismantle terrorist capabilities and infrastructure.
After my time here, I have a new appreciation for threat terrorism poses, and for the president's sense of urgency in fighting it every day and every where.
It has been an amazing six days here. I know I speak for everyone who made this trip with me when I say none of us will never forget the things we've seen here or the people we've met.
I sat with former refuseniks, heroes who spoke truth to power and helped bring an evil empire to its knees.
I visited the Kohtel, the ancient Western Wall of the temple that still stands as a symbol of God's infinite strength and love to billions of believers of many faiths all around the world.
I shook the hand of the owner of the Moment CafÃ© which was bombed last year. Today that cafÃ© has been rebuilt. Moment CafÃ© is now open for business in defiance of terror.
And I listened to another woman who told me her story.
Just a few years ago, she was, like me, a grandparent, and excited with the news her daughter was expecting again.
Her daughter and son-in-law were on their way back from the doctor's office where they had seen - in the sonogram image - the tiny form of their third baby.
On the bus ride back home from the doctor, their joyful path met the profound cruelty of a homicide bomber's. The terrorist detonated his weapon, and this family and their baby were gone.
She told me this story this week in a park, surrounded by the play of children directly affected by Palestinian terror. She called two of them over, and introduced me to her two grandchildren who were orphaned that day.
Despite the story I heard, these children played, and laughed, and seemed as hopeful about the future as any child could be.
And despite my heartache, I smiled too, because hope was with us in that park.
Even now, I am filled with a gratitude and humility I cannot express, I stand before you today, in solidarity, as an Israeli of the heart.
The solidarity between the United States and Israel is deeper than the various interests we share.
It goes to the very nature of man, to the endowment of our God-given rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
It is the universal solidarity of freedom. It transcends geography, culture and generations.
It is the solidarity of all people - in all times - who dream of and sacrifice for liberty.
It is the solidarity of Moses and Lincoln. Of Tiananmen Square and the Prague Spring.
Of Andre Sakharov and Anne Frank.
And in its name I come to you - in the midst a great global conflict against evil - with a simple message: "Be Not Afraid."
I do not say this as a foreigner, cavalier in my estimation of the dangers that surround you.
Instead, I say it as an ally, in spite of the terrifying predators who threaten all free nations, especially Israel.
My country is not ignorant, nor are we indifferent to your struggle.
We know our victory in the war on terror depends on Israel's survival.
And we know Israel's survival depends on the willingness of free nations - especially our own - to stand by all endangered democracies in their time of need.
We hear your voice cry out in the desert, and we will never leave your side.
Because freedom and terrorism cannot coexist.
Terrorism cannot be negotiated away or pacified.
Terrorism will either destroy free nations, or free nations will destroy it.
Freedom and terrorism will struggle - good and evil - until the battle is resolved.
These are the terms Providence has put before the United States, Israel, and the rest of the civilized world.
They are stark, and they are final.