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Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thoughts: a US-Israel Initiative”
August 1, 2023  

According to a July 17, 2023 Bloomberg report, a leading global investment bank, the NYC-based Jefferies Financial Group, Inc., “expects further growth in Israel’s tech sector despite political unrest over government plans to overhaul the judiciary….

“While there are considerable uncertainties, we anticipate Israel’s tech ecosystem growth and maturation will only accelerate, creating a dominant and necessary opportunity for investors…. The report expressed confidence that Israel’s tech industry will remain globally attractive….

“The volume and density of innovation has made Israel a mandatory destination for all leading investors and will likely create a disproportionate number of category-defining winners across sectors in the many years to come….”

Irrespective of the political turmoil associated with the judiciary controversy, the latest data indicates persistent growth of Israel’s high-tech sector, in particular, and Israel’s economy, in general.

According to Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, as presented on July 27, 2023 by a senior Israeli economist, Shlomo Maoz:

*Notwithstanding the dramatic decline in foreign investment in Israel’s high-tech sector, Israel’s high-tech export increased by 6.9% during the first 5 months of 2023, while domestic consumption of Israel’s high-tech products and services decreased by 0.2% during the same period.

*The recent depreciation of the New Israeli Shekel (compared with the US dollar) has benefitted Israel’s exports.

*Industrial production of the high-tech sector expanded during the first five months of 2023 by 5.6% more than the first five months of 2022, as reflected by the 3% growth in the number of high-tech workers during the first five month of 2023, and the 3.6% rise in the number of working hours during the first five months of 2023.  

*Israel’s defense export has surged due to the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war upon the demand for advanced Israeli military systems; the substantial increase of Germany’s defense budget, and Sweden’s and Finland’s decision to join NATO. In addition, there is the rising Chinese threat to India and the Pacific Ocean countries; and the sustained regional and global threat of Sunni (e.g., Moslem Brotherhood) and Shiite Islamic terrorism (Iran’s Ayatollahs).

*Israel is expected to double its natural gas production to 40 billion cubic meters during the next few years, in response to the growing demand  by Europe for alternative sources of natural gas, as it seeks to reduce reliance on Russian energy.  As a result, there has been growing interest by international energy companies to invest in Israel’s gas exploration. For example, Chevron Corp. and Israel’s NewMed Energy and Ratio Energies – the partners in the Israeli offshore gas project, Leviathan – are investing $568mn to build a 3rd pipeline.  

*Unemployment has declined to 3.5% (3% among women). In fact, a shortage of manpower is reported by hundreds of contractors and subcontractors, especially in export and defense-driven companies.

*Israel’s GDP grew by 3.2% during the first quarter of 2023, compared to 3.1% during the previous quarter, while industrial investment grew by 16.2% following a 4.8% decline during the last quarter of 2022.

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The state of Israel’s high-tech


Challenged by a unique environment – top heavy on terrorism and war, but low on natural resources and rainfall – Israel has bolstered its do-or-die state of mind, with defiance of odds, risk-taking, frontier, pioneering, optimism, patriotism, can-do and out-of-the-box mentality. This has yielded a robust flow of game-changing commercial, defense and dual-use technologies.

These game-changing technologies include the world’s smallest (0.99mm) pill-size video medical camera, MobilEye AI car safety, Waze navigation, the Pressure Bandage, the “Arrow”, “Iron Dome” and “David Sling” missile defense systems, land-sea-air UAVs and mini, small and mid-size space vehicles. Also, the cherry tomato, drip irrigation system, SupPlant autonomous irrigation system, solar water heaters, Intel’s microprocessors, Microsoft’s anti-virus and Windows XP and NT, the USB flash drive Disk-on-Key, Firewall against malware and the ICQ instant messenger. In addition, there are the Israeli developed Watergen water from thin air, GrainPro Cocoons for African grain farmers, biological pest control, Laser keyboard, Voice-over Internet protocol, Face ID, Babylon computer translation, WeCU airport security, Rewalk for paraplegics, OrCam for the visually-impaired, etc.  

These Israeli developed technologies have been shared with the US, in particular, and the world, in general, enhancing global standard of living, communications, medicine, health, agriculture, irrigation, software technologies, cyber security, national security and homeland security.

Israel is one of the leading global high-tech hubs along with the Silicon Valley, San Francisco, Boston, Austin, Raleigh, Durham, Bangalore, Stockholm, Helsinki and London.


Some 400 foreign corporations – mostly from the US – have established research and development centers in Israel, leveraging its brain power and challenging experiences.  For example, John Deere and Monsanto agricultural tech; General Electric, Johnson & Johnson and Philips medical tech; Pfizer, Bayer and Merck pharmaceuticals; Texas Instruments, Intel, Applied materials, AMD, Marvell, Nvidia and Qualcomm semiconductors; General Motors, Ford Motor, Honda, Mercedes Benz and Skoda automotive; Microsoft, Oracle, McAfee, Autodesk and PTC software; Sony, Siemens, Samsung and LG electronics; AT&T telecommunications, Vonage and Fujitsu communications; IBM, HP and Dell computer tech; eBay, Google, Facebook, Yahoo and PayPal internet; Intuit, Citigroup, Mastercard, Visa and Barclays financial services; Motorola and Nokia telecom; Xerox and Hewlett Packard information tech;, PepsiCo food processing, Mitsubishi international trade, CA Technologies business-to-business, Sears retail, ASML photolithography, etc.  

According to PitchBook Financial Data, In 2022, Israel ($506 per capita) was second to Singapore ($695) in attracting venture capital investment per capita (including Warren Buffett’s Berkshire-Hathaway), compared to the US ($357), Switzerland ($273), Finland ($232), the UK ($190), the UAE ($168), Sweden ($157), Canada ($117) and France ($104).

