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Significance of the 400th anniversary

Four hundred years ago, in November 1620, the 102 pilgrims of the “Mayflower” landed in Plymouth Rock, which they considered the modern day Promised Land.  They were inspired by the Bible, in general, and the Mosaic legacy, in particular, which feature a civic covenant, cohesive peoplehood, a twelve-tribe-governance and a shared vision. They planted the seeds of the Federalist Papers, the 1776 American Revolution, the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, Bill of Rights, Separation of Powers, Checks and Balances and the overall US history, culture and political and justice systems. These seeds vaulted the US to the leadership of the Free World, economically, technologically, scientifically, educationally and militarily.

The 102 pilgrims of the “Mayflower” viewed themselves as “modern day Biblical Israelites,” seeking freedom from the bondage of the “British Pharaoh,” King James I.  They sought Biblical-driven liberty, planting the roots of the uniquely thriving, mutually-beneficial kinship between the US and Israel, historically, spiritually, culturally, technologically and geo-strategically.

Indeed, these roots eclipse the political beltway of Washington, DC, transcend the pertinent role of the Jewish community, and run deeper than geo-strategic considerations and formal agreements.  They precede the 1776 US Declaration of Independence and the 1948 reestablishment of the Jewish State, Israel.

These roots have yielded an exceptional bottom-up international relations phenomenon, whereby pro-Israel sentiments among most Americans have played a key role in shaping the mindset of their state and federal legislatures, as well as the actions of the person sitting behind the Resolute Desk of the Oval Office.

The Early Pilgrims

The Bible was the most widely read book in colonial America, inspiring the Early Pilgrims, the Founding Fathers, educators, the clergy, political leaders and the public at-large.

The Early Pilgrims referred to King James I as the Modern Day Pharaoh; their departure from England as the Modern Day Exodus; the sailing across the Atlantic Ocean as the Modern Day Parting of the Sea; and the New World as the New Canaan and the New Israel.  They considered themselves the Modern Day People of the Covenant and Modern Day Chosen People.

Hence, the litany of Biblically-named towns, cities, mountains, deserts, rivers, national parks and forests throughout the United States.  Thus, in the US, there are 18 Jerusalems, 30 Salems (the original name of Jerusalem), 83 Shilohs (where the first tabernacle stood), 34 Bethels, 27 Hebrons, 26 Goshens, 19 Jerichos, 18 Pisgahs, and many more.

William Bradford and John Winthrop, the leaders of the “Mayflower” (1620) and the “Arabella” (1630) were called Joshua and Moses respectively.

Moreover, the 1620 “Mayflower Compact” and the 1639 “Fundamental Orders of Connecticut” (the initial Constitutions), which highlighted the rights of the individual – and the limits to the central government – were partly inspired by the Mosaic laws and covenant.

In 2020, the 400-year-old roots of the special US and Israel ties are reflected by the statues and engravings of Moses and over 200 Ten Commandments monuments, which are featured in the US House of Representatives, the US Supreme Court, the Library of Congress, the Justice Department, the National Archives, and throughout important buildings and landmarks across the US.

Early America and the Hebrew language

Familiarity with Hebrew was quite common among the Early Pilgrims’ intelligentsia and the better-educated clergy.  In fact, the initial ten colleges in the colonies offered Hebrew courses.

Moreover, the first two Presidents of Harvard University, Henry Dunster (1640-1654) and Charles Chauncy (1654-1672) were ardent Hebraists, as were Harvard’s 6th and 11th presidents, Increase Mather (1692-1701) and Samuel Langdon (1774-1780), who proposed to make Hebrew an official language in the new colonies. Valedictory addresses at Harvard, Yale and other institutions of higher learning were offered in Hebrew.

King’s College (Columbia University) founding President (1754-1763) Samuel Johnson installed Hebrew as a required course, and stated that “Hebrew was part of a gentleman’s education.”

Yale University’s 7th president, Ezra Stiles (1778-1795), spoke, read and taught Hebrew in addition to astronomy, chemistry and philosophy.  He corresponded with Hebron’s Rabbi, Hayyim Carregal, and noted that “Moses assembled 3 million people – the number of Americans in 1776.”  He urged graduate students to be able to recite Psalms in Hebrew, “because that is what St. Peter will expect of you at the Pearly Gates….”

The official seals of Yale University (“Light and Truth”), Columbia University (“Jehovah” and “Divine Light”) and Dartmouth College (“G-d Almighty”) feature key Biblical terms in Hebrew. The official seal of Princeton University features an open Bible with the Latin inscription: Old and New Testaments.

The special role of Hebrew in the formation of the US culture and university curricula was demonstrated by Prof. George Bush, the great grand-uncle of President George H. Bush. Prof. Bush was the first Hebrew professor at New York University (1831-1846), wrote books on the Bible and Hebrew, and urged the ingathering of Jews “to the Biblical Zion.”

Hebrew words have been integrated into the English language.  For example, the origin of Jubilee is the Hebrew word Yovel (liberty in Hebrew), Jehovah is Yehovah (He was, He is, He will be), amen is a’men (faith in Hebrew), hallelujah is halleluyah (praise God in Hebrew), Abracadabra is Evra keDabra (creating while talking in Hebrew), evil is Eyval (the Biblical Mount of Curse), kosher is kasher (proper in Hebrew), tour’s origin is the Biblical word toor (Moses’ instruction to the leaders of the twelve tribes, who were assigned to scout the Land of Israel), etc.

The Founding Fathers and the Mosaic covenant

The Bay Psalm Book was the first book printed in 1640 in the New World in Cambridge, Mass.  1700 copies were printed, containing Hebrew characters. In 2013, one of the eleven existing copies was sold for $14.2MN, a record for a printed book.  Currently, some 20 million copies of the Bible are sold annually, making it still the best-selling book in the USA.

According to a February, 2020 Pew Research Poll, 49% of Americans say the Bible should have at least some influence on US laws, including 23% who say it should have a great deal of influence.

In fact, the name of the US political system – the Federalist system – is a derivative of Foedus, which is the Latin word for the Biblical Covenant between God and Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses, as well as the civic covenant among the Biblical Israelites during the forty years following the Exodus.

Moreover, the inscription on the Liberty Bell is from Leviticus, Chapter 25, Verse 10: “Proclaim liberty throughout all the Land, unto all the Inhabitants thereof.” This inscription is the essence of the Jubilee, which is the Biblical role model of liberty – freeing slaves and prisoners and returning land to original owners.

Furthermore, Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, which was the moral and intellectual touchstone of the American Revolution, was influenced by the Old Testament: “For the will of the Almighty as declared by Gideon, and the prophet Samuel, expressly disapproves of government by kings… (pp. 10-13).”

Harvard University’s 11th president, Samuel Langdon (1774-1780), opined: “the Jewish government… was a perfect republic…. Let us therefore look over [the Israelites’] constitution and laws…. They had both a civil and military establishment under divine direction, and a complete body of judicial laws drawn up and delivered to them by Moses in God’s name…. Instead of the twelve tribes of Israel, we may substitute the thirteen states of the American union….”

James Madison, the 4th President, the 5th Secretary of State, the “Father of the Constitution,” a key drafter of the Bill of Rights and a co-author of The Federalist Papers, was deeply influenced by his study of Hebrew and the Old Testament at the College of New Jersey (Princeton University).  In a 1778 speech at the General Assembly of Virginia, he stated: “…We have staked the future of all our political institutions upon our capacity… to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God….”

John Quincy Adams, the 6th President, asserted that “[The Bible] is the best book in the world…. The law given from Sinai was a civil and municipal as well as a moral and religious code…. The Bible is the book to be read at all ages….”

The Abolitionist anti-slavery movement inspired by Moses

Moses and the Exodus played a key role in the formation of the Abolitionist anti-slavery movement. Thus, Harriet Tubman, who was born into slavery and escaped in 1849, was called Mama Moses, since she was among the initiators of the Underground Railroad, which freed Black slaves through a network of secret routes and safe houses,

In 1862, the anti-slavery informal anthem of Black slaves was composed with lyrics from Exodus 8:1: “Go Down Moses, way down in Egypt land, tell old Pharaoh to let my people go.” This black spiritual regained popularity in the 20th century when sung by Paul Leroy Robeson.

Martin Luther King, Jr., a leader of the Civil Rights Movement from 1955-1968, based many of his sermons and speeches – including “I have a dream” – on Moses and the Jewish liberation from slavery in Egypt, as well as on the Biblical books of Psalms, Jeremiah, Isaiah and Amos. His battle cry was: “Let My People Go (Exodus 5:1).”

President Abraham Lincoln was a student of the Bible, which bolstered his determination to abolish slavery.  In his second inaugural address, he stated: “[The Bible] is the best gift God has given to man…. The rebirth of Israel as a nation-state is a noble dream, shared by many Americans….“

The Bible, in general, and the Moses legacy, in particular, provided American Black slaves with much hope and strength, striving for their own Exodus, trusting that God opposes Black slavery in the US as he opposed Jewish slavery in Egypt.

400 years of US identification with the Jewish State

The chief engine behind the unique US-Israel kinship was the spirit of the Early Pilgrims and the Founding Fathers.  They considered the idea of a Jewish Commonwealth in the Land of Israel an authentic implementation of the Biblical vision.

For example, President John Adams supported the idea of a Jewish State in the Land of Israel: “I really wish the Jews again in Judea an independent nation.”

Most notably, on March 5, 1891 – six years before the convening of the 1897 First Zionist Congress by Theodore Herzl, the father of modern day Zionism – 431 US leaders, including the Chief Justice, House and Senate leaders and chairmen of Congressional committees, governors, mayors, businessmen, clergy, professors and editors, signed the Blackstone Memorial, which called for the reestablishment of a Jewish State in the Land of Israel. Pastor William Eugene Blackstone was a Christian Zionist, who dedicated his life to the reestablishment of the Jewish Commonwealth in its homeland.

