by Ann F. Lewis
We had just arrived in Israel this summer, when I learned that our agenda had changed. We could not go to the community of Sderot later that week because more than 100 rockets had been launched from Gaza into southern Israel. We continued on our trip, and returned to the United States one week later, with wonderful memories. But I'm still thinking of the children of Sderot, who live within range of those rockets.
A few weeks after we returned, I learned President Obama had authorized funding for two additional Iron Dome batteries, the Israeli-designed defense system which protects against rockets, to join the installations already at work - and I thought what that added protection would mean to the children of Sderot.
In fact, since President Obama took office in 2009, the United States has committed more than $1 billion to help Israel develop a comprehensive missile defense system including all the funds for Iron Dome, doubling funds for David's Sling, and increased support for Arrow III, which will be able to intercept hostile missiles in space.
This July, the president signed the U.S.-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012; bipartisan legislation that means more financial and technological assistance; access to U.S.-manufactured equipment and emergency stockpiles; and even greater opportunities for U.S.-Israel joint training, building on programs like 2009's Juniper Cobra, the largest American-Israeli exercise to date.
I am proud of the record of the Obama administration in standing up for Israel against attempts to delegitimize and isolate it: opposing the Durban Conference for its anti-Semitism, denouncing the anti-Israel Goldstone Report, and working with allies at the U.N. Security Council to block last year's attempt by the Palestinian Authority to win membership as a state.
To address the greatest danger - to Israel and to the world - President Obama has stated that United States policy will not allow a nuclear Iran. The Obama administration has assembled the largest, most comprehensive sanctions ever against the Iranian regime; cutting Iran off from the international financial system, greatly reducing sales of Iranian oil and driving down the value of its currency.
I don't know if these measures will be enough; a regime that shoots down its own young people for daring to protest a rigged election may not care about destroying its civilian economy.
But I do know the president has been clear that all options are on the table, and that he will invoke "all instruments of national power."
From Iron Dome and David's Sling, to increased joint operations of U.S. and Israeli forces; from responding to Prime Minister Netanyahu's call for help for Israeli diplomats endangered in Cairo, to putting serious pressure on the mullahs of Iran - throughout his presidency, Barack Obama has acted decisively for Israel's security. That's a record of action, not campaign commentary.
There is a lot at stake in this year's presidential election: Whether we continue to grow the economy by investing in the middle class, expand access to education, and insist on equal pay for women's work and the right of women to make their own health care decisions. (Although I did think we had settled issues like birth control some time ago, apparently we have to fight for it again.)
When I vote, I'll be thinking about these questions - and about the need for a strong U.S.-Israel relationship, and yes, about the safety of the children of Sderot.
On every one of the issues important to me, President Barack Obama has earned my vote.
Ann F. Lewis was director of communications for President Bill Clinton and senior adviser to the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign.