By Chris Miller
A strong diplomatic relationship between the U.S. and Israel is crucial for both nations' stability, a U.S. congressman said during an on-campus speech Thursday.
Rep. James Lankford, R-Okla., delivered his speech, titled "Stronger Together," in the Oklahoma Memorial Union's Heritage Room.
During his speech, Lankford presented and discussed a series of slides taken during a recent trip to Israel, which he said influenced his opinion of the nation's politics and importance to the U.S.
"There is a perception of Israel as ... the United States' younger brother," Lankford said. "That is certainly not the case."
During his travels, Lankford met with current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in addition to seeing many of the nation's most historic sites, he said.
When he spoke with both Israelis and Palestinians, he was struck by the fact that both groups sought a long-term solution for peace in the region, he said.
"When you talk about peace in the Middle East, you meet two groups of people who want nothing more than for their children to grow up in peace," he said. "How is that done? Security is a big issue."
Israel's status as the only functioning democracy in the Middle East and existing trade agreements between the two nations both can contribute to that security, he said.