In 1917, the Blackstone Memorial influenced President Woodrow Wilson’s support of the Balfour Declaration, and on March 3, 1919, President Wilson stated: “…In Palestine shall be laid the foundation of a Jewish Commonwealth….” “[The Bible] is the Magna Charta of the human soul.”  In 1918, President Theodore Roosevelt wrote in his best-selling “History of the American West”: “…It seems to me entirely proper to start a Zionist State around Jerusalem…. Many of the best backwoodsmen were Bible-readers…. They looked at their foes as the Hebrew Prophets looked at the enemies of Israel…. No man, educated or uneducated, can afford to be ignorant of the Bible.”

Highlighting the potency of these roots, on June 30, 1922 Congress passed a Joint Resolution, introduced by the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Henry Cabot Lodge (MA-R), and Representative Hamilton Fish III (NY-R), which was signed by President Warren Harding on September 21, 1922: “…. Favoring the establishment, in Palestine, of a national home for the Jewish people….”  The Resolution was opposed by the State Department and the New York Times, which also opposed the re-establishment of Israel in 1948.

On June 10, 1943, Alabama Governor Chauncey Sparks signed a unanimous Joint Resolution of the Alabama State House and Senate, which called for the establishment in Palestine of a Jewish Homeland, in accordance with the 1917 Balfour Declaration, as was approved by the 1922 Joint Congressional Resolution and the 1924 Anglo-American Treaty.

On May 12, 1948, during a critical session at the White House, Clark Clifford, a Special Assistant to President Truman (and Defense Secretary under President Lyndon Johnson), confronted Secretary of State, General George Marshall, who opposed the recognition of the Jewish State: “Behold, I have set the land before you; go in and possess the land which the Lord swore unto your Fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give unto them and to their seed after them (Deuteronomy, 1:8).” Clifford was not an evangelical Christian.

On May 14, 1948, during a special broadcast upon Israel’s declaration of independence, Lowell Thomas, a US radio icon stated: “Today, as the Jewish State is established, Americans read through the Bible as a historical reference book.”

Biblical impact on Modern day USA leaders

While the US Constitution does not require Presidents to be sworn in on a Bible, almost every Chief Executive since George Washington – except four Presidents – has chosen to do so.

Almost all US Presidents have integrated Biblical verses in their inaugural addresses and major speeches.

For example, on May 3, 1925, President Calvin Coolidge said: “Hebraic mortar cemented the foundations of American democracy… If American democracy is to remain the greatest hope of humanity, it must continue abundantly in the faith of the Bible.”

On February 15, 1950, President Harry S. Truman told the Attorney General’s Conference: “The fundamental basis of this nation’s laws was given to Moses on the Mount.  The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings which we get from Exodus and St. Matthew, from Isaiah and St. Paul.  I don’t think we emphasize that enough these days….”

On September 10, 1968, President Lyndon Johnson told a B’nai B’rith conference: “Bible stories are woven into my childhood memories as the gallant struggle of modern Jews to be free of persecution is also woven into our souls….”

In his 1969 inaugural addresses, President Richard Nixon referred to the book of Isaiah: “…. And they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more…. (Isaiah 2:4).”

President Ronald Reagan was known for his Biblical references such as: “Within the covers of the Bible are all the answers for all the problems men face…. Of the many influences that have shaped the United States of America into a distinctive Nation and people, none may be said to be more fundamental and enduring than the Bible.”

President Bush’s deep Biblical conviction was evident during his May 15, 2008 speech at Israel’s Knesset: “When Israel was declared independent, it was the Redemption of an ancient promise given to Abraham, Moses and David…. The source of our friendship runs deeper than any treaty…. It is grounded in the shored spirit of our peoples, the bonds of The Book, the ties of the soul.  When William Bradford stepped off the ‘Mayflower’ in 1620, he quoted the words of Jeremiah: ‘Come let us declare in Zion the word of God.’ The Founders [of the United States] saw a new Promised Land and bestowed upon their towns names like Bethlehem and New Canaan.  And, in time many Americans became passionate advocates for a Jewish State… Our alliance will be guided by clear principles, shared convictions rooted in moral clarity and un-swayed by popularity polls or the shifting opinions of international elites.”

President Barack Obama made a frequent use of Biblical quotes.  For example, Psalm 46 was recited at the unveiling of the 9/11 Memorial upon the 10th anniversary of that Islamic terror attack on the US: “God is our refuge and strength… therefore we will not fear….”

On December 24, 1968, the three astronauts of Apollo 8 – the first manned mission to orbit the moon – conducted a direct broadcast to earth, reciting the first ten verses from the Book of Genesis: “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth….”  It was the most watched television broadcast at the time.

The May, 2009, House Resolution 397 highlights the Biblical milestones in US history.

The US civil religion

The depth and durability of the 400-year-old Biblical roots among most Americans – notwithstanding their gradual erosion – has been consistent with separation of religion and state, but not separation of religion and society.  It is demonstrated by the institutionalization of “In God We Trust,” inscribed above the seat of the Speaker of the House of Representatives. In 2020, all 50 State Constitutions refer to God.

In 2012, the National Democratic Convention reinstated God and Jerusalem into its platform.

On October 31, 2011, the House of Representatives voted 396:9, reaffirming “In God We Trust” as a national motto, as did Joint Resolution #396 (July 30, 1956), and a May 26, 1955 Resolution to inscribe “In God We Trust” on all US currency.

According to an NBC May 2019 poll, 86% of Americans favor “In God We Trust” and retaining “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance.

An April 2018 Gallup poll showed that 45% and 39% of Protestants and Catholics frequent church each Sunday.

About 20 million copies of the Bible are purchased annually in the US.

In the US, there are some 300 Christian TV (9 in 1974) and 3,000 Christian radio stations.

Since 1974, Congress opens daily deliberations with a prayer and “God bless America;” and US Presidents conclude their oath of office, State of the Union and other major statements with God Bless America and So Help Me God.

On June 28, 2005, Chief Justice William Rehnquist ruled that the Ten Commandment monument on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol was constitutional, underlining the impact of the legacy of Moses and the Ten Commandments on the US culture and civic life: “Since 1935, Moses has stood, holding two tablets that reveal portions of the Ten Commandments, written in Hebrew, among other lawgivers in the [Supreme Court’s] south frieze…. Moses sits on the exterior east façade, holding the Ten Commandments… Since 1897, a large statue of Moses holding the Ten Commandments alongside a statue of the Apostle Paul, has overlooked the rotunda of the Library of Congress’ Jefferson Building. A two-tablet-medallion depicting the Ten Commandments decorates the floor of the National Archives. In the Justice Department, a statue entitled ‘The Spirit of Law’ has two tablets representing the Ten Commandments. In front of the Ronald Reagan Building stands a sculpture that includes a depiction of the Ten Commandments. A 24-foot-tall sculpture, outside the Federal Courthouse [in Washington, DC], depicts the Ten Commandments and a cross. Moses is prominently featured in the Chamber of the US House of Representatives…. Moses was a lawgiver and a religious leader, and the Ten Commandments have undeniable historical meaning….”

A February 2005 Gallup Poll documented 76%:21% support of a display of the Ten Commandments Monument in Texas and a 56%:20% support, with 24% indifferent, of such a display on the ground of their own state capitols.

The lasting US-Israel Kinship

While there has been a gradual erosion of the 400-year-old roots and core values – as a result of the dramatic demographic and ideological transformation of the US population – they created the healthy foundations of US-Israel relations, which have been cultivated by the state of mind of most Americans.

The recent dramatic enhancement of such a unique and mutually-beneficial relationship – militarily, industrially, technologically, agriculturally and medically – has evolved in response to mutual threats and challenges, but in defiance of the State Department bureaucracy and much of the “elite” media, which opposed Israel’s establishment in 1948.

Israel remains the top unconditional ally of the US in the Middle East and beyond, wholeheartedly reciprocating the value-driven unconditional identification by most Americans with the Jewish State.  And, as suggested by The Ethics of the Fathers, a second century compilation of Jewish ethical teachings: “Conditional love is tenuous; unconditional love is eternal.”

 

 

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger and Fred Zeidman, Co-Chair, CSA
Domestic Energy Producers Alliance (DEPA), https://bit.ly/2q4UeUw

The growing sophistication of domestic oil and natural gas production has enhanced the US national security. It has transformed the leader of the free world from a major importer of crude oil to the world’s top producer of both crude oil (surpassing Saudi Arabia) and natural gas (ahead of Russia), and expected to be the globe’s largest exporter in five years.

The dramatic reduction of US dependency on the importation of oil takes place at a time when the supply of oil from the Persian Gulf is increasingly precarious.  It is threatened by Iran’s Ayatollahs, as well as by additional rogue elements in the inherently violent, intolerant, fragmented, unpredictable, shifty, non-democratic and unstable Middle East. An area which is strategically located between Europe, the Mediterranean, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.

The Middle East – and especially Iran’s Ayatollahs – has become a most proliferating epicenter of global Islamic terrorism, drug trafficking and the development of ballistic and nuclear capabilities, producing ripple effects throughout the globe. For instance, the expanding presence of the Ayatollahs and Hezbollah terrorists in the South American platforms of anti-US Islamic terrorism and drug trafficking: the trilateral border of Argentina-Brazil-Paraguay and the trilateral border of Chile-Peru-Bolivia. The aim of the Ayatollahs is to employ these platforms – and their intensified presence in Venezuela and Mexico – as a venue to surge toward the US.