And, according to Deloitte, “Israel is the world leader for the number of start-ups per capita.”

Israel leads the world in its research and development manpower per capita: 140 Israelis (per 10,000) and 85 Americans (per 10,000) are ahead of the rest of the world. 

Israel is second to the US in terms of scientific publications per capita.

Israel’s high-tech sector has played a key role in the transformation of Israel into a unique force and dollar-multiplier for the US. It has provided to the US game-changing commercial and defense technologies, which have enhanced the US economy and defense, bolstering its global technological edge.

Israel’s high-tech competitive edge

Israel’s high-tech workforce benefits from an annual flow of Jewish immigrants (Aliyah), who are trained in Israel, the US, Russia, Europe, Latin America and Australia, who join the Israeli graduates from institutions of higher learning.

Israel’s high-tech workforce absorbs veterans of the elite high-tech units of the Israel Defense Force, many of them scouted by the military among 10th and 11th graders, who are at the top of their class.

Israel’s military service trains high school graduates to make life and death decisions, be quick on their feet, innovate and improvise.

Israel’s commercial and military high-tech benefits from the intense, speedy and informal interaction and integrated synergy among the research, academic, military, commercial and defense sectors.

Israel’s robust demography – which leads the Free World with three births per Jewish woman and an unprecedented momentum of secular fertility – provides a tailwind for Israel’s economy.

According to the World Bank, 5.4% of Israel’s GDP is dedicated to research and development, the highest in the world, ahead of South Korea (4.81%), Sweden (3.53%), Belgium (3.48%), the US (3.45%), Japan (3.26%), Austria (3.20%), Switzerland (3.15%), Germany (3.14%), Denmark (2.96%), the OECD (2.96%), Finland (2.94%), Iceland (2.47%), France (2.35%), the Netherlands (2.9%), Norway (2.28%), Slovenia (2.15%), the Czeck Republic (1.9%), Singapore 1.89%), Australia (1.83%), the UK (1.71%) and Canada (1.7%).


Israel’s economy has surged dramatically in 1988-2022:

<From 4.4 million to 9.5 million people;
<From life expectancy of 75 to 82;
<From $37 billion to $490 billion GDP;
<From $8,000 to $52,000 GDP per capita;
<From $6 billion to $200 billion foreign exchange reserves;
<From 155% to 61% government debt to GDP ratio;
<From $10 billion to $160 billion exports;
<From 70,000 to 350,000 students in Israel’s colleges and universities.


Against the backdrop of the aforementioned information, Israel constitutes a unique case, which benefits from the law of increasing returns.  Israel’s ongoing wars against terrorism and conventional military forces have been bumps on the road to unprecedented growth.

According to George Gilderthe author of The Israel Test and a high-tech guru: “Israel is the global master of microchip design, network algorithms and medical instruments…water recycling and desalinization…missile defense, robotic warfare, and UAVs…. US defense and prosperity increasingly depend on the ever-growing economic and technological power of Israel. If we stand together, we can deter or defeat any foe…. We need Israel as much as it needs us.

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Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
January 16, 2024

*Irrespective of Israel’s wars against Hamas and Hezbollah, Intel, the semiconductor giant, confirmed a $25 billion investment in Israel, leveraging Israel’s brain power, which has enhanced Intel’s competitiveness in the global market.  Over the last 50 years, Intel has invested over $50 billion in Israel, establishing 4 research and development centers, despite the potential for wars and actual wars and terrorism. Intel will expand its Israeli chip factory, in order to diversify its manufacturing potential amid a chip arms race (New York Times, December 27, 2023).

*Challenged by a unique environment – top heavy on terrorism and war, but low on natural resources and rainfall – Israel has bolstered its do-or-die state of mind, with defiance of odds, risk-taking, frontier, pioneering, optimism, patriotism, can-do and out-of-the-box mentality. This has yielded a robust flow of game-changing commercial, defense and dual-use technologies.

*Israel entered the current wars with positive economic indicators, such as debt-to-GDP ratio in the low ‘60% (compared with 123% in the US) and an all-time high foreign exchange reserves of $200 billion.

*Intel’s $25 billion investment in Israel is driven by the Israel’s unique competitive edge, as detailed in the following October 23, 2023 report by the St. Louis-based Stifel Investment Bank ($390BN asset management):

“We believe that there are several key factors supporting the resilience of the Israeli market in the face of conflict, and the confidence of large multinational companies making large acquisitions in Israel, including during wars.

“Some of those key factors include:

<The strongest military in the region….
<Key strategic assets in Israel held by leading U.S. and other global ‘Blue Chip’ corporates with billions of dollars of investment respectively…
<A source of key cutting-edge technologies for US and global high-tech giants [e.g., Intel, HP, IBM, Google, Cisco, Microsoft, Apple] ….
<Chevron with billions of dollars in Israeli offshore gas interests, is a strategic alternative source of gas to the European Union particularly considering issues with Russia] ….
<A 75-year-old partnership with the US, built on mutual interests and shared values….
<Military cooperation [with the US], joint development of military technology [and battle tactics], and regular joint military exercises involving the U.S. military….
<A manufacturer of key military equipment for the U.S. military….
<Israel has a history of numerous brilliant military victories throughout its history, when it had a far weaker military and far worse odds….
<Israeli companies, management teams and people have demonstrated strong operational flexibility, adaptation, and resilience in times of conflict, and experience in dealing with reserve duty absenteeism and remote working….  

*”We [Stifel Investment Bank] have analyzed the impact of 4 previous Israeli conflicts with a range of both duration and gravity including the 2014 Gaza War – Operation Protective Edge, the 2008 Gaza War – Operation Cast Lead, the 2006 Lebanon War, and the 2nd Intifada (2000).  

“Our analysis examines the impact on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) as well as strategic transactional activity during and following the respective conflicts.

