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More than 5,000 Olim (Jewish immigrants to Israel) are expected to arrive from France during 2014, and more than 1,000 Olim arrived from the US, France and other countries during the 30 day war in Gaza.  As impressive as this is, the potential of Aliyah is much more dramatic.

The current wave of European anti-Semitism – fueled by centuries old anti-Jewish European culture and an unprecedented wave of Islamic immigration to Europe – behooves Israel to pro-actively generate (and not just absorb) a game-changing wave of Aliyah. 

A pro-active Aliyah policy aims at triggering a massive scale Aliyah – not just a few tens of thousands Olim per year – as was initiated and implemented by Prime Ministers Ben Gurion, Eshkol and Shamir, who valued Aliyah as a top priority, in defiance of Israeli and international opposition and skepticism.  This must be set on a fast track mode, and not planned as a medium or long-term policy.

A pro-active Aliyah policy constitutes an appropriate follow up to the war in Gaza, demonstrating and feeding Israel’s gumption/resourcefulness, reflecting defiance of threats and challenges, and reaffirming confidence in the long-term viability of the Jewish State.

The window of opportunity for the arrival of 500,000 Olim, during the next five years, is wide open – temporarily – in Russia, Ukraine, Germany, France, England, Belgium, Holland, Hungary, Argentina and other countries. It is wide open due to the intensification of anti-Semitism; non-democratic trends and instability in Russia and Ukraine; the expansion of aggressive (and soon terrorist) Islam in Europe; Israel’s relative economic edge; and the impressive Jewish/Zionist education infrastructure in the aforementioned countries, which have cultivated pro-Aliyah sentiments. Additional tailwind to Aliyah from Russia and Ukraine would be provided by a formal conversion of the 300,000 Olim from the USSR, whose children serve in Israel’s Defense Forces, who are targeted by Palestinian terrorism, contribute immensely to Israel’s well-being, consider themselves Jews and are recognized as Jews by Israel’s Law of Return, but not by Israel’s Rabbinate.  The temporary nature of this window of opportunity requires immediate action, lest it would be forfeited.

In order to raise the substantial required funds– which grow scarce due to the cost of the war in Gaza – Israel’s Prime Minister should convene an emergency session of leading Jewish businessmen from the USA, Canada and Australia (which are also a source of substantial Aliyah), Russia, Britain, France, Germany, Panama, Brazil and Argentina, reclaiming Aliyah as a permanent, top moral and strategic priority of the Jewish people and the Jewish State, irrespective of circumstances.  The Prime Minister should present a pro-active Aliyah policy, which responds to the growing predicament of Jewish communities, while inducing a game-changing enhancement of Israel’s infrastructures of economy, transportation, telecommunications, education, medicine, science, technology and national security, catapulting Israel’s posture of deterrence to unprecedented heights. Moreover, Israel Development Corporation is able to significantly expand the sale of the highly competitive Israel Bonds to local and state governments, unions, financial institutions and individuals, raising billions of dollars for an historical, job-creating, research and development-enhancing, export-increasing and national security-upgrading initiative.

Israel’s Prime Minister should appoint a series of 24/7 pro-active task forces, dedicated to the maximization of Aliyah from various countries. Another Prime Minister-appointed 24/7 pro-active task force should initiate a series of fast track statutes, executive orders and legislation, which would reduce the bureaucracy for the absorption of the expected Aliyah wave. This task force should identify sectors that are essential for Israel, such as medical doctors, nurses, (infrastructure, missile, nuclear, software and hardware) engineers, technicians, scientists, natural gas experts, etc. 

Leveraging this rare window of opportunity for 500,000 Olim in five years would constitute a dramatic engine of growth, surging the Jewish State to an unprecedented level, commercially, militarily and diplomatically. On the other hand, missing such an immense, rare opportunity, and being satisfied with just tens of thousands of Olim annually, will haunt the Jewish people for generations to come.

A pro-active Aliyah policy (the Jewish ingathering to the Jewish state) was Israel’s most effective engine of growth and posture of deterrence.  It catapulted the Jewish state from 650,000 Jews in 1948 to 6.5 million in 2014, from a $1.5bn economy in 1948 to $300bn in 2014, from a technology devoid country in 1948 to a commercial and defense technological powerhouse in 2014 (second only to the USA), from an insignificant military power in 1948 to a leading global military power in 2014, from a misperceived strategic liability in 1948 to the most reliable and capable ally of the US in 2014.

All Israeli prime ministers, from Ben Gurion (starting in 1948) through Shamir (ending in 1992), enforced a pro-active Aliyah policy in defiance of the demographic and bureaucratic establishments, crowning Aliyah as Israel’s top national priority. They followed in the footsteps of most of the Zionist leaders from the late 19th century, who realized that Aliyah was the soul, flesh and lifeline for the reconstruction of the Jewish State in the Land of Israel.  They did not engage in reactive policy, which would focus their attention on the absorption of the Olim (Jewish immigrants to Israel). Rather, they were preoccupied with a pro-active policy, generating waves of Aliyah in the aftermath of the wars of 1948-9 (from Arab countries), 1956 (from Poland) and 1967 (from the USSR and Eastern Europe), in the early 1960s (from Morocco) and the 1970s (from the USSR and Eastern Europe), from 1950 through 1995 (from Romania), during the 1980s and early 1990s (from Ethiopia) and during the 1990s (from the USSR).  The groundwork for the arrival of one million Olim during the 1990s was carried out by Prime Minister Shamir during the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Thus, they triggered waves of Aliyah totaling 3.5 million Jews, leveraging windows of opportunities, caused by ideological, social, economic, military, diplomatic and political regional and global developments in Israel, the Arab World, the USSR, Eastern Europe, Argentina and the USA (the US Congress played a critical role in liberalizing Soviet emigration policy). While most of the 3.5 million Jews aspired to emigrate anyway, it was Israel’s pro-active policy which facilitated emigration and guided them to the Jewish state, rather than to the US, Europe, Canada or Australia. It was Prime Minister Shamir’s pro-active Aliyah policy (e.g., pressuring the US to stop issuing refugee certificates to Soviet Jews, and recruiting the US Senate to pressure Moscow to allow Jewish emigrants to fly only to Israel), which eliminated the 80% dropout rate of Soviet Jews, who used to emigrate from the USSR but avoided Israel. The pro-active Aliyah policy was responsible for Israel’s unprecedented growth, surging the Jewish state to the top of the OECD countries, demographically, economically, scientifically, technologically, medically, educationally, agriculturally and militarily. Without the pro-active Aliyah policy, the Jewish state would not have qualified for OECD membership, and possibly would not have survived the lethal challenges of the last 66 years.

In contrast to their predecessors, all Israeli prime ministers since 1992 have refrained from a pro-active Aliyah policy, thus depriving Israel of its most effective engine of growth and posture of deterrence. They have relegated Aliyah to a secondary national priority, subordinating the long-term Zionist vision to pessimistic assessments by the demographic and bureaucratic establishments, whose projections systematically precluded Aliyah waves on security, economic, cultural and educational grounds.  Hence, recent Israeli prime ministers have limited their Aliyah policy to an annual increase of a few thousand Olim, rather than leveraging the current window of opportunity, which lends itself to another substantial wave of Aliyah.