Iran’s Ayatollahs are not driven by the eagerness to improve trade balance, employment, standard of living and education. They are driven by the conviction that they are divinely ordained to dominate the Persian Gulf, the Middle East, Asia, Africa and the entire globe. They indoctrinate their youth that the world is divided into the abode of Islam and the abode of the infidel, which will eventually submit itself or be vanquished through Jihad (holy war).

The Ayatollahs – as reflected by their K-12 curriculum – consider the US to be the “Great Satan,” the mega obstacle on their way to achieve the mega goal of global domination. Hence, their determination to develop mega capabilities (ballistic and nuclear), in order to remove the mega obstacle (the USA).

The Ayatollahs are energized by Western policy-makers, who are unaware that gestures and retreats – such as the 1978/79 US betrayal of the Shah and support for the Ayatollahs – are perceived by the Ayatollahs as weakness, which intensifies their anti-Western zeal. Moreover, they consider any agreement with the West – such as the 2015 nuclear accord – a Hudna or Sulh (a tenuous truce, ceasefire, armistice), which must be abrogated once the “believers” gain the necessary strength to overpower the “infidel” West.

The 2015 agreement suggests that Western policy makers may not be aware that leopards don’t change their spots, only their tactics.

The expansion of the Ayatollahs to Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, and all the way to South and Central America has occurred while the Arab Tsunami – erroneously defined as “Arab Spring” – is haunting the Middle East from northwest Africa to the Arabian Peninsula. The Arab Tsunami, represented by the raging civil wars in Libya, Syria, Iraq and Yemen and the domestic upheaval in most Arab countries, reflects the 1,400 year old reality of the Middle East: there is no intra-Arab, intra-Muslim peaceful-coexistence.

In face of the conventional and non-conventional threats posed by the tectonic Middle East, Europe is losing its will to flex an effective military muscle, reverting to Chamberlain’s and Daladier’s pre-WW2 policy of appeasement.

On the other hand, Israel is increasingly considered by all pro-US Arab regimes to be the most effective “life insurance agent” in the region. Hence, their unprecedented security and commercial ties with Israel.

At the same time, Israel is the most effective ally of the US, extending the strategic hand of the US, and benefitting the US militarily, technologically and commercially.

For example, Israel has emerged as the most cost-effective, battle-tested laboratory of the US defense industries, employing over hundred US military systems, and sharing with the manufacturers lessons related to operation, maintenance and repair. These lessons have yielded thousands of upgrades, saving the US many years of research and development, enhancing the competitiveness of the US products in the global market, increasing US exports and expanding the US employment base. A Lockheed-Martin executive told me that the lessons shared by Israel’s air force, flying the F-16, “have yielded a mega-billion dollar bonanza to the manufacturer.” Similar benefits have been enjoyed by McDonnell-Douglas, the manufacturer of the F-15, which is employed by Israel’s air force.

Israel’s battle experience has been shared with the US armed forces, contributing to the formulation of battle tactics and transferring to the US critical information about the performance of Soviet/Russian military systems. US special operation units on their way to Iraq and Afghanistan stop in Israel for 2-3 week training by Israeli experts in countering suicide bombers, car bombs and deadly improvised explosive devices.

According to General George Keegan, former Chief of Air Force Intelligence, five CIAs would be required, in order to procure the intelligence provided by Israel.

In the aftermath of the January 1991 First Gulf War, then Defense Secretary Dick Cheney stated: “Thank you Israel for destroying Iraq’s nuclear reactor in 1981, which spared the US a nuclear confrontation in 1991.”

The late General Alexander Haig, former Supreme Commander of NATO and Secretary of State, referred to Israel as “the largest US aircraft carrier, which does not require a single US soldier on board and deployed in a most critical region. If there were not Israel, then the US would have to deploy a few more real aircraft carriers to the region, along with many more ground forces, which would have cost the US taxpayer some $15BN-$20BN annually, all of which is spared by Israel.”

Just like the US independent oil and natural gas producers, Israel has defied the odds, ascending to new heights, enhancing US national security and the economy through mutually-beneficial cooperation.

US-Israel relations resemble a two-way street, whereby the US makes an annual investment in – not foreign aid to – Israel, which yields an annual rate of return of a few hundred percent, benefitting the US taxpayer.

The US-Israel cooperation proves that two guns shoot longer than one.

 

 

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Presidents propose and Congress disposes

On September 23, 2021, the US House of Representatives voted 420:9 to replenish the Israeli-developed defensive “Iron Dome” missiles, which are increasingly manufactured – and eventually exported – by the US defense company Raytheon, that benefits from the battle-tested “Israeli laboratory.”

The overwhelming vote reflects Congressional realization that the “Iron Dome”:

*Enhances Israel’s posture of deterrence, which is critical to the survival of all pro-US Arab regimes and minimization of regional instability;
*Reduces the need for full-scale Israeli wars on Palestinian and Islamic terrorism;
*Provides an alternative to Israeli military ground-operations against Palestinian terrorists, which would entail substantial Israeli and Palestinian fatalities;
*Represents joint US-Israel interests, militarily and technologically, in the face of mutual threats (e.g., Islamic terrorism) and mutual challenges (e.g., developing world-class, game-changing technologies).

*Constitutes another example of the systematic support by Congress of enhanced US-Israel cooperation.

The decisive role played by Congress in the replenishment of the “Iron Dome” underscores the cardinal rule of the US political system: The President proposes, but Congress disposes.

The involvement of Senators and House Representatives in foreign policy and national security-related issues has surged since the Vietnam War, Watergate and Iran Gate scandals, the dismantling of the USSR (which transformed the world from a bi-polar to a multi-polar) and rapidly-expanding globalization.

In fact, former Secretary of State, Jim Baker, complained about the growing congressional assertiveness in the area of foreign policy: “You can’t conduct foreign policy with 535 Secretaries of State….”  Former Secretary of Defense, Dick Cheney, criticized Congress for micromanaging the defense budget: dictating how much to spend on particular weapons, imposing detailed requirements and programmatic restrictions, venturing into policy-setting and requesting that the Department of Defense submits mountains of reports.

Congressional muscles 

The US Congress is the most powerful legislature in the world, and it has demonstrated its co-equal, co-determining muscle in the areas of foreign and defense policies on many occasions, such as:

*Imposing sanctions against foreign countries in defiance of Presidents Clinton, Obama and Trump (e.g., Egypt – 2012, Iran – 1996-97 and 2013, Russia – 2017);
*Non-ratification of the 2015 JCPOA, which enabled withdrawal by the US;
*The 2009 non-closure of the Guantanamo Detention Camp was led by Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid (NV-D), in defiance of President Obama.
*The 2009 non-confirmation of Charles Freeman to the Director of National Intelligence was led by Senator Chuck Schumer (NY-D);
*The 1999 non-ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in defiance of President Clinton and the international community;
*The unprecedented expansion of US-Israel strategic cooperation took place despite stiff opposition by President Bush and Secretary of State Baker;
*The Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act overrode President Reagan’s veto;
*The 1984 Boland Amendment aborted President Reagan’s financial and military aid to anti-Communist elements in Nicaragua;
*The 1983 blocking of President Reagan’s attempted coup against the Surinam pro-Soviet regime;
*The 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act mandated congressional authorization of surveillance of persons and organizations, which may threaten national security;
*The 1975/76 Tunney (CA-D) and Clark Amendments stopped financial and military covert support of the opposition to the pro-Soviet regime in Angola;
*The 1973 Church-Case Amendment ended funding of military involvement in Southeast Asia;
*The 1973 War Powers Act overrode President Nixon’s veto;
*The Jackson-Vanik Amendment preconditioned aid to Moscow upon free immigration.

Congress empowered by the Constitution

As documented in the aforementioned paragraphs, one is advised to note that while Congress is preoccupied with District and State issues, it has the power to both propose and dispose in the areas of foreign and defense policies.

The US Constitution aspires for a limited government and a non-monarchical president, and therefore does not limit Congress to overseeing the budget. It provides the Senate and the House of Representatives with the power to act on strategic issues and policy-setting.

The Constitution accords Congress ”the power of the purse,” oversight of government operations, ratification of treaties, confirmation of key appointments, declaration of war, funding of military operations and cooperation with foreign entities, creation and elimination of government agencies, imposing sanctions on foreign governments, etc.

In other words, the President is the “commander in-chief” within constraints, which are set by Congress.

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Significance of the 400th anniversary

Four hundred years ago, in November 1620, the 102 pilgrims of the “Mayflower” landed in Plymouth Rock, which they considered the modern day Promised Land.  They were inspired by the Bible, in general, and the Mosaic legacy, in particular, which feature a civic covenant, cohesive peoplehood, a twelve-tribe-governance and a shared vision. They planted the seeds of the Federalist Papers, the 1776 American Revolution, the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, Bill of Rights, Separation of Powers, Checks and Balances and the overall US history, culture and political and justice systems. These seeds vaulted the US to the leadership of the Free World, economically, technologically, scientifically, educationally and militarily.

The 102 pilgrims of the “Mayflower” viewed themselves as “modern day Biblical Israelites,” seeking freedom from the bondage of the “British Pharaoh,” King James I.  They sought Biblical-driven liberty, planting the roots of the uniquely thriving, mutually-beneficial kinship between the US and Israel, historically, spiritually, culturally, technologically and geo-strategically.

Indeed, these roots eclipse the political beltway of Washington, DC, transcend the pertinent role of the Jewish community, and run deeper than geo-strategic considerations and formal agreements.  They precede the 1776 US Declaration of Independence and the 1948 reestablishment of the Jewish State, Israel.

These roots have yielded an exceptional bottom-up international relations phenomenon, whereby pro-Israel sentiments among most Americans have played a key role in shaping the mindset of their state and federal legislatures, as well as the actions of the person sitting behind the Resolute Desk of the Oval Office.