*“The analysis reveals very strong resilience in the face of such Israeli market shocks, and with the exception of the 2nd Intifada (2000) – which was highly correlated to the dot-com bubble – the impact of historical conflicts on TASE have been minimal with the TASE experiencing single digit or negligible conflict related impacts, and an almost immediate rebound and strong short and long term performance post conflict….

*”It is also noteworthy that throughout historical periods of conflict, there continued to be strategic M&A [Merger and Acquisition] activity with multinational strategic companies making material acquisitions in Israel during and immediately post conflict….”

*According to Intel’s CEO, Patrick Gelsinger: “The Israeli people are the most resilient people on earth” (FOX Business, December 13, 2023).
Support Appreciated

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thoughts: a US-Israel Initiative”
August 1, 2023  

According to a July 17, 2023 Bloomberg report, a leading global investment bank, the NYC-based Jefferies Financial Group, Inc., “expects further growth in Israel’s tech sector despite political unrest over government plans to overhaul the judiciary….

“While there are considerable uncertainties, we anticipate Israel’s tech ecosystem growth and maturation will only accelerate, creating a dominant and necessary opportunity for investors…. The report expressed confidence that Israel’s tech industry will remain globally attractive….

“The volume and density of innovation has made Israel a mandatory destination for all leading investors and will likely create a disproportionate number of category-defining winners across sectors in the many years to come….”

Irrespective of the political turmoil associated with the judiciary controversy, the latest data indicates persistent growth of Israel’s high-tech sector, in particular, and Israel’s economy, in general.

According to Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, as presented on July 27, 2023 by a senior Israeli economist, Shlomo Maoz:

*Notwithstanding the dramatic decline in foreign investment in Israel’s high-tech sector, Israel’s high-tech export increased by 6.9% during the first 5 months of 2023, while domestic consumption of Israel’s high-tech products and services decreased by 0.2% during the same period.

*The recent depreciation of the New Israeli Shekel (compared with the US dollar) has benefitted Israel’s exports.

*Industrial production of the high-tech sector expanded during the first five months of 2023 by 5.6% more than the first five months of 2022, as reflected by the 3% growth in the number of high-tech workers during the first five month of 2023, and the 3.6% rise in the number of working hours during the first five months of 2023.  

*Israel’s defense export has surged due to the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war upon the demand for advanced Israeli military systems; the substantial increase of Germany’s defense budget, and Sweden’s and Finland’s decision to join NATO. In addition, there is the rising Chinese threat to India and the Pacific Ocean countries; and the sustained regional and global threat of Sunni (e.g., Moslem Brotherhood) and Shiite Islamic terrorism (Iran’s Ayatollahs).

*Israel is expected to double its natural gas production to 40 billion cubic meters during the next few years, in response to the growing demand  by Europe for alternative sources of natural gas, as it seeks to reduce reliance on Russian energy.  As a result, there has been growing interest by international energy companies to invest in Israel’s gas exploration. For example, Chevron Corp. and Israel’s NewMed Energy and Ratio Energies – the partners in the Israeli offshore gas project, Leviathan – are investing $568mn to build a 3rd pipeline.  

*Unemployment has declined to 3.5% (3% among women). In fact, a shortage of manpower is reported by hundreds of contractors and subcontractors, especially in export and defense-driven companies.

*Israel’s GDP grew by 3.2% during the first quarter of 2023, compared to 3.1% during the previous quarter, while industrial investment grew by 16.2% following a 4.8% decline during the last quarter of 2022.

Support Appreciated

The state of Israel’s high-tech


Challenged by a unique environment – top heavy on terrorism and war, but low on natural resources and rainfall – Israel has bolstered its do-or-die state of mind, with defiance of odds, risk-taking, frontier, pioneering, optimism, patriotism, can-do and out-of-the-box mentality. This has yielded a robust flow of game-changing commercial, defense and dual-use technologies.

These game-changing technologies include the world’s smallest (0.99mm) pill-size video medical camera, MobilEye AI car safety, Waze navigation, the Pressure Bandage, the “Arrow”, “Iron Dome” and “David Sling” missile defense systems, land-sea-air UAVs and mini, small and mid-size space vehicles. Also, the cherry tomato, drip irrigation system, SupPlant autonomous irrigation system, solar water heaters, Intel’s microprocessors, Microsoft’s anti-virus and Windows XP and NT, the USB flash drive Disk-on-Key, Firewall against malware and the ICQ instant messenger. In addition, there are the Israeli developed Watergen water from thin air, GrainPro Cocoons for African grain farmers, biological pest control, Laser keyboard, Voice-over Internet protocol, Face ID, Babylon computer translation, WeCU airport security, Rewalk for paraplegics, OrCam for the visually-impaired, etc.  

These Israeli developed technologies have been shared with the US, in particular, and the world, in general, enhancing global standard of living, communications, medicine, health, agriculture, irrigation, software technologies, cyber security, national security and homeland security.

Israel is one of the leading global high-tech hubs along with the Silicon Valley, San Francisco, Boston, Austin, Raleigh, Durham, Bangalore, Stockholm, Helsinki and London.


Some 400 foreign corporations – mostly from the US – have established research and development centers in Israel, leveraging its brain power and challenging experiences.  For example, John Deere and Monsanto agricultural tech; General Electric, Johnson & Johnson and Philips medical tech; Pfizer, Bayer and Merck pharmaceuticals; Texas Instruments, Intel, Applied materials, AMD, Marvell, Nvidia and Qualcomm semiconductors; General Motors, Ford Motor, Honda, Mercedes Benz and Skoda automotive; Microsoft, Oracle, McAfee, Autodesk and PTC software; Sony, Siemens, Samsung and LG electronics; AT&T telecommunications, Vonage and Fujitsu communications; IBM, HP and Dell computer tech; eBay, Google, Facebook, Yahoo and PayPal internet; Intuit, Citigroup, Mastercard, Visa and Barclays financial services; Motorola and Nokia telecom; Xerox and Hewlett Packard information tech;, PepsiCo food processing, Mitsubishi international trade, CA Technologies business-to-business, Sears retail, ASML photolithography, etc.  

