The May 14, 1948, communication to President Harry Truman announcing the establishment of a Jewish state invoked the “deep bond of sympathy” between the United States and the Jewish people.
The United States recognized Israel as an independent state on that same day, making it the first nation to do so.
In the 70 years that have followed, Israel has remained America’s most reliable partner in the Middle East, bound closely by historic and cultural ties, as well as by mutual interests.
Six U.S. presidents have traveled to Israel, most recently President Trump. On his May 2017 trip, he met with President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and visited the Western Wall and Yad Vashem.
On the occasion of the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, Israel, here are some images marking important moments in the U.S.-Israel relationship.
Following President Truman’s recognition of Israel, President Chaim Weizmann gave Truman a Torah. Here, in 1949, Israeli Ambassador Eliahu Elath presents Truman with an ark — similar to those used in synagogues throughout the world — to hold the Torah.
In welcoming Levi Eshkol for the first official visit to the U.S. by an Israeli prime minister, President Lyndon Johnson called the young nation “a vital, prosperous land, a symbol of the courage and the strength of her people.” Here, (from left) Secretary of State Dean Rusk, Miriam Eshkol, Lady Bird Johnson, Eshkol and Johnson pose on the tarmac at Randolph Air Force Base in Texas prior to visiting the Johnsons’ ranch.
Richard Nixon was the first U.S. president to visit Israel. Here, Nixon inspects a guard of honor upon his arrival at Ben Gurion Airport in June 1974. The 37th president formed close working friendships with Prime Ministers Golda Meir and Yitzhak Rabin.
Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (walking, left) visited the White House three times during the presidency of Gerald Ford. Here are the two leaders following June 1975 meetings described by the White House as “discussions of matters of mutual interest and in order to strengthen the friendly ties between the two countries.”
In 1978, President Jimmy Carter worked to broker peace between Israel and Egypt at Camp David, the presidential retreat in rural Maryland. Here, Carter (foreground, left) and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin stroll the grounds of Camp David with their wives, Rosalynn Carter (background, left) and Eliza Begin. The summit would result in the Camp David Accords, which brought peace between the two nations.
Prime Minister Menachem Begin (right) visited the White House twice during Ronald Reagan’s presidency. This picture captures a jovial moment between the two in September 1981.
George H.W. Bush
Ronald Reagan’s vice president, George H.W. Bush (left), traveled to Israel in 1986. He’s seen here visiting the Western Wall in the Old City. A few years later, as president, Bush hosted Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir both at the White House and at his home in Kennebunkport, Maine.
President Bill Clinton (left) traveled to Israel four times during his presidency and hosted prime ministers Yitzhak Rabin, Benjamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak. Here, at the 2000 Camp David Summit, he joined Prime Minister Barak (right) and Yasser Arafat (center).
George W. Bush
President George W. Bush, pictured here (center) with Secretary of State Colin Powell (left) and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, spoke to the Knesset, Israel’s national legislature, on the occasion of the nation’s 60th anniversary. “You have built a mighty democracy that will endure forever,” said Bush, “and can always count on the United States of America to be at your side.”
President Barack Obama (waving) is welcomed by President Shimon Peres and a children’s choir at the presidential residence in Israel in 2013. Obama hosted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Peres on several occasions, including June 2012, when Peres received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Donald J. Trump
President Donald J. Trump (right) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at a joint news conference at the White House in February 2017. “Jerusalem is a sacred city. Its beauty, splendor and heritage are like no other place on Earth,” said President Trump during his visit to the Holy City in 2017. “The ties of the Jewish people to this Holy Land are ancient and eternal.”