The Early Pilgrims

The Bible was the most widely read book in colonial America, inspiring the Early Pilgrims, the Founding Fathers, educators, the clergy, political leaders and the public at-large.

The Early Pilgrims referred to King James I as the Modern Day Pharaoh; their departure from England as the Modern Day Exodus; the sailing across the Atlantic Ocean as the Modern Day Parting of the Sea; and the New World as the New Canaan and the New Israel.  They considered themselves the Modern Day People of the Covenant and Modern Day Chosen People.

Hence, the litany of Biblically-named towns, cities, mountains, deserts, rivers, national parks and forests throughout the United States.  Thus, in the US, there are 18 Jerusalems, 30 Salems (the original name of Jerusalem), 83 Shilohs (where the first tabernacle stood), 34 Bethels, 27 Hebrons, 26 Goshens, 19 Jerichos, 18 Pisgahs, and many more.

William Bradford and John Winthrop, the leaders of the “Mayflower” (1620) and the “Arabella” (1630) were called Joshua and Moses respectively.

Moreover, the 1620 “Mayflower Compact” and the 1639 “Fundamental Orders of Connecticut” (the initial Constitutions), which highlighted the rights of the individual – and the limits to the central government – were partly inspired by the Mosaic laws and covenant.

In 2020, the 400-year-old roots of the special US and Israel ties are reflected by the statues and engravings of Moses and over 200 Ten Commandments monuments, which are featured in the US House of Representatives, the US Supreme Court, the Library of Congress, the Justice Department, the National Archives, and throughout important buildings and landmarks across the US.

Early America and the Hebrew language

Familiarity with Hebrew was quite common among the Early Pilgrims’ intelligentsia and the better-educated clergy.  In fact, the initial ten colleges in the colonies offered Hebrew courses.

Moreover, the first two Presidents of Harvard University, Henry Dunster (1640-1654) and Charles Chauncy (1654-1672) were ardent Hebraists, as were Harvard’s 6th and 11th presidents, Increase Mather (1692-1701) and Samuel Langdon (1774-1780), who proposed to make Hebrew an official language in the new colonies. Valedictory addresses at Harvard, Yale and other institutions of higher learning were offered in Hebrew.

King’s College (Columbia University) founding President (1754-1763) Samuel Johnson installed Hebrew as a required course, and stated that “Hebrew was part of a gentleman’s education.”

Yale University’s 7th president, Ezra Stiles (1778-1795), spoke, read and taught Hebrew in addition to astronomy, chemistry and philosophy.  He corresponded with Hebron’s Rabbi, Hayyim Carregal, and noted that “Moses assembled 3 million people – the number of Americans in 1776.”  He urged graduate students to be able to recite Psalms in Hebrew, “because that is what St. Peter will expect of you at the Pearly Gates….”

The official seals of Yale University (“Light and Truth”), Columbia University (“Jehovah” and “Divine Light”) and Dartmouth College (“G-d Almighty”) feature key Biblical terms in Hebrew. The official seal of Princeton University features an open Bible with the Latin inscription: Old and New Testaments.

The special role of Hebrew in the formation of the US culture and university curricula was demonstrated by Prof. George Bush, the great grand-uncle of President George H. Bush. Prof. Bush was the first Hebrew professor at New York University (1831-1846), wrote books on the Bible and Hebrew, and urged the ingathering of Jews “to the Biblical Zion.”

Hebrew words have been integrated into the English language.  For example, the origin of Jubilee is the Hebrew word Yovel (liberty in Hebrew), Jehovah is Yehovah (He was, He is, He will be), amen is a’men (faith in Hebrew), hallelujah is halleluyah (praise God in Hebrew), Abracadabra is Evra keDabra (creating while talking in Hebrew), evil is Eyval (the Biblical Mount of Curse), kosher is kasher (proper in Hebrew), tour’s origin is the Biblical word toor (Moses’ instruction to the leaders of the twelve tribes, who were assigned to scout the Land of Israel), etc.

The Founding Fathers and the Mosaic covenant

The Bay Psalm Book was the first book printed in 1640 in the New World in Cambridge, Mass.  1700 copies were printed, containing Hebrew characters. In 2013, one of the eleven existing copies was sold for $14.2MN, a record for a printed book.  Currently, some 20 million copies of the Bible are sold annually, making it still the best-selling book in the USA.

According to a February, 2020 Pew Research Poll, 49% of Americans say the Bible should have at least some influence on US laws, including 23% who say it should have a great deal of influence.

In fact, the name of the US political system – the Federalist system – is a derivative of Foedus, which is the Latin word for the Biblical Covenant between God and Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses, as well as the civic covenant among the Biblical Israelites during the forty years following the Exodus.

Moreover, the inscription on the Liberty Bell is from Leviticus, Chapter 25, Verse 10: “Proclaim liberty throughout all the Land, unto all the Inhabitants thereof.” This inscription is the essence of the Jubilee, which is the Biblical role model of liberty – freeing slaves and prisoners and returning land to original owners.

Furthermore, Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, which was the moral and intellectual touchstone of the American Revolution, was influenced by the Old Testament: “For the will of the Almighty as declared by Gideon, and the prophet Samuel, expressly disapproves of government by kings… (pp. 10-13).”

Harvard University’s 11th president, Samuel Langdon (1774-1780), opined: “the Jewish government… was a perfect republic…. Let us therefore look over [the Israelites’] constitution and laws…. They had both a civil and military establishment under divine direction, and a complete body of judicial laws drawn up and delivered to them by Moses in God’s name…. Instead of the twelve tribes of Israel, we may substitute the thirteen states of the American union….”

James Madison, the 4th President, the 5th Secretary of State, the “Father of the Constitution,” a key drafter of the Bill of Rights and a co-author of The Federalist Papers, was deeply influenced by his study of Hebrew and the Old Testament at the College of New Jersey (Princeton University).  In a 1778 speech at the General Assembly of Virginia, he stated: “…We have staked the future of all our political institutions upon our capacity… to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God….”

John Quincy Adams, the 6th President, asserted that “[The Bible] is the best book in the world…. The law given from Sinai was a civil and municipal as well as a moral and religious code…. The Bible is the book to be read at all ages….”

The Abolitionist anti-slavery movement inspired by Moses

Moses and the Exodus played a key role in the formation of the Abolitionist anti-slavery movement. Thus, Harriet Tubman, who was born into slavery and escaped in 1849, was called Mama Moses, since she was among the initiators of the Underground Railroad, which freed Black slaves through a network of secret routes and safe houses,

In 1862, the anti-slavery informal anthem of Black slaves was composed with lyrics from Exodus 8:1: “Go Down Moses, way down in Egypt land, tell old Pharaoh to let my people go.” This black spiritual regained popularity in the 20th century when sung by Paul Leroy Robeson.

Martin Luther King, Jr., a leader of the Civil Rights Movement from 1955-1968, based many of his sermons and speeches – including “I have a dream” – on Moses and the Jewish liberation from slavery in Egypt, as well as on the Biblical books of Psalms, Jeremiah, Isaiah and Amos. His battle cry was: “Let My People Go (Exodus 5:1).”

President Abraham Lincoln was a student of the Bible, which bolstered his determination to abolish slavery.  In his second inaugural address, he stated: “[The Bible] is the best gift God has given to man…. The rebirth of Israel as a nation-state is a noble dream, shared by many Americans….“

The Bible, in general, and the Moses legacy, in particular, provided American Black slaves with much hope and strength, striving for their own Exodus, trusting that God opposes Black slavery in the US as he opposed Jewish slavery in Egypt.

400 years of US identification with the Jewish State

The chief engine behind the unique US-Israel kinship was the spirit of the Early Pilgrims and the Founding Fathers.  They considered the idea of a Jewish Commonwealth in the Land of Israel an authentic implementation of the Biblical vision.

For example, President John Adams supported the idea of a Jewish State in the Land of Israel: “I really wish the Jews again in Judea an independent nation.”

Most notably, on March 5, 1891 – six years before the convening of the 1897 First Zionist Congress by Theodore Herzl, the father of modern day Zionism – 431 US leaders, including the Chief Justice, House and Senate leaders and chairmen of Congressional committees, governors, mayors, businessmen, clergy, professors and editors, signed the Blackstone Memorial, which called for the reestablishment of a Jewish State in the Land of Israel. Pastor William Eugene Blackstone was a Christian Zionist, who dedicated his life to the reestablishment of the Jewish Commonwealth in its homeland.

In 1917, the Blackstone Memorial influenced President Woodrow Wilson’s support of the Balfour Declaration, and on March 3, 1919, President Wilson stated: “…In Palestine shall be laid the foundation of a Jewish Commonwealth….” “[The Bible] is the Magna Charta of the human soul.”  In 1918, President Theodore Roosevelt wrote in his best-selling “History of the American West”: “…It seems to me entirely proper to start a Zionist State around Jerusalem…. Many of the best backwoodsmen were Bible-readers…. They looked at their foes as the Hebrew Prophets looked at the enemies of Israel…. No man, educated or uneducated, can afford to be ignorant of the Bible.”

Highlighting the potency of these roots, on June 30, 1922 Congress passed a Joint Resolution, introduced by the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Henry Cabot Lodge (MA-R), and Representative Hamilton Fish III (NY-R), which was signed by President Warren Harding on September 21, 1922: “…. Favoring the establishment, in Palestine, of a national home for the Jewish people….”  The Resolution was opposed by the State Department and the New York Times, which also opposed the re-establishment of Israel in 1948.

On June 10, 1943, Alabama Governor Chauncey Sparks signed a unanimous Joint Resolution of the Alabama State House and Senate, which called for the establishment in Palestine of a Jewish Homeland, in accordance with the 1917 Balfour Declaration, as was approved by the 1922 Joint Congressional Resolution and the 1924 Anglo-American Treaty.