According to PitchBook Financial Data, In 2022, Israel ($506 per capita) was second to Singapore ($695) in attracting venture capital investment per capita (including Warren Buffett’s Berkshire-Hathaway), compared to the US ($357), Switzerland ($273), Finland ($232), the UK ($190), the UAE ($168), Sweden ($157), Canada ($117) and France ($104).

And, according to Deloitte, “Israel is the world leader for the number of start-ups per capita.”

Israel leads the world in its research and development manpower per capita: 140 Israelis (per 10,000) and 85 Americans (per 10,000) are ahead of the rest of the world. 

Israel is second to the US in terms of scientific publications per capita.

Israel’s high-tech sector has played a key role in the transformation of Israel into a unique force and dollar-multiplier for the US. It has provided to the US game-changing commercial and defense technologies, which have enhanced the US economy and defense, bolstering its global technological edge.

Israel’s high-tech competitive edge

Israel’s high-tech workforce benefits from an annual flow of Jewish immigrants (Aliyah), who are trained in Israel, the US, Russia, Europe, Latin America and Australia, who join the Israeli graduates from institutions of higher learning.

Israel’s high-tech workforce absorbs veterans of the elite high-tech units of the Israel Defense Force, many of them scouted by the military among 10th and 11th graders, who are at the top of their class.

Israel’s military service trains high school graduates to make life and death decisions, be quick on their feet, innovate and improvise.

Israel’s commercial and military high-tech benefits from the intense, speedy and informal interaction and integrated synergy among the research, academic, military, commercial and defense sectors.

Israel’s robust demography – which leads the Free World with three births per Jewish woman and an unprecedented momentum of secular fertility – provides a tailwind for Israel’s economy.

According to the World Bank, 5.4% of Israel’s GDP is dedicated to research and development, the highest in the world, ahead of South Korea (4.81%), Sweden (3.53%), Belgium (3.48%), the US (3.45%), Japan (3.26%), Austria (3.20%), Switzerland (3.15%), Germany (3.14%), Denmark (2.96%), the OECD (2.96%), Finland (2.94%), Iceland (2.47%), France (2.35%), the Netherlands (2.9%), Norway (2.28%), Slovenia (2.15%), the Czeck Republic (1.9%), Singapore 1.89%), Australia (1.83%), the UK (1.71%) and Canada (1.7%).


Israel’s economy has surged dramatically in 1988-2022:

<From 4.4 million to 9.5 million people;
<From life expectancy of 75 to 82;
<From $37 billion to $490 billion GDP;
<From $8,000 to $52,000 GDP per capita;
<From $6 billion to $200 billion foreign exchange reserves;
<From 155% to 61% government debt to GDP ratio;
<From $10 billion to $160 billion exports;
<From 70,000 to 350,000 students in Israel’s colleges and universities.


Against the backdrop of the aforementioned information, Israel constitutes a unique case, which benefits from the law of increasing returns.  Israel’s ongoing wars against terrorism and conventional military forces have been bumps on the road to unprecedented growth.

According to George Gilderthe author of The Israel Test and a high-tech guru: “Israel is the global master of microchip design, network algorithms and medical instruments…water recycling and desalinization…missile defense, robotic warfare, and UAVs…. US defense and prosperity increasingly depend on the ever-growing economic and technological power of Israel. If we stand together, we can deter or defeat any foe…. We need Israel as much as it needs us.

Straight from the Jerusalem Boardroom #248
https://bit.ly/3u29k9g

Foreign investment in Israel’s high-tech companies surged to new heights in the 1st quarter of 2021 – $5.7bn in 172 deals – which is up 89% over the impressive 4th quarter of 2020 and double the volume of the 1st quarter of 2020.

2020 was the first year of surpassing $10bn in capital raised by the Israeli high-tech sector from investors in the US, Asia and Europe, who trust the maturity of Israel’s brain power. Investments in Israeli companies more than tripled in six years, reflecting the effective response by Israeli startups to the technological, medical, pharmaceutical, educational, social and digital challenges posed by Covid-19.

Israel’s economic performance in defiance of Covid-19 is presented by Dr. Adam Reuter, the Chairman and Founder of “Financial Immunities,” Israel’s largest financial-risk management firm, and the co-author of Israel – Island of Success:

