The National Council of Young Israel (NCYI) last week urged passage of a Congressional bill that declares that the United States recognizes Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. The Senate bill, which was introduced by Senators Ted Cruz and Tom Cotton, and the companion House bill, which was introduced by Representative Mike Gallagher, cite assurances from President Gerald Ford in 1975, and Secretary of State James Baker in 1991, that the US will support Israel’s need to protect itself from attacks from the Golan Heights.

Noting the threat that Iran’s presence in Syria poses to Israel, the legislation notes that, “Israel’s security from attacks from Syria and Lebanon cannot be assured without Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.” In addition, the bill states that “it is in the United States’ national security interest to ensure that Israel retains control of the Golan Heights [and that] the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad faces diplomatic and geopolitical consequences for its killing of civilians, the ethnic cleansing of Arab Sunnis, and the use of weapons of mass destruction.” Further, the legislation discusses the need “to promote and conduct joint projects with Israel on the Golan Heights, including projects in basic and applied scientific fields; in industrial research and development; and in strategic and applied research of agricultural problems.”

“The National Council of Young Israel strongly supports efforts to establish American recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights,” said NCYI President Farley Weiss. “With Israel facing unprecedented threats from the north in the form of Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah, it is critical that she be in a position to defend herself and safeguard her citizens without having to face rebukes or retribution from the global community. The United States’ acknowledgement of Israel’s control over an area that has deep connections to the Jewish people and which Israel seized in a defensive war would send a clear message to the world not only that it supports Israel’s right to defend itself, but that the Golan Heights rightfully belongs to Israel.”