On May 12, 1948, during a critical session at the White House, Clark Clifford, a Special Assistant to President Truman (and Defense Secretary under President Lyndon Johnson), confronted Secretary of State, General George Marshall, who opposed the recognition of the Jewish State: “Behold, I have set the land before you; go in and possess the land which the Lord swore unto your Fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give unto them and to their seed after them (Deuteronomy, 1:8).” Clifford was not an evangelical Christian.

On May 14, 1948, during a special broadcast upon Israel’s declaration of independence, Lowell Thomas, a US radio icon stated: “Today, as the Jewish State is established, Americans read through the Bible as a historical reference book.”

Biblical impact on Modern day USA leaders

While the US Constitution does not require Presidents to be sworn in on a Bible, almost every Chief Executive since George Washington – except four Presidents – has chosen to do so.

Almost all US Presidents have integrated Biblical verses in their inaugural addresses and major speeches.

For example, on May 3, 1925, President Calvin Coolidge said: “Hebraic mortar cemented the foundations of American democracy… If American democracy is to remain the greatest hope of humanity, it must continue abundantly in the faith of the Bible.”

On February 15, 1950, President Harry S. Truman told the Attorney General’s Conference: “The fundamental basis of this nation’s laws was given to Moses on the Mount.  The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings which we get from Exodus and St. Matthew, from Isaiah and St. Paul.  I don’t think we emphasize that enough these days….”

On September 10, 1968, President Lyndon Johnson told a B’nai B’rith conference: “Bible stories are woven into my childhood memories as the gallant struggle of modern Jews to be free of persecution is also woven into our souls….”

In his 1969 inaugural addresses, President Richard Nixon referred to the book of Isaiah: “…. And they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more…. (Isaiah 2:4).”

President Ronald Reagan was known for his Biblical references such as: “Within the covers of the Bible are all the answers for all the problems men face…. Of the many influences that have shaped the United States of America into a distinctive Nation and people, none may be said to be more fundamental and enduring than the Bible.”

President Bush’s deep Biblical conviction was evident during his May 15, 2008 speech at Israel’s Knesset: “When Israel was declared independent, it was the Redemption of an ancient promise given to Abraham, Moses and David…. The source of our friendship runs deeper than any treaty…. It is grounded in the shored spirit of our peoples, the bonds of The Book, the ties of the soul.  When William Bradford stepped off the ‘Mayflower’ in 1620, he quoted the words of Jeremiah: ‘Come let us declare in Zion the word of God.’ The Founders [of the United States] saw a new Promised Land and bestowed upon their towns names like Bethlehem and New Canaan.  And, in time many Americans became passionate advocates for a Jewish State… Our alliance will be guided by clear principles, shared convictions rooted in moral clarity and un-swayed by popularity polls or the shifting opinions of international elites.”

President Barack Obama made a frequent use of Biblical quotes.  For example, Psalm 46 was recited at the unveiling of the 9/11 Memorial upon the 10th anniversary of that Islamic terror attack on the US: “God is our refuge and strength… therefore we will not fear….”

On December 24, 1968, the three astronauts of Apollo 8 – the first manned mission to orbit the moon – conducted a direct broadcast to earth, reciting the first ten verses from the Book of Genesis: “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth….”  It was the most watched television broadcast at the time.

The May, 2009, House Resolution 397 highlights the Biblical milestones in US history.

The US civil religion

The depth and durability of the 400-year-old Biblical roots among most Americans – notwithstanding their gradual erosion – has been consistent with separation of religion and state, but not separation of religion and society.  It is demonstrated by the institutionalization of “In God We Trust,” inscribed above the seat of the Speaker of the House of Representatives. In 2020, all 50 State Constitutions refer to God.

In 2012, the National Democratic Convention reinstated God and Jerusalem into its platform.

On October 31, 2011, the House of Representatives voted 396:9, reaffirming “In God We Trust” as a national motto, as did Joint Resolution #396 (July 30, 1956), and a May 26, 1955 Resolution to inscribe “In God We Trust” on all US currency.

According to an NBC May 2019 poll, 86% of Americans favor “In God We Trust” and retaining “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance.

An April 2018 Gallup poll showed that 45% and 39% of Protestants and Catholics frequent church each Sunday.

About 20 million copies of the Bible are purchased annually in the US.

In the US, there are some 300 Christian TV (9 in 1974) and 3,000 Christian radio stations.

Since 1974, Congress opens daily deliberations with a prayer and “God bless America;” and US Presidents conclude their oath of office, State of the Union and other major statements with God Bless America and So Help Me God.

On June 28, 2005, Chief Justice William Rehnquist ruled that the Ten Commandment monument on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol was constitutional, underlining the impact of the legacy of Moses and the Ten Commandments on the US culture and civic life: “Since 1935, Moses has stood, holding two tablets that reveal portions of the Ten Commandments, written in Hebrew, among other lawgivers in the [Supreme Court’s] south frieze…. Moses sits on the exterior east façade, holding the Ten Commandments… Since 1897, a large statue of Moses holding the Ten Commandments alongside a statue of the Apostle Paul, has overlooked the rotunda of the Library of Congress’ Jefferson Building. A two-tablet-medallion depicting the Ten Commandments decorates the floor of the National Archives. In the Justice Department, a statue entitled ‘The Spirit of Law’ has two tablets representing the Ten Commandments. In front of the Ronald Reagan Building stands a sculpture that includes a depiction of the Ten Commandments. A 24-foot-tall sculpture, outside the Federal Courthouse [in Washington, DC], depicts the Ten Commandments and a cross. Moses is prominently featured in the Chamber of the US House of Representatives…. Moses was a lawgiver and a religious leader, and the Ten Commandments have undeniable historical meaning….”

A February 2005 Gallup Poll documented 76%:21% support of a display of the Ten Commandments Monument in Texas and a 56%:20% support, with 24% indifferent, of such a display on the ground of their own state capitols.

The lasting US-Israel Kinship

While there has been a gradual erosion of the 400-year-old roots and core values – as a result of the dramatic demographic and ideological transformation of the US population – they created the healthy foundations of US-Israel relations, which have been cultivated by the state of mind of most Americans.

The recent dramatic enhancement of such a unique and mutually-beneficial relationship – militarily, industrially, technologically, agriculturally and medically – has evolved in response to mutual threats and challenges, but in defiance of the State Department bureaucracy and much of the “elite” media, which opposed Israel’s establishment in 1948.

Israel remains the top unconditional ally of the US in the Middle East and beyond, wholeheartedly reciprocating the value-driven unconditional identification by most Americans with the Jewish State.  And, as suggested by The Ethics of the Fathers, a second century compilation of Jewish ethical teachings: “Conditional love is tenuous; unconditional love is eternal.”

 

 

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger and Fred Zeidman, Co-Chair, CSA
Domestic Energy Producers Alliance (DEPA), https://bit.ly/2q4UeUw

The growing sophistication of domestic oil and natural gas production has enhanced the US national security. It has transformed the leader of the free world from a major importer of crude oil to the world’s top producer of both crude oil (surpassing Saudi Arabia) and natural gas (ahead of Russia), and expected to be the globe’s largest exporter in five years.

The dramatic reduction of US dependency on the importation of oil takes place at a time when the supply of oil from the Persian Gulf is increasingly precarious.  It is threatened by Iran’s Ayatollahs, as well as by additional rogue elements in the inherently violent, intolerant, fragmented, unpredictable, shifty, non-democratic and unstable Middle East. An area which is strategically located between Europe, the Mediterranean, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.

The Middle East – and especially Iran’s Ayatollahs – has become a most proliferating epicenter of global Islamic terrorism, drug trafficking and the development of ballistic and nuclear capabilities, producing ripple effects throughout the globe. For instance, the expanding presence of the Ayatollahs and Hezbollah terrorists in the South American platforms of anti-US Islamic terrorism and drug trafficking: the trilateral border of Argentina-Brazil-Paraguay and the trilateral border of Chile-Peru-Bolivia. The aim of the Ayatollahs is to employ these platforms – and their intensified presence in Venezuela and Mexico – as a venue to surge toward the US.

Iran’s Ayatollahs are not driven by the eagerness to improve trade balance, employment, standard of living and education. They are driven by the conviction that they are divinely ordained to dominate the Persian Gulf, the Middle East, Asia, Africa and the entire globe. They indoctrinate their youth that the world is divided into the abode of Islam and the abode of the infidel, which will eventually submit itself or be vanquished through Jihad (holy war).

The Ayatollahs – as reflected by their K-12 curriculum – consider the US to be the “Great Satan,” the mega obstacle on their way to achieve the mega goal of global domination. Hence, their determination to develop mega capabilities (ballistic and nuclear), in order to remove the mega obstacle (the USA).

The Ayatollahs are energized by Western policy-makers, who are unaware that gestures and retreats – such as the 1978/79 US betrayal of the Shah and support for the Ayatollahs – are perceived by the Ayatollahs as weakness, which intensifies their anti-Western zeal. Moreover, they consider any agreement with the West – such as the 2015 nuclear accord – a Hudna or Sulh (a tenuous truce, ceasefire, armistice), which must be abrogated once the “believers” gain the necessary strength to overpower the “infidel” West.

The 2015 agreement suggests that Western policy makers may not be aware that leopards don’t change their spots, only their tactics.

The expansion of the Ayatollahs to Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, and all the way to South and Central America has occurred while the Arab Tsunami – erroneously defined as “Arab Spring” – is haunting the Middle East from northwest Africa to the Arabian Peninsula. The Arab Tsunami, represented by the raging civil wars in Libya, Syria, Iraq and Yemen and the domestic upheaval in most Arab countries, reflects the 1,400 year old reality of the Middle East: there is no intra-Arab, intra-Muslim peaceful-coexistence.