  1. Israel has led the globe in the rapid administration of Covid-19 vaccinations due to effective negotiations with Pfizer and an efficient, country-wide medical infrastructure.
  2. Israel is the second lowest among OECD countries in the number of Covid-19 deaths per number of Covid-19 cases: 0.7% compared to the 2.3% OECD average. Israel features a young population (median age of 30 compared to the OECD’s 42) and an effective country-wide medical infrastructure, including top level HMOs and hospitals.
  3. Israel is ranked 12th from the bottom among the 37 OECD countries in the number of deaths per million inhabitants: 645 compared to 1,145 OECD average.
  4. The International Monetary Fund’s 2025 GDP growth forecast for OECD countries: Israel – 4%, OECD average – 2.2%, US – 1.8%, Australia – 2.5%, Ireland – 2.6%, France and Canada – 1.7%, the UK – 1.6%, Germany – 1.2%, etc.
  5. Israel’s 2020 GDP was reduced by 2.5%, compared to the OECD average reduction of 4.1%, South Korea – 1%, Norway – 0.8%, Australia – 2.6%, US – 3.5%, Japan – 4.8%, Germany – 5%, France – 8%, the UK – 10% reduction, etc. GDP growth was recorded in New Zealand – 2.4% and Ireland – 3.5%.
  6. In 2020, Israel was ranked 20th among the 37 members of the OECD in terms of GDP per capita, featuring $43,000 (GDP – $408bn), ahead of Japan, Italy and Spain, and very close behind the UK ($44,000) and France ($45,000).
  7. Israel’s debt-to-GDP ratio increased from 60% in 2019 to 72% in 2020, compared to the OECD’s average increase from 66% to 82%. The 2020’s debt-to-GDP ratio was 266% in Japan, Italy – 161%, the US – 131%, Germany – 73%, etc.
  8. Israel’s foreign exchange reserves-to-GDP ratio of 41% (3rd among the OECD countries) attests to its financial stability, and Israel’s capability to raise foreign credit promptly in a cost-effective manner. Israel’s foreign exchange reserves in March 2021 – $186bn.
  9. During the past decade, Standard and Poor (S&P) accorded Israel a positive credit rating trend, unlike the negative trend for the G-7 countries. In 2020, notwithstanding Covid-19, Israel’s credit rating (S&P) remained at AA.
  10. Some 380 global high-tech giants operate in Israel, including Microsoft, Amazon, IBM, Intel, Cisco, Apple, Verizon, Applied Materials, Dell, HP, Kodak, Oracle, Philips, SAP, Medtronics, GM, eBay, GE, etc. Israel leads the world in the ratio of research and development investment to GDP: 4.9%. 85% of this investment comes from the business sector.

 

Straight from the Jerusalem Boardroom #247

According to Dr. Adam Reuter, the Chairman and Founder of “Financial Immunities,” Israel’s largest financial-risk management firm, and the co-author of Israel – Island of Success:

  1. A direct correlation exists between the level of Nasdaq, on the one hand, and the strength of Israel’s Shekel, on the other hand. The higher the level of Nasdaq, the more US funds are available for investment in Israel’s hightech sector. Israel has become a unique source of innovative research and development – as well as an engine of export enhancement – for major US hightech companies.
  2. Israel’s export is expected to approach an all-time high of $132BN in 2020 – while import has declined substantially – due to the surge of the hightech sector. 10% of Israel’s working manpower is directly employed by the hightech sector (double the level employed in other OECD countries) with a substantial number of people, who are indirectly involved in hightech.
  3. Direct foreign investment in Israel in 2020 is 20% higher than 2019 – approaching $25BN, of which $9.5BN-$10BN are hightech investment (20% higher than 2019). Since 2000, US businesses and individuals have invested over $100BN in Israel’s hightech sector.
  4. Israel’s foreign exchange reserves as a percentage of GDP is 3rd among OECD countries. Israel’s total foreign exchange reserves are at an all-time high at $170BN, of which $17BN was acquired in 2020. Notwithstanding the unprecedented dollar acquisition by Bank of Israel – but due to the unprecedented level of foreign investment – Israel’s Shekel is gaining strength: 3.81 per US Dollar on March 17, 2020 and 3.23 on December 22, 2020.
  5. Israel’s national debt-to-GDP ratio was 60%, before the arrival of COVID 19, compared to 109% for the USA. In December 2020, it is 76%, compared to 131% for the USA.
  6. Israel’s public savings in 2020 has increased by 1.4% compared to 2019.
  7. The IMF’s outlook report for 2025: Israel – 4% GDP growth ($500BN annual GDP), Turkey, Columbia, Latvia and Estonia – 3%, Ireland and Australia – 2.5%, OECD average – 2.1%, Sweden – 2%, USA – 1.75%, France – 1.7%, Canada – 1.7%, Switzerland – 1.3%, Germany – 1.2%.
  8. Standard & Poor’s (S&P) international rating agency reaffirmed Israel’s credit rating of a stable AA-, despite the impact of COVID 19, the growing budget deficit and domestic political instability, but due to Israel’s thriving hightech industries, strong external accounts, the deep pool of domestic savings, the effects of the recent peace accords and the expansion of natural gas investment and export (e.g., Chevron’s acquisition of Nobel Energy’s offshore assets in the Eastern Mediterranean, which has geopolitical and economic implications).

Fitch and Moody’s international rating companies sustained their stable A+ and stable A1 credit ratings for Israel, respectively.

  1. Israel’s peace treaties with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain are expected to add 0.25% ($1BN) to Israel’s GDP through agricultural and hightech export, hightech investment, oil import and mutual tourism.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Straight from the Jerusalem Boardroom #245

  1. 2000 to 2019:

*Population – from 6.2 million to 9.1 million (47% growth);
*Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – from $132BN to $404BN (206% growth);
*GDP per capita – from $21,000 to $44,000 (110% growth);
*Export – from $47BN to $117BN (149% growth);
*Women in the workforce – from 48% to 60% (25% growth);
*University/college students – from 70,000 to 316,000 (351% growth);
*Incoming tourists – from 2.31 million to 4.87 million (108% growth);
*Water desalination – from 2% to 26% (1,300% growth);
*Foreign exchange reserves – from $24BN to $119BN (396% growth);
*Government debt per GDP – from 77% to 58.5% (24.7% reduction);
*US “aid” per GDP – from 2.3% to 1% (57% reduction);
*Defense budget per GDP – from 9% to 5% (44% reduction);
*Tax burden – from 43% to 32% (26% reduction);
*Number of vehicles per 1,000 people – from 277 to 396 (43% growth);
*Emigrants per 100,000 people – from 340 to 160 (51% reduction).

Source: Dr. Adam Reuter, the Chairman and Founder of “Financial Immunities,” Israel’s largest financial-risk management firm, and the co-author of Israel – Island of Success.

