Israel is the only true democracy in the Middle East. It is the only country in the region that protects gay rights, and the place where women are truly treated as equal before the law. It is the only country in the region that protects the freedoms we value in the United States: freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom of religion and so much more. In Israel, as in the United States, discrimination based on national origin is outlawed, too.
Today, nearly two decades after my first election to Congress, the shared values that form the underpinnings of the U.S.-Israel relationship remain strong. The interests we share with the Jewish state – a safe and secure Middle East, a commitment to basic human rights and dignity, and the rule of law – remain the same, too.