Currently, there is a rare window of opportunity for a dramatic wave of Aliyah of at least 500,000 Jews during the next ten years from Russia, Ukraine, Hungary, Argentina, and Western democracies such as Germany, France, England and the USA, which feature a significant infrastructure of Aliyah-oriented Jewish/Zionist educationThat window of opportunity consists of the relative strength of Israel’s economy; the confidence demonstrated by global high tech giants in Israel’s long-term viability (e.g., Intel’s recent $6bn expansion of its already robust Israeli presence); the sustained global economic uncertainty; the moderate (or no) cost of Jewish education in Israel; the rising threat of Islamic terrorism throughout the world; Israel’s success in drastically curtailing Palestinian terrorism; the expansion of an Islamic presence in European countries with substantial Jewish communities; the intensification of global anti-Semitism; and the growing uncertainty in Russia and Ukraine.

A pro-active Aliyah policy requires the appointment of several country-dedicated task forces, headed by charismatic personalities and composed of experts in the areas of Aliyah generation and absorption, including the construction of employment, housing, transportation, telecommunications, education, health and medical infrastructures, as well as the passage of statutes and laws facilitating the swift integration of arriving engineers, doctors, scientists, lawyers and other professionals into the Israeli market.

A failure, by the Israeli government to leverage this unique window of Aliyah opportunity – producing an Aliyah wave of at least 500,000 Olim during the next ten years – would haunt its leaders, adding a chapter of infamy to Jewish history.

 

 

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Straight from the Jerusalem Boardroom #234,
Previous Boardroom issues: https://bit.ly/2NB51fk

  1. According to Adam Reuter, Chairman of “Financial Immunities” and author of the 2018 Israel – Island of Success (Globes Business Daily, Dec. 19, 2018): Israel is not afflicted by brain-drain, but benefits from brain-gain.

While Israel’s establishment documents net-migration of higher-education Israelis, it fails to document the massive influx of higher-education Olim (Jewish immigrants).  About 2/3 of the Olim – 18-years-old and older – have gone through higher education. For instance, in 2015, Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics reported a brain-drain of 1,360 higher-education Israelis, ignoring the 14,870 higher-education Olim, who arrived in 2015, 48% of whom possessed graduate degrees and PhDs.

While the ratio of higher-education Israelis (compared to the entire population) ranks third in the world, following Japan and Canada, the ratio of higher-education Olim is significantly higher than the rest of Israel’s population. Over 25% of the Olim are experienced in the critical areas of hightech, engineering, computer science, medicine and health.

From 1980-2010, 30,000 higher-education Israelis emigrated (the total of exiting, minus returning Israelis), while 290,000 higher-education Olim arrived from the USSR, France, the USA, etc.. Considering the 25,000 higher-education Olim who emigrated, there was a net brain-gain of 235,000 from 1980-2010.

From 2010-2018, some 105,000 higher-education Olim arrived (out of a total of about 198,000 Olim), while 22,000 higher-education Israelis emigrated – a net brain-gain of 83,000; an annual net brain-grain of 9,000.

From 1980-2018, there has been a net brain-gain of 315,000 higher-education people!

Moreover, from 2010-2016, 4,000 PhD Israelis returned to Israel with enhanced experience and networking, providing tailwind to economic growth.

  1. Israel’s 2018 economic indicators according to Bank of Israel: Israel’s public debt to GDP ratio: 60.4% in 2017, 66.1% – 2014, 71.1% – 2010 [225% – 1985], compared with the European Union – 81%, Britain – 85% and the USA – 105%.
    GDP growth – 3.7%, GDP per capita – $39,600, unemployment rate – 4.1%, inflation rate – 1.2% [445% – 1985].
  2. Israel’s ultra-orthodox Jewish population has been increasingly integrated into Israel’s economy, as documented by Eli Paley, the founder and Chairman of the Jerusalem-based Haredi (Ultra-Orthodox) Institute for Public Affairs. The Haredi Institute – in cooperation with top (secular) Israeli hightech entrepreneurs – is dedicated to the enhancement of the Haredi integration into Israel’s hightech sector. The latter is the major driving force behind Israel’s economic growth, but is threatened by a growing shortage of skilled developers.

The goal is to increase the number of Haredi persons in the hightech sector, while moving them from low-tech to high-tier positions.

The Haredi community has expanded from 4% of Israel’s population in 1980 to 11% in 2018, while accounting for approximately 20% of the younger-than-nine population.

While 18% of the working Haredi women possessed academic degrees in 2006 (compared to 7% of the Haredi men), the volume grew to 24% in 2016 (compared to 11% of the Haredi men).

A recent study, by the Institute, on The Quality of Life among Israel’s Population Groups, documents a rise in the employment rate among Haredi men from 40% in 2008 to 52% in 2018, while the employment rate among Haredi women surged from 57% to 75% over the past decade. However, despite the rise in employment, the majority of Haredi Israelis remain employed in lower-level positions.

According to tests and evaluations conducted by the Haredi Institute, the graduates of Haredi seminaries – in the computer science track – demonstrate talent, strong work ethics and ambition equal to the secular population.

 

 

 

 

 

 

More than 5,000 Olim (Jewish immigrants to Israel) are expected to arrive from France during 2014, and more than 1,000 Olim arrived from the US, France and other countries during the 30 day war in Gaza.  As impressive as this is, the potential of Aliyah is much more dramatic.

The current wave of European anti-Semitism – fueled by centuries old anti-Jewish European culture and an unprecedented wave of Islamic immigration to Europe – behooves Israel to pro-actively generate (and not just absorb) a game-changing wave of Aliyah. 

A pro-active Aliyah policy aims at triggering a massive scale Aliyah – not just a few tens of thousands Olim per year – as was initiated and implemented by Prime Ministers Ben Gurion, Eshkol and Shamir, who valued Aliyah as a top priority, in defiance of Israeli and international opposition and skepticism.  This must be set on a fast track mode, and not planned as a medium or long-term policy.

A pro-active Aliyah policy constitutes an appropriate follow up to the war in Gaza, demonstrating and feeding Israel’s gumption/resourcefulness, reflecting defiance of threats and challenges, and reaffirming confidence in the long-term viability of the Jewish State.

The window of opportunity for the arrival of 500,000 Olim, during the next five years, is wide open – temporarily – in Russia, Ukraine, Germany, France, England, Belgium, Holland, Hungary, Argentina and other countries. It is wide open due to the intensification of anti-Semitism; non-democratic trends and instability in Russia and Ukraine; the expansion of aggressive (and soon terrorist) Islam in Europe; Israel’s relative economic edge; and the impressive Jewish/Zionist education infrastructure in the aforementioned countries, which have cultivated pro-Aliyah sentiments. Additional tailwind to Aliyah from Russia and Ukraine would be provided by a formal conversion of the 300,000 Olim from the USSR, whose children serve in Israel’s Defense Forces, who are targeted by Palestinian terrorism, contribute immensely to Israel’s well-being, consider themselves Jews and are recognized as Jews by Israel’s Law of Return, but not by Israel’s Rabbinate.  The temporary nature of this window of opportunity requires immediate action, lest it would be forfeited.