  1. In 2010-2019, Israel’s hightech sector raised $39.1BN, mostly from foreign investors. In 2019, Israel’s technology sector raised $8.3BN, 30% over 2018, and compared to $2.1BN in 2010. In 2019, Artificial Intelligence firms raised $3.7BN (Globes Business Daily, January 9, 2020).
  2. In 2019, the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange featured more than 55% rate of return in the hightech sector, 70% in real estate and almost 30% in banking. In 2019, the total of hightech exits reached $10BN – twice as in 2018 – with a 30% rise in the number of transactions. The hightech sector rose 63% in 2019, twice as high as NASDAQ, and 200% since mid-2011.

The sustained growth of the hightech sector, during the recent 25 years, has been a byproduct of the unique interaction among Israel’s educational, (defense and commercial) industrial, military and academic/research infrastructures, bolstered by Israel’s brain-power and government assistance (Globes, January 20).

  1. Insight Partners, the NY-based venture capital fund, acquired Israel’s Armis (cyber and IoT – interrelated computing devices) for $1.1BN. In October 2019, Insight set, in Israel, its first overseas office. Since 1995, Insight invested $700MN in Israeli hightech companies.
  2. Koch Industries’ KDT Medical Investments increased its holding in Israel’s Insightec (medical equipment) by $100MN, in addition to a previous investment of $150MN (Globes January 7).

Previous issues of the Jerusalem Boardroom: https://bit.ly/2RAykCG

Straight from the Jerusalem Boardroom #244 
Prior issues of the Boardroom: https://bit.ly/2EV9Td2

  1. According to PriceWaterouseCoopers, the 2019 volume of Israeli hightech exits (companies that were sold or held stock exchange offerings), totaled $9.9BN, compared to $4.9BN in 2018, $7.4BN in 2017, $14.9 in 2014, $7.6BN in 2016 and $1.2BN in 2010. If 10 follow-on deals are included (companies acquired more than once, or acquired after public offering), then the 2019 volume surges to $22BN. $4.5BN of the 2019 exits were in computing services and corporate software, $2.3BN in the chips sector, $1.7BN in life sciences, and $1BN in the Internet sector.

The past decade featured 587 exits, totaling $71BN. If follow-on deals are included, the total surges to $108BN.

Major US corporations persist in leading the acquisition of Israeli hightech companies – $8.9BN in 2019 (Globes Business Daily, December 24, 2019).

The substantial flow of private US investment – establishing, in Israel, multitude of research and development centers – reflects Israel’s unique contribution to the US economy in terms of research and development, enhanced US competitiveness in the global market, increased exports of US products and expanded base of US employment.

  1. Intel invested $2BN in the acquisition of Israel’s 3-year-old Habana Laboratories, which develops chips for Artificial Intelligence applications. It is Intel’s 13th acquisition of an Israeli company (Bloomberg, December 16). Intel has operated in Israel since 1974, employing 12,000 people in one manufacturing plant and four research and development centers.
  2. Texas-based Noble Energy, which operates Israel’s largest offshore natural gas field, Leviathan, will start supplying the local Israeli market by the end of December. In January, 2020, Noble Energy and Israel’s Delek Drilling will start exporting natural gas to Egypt, as prescribed by a $20BN deal – of 85 billion cubic meters (3 trillion cubic feet) – concluded with Egypt. Egypt will be able to export the imported natural gas following its liquefaction (Al-Monitor, Dec. 13) in Egyptian installations.
  3. Key Israeli economic factors in 2020:

*Interest rate is expected to remain low (around zero);
*Inflation is expected to remain low (around 2%);
*The ratio of national debt to gross domestic product is expected to remain low (around 60%, compared to the US – 60% and Japan – almost 250%);
*Expanding employment and all time low unemployment (4% and below);
*Expanded employment of ultra-orthodox Jews and Arabs;
*Annual economic growth is expected to be sustained at 3%-3.5%;
*Israel’s Shekel is expected to remain strong (around 3.4 per dollar);
*Overseas investment in Israel’s hightech will persist at high levels;
*Export of high added-value commercial and military products will keep growing, irrespective of the strong Shekel;
*Offshore natural gas export (to Egypt and in the long run to Europe) will alleviate the burden of the 2019 growing budget deficit, which will require across-the-board budget cuts;
*Israel’s demography will remain robust (high Jewish fertility rate and growing net-immigration/Aliyah);
*Israel’s solid economy provides for a friendly debt-financing environment.
(Globes, December 17).

  1. Some 140 airliners land in Israel, reflecting the sizeable number of Israelis flying abroad (8.5MN in 2019) and tourists (4.5MN in 2019). Israel’s population is 9 million. The volume of passengers to/from Israel grew by 9% in 2019, compared with a 5% global growth. It contributed $16BN and 184,000 jobs to Israel’s economy. Direct flights were initiated from Israel to Las Vegas, Chicago, Brazil and Chile, and additional direct flights are expected, in 2020, to Dallas, Tokyo and Australia (Globes, Dec. 24, 2020).