In face of the conventional and non-conventional threats posed by the tectonic Middle East, Europe is losing its will to flex an effective military muscle, reverting to Chamberlain’s and Daladier’s pre-WW2 policy of appeasement.

On the other hand, Israel is increasingly considered by all pro-US Arab regimes to be the most effective “life insurance agent” in the region. Hence, their unprecedented security and commercial ties with Israel.

At the same time, Israel is the most effective ally of the US, extending the strategic hand of the US, and benefitting the US militarily, technologically and commercially.

For example, Israel has emerged as the most cost-effective, battle-tested laboratory of the US defense industries, employing over hundred US military systems, and sharing with the manufacturers lessons related to operation, maintenance and repair. These lessons have yielded thousands of upgrades, saving the US many years of research and development, enhancing the competitiveness of the US products in the global market, increasing US exports and expanding the US employment base. A Lockheed-Martin executive told me that the lessons shared by Israel’s air force, flying the F-16, “have yielded a mega-billion dollar bonanza to the manufacturer.” Similar benefits have been enjoyed by McDonnell-Douglas, the manufacturer of the F-15, which is employed by Israel’s air force.

Israel’s battle experience has been shared with the US armed forces, contributing to the formulation of battle tactics and transferring to the US critical information about the performance of Soviet/Russian military systems. US special operation units on their way to Iraq and Afghanistan stop in Israel for 2-3 week training by Israeli experts in countering suicide bombers, car bombs and deadly improvised explosive devices.

According to General George Keegan, former Chief of Air Force Intelligence, five CIAs would be required, in order to procure the intelligence provided by Israel.

In the aftermath of the January 1991 First Gulf War, then Defense Secretary Dick Cheney stated: “Thank you Israel for destroying Iraq’s nuclear reactor in 1981, which spared the US a nuclear confrontation in 1991.”

The late General Alexander Haig, former Supreme Commander of NATO and Secretary of State, referred to Israel as “the largest US aircraft carrier, which does not require a single US soldier on board and deployed in a most critical region. If there were not Israel, then the US would have to deploy a few more real aircraft carriers to the region, along with many more ground forces, which would have cost the US taxpayer some $15BN-$20BN annually, all of which is spared by Israel.”

Just like the US independent oil and natural gas producers, Israel has defied the odds, ascending to new heights, enhancing US national security and the economy through mutually-beneficial cooperation.

US-Israel relations resemble a two-way street, whereby the US makes an annual investment in – not foreign aid to – Israel, which yields an annual rate of return of a few hundred percent, benefitting the US taxpayer.

The US-Israel cooperation proves that two guns shoot longer than one.

 

 

The Arena, Abba Eban Institute, IDC, November 1, 2018, https://bit.ly/2JvJbth
https://bit.ly/2rgyMMh

Trump: a coattail – or an anchor chained – President?

The November 2018 mid-term election will determine the future maneuverability of President Trump, and will shape the dominant worldview of the strongest legislature in the world, which is co-determining and co-equal to the executive branch, and Israel’s systematic and most effective ally in face of pressure by all US Presidents from Truman through Obama.

The coming mid-term election will be – once again – a referendum on the popularity of a sitting President: 49% approval rating (50% disapproval) of President Trump, according to a November 1 Rasmussen Reports; 40% (54% disapproval) according to an October 28 Gallup poll; 43.9% (53% disapproval) according to an October 31 RealClear Politics.

Will Trump be a coattail-President elevating the Republican party to mid-term election gains in the House and Senate, as has happened on rare occasions, such as the 1934 election (President Roosevelt), 1998 (President Clinton) and 2002 (President G.W. Bush)?

Or, will Trump be an anchor-chained President pulling the Republican party down to significant losses – and even to minority status in one/both Chambers – as has usually been the case: President Obama (2014 and 2010), President G.W. Bush (2006), President Clinton (1994), President G.H. Bush (1990), President Reagan (1986 and 1982), President Carter (1978), President Ford/Nixon (1974), etc.?

Since 1950, a sitting President’s party has lost an average of 24 House seats in the mid-term election, which is the minimum required for a Democratic House majority in 2019.  The current balance is: 241 Republicans and 194 Democrats.

The Senate hurdle – facing the Democrats – is much higher, since the 35 Senate seats up for the coming November election consist of 9 Republicans and 26 Democrats, 10 of whom are in states won by President Trump in 2016 (only 1 Republican incumbent from a state won by Hilary Clinton in 2016), and 13 Democratic incumbents from states with a republican governor (no Republican incumbent from a state governed by a Democrat).

While sustaining the Republican majority in the House and Senate would maintain President Trump’s relative-freedom of operation, a loss of one/two Chambers would tie his hands internally and globally, commercially and militarily, due to the power of the US Legislature, which was deemed by the Founding Fathers as the “secret weapon” against a potential tyranny of the Executive.

The centrality of the US constituent and Congress

The unique power of the US Legislature – compared to all other democracies – was crafted by the 1789 US Constitution, which enshrined the concept of liberty (impacted by the Biblical concept of Jubilee, as inscribed on the Liberty Bell), by ensuring the co-equal, co-determining and independent status of the Legislature, as defined by the first article of the Constitution.

At the same time, the Constitution limits the power of the President, who – unlike other Western democracies – is not a super legislator, does not determine the legislative agenda, nor the identity of the legislators and the leaderships of the House and Senate, committees and subcommittees.

The natural ultra-ambition of the Executive branch is neutralized (in the US) by a complete separation of power among the co-equal and co-determining Legislature, Executive and Judiciary; an elaborate system of checks and balances; endowing the Legislature with the Power of the Purse and Oversight of the Executive; and the co-existence of the Federal government side-by-side with the governments of the 50 States. This transforms the American voters into the strongest constituents in the globe, directly determining the fate of their legislators, and the level of Presidential maneuverability, every two years.

Therefore, legislators are loyal, first and foremost, to their constituents, lest they follow in the footsteps of Democratic House Speaker Tom Foley (defeated in the 1994 general election) and Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (defeated in the 2014 primaries), who were substantially more engaged with national party issues, than with the concerns of their district constituents. In fact, the clout of constituents – who opposed the increase of imports – caused 2/3 and over 1/2 of the Democratic House Representatives to vote against Democratic President Clinton’s Free Trade Agreements with China (in 2000) and Canada (in 1993) respectively.

The US Constitution provides Congress with the power to limit, amend, suspend, rescind, fund/defund and investigate Presidential policies, establish and abolish government agencies (e.g., in 1947 and 2001, Congress established the CIA and the Department of Homeland Security respectively), initiate and terminate the development of military systems, confirm/reject appointments to top government positions, ratify/reject international treaties, covenants and agreements, impose/remove sanctions on foreign countries, etc.

Amending the US Constitution requires a 2/3 majority in both Chambers in addition to 3/4 of the Legislatures of the 50 States – a majority which is extremely difficult to assemble, and therefore only 27 Amendments to the Constitution have been approved so far.

Legislators prefer to focus on district and state issues – which preoccupy their constituents – rather than national security and foreign policy issues, which attract the attention of a slim percentage of the constituency.  However, the Legislature can flex its awesome muscle and severely limit or overrule a President – on domestic, national security and foreign policy issue – when a President acts like a monarch, ignores the Legislature, implements a significantly failed policy, or departs sharply from the worldview of US voters.

Globalization has expanded the number of congressional districts, which depend on foreign trade and the global arena, hence the substantially expanded number of legislators involved in international-oriented legislations.

Limiting the Commander-in-Chief

While the US Constitution (Article 2, Section 2) refers to the President as the Commander-in-Chief, his maneuverability can be heavily constrained by Congress.

For example, in 1974, Congress legislated – in defiance of the Administration – the Jackson-Vanik Amendment, which facilitated the Aliyah (immigration) of one million Soviet Jews to Israel.  In 1964, Congress passed the “Gulf of Tonkin Resolution,” which authorized President Johnson to launch the military involvement in Vietnam, but in 1973 – in defiance of President Nixon – the Church-Case Amendment terminated the US military involvement in Southeast Asia, as did the Clark Amendment (1976) and the Boland Amendment (1984) – in defiance Presidents Ford and Reagan respectively – to the US military involvement in Angola and Nicaragua, respectively. In 1986, Congress overrode President Reagan’s veto of the Comprehensive Apartheid Act, which paved the road to ending South Africa’s Apartheid regime. In 1999, President Clinton signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, but the Senate has yet to ratify it. The 2012 Defense budget included Congressional sanctions, which halved Iran’s oil export, contrary to President Obama’s policy. In 2012, in opposition to President Obama’s stance – Congress reduced foreign aid to the Muslim Brotherhood government of Egypt by $450MN. In 2015, the Senate refused to ratify the Iran Nuclear Agreement (JCPOA), thus enabling President Trump to withdraw from the agreement in 2018. In 2017/2018, Congress enacted the Russian Sanctions Bill, notwithstanding President Trump’s opposition.

Congress and Israel

Being the most authentic representative of the US constituency, both Congressional chambers reflect the special attitude by the American people toward the Jewish State since the 17th century’s Early Pilgrims. According to the 2018 annual Gallup poll of country-favorability, Israel benefits from a 74% favorability (71% in 2017).  Israel is perceived as a special ally, morally and strategically, in a region with is vital to the US economy, national and homeland security.