In order to raise the substantial required funds– which grow scarce due to the cost of the war in Gaza – Israel’s Prime Minister should convene an emergency session of leading Jewish businessmen from the USA, Canada and Australia (which are also a source of substantial Aliyah), Russia, Britain, France, Germany, Panama, Brazil and Argentina, reclaiming Aliyah as a permanent, top moral and strategic priority of the Jewish people and the Jewish State, irrespective of circumstances.  The Prime Minister should present a pro-active Aliyah policy, which responds to the growing predicament of Jewish communities, while inducing a game-changing enhancement of Israel’s infrastructures of economy, transportation, telecommunications, education, medicine, science, technology and national security, catapulting Israel’s posture of deterrence to unprecedented heights. Moreover, Israel Development Corporation is able to significantly expand the sale of the highly competitive Israel Bonds to local and state governments, unions, financial institutions and individuals, raising billions of dollars for an historical, job-creating, research and development-enhancing, export-increasing and national security-upgrading initiative.

Israel’s Prime Minister should appoint a series of 24/7 pro-active task forces, dedicated to the maximization of Aliyah from various countries. Another Prime Minister-appointed 24/7 pro-active task force should initiate a series of fast track statutes, executive orders and legislation, which would reduce the bureaucracy for the absorption of the expected Aliyah wave. This task force should identify sectors that are essential for Israel, such as medical doctors, nurses, (infrastructure, missile, nuclear, software and hardware) engineers, technicians, scientists, natural gas experts, etc. 

Leveraging this rare window of opportunity for 500,000 Olim in five years would constitute a dramatic engine of growth, surging the Jewish State to an unprecedented level, commercially, militarily and diplomatically. On the other hand, missing such an immense, rare opportunity, and being satisfied with just tens of thousands of Olim annually, will haunt the Jewish people for generations to come.

A pro-active Aliyah policy (the Jewish ingathering to the Jewish state) was Israel’s most effective engine of growth and posture of deterrence.  It catapulted the Jewish state from 650,000 Jews in 1948 to 6.5 million in 2014, from a $1.5bn economy in 1948 to $300bn in 2014, from a technology devoid country in 1948 to a commercial and defense technological powerhouse in 2014 (second only to the USA), from an insignificant military power in 1948 to a leading global military power in 2014, from a misperceived strategic liability in 1948 to the most reliable and capable ally of the US in 2014.

All Israeli prime ministers, from Ben Gurion (starting in 1948) through Shamir (ending in 1992), enforced a pro-active Aliyah policy in defiance of the demographic and bureaucratic establishments, crowning Aliyah as Israel’s top national priority. They followed in the footsteps of most of the Zionist leaders from the late 19th century, who realized that Aliyah was the soul, flesh and lifeline for the reconstruction of the Jewish State in the Land of Israel.  They did not engage in reactive policy, which would focus their attention on the absorption of the Olim (Jewish immigrants to Israel). Rather, they were preoccupied with a pro-active policy, generating waves of Aliyah in the aftermath of the wars of 1948-9 (from Arab countries), 1956 (from Poland) and 1967 (from the USSR and Eastern Europe), in the early 1960s (from Morocco) and the 1970s (from the USSR and Eastern Europe), from 1950 through 1995 (from Romania), during the 1980s and early 1990s (from Ethiopia) and during the 1990s (from the USSR).  The groundwork for the arrival of one million Olim during the 1990s was carried out by Prime Minister Shamir during the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Thus, they triggered waves of Aliyah totaling 3.5 million Jews, leveraging windows of opportunities, caused by ideological, social, economic, military, diplomatic and political regional and global developments in Israel, the Arab World, the USSR, Eastern Europe, Argentina and the USA (the US Congress played a critical role in liberalizing Soviet emigration policy). While most of the 3.5 million Jews aspired to emigrate anyway, it was Israel’s pro-active policy which facilitated emigration and guided them to the Jewish state, rather than to the US, Europe, Canada or Australia. It was Prime Minister Shamir’s pro-active Aliyah policy (e.g., pressuring the US to stop issuing refugee certificates to Soviet Jews, and recruiting the US Senate to pressure Moscow to allow Jewish emigrants to fly only to Israel), which eliminated the 80% dropout rate of Soviet Jews, who used to emigrate from the USSR but avoided Israel. The pro-active Aliyah policy was responsible for Israel’s unprecedented growth, surging the Jewish state to the top of the OECD countries, demographically, economically, scientifically, technologically, medically, educationally, agriculturally and militarily. Without the pro-active Aliyah policy, the Jewish state would not have qualified for OECD membership, and possibly would not have survived the lethal challenges of the last 66 years.

In contrast to their predecessors, all Israeli prime ministers since 1992 have refrained from a pro-active Aliyah policy, thus depriving Israel of its most effective engine of growth and posture of deterrence. They have relegated Aliyah to a secondary national priority, subordinating the long-term Zionist vision to pessimistic assessments by the demographic and bureaucratic establishments, whose projections systematically precluded Aliyah waves on security, economic, cultural and educational grounds.  Hence, recent Israeli prime ministers have limited their Aliyah policy to an annual increase of a few thousand Olim, rather than leveraging the current window of opportunity, which lends itself to another substantial wave of Aliyah.

Currently, there is a rare window of opportunity for a dramatic wave of Aliyah of at least 500,000 Jews during the next ten years from Russia, Ukraine, Hungary, Argentina, and Western democracies such as Germany, France, England and the USA, which feature a significant infrastructure of Aliyah-oriented Jewish/Zionist educationThat window of opportunity consists of the relative strength of Israel’s economy; the confidence demonstrated by global high tech giants in Israel’s long-term viability (e.g., Intel’s recent $6bn expansion of its already robust Israeli presence); the sustained global economic uncertainty; the moderate (or no) cost of Jewish education in Israel; the rising threat of Islamic terrorism throughout the world; Israel’s success in drastically curtailing Palestinian terrorism; the expansion of an Islamic presence in European countries with substantial Jewish communities; the intensification of global anti-Semitism; and the growing uncertainty in Russia and Ukraine.

A pro-active Aliyah policy requires the appointment of several country-dedicated task forces, headed by charismatic personalities and composed of experts in the areas of Aliyah generation and absorption, including the construction of employment, housing, transportation, telecommunications, education, health and medical infrastructures, as well as the passage of statutes and laws facilitating the swift integration of arriving engineers, doctors, scientists, lawyers and other professionals into the Israeli market.

A failure, by the Israeli government to leverage this unique window of Aliyah opportunity – producing an Aliyah wave of at least 500,000 Olim during the next ten years – would haunt its leaders, adding a chapter of infamy to Jewish history.

 

 

In 1992, the Republican Whip, Senator Alan Simpson from Wyoming, who was critical of Prime Minister Shamir’s policies, told me: “How can I like Prime Minister Shamir when he resembles a non-peaceful roaring tiger?  However, how can I but respect a roaring tiger?!”

