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Rodney Davis speaks to students on benefits of US relations with Israel


Rep. Rodney Davis, R-13, said Israel is America’s number one ally in the Middle East at a dinner hosted by the American-Israeli Student Coalition at Destihl, 301 N. Neil St., on Sunday.

The dinner was the second annual AISC campus leadership event where campus leaders from groups such as the Illinois Student Senate, College Democrats and College Republicans were invited to celebrate and understand the importance of the relationship between the United States and Israel, said Alana Rubin, president of AISC and junior in LAS.

“We have shared values with Israel, and it’s necessary to advocate on behalf of those values,” she said.

Following dinner, guests were asked to sign AISC’s leadership statement, which would be sent to members of Congress and shared on Facebook.  The statement affirms support for the United States’ relationship with Israel and condemns a nuclear-capable Iran, which Davis said would be a disaster.

“Obviously, when you look at North Korea and Iran, there’s a drive for nuclear capability,” Davis said. “Many countries like those two look at having nuclear capability as a bargaining chip, and I think that’s indicative of the nuclear arms buildup that we saw with the Soviets and the United States when I was growing up.”

He said it scares him, not for his own safety, but for that of his children, this generation and future generations.

“I don’t want anyone to grow up with the fear that I had — that’s what we thought went away in the 1990s,” Davis said.

He said, unlike Russia, he is not sure that Iran and North Korea have governments that can keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of “rogue nations or organizations.”

“We’re generations away from those who actually witnessed a nuclear bomb being utilized,” he said. “Remember, there’s not been a nuclear bomb that’s been dropped since World War II.”

Davis also praised American commerce within Israel and said he wants to encourage more.

“Global trade means jobs in Illinois, and a lot of times politicians lose sight of that,” he said. “If we don’t think globally, we don’t have access to jobs.”

Brock Gebhardt, ISS student body president, said there are many economic and social connections between the United States and Israel, and a lot of businesses are connected as well.

“We share a lot of the same democratic values like freedom of the press, justice, equality for everyone, and there’s no closer ally in the Middle East, so that’s why I think it’s important for us to learn more about it,” he said.

Gebhardt said he’d also like to ensure that Iran cannot become nuclear capable, as he said this would be a problem for Jewish and Israeli University students.

Davis said he sees his job as a way to work bilaterally with other nations to forge not only security and defense alliances but also educational alliances.

“We need to continue to look for other opportunities and ensure that students … have the opportunity to utilize that relationship,” he said, adding that he hopes to visit Israel this summer.

Tyler can be reached at [email protected]

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article attributed Rep. Rodney Davis as a democrat for the 13th District of Illinois. Rep. Rodney Davis is a republican for  the 13th District of Illinois. The Daily Illini regrets the error. 

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