For instance, in 1891 – six years before the First Zionist Congress – 431 top US personalities, including the Chief Justice, the House Speaker, additional Congressional leaders, Governors, Mayors and businessmen, signed the (William) Blackstone Memorial, calling for the establishment of a Jewish State in the Land of Israel. In 1947/48, the State Department, Pentagon and CIA, along with the NY Times – in contradiction to public opinion and Congress – lobbied brutally against the establishment of the Jewish State. In 1957, leaders of the US Senate and House (led by then Senate Majority Leader LBJ) forced President Eisenhower to retreat from imposing sanctions on Israel (in an attempt to force an Israeli withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula and Gaza), but they were “outflanked” by Israel’s full withdrawal…. During 1990-1992, Congress (led by the late Senator Daniel Inouye – D-HI) expanded US-Israel strategic cooperation unprecedentedly, notwithstanding the systematic, aggressive opposition by President G.H. Bush and Secretary of State Jim Baker. In 2014, Congress thwarted President Obama’s attempt – during the Protective Edge war in Gaza – to withhold $225MN, which were committed to Israel’s acquisition of Iron Dome’s missiles.

The 400 year old roots of the special American attitude toward the Jewish State; the track record of Israel as a uniquely unconditional, reliable, effective ally, militarily, economically, scientifically and morally; as well as Israel’s role/potential in face of the mounting challenges and threats to the US and the Free World, provide for the sustained Congressional support of enhanced US-Israel strategic cooperation, in spite of the retirement of a relatively-large number of pro-Israel legislators, and the expected election of a few potentially-hostile new legislators.

The US public, in general, and the 2019 incoming Congress, in particular, will approach Israel, by and large, in accordance with Israel’s proven and potential contribution – to the US – in facing the threats of the anti-US Iran’s Ayatollahs; Sunni and Shite terrorism (from the Middle East to Latin America); and the need to bolster the pro-US Arab regimes, which have the Ayatollahs’ machete at their throats.

The incoming Congress will become, increasingly, aware of Israel’s proven capabilities (already benefitting the US and the pro-US Arab regimes) in the areas of intelligence, counter-terrorism, conventional warfare, counter-Cyber warfare, upgrading and developing military systems, groundbreaking hi-tech innovations, irrigation, agriculture, etc.

The November 2018 midterm election will produce the 116th Congress, which will determine the domestic and international maneuverability of President Trump, including US-Israel relations, which have been transformed from a one-way street to a mutually-beneficial, two-way street relations, increasingly benefitting the US militarily and economically.

The Jewish Political Studies Review, Volume 29, Numbers 3-4, September 2018
https://bit.ly/2MJkHN4

Demographic reality defies conventional wisdom  

Contrary to conventional wisdom, the Jewish State is not facing an Arab demographic time bomb; but, benefits from a robust Jewish demographic tailwind of births and net-immigration.

For example, between 1995 and 2017, the number of Israeli Jewish births surged by 74%, from 80,400 to 140,000, while the number of Israeli Arab births grew by 19% during the same period – from 36,000 to 43,000 births.

Moreover, contrary to conventional wisdom, the trend of Israeli emigration has slowed down.  Thus, the number of Israelis staying abroad for over a year was expanded by 6,300 in 2016 (the lowest in ten years – a derivative of the growth of Israel’s economy), compared to 8,200 in 2015 and 14,200 additional emigrants in 1990. At the same time, Israel’s population surged from 4.8 million in 1990 to 8.8 million in 2018.

Since the end of the 19th century, the Jewish-Arab demographic balance has systematically defied the demographic establishment’s assessments and projections.

For instance, in March 1898, Shimon Dubnov, a leading Jewish historian and demographer, projected 500,000 Jews in the Land of Israel by 1998, defining Theodore Herzl’s Zionist vision as “a messianic wishful thinking.”  However, Herzl was the ultimate realist and Dubnov was off by 5.5 million Jews!

In October 1944, the founder of Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics (ICBS), and the luminary of Israel’s demographic and statistical establishment, Prof. Roberto Bachi, projected 2.3 million Jews in Israel in 2001, a 34% minority. Bachi’s projection reflected the demographic establishment’s underwhelming assessment of Jewish fertility and immigration (Aliyah) and the overwhelming assessment of Arab fertility. In 2018, there are seven million Jews in Israel, a 65.5% majority in the combined area of pre-1967 Israel, Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), enjoying an effective demographic tailwind.

During the 1980s, the ICBS sustained its traditional, minimalist assessment of Aliyah, dismissing the potential of an Aliyah wave from the USSR. But, in defiance of the demographic and statistical establishments – and due to a most assertive, pro-active Aliyah policy by Prime Ministers Ben Gurion, Eshkol, Meir, Begin and Shamir – one million Soviet Jews immigrated to Israel.

In 2000, consistent with demographic political correctness, the ICBS projected a gradual decline of Jewish fertility rate from 2.6 births per woman to 2.4 in 2025.  However, by 2017, the Jewish fertility rate was bolstered to 3.16 births per woman and 76.5% of all Israeli births were Jewish, compared to 69% in 1995.

The Westernization of Arab demography

In 1969, Israel’s Arab fertility rate (nine births per woman) was six births higher than Israel’s Jewish fertility rate. However, that gap was erased by 2015 (3.11 births each), and in 2016/17 the Jewish fertility rate was higher than the Arab rate (3.16 births per woman and 3.3 when both Jewish spouses were Israeli-born). Moreover, the Arab fertility rate in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) is 3 births per woman, compared to 5 in 2000.   In fact, in 2018, Israel’s Jewish fertility rate is equal to Jordan’s, while exceeding the fertility rates in all Arab countries other than Yemen, Iraq and Egypt.

The rise of Jewish fertility reflects the enhanced optimism, patriotism, attachment to roots, communal responsibility and a substantial decline in the number of abortions. Furthermore, while conventional wisdom assumes that the surge of Israel’s Jewish fertility rate was triggered by the Ultra-Orthodox community, reality documents a moderate decline of the Ultra-Orthodox fertility rate (due to the growing integration in the job-market and academia) – while a substantial increase of the fertility rate has been demonstrated by Israel’s secular sector, which is the largest sector of the population.

At the same time, the Westernization of Arab fertility (in Israel, Judea and Samaria and throughout the Middle East) is a derivative of the following phenomena:

*Intense urbanization has transformed the 70% rural Arab population in Judea and Samaria in 1967 to a 75% urban population in 2018;

*Most Arab women in Israel, Judea and Samaria have pursued dramatically enhanced education, increasingly completing high school and pursuing higher education;

*Rather than getting married at the age of 15 and beginning reproduction at 16 – as did their mothers and grandmothers – contemporary Arab women tend to delay and shorten that process;

*Arab women have improved their social status, seeking to advance their own careers, thus ending their reproductive period at the age of 45, rather than 55, resulting in less births;

*Rapidly declining teen-pregnancy;

*Rapidly expanding family-planning;

*Youthful male emigration, among Judea and Samaria Arabs, has widened the gap between the number of Arab males and females there;

*Arab women in Israel, Judea and Samaria, just like Arab women throughout the Arab World have substantially expanded the use of contraceptives.

According to a June, 2012 study by the Washington-based Population Reference Bureau (PRB), 72% of 15-49 year old Palestinian married women prefer to avoid pregnancy, trailing Morocco (78%), ahead of Jordan (71%) and Egypt (69%).  A growing number are using contraception, as family planning services have expanded in the Arab region.

Auditing, rather than echoing, the official Palestinian data

In contrast to the Israeli and global demographic establishment, this essay audits – rather than reverberate/amplify – the official data of the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS). The essay examines the records of the PCBS against the data published by the Palestinian Departments of Health, Education and Interior, the Palestinian Election Commission, The World Bank, Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, Israel’s Authority of International Passages, etc.

Unlike the demographic establishment, this essay does not indulge in projections, which are subjective by definition, impacted by a litany of unpredictable domestic and international social, economic and geo-political factors. Instead, this essay focuses only on well-documented and verifiable birth, death and migration data.

Since 2004, “The America-Israel Demographic Research Group” – consisting of three Americans and six Israelis, including this writer – has documented significant inaccuracies and misrepresentations by the PCBS, totaling over one million Arabs in Judea and Samaria and about half a million in Gaza.  For instance:

  1. On February 26, 1998, upon completing the first Palestinian census, the Head of the PCBS, Hasan Abu-Libdeh, stated at a press conference: “We counted 325,000 persons living outside the Palestinian lands for more than one year.” The inclusion of such a contingency in a census is prohibited by international standards, until – and if – the overseas residents return for, at least, 90 days. Furthermore, such a contingency expands systematically through births (which exceed deaths). This malpractice was confirmed by the 1998 website of the PCBS: “The de-facto approach was adopted with some exceptions: All Palestinians studying abroad irrespective of the study period…. Palestinians who live abroad for more than one year, and who have a usual place of residence in the Palestinian territories….”

It was further reaffirmed on October 14 2004, when the Palestinian Election Commission stated that 200,000 overseas residents – over the age of 18 – were on the roster of eligible voters. Since in October 2004, 18 was the median age, the number of overseas residents, included in the census, expanded to 400,000 persons. On October29, 2014, the Palestinian Undersecretary of the Interior, Hassan Ilwi, told the Ma’an News Agency: “Since 1995, we have registered about 100,000 children born abroad.”

  1. A double-count of the 330,000 Jerusalem Arabs (whose number expands systematically due to births) has taken place since the 1997 Palestinian census, because they are included in the official count of both Israeli and the the Palestinian Authority.
  2. Over 100,000 Arabs (mostly from Judea and Samaria) have been doubly-counted – by Israel and the Palestinian Authority – as a result of marrying Israeli Arabs, which accorded them an Israeli status (permanent residents or citizens). This contingency is, also, growing due to births.
  3. A 32% inflated number of births was documented by a September 7, 2006 study by The World Bank.
  4. Deaths have been under-reported as evidenced by the 2007 census, which included Arabs born in 1845…. Moreover, in 2009, the PCBS reported 1,900 deaths in Gaza, while claiming that 1,391 Arabs were killed during Operation Cast Lead…. A June 10, 1993 study by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics (which stopped auditing the Palestinian numbers in 1996) echoed studies conducted during the Ottoman and British rule of the area, indicating: “If the Palestinian population registration is accurate, then Palestinian life expectancy is higher than life expectancy in the USA….”
  5. A 280,000 net-emigration has been documented, since the 1997 Palestinian census, by Israel’s International Passages Authority, which controls all land, air and sea passages to/from Israel, Judea and Samaria (and Gaza until the “disengagement” of 2005), while the PCBS claims zero net-migration…. The 1950-1967 documentation by Jordan and Egypt reveals that net-emigration has been systematic in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, except for the 1993-95 Oslo-driven importation, by Israel, of some 100,000 Palestinians from terrorist camps in Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, Iraq, the Sudan and Lebanon. In recent years, the scope of net-emigration from Judea and Samaria has been 20,000 annually.