Former Secretary of State Jim Baker, who was one of the crudest detractors of Shamir’s policies, respected Shamir’s ironclad commitment to deeply-rooted ideology. Therefore, he considered Shamir a trustworthy – although non-subservient – ally of the USA.  Shamir was consistently guided by principles, values and history-steered vision/ideology; he was not herded – zigzagging – by pollsters and public opinion consultants.  

The late Prime Minister Shamir was a role model of Jewish patriotism, optimism, principle-driven and security-based statesmanship, history-motivated tenacity, reliability, modesty, independence and endurance in face of brutal pressure.

In 1991, at the height of the bitter conflict between Prime Minster Shamir and Republican President Bush, then Republican House Whip, Newt Gingrich, asserted: “How can you expect communications between Bush, who was given the presidency, as well as the CIA and the UN ambassadorship, on a golden platter, and Shamir who has demonstrated willingness to sacrifice his life on the altar of ideology?!”

Following the 1990 meeting between Shamir and Senate Majority and Minority Leaders, George Mitchell and Bob Dole, the latter told Shamir: “The Majority Leader and I respect you – although we disagree with your policies – because you are tough!”

The short Shamir was a giant of a Prime Minister – a geo political game changer – in the areas of Aliya (Jewish immigration), economy, US-Israel strategic cooperation and defiance of pressure.

While the Jackson-Vanik Amendment opened the doors of the USSR for emigration, Shamir’s Aliya policy was chiefly responsible for the arrival in Israel of over one million Olim (Jewish immigrants) from the USSR. Shamir believed that aggressive, tenacious, pro-active Aliya policy – generating Aliya – was the prerequisite for massive Aliya waves from the USSR, Ethiopia and other countries. During the 1990s, he projected a future Aliya wave from France, resulting from anti-Semitism and Islamic migration.  Former US Assistant Secretary of State, Dick Schifter, appreciated Shamir’s intense lobbying of Secretaries of State, Schultz and Baker, to stop issuing refugee certificates to Soviet Jews, thus directing them to relocate to Israel.  In addition, Shamir initiated a request from the US Senate to pass a resolution – signed by all 100 Senators – expecting Moscow to direct Jewish emigrants to fly only directly to Israel and not to Rome or Vienna.  Shamir’s initiatives transformed an 80% dropout rate (until 1990) to an almost 100% arrival rate, by Soviet Jews, to Israel. 

Shamir orchestrated the absorption of over one million Soviet Jews and 60,000 Ethiopian Jews, by less than five million Israelis – an unprecedented human accomplishment.  He considered Aliya to be the raison d’etre of the Jewish State, its moral compass, its top priority and its turbo growth engine.  He was aware that Aliyah determined Israel’s posture of deterrence and the Jewish-Arab demographic balance between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean.

Shamir laid down the foundations for the resurgence of Israel’s economy from a potential meltdown to one of the most fiscally-responsible economies in the world.  His composure in face of lethal pressures, marathon-like (and not sprint-like) style of leadership, strategic thinking and willingness to lead through delegation of authority to experts – such as Jacob Frenkel, who was appointed by Shamir to be the Governor of the Bank of Israel – paved the road to the stabilization of Israel’s Shekel, the dramatic restraint of inflation, interest and unemployment rates and the drastic reduction of budget deficit.

Former Secretary of State George Schultz was a systematic critic of Shamir’s policy on the Arab-Israeli conflict, but rarely fails to express his utmost respect for Shamir’s integrity and perseverance.  Most of Shamir’s sustained critics in Washington indicate that “we miss him now more than anytime before.”

In 1988, Texas Congressman Ted Poe, then a Federal Judge and currently a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, defined Shamir as “the sturdiest statesman in the Middle East.” 

Shamir’s defiance of the US, when it came to Jewish roots in the Land of Israel and Israel’s fundamental security requirements, eroded his popularity, but enhanced respect towards him. In 1991, he preconditioned participation in the Madrid Conference upon a US commitment to avoid any reference to Land-for-Peace, to prohibit PLO participation and to inform Syria that no retreat on the Golan Heights was forthcoming. His image as a strategic partner was upgraded by his dismissal of international guarantees of Israel’s security and propositions to station foreign troops on Israel’s borders. On a rainy day, the US is not looking for a “punching bag,” but for a reliable, capable, democratic, unconditional ally, which is willing to defy even the US.

Shamir’s seven years at the helm were characterized by unprecedented expansion of US-Israel strategic cooperationdespite severe disagreements over the Palestinian issue – from the April 1988 Memorandum of Understanding through the 1990-1991 enhancement of joint exercises, intelligence and counter-terrorism cooperation, prepositioning of US military hardware in Israel, defense industrial cooperation, the upgrading of the port of Haifa for the Sixth Fleet, etc.

Contemporary challenges, domestically, internationally, commercially and militarily, behoove Israeli and American leaders to follow in the footsteps of Prime Minister Shamir’s legacy.

 

 

Global economic, social and educational circumstances provide Israel with a window of opportunity for 500,000 Olim, during the next decade, from the former USSR, France, England, Germany, Latin America, the USA and Canada. Is Israel’s leadership up to the challenge, which requires tenacious pro-activity and defiance, rather than relative-passivity and timidity, in encouraging Aliyah (Jewish Ingathering)?!

For the first time, Israel attracts Olim due to economic – not only ideological – considerations. Against the backdrop of global economic meltdown and uncertainty, Israel’s credit rating has been upgraded and its GDP growth exceeds any Western country. Unemployment is 5.4%; the national debt is less than 75% of GDP; inflation is at 1%-3%; no mega-stimulus; banks are managed with fiscal responsibility; all time high foreign exchange reserves of $75BN; the flow of overseas investments is robust; exports are sustained at high levels despite global economic insecurity; high-tech industries are expanding; and the economy is adrenalized by the surging secular Jewish fertility rate, increased Aliyah, reduced Jewish emigration, accelerated return by expatriates and growing integration of the ultra-Orthodox community in Israel’s workforce. By 2018, Israel is expected to become a major net-exporter of natural gas and a growing producer of oil and, possibly, shale-oil.

Rising anti-Semitism in the Ukraine and in Russia, accompanied by shattered expectations of democracy in the former USSR, is producing an Aliyah-tailwind among the 750,000 Jews there (according to conservative estimates).  A formal conversion of 300,000 Olim, who are yet to be recognized as Jews by Israel’s Rabbinate, will bolster that tailwind. Weak economies, intensified anti-Semitism and increasingly-assertive and growing Moslem communities in France, England and other European countries, have increased the number of Olim. Economic insecurity and dramatically-expanded, but very costly, Jewish/Zionist education systems (mostly modern-orthodox), have augmented the Aliyah potential from the USA. Jewish/Zionist education is provided, almost-free, in Israel.

Sixty four years of Arab-Israeli wars and Palestinian terrorism have not deterred the 3.6 million Olim since 1948, as they have not deterred more than 400 high tech giants, which invest substantially in Israel. Moreover, recent waves of Islamic terrorism in Europe, the USA, Asia and Africa have highlighted the relative-security in Israel.

