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In response to the events of October 7th in Israel, we’ve reimagined our travel experiences for students. Our new focus emphasizes faith formation, education, humanitarian efforts in Israel, and advocacy for our Jewish friends.
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After the attacks of October 7th in Israel, we’ve revised our travel experiences for students—focusing on faith formation, education, humanitarian efforts in Israel, and advocacy for our Jewish friends.
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Building on a joint U.S.-Israel victory

In a sign of the times, U.S. military assistance to Israel has perhaps never been more controversial. On the left, Israel’s critics cry “genocide,” and on the right, isolationists shout “America First!” Suddenly, opposition to a robust U.S.-Israel partnership to counter terrorism in the Middle East enjoys support from across both sides of the aisle. At the same time, those we might call centrists still believe in Israel’s importance, both morally and strategically. American Christians should do the same and urge our leaders to pass a military assistance bill for Israel. The Islamic Republic of Iran’s brazen attack against Israel on April 13, 2024 demonstrates exactly why re-arming Israel’s air defenses is vital.  

To begin with, the latest escalations do not represent the first time that Iran has threatened not only Israeli, but also American interests. The Islamic Republic is a designated state sponsor of terrorism, and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is listed as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, both of which actively undermine regional stability. They also have a proven track record of attacking and killing U.S. service members via various proxies. Israel, along with other American allies, represents a bulwark against the malignant intentions of the Iranian regime and protects not only itself, but also American interests. 

Against Iran’s first direct, large-scale assault, Israel could not guarantee victory on its own, and it likely would not have occurred without U.S. support. Israel employs a world-class network of air defense systems, but the invention and mobilization of each has been funded with American assistance. 

Congress has repeatedly invested in the research and development, creation, and arming of Israel’s air defense platforms. These include the Iron Dome, famous for its ability to shoot down rockets from Gaza or Lebanon while in the sky and before they can hurt someone. Israel has also created more recent models including David’s Sling, designed for medium-range missile interceptions, and the Arrow 2 and 3 platforms for missiles fired from around Iran’s range. The latter can theoretically intercept a missile well out of harm’s way above the Earth’s atmosphere. On Saturday evening and Sunday morning, Israel required all three to counter Iran’s attack.  

Well aware of Israel’s cutting-edge technology, Iran knew it must attempt to overwhelm the air defense systems and test their speed and capacity. To do so, Iran fired a combination of over 170 explosive drones, more than 30 cruise missiles, and over 120 ballistic or hypersonic missiles. They fired each at different times hoping they would arrive in Israel roughly concurrently. Tragically, a ten-year old Bedouin child died as a result, but Israel otherwise successfully repelled the attack for a few reasons. Israel’s air defense systems worked beautifully, but the U.S. mobilized a coordinated response from around the region including the UK, France, and Jordan. The U.S. also provided direct support by utilizing American air defense systems, many of which were developed in collaboration with Israel’s research.  

Prior to Sunday morning, April 14, 2024, no one could have predicted Israel’s success with absolute certainty, because Iran’s attack truly was unprecedented. Many of Israel’s air defense systems were truly tested for the first time, and one could argue they had yet to conclusively prove their real value before that. No more. We now know exactly how well Israeli and American air defense systems work, because they shot down 99% of Iran’s missiles from reaching their destination. In a brilliant display, it appears that Israel may have even intercepted a ballistic missile in outer space, causing a unique blue bubble-looking explosion. If Congress requires receipts for the return on their years of investment, the outcome of Iran’s attack should provide a satisfactory record.  

This story teaches us not only that U.S. investment is strategic and critical to Israel’s defense, but also that our shared victory is qualitatively different from the one Iran sought. Iran’s precise goals might appear a little murky, and the exact number of casualties they aimed to inflict may be impossible to determine. However, an Iranian victory clearly would have meant disabling at least some of Israel’s capacity to defend itself and taking an untold number of lives. The U.S. and Israel, on the other hand, adopted a defensive strategy, not an offensive one. Together, we won the victory simply by preserving lives. Israel evidently felt that it needed to retaliate to restore deterrence, but it did not need to do so simply to feel victorious. By prioritizing the preservation of lives, Israel had already won the moral high ground.  

The significance of that fact should not go unnoticed. Many Christians understand that wars can be just. Still, we should always place a premium on all human lives because they have been created in and reflect the image of God. We should advocate for strategies and technology that save as many lives as possible, even when fighting a war. That means advocating for continued investment in Israel’s air defenses and their ability to save lives.  

Currently, Congress is considering legislation to renew American investment in Israel’s safety. We now know that Iran, a state sponsor of terrorism, does in fact pose a direct threat to Israel, and not just through its proxies. We also know that American investment in Israel’s defenses has saved lives, and that now is the time to act. 

American Christians should speak boldly and ask our leaders to ensure that Israel and the U.S. may continue to collectively enjoy a victory against terrorism that is not only strategic, in our interests, but also moral.  

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