 

 

 

 

Straight from the Jerusalem Boardroom #243

  1. According to Standard & Poor, Fitch and Moody’s – the world’s top credit rating companies – Israel and Australia are the only two Western countries whose 2019 credit rating (reflecting economic growth) is higher than it was before the global economic meltdown of 2007/2008. Currently, Israel is rated AA- by Standard & Poor, A+ by Fitch and A1 by Moody’s.
  2. According to the London Economist (November 5, 2019), despite short-term political uncertainty, Israel’s economic growth is sustained by a strong domestic consumption, an expansion of natural gas explorations, findings and export, and the continued dynamism of the hightech sector, which has attracted substantial foreign investment. For example, Intel announced its plan to invest $11BN in a new export-oriented semiconductor manufacturing facility in Israel [as a follow up to the 2016 acquisition of Israel’s Mobileye for $15.3BN and investment in scores of Israeli startups].
    Israel’s economy features low unemployment (3.7%) and rising real wages. Exports are expected to rise despite the relative global economic slowdown, and independent of the continued appreciation of the Shekel (the strongest currency against the US dollar), but due to the initiation of natural gas exports.
    GDP growth is expected to slow to 2.9% in 2020, before recovering to 3.8% in 2021 and 4% in 2022.
  3. The NYC-based Centerbridge Partners and Greenwich, CT-based Gallatin Point Capital acquired 32.5% of Phoenix (Israel’s 2nd largest insurance group) for $450MN (Globes Business Daily, Nov. 5, 2019). Germany’s insurance giant, Munich Re, invested $250MN in Israel’s Next Digital Insurance startup, which was founded in 2016 by entrepreneurs who in 2014 sold their previous startup, Check, to the Silicon Valley-based Intuit for $360MN (Globes, October 8). The Greenwich, CT-based General Atlantic led a $165MN investment in Israel’s Riskified, which develops software preventing fraud and verifying consumer identities (Wall Street Journal, Nov. 5). Israel has become Europe’s Silicon Valley. During the first half of 2019, German investors accounted to 30% of the number of European deals in Israel’s ecosystem, including a branch of Merck, the global pharmaceutical giant. While German investment profile is dwarfed by the USA, 60% of the leading Frankfurt Stock Exchange companies have Israeli branches, seeking Israeli technologies, surging since 2016. In 2018, German investors were 4th in the number of Israeli deals – 5% of total deals foreign investment – between the UK’s 7% and China’s 4% (Globes, August 12).
  4. Egypt’s Middle East News Agency reported on November 11, 2019 that Noble Energy and Israel’s Delek Drilling, the operators of Israel’s largest natural gas fields, established a $518MN joint venture with Egypt’s Dolphinus Holdings, which will pave the way for Israeli natural gas exports to Egypt (85.3BN cubic meters over 15 years), starting on January 1, 2020.
  5. The Greece-based Energean Oil & Gas (jointly with Israel’s Opportunity Energy Resources) published the results of its appraisal drilling in Israel’s Karish North Discovery, estimating recoverable resources of 0.9 trillion cubic feet (25 billion cubic meters) of natural gas plus 34MN barrels of light oil/condensate (natural gas liquids), in addition to 2.4 Tcf (68 BCM) and 33MN barrels of light oil/condensate discovered previously. Energean recently obtained licenses for four additional marine exploration sites. 12 more offshore drilling licenses issued to overseas operators, including Britain’s Cairn Energy and Pharos Energy.
  6. 600 of Israel’s 8,000 startups are focused on transportation-related solutions. Israel has become a leading global hub for smart mobility, according to David Liniado, Vice President of the Atlanta-based Cox Automotive Mobility. Cox is expanding partnership with Israeli startups, including a joint research & development center with Drive TLV, which involves Volvo, Honda and Hertz. The Paris-based Faurecia (114,000 employees in 35 countries), a world leader in automotive technology invested in Israel’s Guardknox, a cybersecurity company, reinforcing passengers’ safety and data security.
    Ford is setting up an Israeli research & development center, as a follow up to the 2016 acquisition of Israel’s SAIPS, which specializes in computer vision and self-driving car learning. Intel and Nvidia established research & development centers in Israel, which develop chips for autonomous vehicles. GM founded its research & development center in Israel in 2008. BMW is about to introduce its own Israeli research & development center, as did Volkswagen in 2018. Over 20 global carmakers and suppliers are involved with Israeli research & development centers, leveraging Israel’s brain power.

Straight from the Jerusalem Boardroom #242

According to the British daily Financial Times (August 28, 2019), the Israeli shekel ranks as the best performing currency against the US dollar among 31 major currencies tracked by Bloomberg, up almost 6%, as fund managers have sought refuge from global economic turmoil. The shekel had strengthen thanks to Israel’s perceived status as an emerging markets’ safe haven and improved economic fundamentals such as:

*A long term expansion in employment;
*Current account surpluses;
*A fall in the Debt-to-GDP ratio under a 16-year-old fiscal stabilization program;
*Bank of Israel raised interest rate once since 2011, allowing it to hover near zero (0.25%) for years, as the economy reaches near full-employment.

The British daily quotes Win Thin, Head of Currency strategy at New York’s Brown Brothers Harriman: “Israel is one of the best of the lot among emerging markets.  It is stable and away from the fray of the trade wars. It has just been a good solid story.”

The Financial Times adds: “The haven status appears to be decoupled from political instability, including growing tensions with Iran; air and drone strikes attributed to the Israeli military in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq; inconclusive elections last April, and the possibility of Prime Minister Netanyahu facing indictment for alleged bribery and fraud.

“But, as investors fret about a global recession, the country’s tech-heavy export-driven economy has remained relatively immune.  High-value exports, including military hardware, are generally unaffected by sudden appreciation in local currency, and are often priced in US dollars to begin with.

“Foreign investment has held steady… and Israel continues to prepare for exports from natural gas deposits that are coming online, including a $15BN contract to supply Egypt by early 2019. Such positive factors are pushing the shekel higher.

“This year’s next best performing major currencies, after the shekel, are the Russian rouble, Japanese Yen and the Canadian dollar.”

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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

Can Israel afford NOT to defy State Department pressure?

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
July 2, 2024

The current pressure on Israel

*Since Israel’s establishment in 1948 – which was ferociously opposed by the State Department, and tenaciously realized by Israel’s defiant Founding Father, David Ben Gurion – The State Department has systematically pressured Israel to act against its own assessment of its own national security requirements.  In fact, in most cases, Israel’s compliance with State Department pressure undermined the US’ own interests, while a defiant Israel spared a major setback to the US’ own interests.