However, the realization of the 500,000-Olim-potential requires Israel’s current leadership to significantly alter its Aliyah policy. They should emulate Israeli Prime Ministers from 1948 (Ben Gurion, Labor) to 1992 (Shamir, Likud), who considered Aliyah to be their top priority, and pro-actively generated major waves of Aliyah.  They considered Aliyah the moral compass of the Jewish State and its most important growth engine.  They were aware that Aliyah and migration have been the key factors determining the Jewish-Arab demographic balance between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean.

Israel’s Founding Father, Prime Minister Ben Gurion proclaimed (Uniqueness and Destiny, 1954): “…Our mission is the Ingathering, which will impact our future security and the global standing of our people (p. 10)…. Our independence shall not be sustained without the Ingathering (p. 55)…. It is incumbent upon Israel to initiate [pro-actively] the Ingathering (101)…. The Ingathering is the fountain of growth of the Jewish State (p. 168)…. Israel is not designed, solely, for its inhabitants, but for the entire Jewish People (p. 193)…. A Zionist movement which disassociates itself from the Ingathering dooms itself to degeneration and destitute (p. 203)….”

Prime Minister Shamir echoed Ben Gurion’s Aliyah ideology (Conversations with Yitzhak Shamir, Haim Misgav, 1997): ”…We need to be pro-active in order to bring millions of Jews to Israel…. We are not doing enough to generate and absorb Aliyah…. Aliyah is a moral imperative…. The Land of Israel exists in order to absorb Jews…. The Jewish State would not survive without Aliya…. (pp. 132-3).” 

Indeed, Israel owes its existence to the annual Aliyah since 1882 and to the 3.6 million Olim who arrived since 1948. Israel owes its current robust economy, science, technology, medicine, education and culture to the one million Olim who arrived from the former USSR during the 1990s.  The influx of the one million triggered the high tech revolution, which has attracted mega-billion dollars of overseas investments.  It has significantly reduced military service per capita, and has substantially bolstered Israel’s posture regionally and globally.

The 700,000 Olim of 1948-1951, the 350,000 Olim of the 1970s and the one million Olim of the 1990s would not have arrived if Israeli Prime Ministers had not defied the Super Powers and most of Israel’s establishment.  They dismissed claims by leading Israeli demographers that Jews would not come to a war-plagued and an economy-deprived country; that cultural, economic, security and technological constraints preclude an Aliya wave; and that Western Jews could – but did not want to come – while Communist Bloc Jews wanted – but could not come.

500,000 Olim during the next ten years is a realistic goal – a security, economic and diplomatic game changer – which depends upon Israel’s leadership.  Will it rise to the occasion?!

 

 

 

  

 

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Demography

2024 artificially inflated Palestinian demography

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
March 25, 2024

Palestinian demographic numbers are highly-inflated, as documented by a study, which has audited the Palestinian data since 2004.  For example:

*500,000 Arabs, who have been away for over a year, are included in the census, contrary to international regulations. 325,000 were included in the 1997 census, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, and 400,000 in 2005, according to the Palestinian Election Commission. The number grows steadily due to births.

*350,000 East Jerusalem Arabs are doubly-counted – by Israel and by the Palestinian Authority. The number grows steadily due to births.

*Over 150,000 Arabs, who married Israeli Arabs are similarly doubly counted. The number expands steadily due to births.   

*A 413,000 net-emigration (since the 1997 first Palestinian census) is ignored by the Palestinian census, overlooking the annual net-emigration since 1950. A 23,445 net-emigration in 2022 and a 20,000 annual average in recent years have been documented by Israel’s Population and Migration Authority in all international passages.  

*A 32% artificial inflation of Palestinian births was documented by the World Bank (page 8, item 6) in a 2006 audit.

*The Judea & Samaria Arab fertility rate has been westernized: from 9 births per woman in the 1960s to 2.9 births in 2022 (In Jordan – similar to Judea & Samaria), reflecting the sweeping urbanization, a growing female enrollment in higher education, rising marriage age and the rising use of contraceptives.

*The number of deaths is under-reported for political and financial reasons.

*The aforementioned artificial inflation of 1.7 million documents a population of 1.55 million Arabs in Judea and Samaria, not the official 3.25 million. In 2024: a 69% Jewish majority in the combined area of Judea, Samaria and pre-1967 Israel, benefitting from a tailwind of fertility and net-immigration, while Arab demography is westernized. In 1947 and 1897: a 39% and 9% Jewish minority.
No Arab demographic time bomb; but, a Jewish demographic momentum. More data in these articles and this short video.

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Iran

FBI Director Chris Wray defies the State Department on Iran

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel initiative”
June 17, 2024

FBI Director Chris Wray’s position on Islamic terrorism/Iran

FBI Director, Chris Wray reiterated – during his June 4, 2024 Senate testimony and April 11, 2024 House testimony – his warning of an October 7-like terrorism on the US soil:

“We have seen the threat from foreign terrorists rise to a whole another level after the October 7 [Hamas terrorism]….Increasingly concerning is the potential for a coordinated attack here in the [US] homeland, akin to the ISIS attack we saw at the Russia Concert Hall in March, 2024 [137 murdered, 180 wounded]…. Nations such as the PRC, Russia and Iran are becoming more aggressive and more capable than ever before.  These nations seek to undermine our core democratic, economic and scientific institutions….

“We are in an environment where the threats from international terrorism, domestic terrorism and state sponsored terrorism are all simultaneously elevated…. We are paying heightened attention to how the events abroad could directly affect and inspire people to commit violence here in the homeland….

“Our top concern stems from lone offenders inspired by the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict, as they pose the most likely threat to Americans.  In recent years, there have been several events in the US that were purportedly motivated, at least in part, by the Israel-Hamas conflict….

Iran and its global proxies and partners, including Iraqi Shia militant groups, attack and plot against the US and our allies throughout the Middle East.  Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force has also provided support to terrorist organizations. And, Iran has supported Lebanese Hezbollah and other terrorist groups. Hezbollah has sent operatives to build terrorist infrastructure worldwide [including in Latin America all the way to the US-Mexico border]. The arrests of individuals in the US allegedly linked to Hezbollah’s main overseas terrorist arm, and their intelligence-collection and procurement efforts, demonstrate Hezbollah’s interest in long-term contingency planning activities here in the homeland….

“We continue to see the drug cartels [which intensely collaborate with Iran’s Ayatollahs and Hezbollah, that supply them predator unmanned aerial vehicles and tunnel construction equipment] push fentanyl and other dangerous drugs into every corner of the country, claiming countless American lives….

“Since October 7, we have seen a rogue gallery of foreign terrorist organizations call for attacks against Americans and our allies…. Our most immediate concern has been that [terrorists] will draw twisted inspiration from the events in the Middle East to carry out attacks here at home….”

The FBI Director Wray’s April 11 and June 4 testimonies followed his alarming testimonies on October 31, 2023 and on November 15, 2023, in the Senate and House Homeland Security Committees.

