Among the turmoil, Israel can be a model for stability

Shira Frishman, officer, Ilan Sinelnikov, president - Students Supporting Israel

In the age of Facebook, Twitter and blogs, expression of oneself has never been easier. Through various social media, we can promote causes, advertise and even bring down entire regimes.

In the United States, we value and defend our First Amendment rights. We will take our speech to the streets because of our right to assemble. As recent world events have demonstrated, however, dissent and opposition to government and its policies are met with tyrannical brutality.

Governmental suppression to Egyptian, Syrian and Libyan demonstrators, to name a few, have illustrated to those of us in the “free world” to never take for granted our civil liberties.

As regimes in the Middle East continue to terrorize their own people, as the death toll in Syria continues to astronomically climb, one country in the region remains an unwavering defender of dissent and human life. That country is Israel.

Israel, the only true and stable democracy in the East, is an example of a country in which citizens of every race, creed and religion live and work together, despite their differences.

Israel’s government, modeled after the United Kingdom’s parliamentary system, is made up of Jews, Christians and Arabs. Numerous political parties represent a wide gamut of issues, all of which reflect the diversity of opinion in Israeli society. Various voices and languages are heard on the streets and in government.

In fact, a permanent member of the Israeli Supreme Court, the highest court in the Israeli judicial system, is an Arab. The Israeli government welcomes dissent and opposition and protects the rights of those who seek to disagree with it.

When citizens want to disagree with policy, when food and housing prices are too high and when security issues arise, Israelis assemble freely and are guaranteed, if nothing else, their safety.

The Middle East is a region of instability. It has, for so many years, been fraught with sectarian groups all claiming superiority. In other countries in this area, opposition to governmental tyranny is met with tear gas, imprisonment and death.

As we nervously watch and debate whether to become involved in Syria and with its de facto allies, let us look to Israel as a model for what could ultimately become of the Middle East.

Israelis love life and defend life. Perhaps this is why America has no greater ally in the world.

As Israelis, we respect diversity of opinion and the freedom and right to speak openly and freely. The world can look to Israel as a model for democracy and stability in the Middle East.