*Since the horrific Hamas terrorism of October 7, 2023, the State Department – which subscribes to a worldview, contending that terrorism is driven by despair, and therefore should be confronted diplomatically and financially, not militarily – has intensified the pressure on Israel to refrain from militarily preempting Hezbollah, the chief proxy of Iran’s Ayatollahs.

*In addition, the State Department has pressured Israel to switch from fighting – to negotiating with – Hamas, a proxy of Iran’s Ayatollahs and a branch of the Moslem Brotherhood, which is the largest Sunni terror organization in the world.  The pressure has been exerted, notwithstanding Hezbollah’s and Hamas’ commitment to fanatic, Islamic anti-US ideologies – which transcend financial and diplomatic benefits – mandating the toppling of all pro-US Arab regimes, bringing the “infidel” West, and especially “the great American Satan” to submission. Moreover, Hezbollah’s and Hamas’ ideologies are committed to the uprooting of the “infidel” Jewish state – which is deemed by them as the Middle East beachhead of the US – as evidenced in Hezbollah’s and Hamas’ school curriculum, mosque sermons and systematic regional and global terrorism, which extends to Latin America and the US homeland.

*The State Department pressures Israel into another round of negotiation with Iran-controlled Hezbollah and Hamas, despite the fact that all previous agreements were violated, intensifying terrorism, transforming these two terror entities into the most fortified above-ground and under-ground terror states in the world, and paving the road to the October 7 massacre and the current Iran-orchestrated Hamas and Hezbollah wars on Israel.

More examples of State Department ill-advised pressure on Israel:

*In 2006, Israel bowed to State Department pressure, allowing the participation of Hamas in the Palestinian Authority election, which catapulted Hamas to unprecedented political stature in Gaza, Judea and Samaria. 

*In 2006, Israel complied with State Department pressure (assisted by Israeli clones of Foggy Bottom), ending its war against Hezbollah through UN Security Council Resolution 1701, rather than through the obliteration of Hezbollah’s military infrastructure. It solidified Hezbollah’s dominance in Lebanon and bolstered its role as a regional and global epicenter of terrorism and drug trafficking in the service of Iran’s Ayatollahs, as demonstrated by Hezbollah’s expanded foothold on US soil, and growing terror collaboration with the drug cartels of Mexico, Columbia, Bolivia, Ecuador and Brazil.

*In 2000, the State Department offered an $800 MN inducement (which was never realized) for Israel’s intent to evacuate South Lebanon, which elevated Hezbollah into a dominant stature in Lebanon, and ushered in a 150,000 missile strong Hezbollah terror machine, fortified by a most advanced underground tunnel network, which may exceed Hamas’ tunnel complex.

*Since the 1993 establishment of the PLO-controlled Palestinian Authority, the State Department has promoted annual foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority, while pressuring Israel to facilitate the establishment of a Palestinian state. This policy has been pursued irrespective of the core Palestinian ideology and its rogue daily conduct – which mandate the annihilation of Israel – as evidenced by the 1964 PLO charter, Palestinian hate education, mosque sermons, monthly allowances to families of terrorists and the Palestinian intra-Arab terrorism. Foggy Bottom ignores the potential impact of a Palestinian state west of the Jordan river: toppling the pro-US Hashemite regime east of the river, transforming Jordan into an epicenter of anti-US Islamic terrorism and destabilizing the pro-US Arabian Peninsula regimes – a setback to Western economy and national and homeland security.

*In 1981, the State Department pressured (and punished) Israel against bombing Iraq’s nuclear reactor.  Israel defied the pressure, which spared the US a potential nuclear confrontation in 1991, and snatched the pro-US Arab oil-producing regimes from the jaws of the anti-US Saddam Hussein.

*In 1973, the State Department pressured Israel, successfully, against preempting Egypt and Syria. Israel’s defiance of this pressure would have spared the region the costly war of October 1973.

*In 1967, the State Department pressured Israel against preempting Egypt and Syria.  Israel defied the pressure, devastated Egypt’s military force, which was involved in an attempt to topple all pro-US Arab oil-producing regimes, at a time when the US was heavily dependent upon Persian Gulf oil. Israel’s defiance spared the US a dramatic national security and economic blow.

Israel’s survival requires defiance of State Department pressure   

*Israeli compliance with State Department pressure would snatch Hamas from the jaws of obliteration and would be perceived – in the Middle East – as a dramatic victory for Islamic terrorism. It would escalate the lethal threat (from the Moslem Brotherhood and Iran’s Ayatollahs) to every pro-US Arab regime, such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt and Jordan, and to US homeland security (as recently stated by the FBI Director).

*Israeli capitulation to State Department pressure would devastate Israel’s posture of deterrence – in the volcanic Middle East, where one’s posture of deterrence is a prerequisite for one’s survival – which could induce an Iranian ballistic missile offensive against Israel and an Iran-supported terror offensive by Hamas, Hezbollah, the Palestinian Authority and radical Israeli Arabs. 

*Israel’s succumbing to State Department pressure would reduce/eliminate the inducement of moderate-Arab regimes to expand normalization/peace with Israel, which was initiated by their high respect for Israel’s posture of deterrence, in the face of the mutual threats by Iran’s Ayatollahs and the Moslem Brotherhood, and against the backdrop of the slackened US and Western posture of deterrence.  

*Refraining from the obliteration of Hamas’ military infrastructure and Hezbollah’s terrorist presence in South Lebanon would preclude the return of most Israeli evacuees (150,000 – equal to 5 million evacuees in the US) to their homes in the areas adjacent to Gaza and Lebanon.

*Both the US’ and Israel’s national security benefit from Israel’s defiance of State Department pressure, which highlights Israeli preference of long term national security over short term diplomatic convenience.

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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).

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