FBI Director Wray vs. Secretary of State Blinken

*FBI Director Chris Wray recognizes that the October 7, 2023 Hamas terrorism is relevant to the US homeland security, and that Israel’s war on Hamas supports the US’ war on Islamic terrorism. Unlike Director Wray, Secretary of State Blinken has assumed the role of an “honest broker,” ignoring the US-allied role of Israel and the US-enemy role of Hamas, a proxy of Iran’s Ayatollahs and a branch of the Moslem Brotherhood, the largest anti-US Sunni terrorist organization.

*FBI Director Wray considers Iran’s Ayatollahs and their Islamic terror proxies, such as Hamas and Hezbollah, as a clear and present threat to the US homeland security. He is aware of their intensified collaboration with the drug cartels in Mexico, Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador and Brazil, as well as with Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua and all other anti-US governments in Latin America, the US’ soft underbelly. In contrast, Secretary of State Blinken – true to his multilateralist UN-oriented worldview – has approached Iran’s Ayatollahs as a diplomatic challenge, opposing the options of regime change, and refraining from establishing a potent military threat hovering above the head of the Ayatollahs.

*FBI Director Wray realizes that Iran’s Ayatollahs are the chief epicenter of Hamas, Hezbollah and other components of the global anti-US Islamic terrorism, in addition to the Ayatollahs’ role as the main anti-US drug trafficker, money launderer and proliferator of advanced military systems. However, irrespective of the Ayatollahs’ rogue anti-US track record, Secretary Blinken refrains from defining Iran as a terrorist-state, viewing the Ayatollahs as partners in good-faith negotiations.

*FBI Director Chris Wray is aware that Iran’s Ayatollahs, and other anti-US Islamic terrorists, are driven by a 1,400-year-old fanatical and imperialistic ideology, which aims to bring the “infidel US” to submission. He is convinced that Islamic terrorism should be addressed by national security means, and not via gestures and concessions, which are perceived by terrorists as terror-inducing weakness. On the other hand, Secretary Blinken believes that Islamic terrorism is despair-driven, and therefore, should be addressed via substantial diplomatic and financial gestures, notwithstanding the fact that terrorists bite the hands that feed them (e.g., Iran’s Ayatollahs terrorize the US, which facilitated their rise to power; the Mujahideen’s terrorize the US, which helped them expel the Soviet military from Afghanistan; Libyan Islamic terrorists lynched US diplomats, notwithstanding the US-led NATO military offensive, which helped them topple Gadhafi; etc.).   

*Will the mounting threat of anti-US Islamic terrorism, and the volcanic Middle East reality, cause Secretary Blinken to reassess his position on Iran’s Ayatollahs, Hamas and other forms of Islamic terrorism, by avoiding rather than continuing to repeat critical mistakes, which have undermined the national security and homeland security of the US?

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Judea & Samaria

Secretary Blinken on settlements – vindicated by facts?

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
February 27, 2024

Secretary of State Antony Blinken represents conventional wisdom when claiming that “It’s been longstanding US policy… that new settlements are… inconsistent with international law.”

However, conventional wisdom is frequently demolished by the march of facts

For instance:

*According to Prof. Eugene Rostow, who was the co-author of the November 22, 1967 UN Security Council Resolution 242, served as Undersecretary of State and was the Dean of Yale University Law School: “Jews have the same right to settle in the West Bank as they have in Haifa.”

*According to UN Resolution 242, Israel is required to withdraw from territories, not the territories, nor from all the territories, but some of the territories, which included Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Peninsula and the Golan Heights.  Moreover, according to Prof. Rostow, “resolutions calling for withdrawal from all the territories were defeated in the Security Council and the General Assembly…. Israel was not to be forced back to the fragile and vulnerable [9-15 mile-wide] lines… but to secure and recognized boundaries, agreed to by the parties…. In making peace with Egypt in 1979, Israel withdrew from the entire Sinai… [which amounts to] more than 90% of the territories occupied in 1967….”

*Former President of the International Court of Justice, Judge Stephen M. Schwebel, stated: “Between Israel, acting defensively in 1948 and 1967 (according to Article 52 of the UN Charter), on the one hand, and her Arab neighbors, acting aggressively in 1948 and 1967, on the other, Israel has better title in the territory of what was [British Mandate] Palestine…. It follows that modifications of the 1949 armistice lines among those States within former Palestinian territory are lawful…. [The 1967] Israeli conquest of territory was defensive rather than aggressive… [as] indicated by Egypt’s prior closure of the Straits of Tiran, blockade of the Israeli port of Eilat, and the amassing of [Egyptian] troops in Sinai, coupled with its ejection of the UN Emergency Force…[and] Jordan’s initiated hostilities against Israel…. The 1948 Arab invasion of the nascent State of Israel further demonstrated that Egypt’s seizure of the Gaza Strip, and Jordan’s seizure and subsequent annexation of the West Bank and the old city of Jerusalem, were unlawful….” 

*The legal status of Judea and Samaria is embedded in the following 4 authoritative, binding, internationally-ratified documents, which recognize the area for what it has been: the cradle of Jewish history, culture, language, aspirations and religion.

(I) The November 2, 1917 Balfour Declaration, issued by Britain, calling for “the establishment in Palestine (a synonym to the Land of Israel) of a national home for the Jewish people….”
(II) The April 24, 1920 resolution, by the post-First World War San Remo Peace Conference of the Allied Powers Supreme Council, entrusted both sides of the Jordan River to the British Mandate for Palestine, for the reestablishment of the Jewish Commonwealth: “the Mandatory will be responsible for putting into effect the [Balfour] declaration originally made on November 2, 1917, by the Government of His Britannic Majesty, and adopted by the said Powers, in favor of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.” It was one of over 20 Mandates (trusteeships) established following WW1, responsible for the boundaries of most Arab countries.
(III) The July 24, 1922 Mandate for Palestine was ratified by the Council of the League of Nations, entrusted Britain to establish a Jewish state in the entire area west of the Jordan River, as demonstrated by its 6th article: “[to] encourage… close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands….” The Mandate was dedicated exclusively to Jewish national rights, while guaranteeing the civic rights of all other religious and ethnic groups. On July 23, 1923, the Ottoman Empire signed the Treaty of Lausanne, which included the Mandate for Palestine.  
(IV) The October 24, 1945 Article 80 of the UN Charter incorporated the Mandate for Palestine into the UN Charter.  Accordingly, the UN or any other entity cannot transfer Jewish rights in Palestine – including immigration and settlement – to any other party. According to Article 80 of the UN Charter and the Mandate for Palestine, the 1967 war of self-defense returned Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria to its legal owner, the Jewish state.  Legally and geo-strategically the rules of “belligerent occupation” do not apply Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria, since they are not “foreign territory,” and Jordan did not have a legitimate title over the West Bank.  Moreover, the rules of “belligerent occupation” do not apply in view of the 1994 Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty. The 1950-67 Jordanian occupation of Judea and Samaria violated international law and was recognized only by Britain and Pakistan.

*The 1949 4th Geneva Convention prohibits the forced transfer of populations to areas previously occupied by a legitimate sovereign power. However, Israel has not forced Jews to settle in Judea and Samaria, and Jordan’s sovereignty there was never legal.

*The November 29, 1947 UN General Assembly Partition Resolution 181 was a recommendation, lacking legal stature, superseded by the Mandate for Palestine. The 1949 Armistice (non-peace) Agreements between Israel and its neighbors delineated “non-territorial boundaries.”   

*The term “Palestine” was a Greek and then a Roman attempt (following the 135 CE Jewish rebellion) to eradicate Jews and Judaism from human memory. It substituted “Israel, Judea and Samaria” with “Palaestina,” a derivative of the Philistines, an arch enemy of the Jewish people, whose origin was not in Arabia, but in the Greek Aegian islands.    

*The aforementioned march of facts demonstrates that Secretary Blinken’s conventional wisdom on the Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria is based on gross misperceptions and misrepresentations, which fuels infidelity to law, undermining the pursuit of peace.

*More on the legality of Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria in this article by George Mason University Law School Prof. Eugene Kontrovich.

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Jerusalem

United Jerusalem – a shared US-Israel legacy and interest

US departure from the recognition of a United Jerusalem as the exclusive capital of the Jewish State, and the site of the US Embassy to Israel, would be consistent with the track record of the State Department, which has been systematically wrong on Middle East issues, such as its opposition to the establishment of the Jewish State; stabbing the back of the pro-US Shah of Iran and Mubarak of Egypt, and pressuring the pro-US Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, while courting the anti-US Ayatollahs of Iran, Saddam Hussein, Arafat, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, the Palestinian Authority and the Houthis of Yemen; transforming Libya into a platform of global Islamic terrorism and civil wars; etc..

However, such departure would violate US law, defy a 3,000 year old reality – documented by a litany of archeological sites and a multitude of documents from Biblical time until today – spurn US history and geography, and undermine US national and homeland security.

United Jerusalem and the US law

Establishing a US Consulate General in Jerusalem – which would be a de facto US Embassy to the Palestinian Authority – would violate the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which became US law on November 8, 1995 with substantially more than a veto-override majority on Capitol Hill.

According to the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which enjoys massive support among the US population and, therefore, in both chambers of Congress:

“Jerusalem should remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected….

“Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the state of Israel; and the United States Embassy in Israel should be established in Jerusalem….

“In 1990, Congress unanimously adopted Senate Concurrent Resolution 106, which declares that Congress ‘strongly believes that Jerusalem must remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected….’

“In 1992, the United States Senate and House of Representatives unanimously adopted Senate Concurrent Resolution 113… to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem, and reaffirming Congressional sentiment that Jerusalem must remain an undivided city….

“In 1996, the state of Israel will celebrate the 3,000th anniversary of the Jewish presence in Jerusalem since King David’s entry….

“The term ‘United States Embassy’ means the offices of the United States diplomatic mission and the residence of the United States chief of mission.”

United Jerusalem and the legacy of the Founding Fathers

The US Early Pilgrims and Founding Fathers were inspired – in their unification of the 13 colonies – by King David’s unification of the 12 Jewish tribes into a united political entity, and establishing Jerusalem as the capital city, which did not belong to any of the tribes (hence, Washington, DC does not belong to any state). King David entered Jerusalem 3,000 years before modern day US presidents entered the White House and 2,755 years before the US gained its independence.

The impact of Jerusalem on the US founders of the Federalist Papers, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Federalist system and overall civic life is reflected by the existence, in the US, of 18 Jerusalems (4 in Maryland; 2 in Vermont, Georgia and New York; and 1 in Ohio, Michigan, Arkansas, North Carolina, Alabama, Utah, Rhode Island and Tennessee), 32 Salems (the original Biblical name of Jerusalem) and many Zions (a Biblical synonym for Jerusalem and the Land of Israel).  Moreover, in the US there are thousands of cities, towns, mountains, cliffs, deserts, national parks and streets bearing Biblical names.

The Jerusalem reality and US interests

Recognizing the Jerusalem reality and adherence to the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act – and the subsequent recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the site of the US Embassy to Israel – bolstered the US posture of deterrence in defiance of Arab/Islamic pressure and threats.

Contrary to the doomsday assessments by the State Department and the “elite” US media – which have been wrong on most Middle East issues – the May 2018 implementation of the 1995 law did not intensify Palestinian, Arab and Islamic terrorism. State Department “wise men” were equally wrong when they warned that Israel’s 1967 reunification of Jerusalem would ignite a worldwide anti-Israel and anti-US Islamic volcanic eruption.

Adherence to the 1995 law distinguishes the US President, Congress and most Americans from the state of mind of rogue regimes and terror organizations, the anti-US UN, the vacillating Europe, and the cosmopolitan worldview of the State Department, which has systematically played-down the US’ unilateral, independent and (sometimes) defiant national security action.

On the other hand, US procrastination on the implementation of the 1995 law – by Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama – eroded the US posture of deterrence, since it was rightly perceived by the world as appeasement in the face of pressure and threats from Arab/Muslim regimes and terrorists.  As expected, it radicalized Arab expectations and demands, failed to advance the cause of Israel-Arab peace, fueled Islamic terrorism, and severely undermined US national and homeland security. For example, blowing up the US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and murdering 224 persons in August 1998; blowing up the USS Cole destroyer in the port of Aden and murdering 17 US sailors in October 2000; the 9/11 Twin Towers massacre, etc.

Jerusalem and Israel’s defiance of US pressure

In 1949, President Truman followed Secretary of State Marshall’s policy, pressuring Israel to refrain from annexing West Jerusalem and to accept the internationalization of the ancient capital of the Jewish people.

in 1950, in defiance of brutal US and global pressure to internationalize Jerusalem, Prime Minister David Ben Gurion reacted constructively by proclaiming Jerusalem the capital of the Jewish State, relocating government agencies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and settling tens of thousands of Olim (Jewish immigrants to Israel) in Jerusalem. He upgraded the transportation infrastructure to Jerusalem, erected new Jewish neighborhoods along the 1949 cease fire lines in Jerusalem, and provided the city land reserves for long-term growth.

In 1953, Ben Gurion rebuffed President Eisenhower’s pressure – inspired by Secretary of State Dulles – to refrain from relocating Israel’s Foreign Ministry from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

In 1967, President Johnson followed the advice of Secretary of State Rusk – who opposed Israel’s 1948 Declaration of Independence – highlighting the international status of Jerusalem, and warned Israel against the reunification of Jerusalem and construction in its eastern section. Prime Minister Levi Eshkol adopted Ben Gurion’s statesmanship, fended off the US pressure, reunited Jerusalem, built the first Jerusalem neighborhood beyond the 1949 ceasefire lines, Ramat Eshkol, in addition to the first wave of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria (West Bank), the Jordan Valley and the Golan Heights.

In 1970, President Nixon collaborated with Secretary of State Rogers, attempting to repartition Jerusalem, pressuring Israel to relinquish control of Jerusalem’s Holy Basin, and to stop Israel’s plans to construct additional neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem.  However, Prime Minister Golda Meir refused to rescind the reunification of Jerusalem, and proceeded to lay the foundation for additional Jerusalem neighborhoods beyond the 1949 ceasefire lines: Gilo, Ramot Alon, French Hill and Neve’ Yaakov, currently home to 150,000 people.

In 1977-1992, Prime Ministers Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir defied US and global pressure, expanding construction in Jerusalem, sending a clear message: “Jerusalem is the exclusive and non-negotiable capital of Israel!”

“[In 1978], at the very end of [Prime Minister Begin’s] successful Camp David talks with President Jimmy Carter and President Anwar Sadat, literally minutes before the signing ceremony, the American president had approached [Begin] with ‘Just one final formal item.’ Sadat, said the president, was asking that Begin put his signature to a simple letter committing him to place Jerusalem on the negotiating table of the final peace accord.  ‘I refused to accept the letter, let alone sign it,’ rumbled Begin. ‘If I forgot thee O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its cunning,’ said [Begin] to the president of the United States of America, ‘and may my tongue cleave to my mouth’ (The Prime Ministers – An Intimate Portrait of Leaders of Israel, 2010)”

In 2021, Prime Minister Bennett should follow in the footsteps of Israel’s Founding Father, Ben Gurion, who stated: “Jerusalem is equal to the whole of the Land of Israel. Jerusalem is not just a central Jewish settlement. Jerusalem is an invaluable global historical symbol. The Jewish People and the entire world shall judge us in accordance with our steadfastness on Jerusalem (“We and Our Neighbors,” p. 175. 1929).”

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Jewish Holidays

Shavou’ot (Pentecost) guide for the perplexed, 2024

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
June 9, 2024

More on Jewish holidays: Smashwords, Amazon

1. Shavou’ot (June 11-12, 2024) and the Land of Israel

*Shavou’ot commemorates the receipt of the Torah (the Five Books of Moses). It is one of the three liberty-driven Jewish pilgrimages to Jerusalem:  Passover, Shavou’ot (Pentecost) and Sukkot (Tabernacles). It documents the critical linkage between Judaism, the Land of Israel and the Jewish people. These pilgrimages constitute central milestones in the formation of Jewish history and the 4,000-year-old Jewish roots in the Land of Israel.

*Shavou’ot is an historical, national, agricultural and a spiritual extension of Passover. Passover highlights the physical liberty from slavery in Egypt; Shavou’ot highlights spiritual liberty, embracing the values of the Five Books of Moses, the Ten Commandments and The Ethics of our Fathers (Pirkey Avot). Therefore, the eve of Shavou’ot is dedicated to an all-night study of Jewish values.

*Shavou’ot is also called the Holiday of the Harvest (Bikoorim in Hebrew), since it concludes the harvesting season, which starts during Passover.

*Shavou’ot commemorates the 40 years of the Exodus, which entailed tough challenges on the road to the Land of Israel, forging the state-of-mind of the Jewish people and the Jewish State. 

*Shavou’ot means “weeks” in Hebrew and its root is identical to the root of the Hebrew word for “vows” (שבע), which is the same word for “seven.” It documents the seven weeks between Passover (the Exodus) and Shavou’ot.

*Shavou’ot highlights the prerequisites for a secure Land of Israel: the willingness to sustain blood, sweat and tears; faith and principle-driven tenacity in the face of severe odds; the steeper the hurdle, the more critical is the mission; crises are opportunities in disguise.

2. Shavou’ot’s impact on the formation of the US

*The holiday of Shavou’ot commemorates the legacy of Moses, which had a significant impact on the Early Pilgrims and the Founding Fathers, and the formation of the US culture, civic life, the federal system (e.g., the Separation of Powers), the US Revolution, The Federalist Papers, the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights. 

  • *The Liberty Bell and the Abolitionist Movement were inspired by the Biblical concept of Jubilee – the role model of Biblical liberty – which is a cardinal component of the Mosaic legacy. The essence of the Jubilee is engraved on the Liberty Bell: “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land and unto all the inhabitants thereof (Leviticus 25:10).”
  • *The Liberty Bell was installed in Philadelphia in 1752, 50years following William Penn’s Charter of Privileges, and eventually inspiring the 50 States in the union. According to the Biblical Jubilee, all slaves must be released, and land must be returned to the original proprietors every 50 years. Shavou’ot is celebrated 50 days following Passover, and Pentecost – a derivative of the Greek word for 50 – is celebrated 50 days following Easter.  According to Judaism, there are 50 gates of wisdom, studied during the 50 days between Passover and Shavou’ot.
  • 3. The Scroll of Ruth (Honor thy mother in-law…)
  • Shavou’ot spotlights the Scroll of Ruth, the first of the five Biblical scrolls, which are studied during five Jewish holidays: Ruth (Shavou’ot), Song of Songs (Passover), Ecclesiastes (Sukkot/Tabernacles), Book of Lamentations (the Ninth day of Av), Esther (Purim).
  • *Ruth was a Moabite Princess, who joined the Jewish people, and became the great grandmother of King David. She was a role model of loyalty to her Jewish mother in-law. Ruth is exemplary of humility, gratitude, responsibility, reliability, faith, optimism and respect of fellow human beings. Ruth stuck by her mother-in-law, Naomi, during Naomi’s roughest time, when she lost her husband, Elimelech (a President of the Tribe of Judah), two sons and property.
  • *The stature of Ruth reflects the centrality of Biblical women: the four Matriarchs: Sarah, Rebecca, Leah and Rachel; Yocheved, Miriam and Tziporah, the mother, older sister and the wife of Moses; Deborah the Prophetess, Judge and military leader; Hannah, the mother of Samuel the Prophet; Queen Esther and Yael, who delivered the Jewish people from potential oblivion; etc.  
  • The Scroll of Ruth took place in the Judean Desert (in Judea and Samaria), the cradle of Jewish history, religion, culture, language and ethnicity.

4. The Ethics of the Fathers  (Pirkey Avot in Hebrew)

It is customary to study – from Passover through Shavou’ot – the six brief chapters of The Ethics of the Fathers, one of the 63 tractates of the Mishnah (the Oral Torah) – a compilation of common-sense values, ethical and moral teachings, which underline key inter-personal relationships. For example:

“Who is respected? He who respects other persons!”
“Who is a wise person? He who learns from all other persons!”
“Who is wealthy? He who is satisfied with his own share!”
“Who is a hero? He who controls his urge!”
“Talk sparsely and walk plenty;”
“If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? If not now, when?”
“Don’t be consumed with the flask, but with its content.”
“Conditional love is tenuous; unconditional love is eternal.”
“Treat every person politely.”
“Jealousy, lust and the obsession with fame warp one’s mind.”

5. Jubilee/Constitution. Shavou’ot has seven names: The holiday of the Jubilee; the holiday of the harvest; the holiday of the giving of the Torah; Shavou’ot; the holiday of offerings; the Rally and the Assembly (Constitution).

More on Shavou’ot and additional Jewish holidays: Smashwords, Amazon

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Golan

Secretary Blinken on settlements – vindicated by facts?

Islamic Terrorism

FBI Director Chris Wray defies the State Department on Iran