According to a 1946 document, compiled by Israel Trivus and submitted by David Ben Gurion to “The Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry” (“No Arab majority in the Land of Israel“), should one accept the official British Mandate Statistics – which echoed the Arab numbers with no scrutiny (as is the current practice) – then Arab natural increase in the Land of Israel is the highest in human history, dramatically higher than customary in the Arab World.

The 2018 demographic reality

Contrary to political correctness, which has embraced demographic fatalism – repeatedly frustrated by reality – this essay has embraced due-diligence, documenting the reality of Jewish demographic momentum.

In 2018 – irrespective of the international norm to regurgitate official demographic numbers without due diligence – there are 1.85 million Arabs in Judea and Samaria (not 3 million as claimed by the PCBS), 1.6 million Israeli Muslim Arabs, 130,000 Israeli Druze, 130,000 Israeli Christian Arabs and seven million Jews – a 65.5% Jewish majority in the combined area of pre-1967 Israel, Judea and Samaria, compared with a 9% Jewish minority in 1900 and a 39% minority in 1947.  While Arab demography has experienced powerful Westernization, Jewish demography has benefitted from a robust demographic tailwind of fertility and an annual net-immigration of 25,000-30,000 in recent years.

The latter has been the most critical engine of growth of the Jewish State, representing a core value of the Zionist idea: the Ingathering (Aliyah) to the Homeland. In 2018, there is a unique window of opportunity for another wave of Aliyah from France, Germany, Russia, Ukraine, Britain, additional European countries, Argentina, the USA, etc.  Such a wave would follow the waves, which have enriched the Jewish State, every 20 years, since 1882, provided that Jerusalem revives the pro-active Aliyah policy, which was implemented by all Prime Ministers until 1992, but replaced by a pro-active absorption policy since 1992.

In 2018, Israel is the only Western democracy and advanced economy, endowed with a relatively-high rate of fertility, which facilitates the sustained growth of the economy, as well as a potential expansion of the military ranks – if necessary – while boosting the level of national optimism.

Against the backdrop of the aforementioned demographic documentation, the suggestion that the Jewish State is facing an Arab demographic time bomb, is either dramatically mistaken or outrageously misleading.  Or both….

 

 

 

 

BREAKING DEFENSE the online defense magazine,  https://bit.ly/2xrfwfI

Israel faces increasingly tight restrictions on its Foreign Military Financing (FMF) from the U.S., as Breaking Defense readers know. In the past, when the US provided Israeli with grants under the FMF program, Israel could convert 25 percent of the aid from dollars into shekels to buy Israeli products and support local R&D. The new 10-year FMF agreement signed in 2017 decrees that that will gradually drop to zero. In this commentary, former minister for congressional affairs at Israel’s Embassy here, Yoram Ettinger, argues that America gets a great deal in return for the aid and assistance it provides Israel. Read on! The Editor.

General Omar Bradley, the first Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs-of-Staff, said in July, 1950, in the aftermath of Israel’s War of Independence: “The Israeli army would be the most effective force south of Turkey, which could be utilized for delaying action [extending the strategic hand of the USA]….” General Bradley’s assessment was rejected by the State Department and the Pentagon, which opposed the 1948 establishment of the Jewish State, contending that it would be decimated by the Arabs, a burden upon the US and probably an ally of the USSR.

Presidential candidate Ronald Reagan wrote in the Washington Post, on August 15, 1979: “The fall of [the Shah of] Iran has increased Israel’s value as perhaps the only remaining strategic asset in the region, on which the US can only rely….Only by full appreciation of the critical role the State of Israel plays in our strategic calculus can we build the foundation for thwarting Moscow’s designs on territories and resources vital to our security and our national wellbeing…. Israel is not a client but a very reliable friend…. American policy-makers downgrade Israel’s geopolitical importance as a stabilizing force, as a deterrent to radical hegemony and as military offset to the Soviet Union….”

In 2018, General Bradley’s and President Reagan’s assessments are vindicated, as the pro-US Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Oman, as well as Jordan and Egypt, seek further strategic ties with Israel.  They view Israel as a most effective ally in the face of lethal threats posed by the anti-US Ayatollahs, ISIS and Muslim Brotherhood terrorists, irrespective of the unresolved Palestinian issue – which they never considered a crown jewel – and their fundamental reservations about the existence of an “infidel” Jewish State in “the abode of Islam.”

In 2018, Russia lends credence to General Bradley and President Reagan, recognizing Israel’s enhanced strategic posture, accepting Israel’s military operations against the rogue Ayatollahs and Hezbollah terrorists in Syria, which has been a Moscow satellite since the late 1960s.

Moscow recognizes the impact of the Israel’s posture of deterrence on the Washington-Moscow balance of power: the 1967 Six Day War terminated the lethal offensive by pro-USSR Egypt against Saudi Arabia and other pro-US oil-rich Arab countries; a 1970 Israeli military mobilization forced the rollback of the pro-Soviet Syrian invasion of the pro-US Jordan; the 1967 and 1973 Israeli military victories over Soviet-armed Egypt and Syria provided the US military with a rare study of Soviet military systems and Soviet battle tactics; the June 1982 (first ever!) destruction of 29 of the most advanced Soviet surface-to-air missile batteries and the downing of 83 Soviet MIGs employed by Syria, and sharing with the US innovative battle tactics and technology; the 1981 and 2007 Israeli destruction of the nuclear reactors in pro-Soviet Iraq and Syria, which spared the US a nuclear confrontation in 1991 and a much more traumatic Middle East; etc..

70 years since the reestablishment of the Jewish State, notwithstanding the minute size of its population and area, the Jewish State has emerged as a uniquely stable, democratic, reliable, creative and effective ally of the US in the Middle East and beyond, commercially, militarily, scientifically and technologically.

The potential of Israel’s strategic contribution to US military and commercial interests has been bolstered by the Israeli experience and state of mind, which are top heavy on patriotism, attachment to roots, collective responsibility, ingenuity and defiance of the jugged cutting edge of nature, militarily and commercially.

The transformation of US-Israel relations from a one-way-street to a mutually-beneficial two-way-street, has occurred despite the tactical, short-term US-Israel disagreements over the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Palestinian issue. The significant compatibility between the strategic, long-term regional and global challenges and threats facing both nations has transcended such disagreements.

In 2018, the US-Israel strategic compatibility is underlined by their national security orientation, allocating 3.6% and 4.7% of their budget, respectively, to defense, which is much more than any European country: Britain 2.1%, France 1.8%, Germany 1.1% and Italy 1.1%, etc..

Moreover, in 2018, Israel’s Air Force features the US-developed and manufactured F-35 stealth combat plane, serving as a battle-tested laboratory for the US Air Force and manufacturer (Lockheed Martin), as it has been for the manufacturers of the F-15, F-16, missiles and missile launchers, tanks, armed personnel carriers and hundreds of additional US military systems. Israel has shared with the US lessons learned by Israeli pilots, who fly under a do-or-die state of mind, which has stretched the performance of the US-made aircraft beyond conventional standards.  Such lessons have enhanced the capabilities of the US Air Force and the quality of the next generation of the F-35, saving the manufacturer many years of research and development, enhancing the US competitiveness in the global market, increasing US exports and expanding US employment. In other words, the annual transfer of $3.8BN to Israel (which funds the acquisition of US military systems) is not “foreign aid” to – but a highly profitable investment in – Israel.

In 2018, in response to growing sophisticated online and offline threats posed by Arab/Islamic countries and beyond, Israel has become a leading developer/producer in the area of cyber-technology, second only to – and in close collaboration with – the US. Israel is the site of 15%-20% of the global venture capital raised by cybersecurity companies, aiming to defend critical infrastructures, while preempting rogue regimes. On January 30, 2018, General David Petraeus, former CIA Director, stated: “the [US-Israel] collaboration reaches new heights, far beyond what is being published in the media…. Our cooperation has harmed significantly Iran’s nuclear program….”

In 2018, Israel is the chief source of intelligence (for the US) on the volatile, tectonic Middle East (and beyond), which has been a highly-complex platform of global terrorism, inherent instability, unpredictability, tyranny, domestic and regional intra-Arab/Islamic violence and intolerance, tenuous and shifty regimes, and consequently tenuous and shifty policies and agreements.

In fact, the nature of the Middle East highlights Israel’s unique qualities as a systematic, democratic, effective, strategic ally of the US, whether led by right or left of center coalition governments.  The nature of the Middle East was demonstrated by the violent toppling of a series of pro-US Arab/Islamic regimes by anti-US elements.  For example, the 1952 toppling of Egypt’s King Farouk; the 1958 toppling of Iraq’s King Faisal; the 1969 toppling of Libya’s King Idris (Wheelus Air Base, in Libya, was the largest US military facility outside the US); the 1979 toppling of Iran’s Shah; the 2011 toppling of Egypt’s Mubarak; the 2014-15 toppling of Yemen’s Hadi; and it is not over yet….

The reference to Israel, as “the largest US aircraft carrier, deployed in a most critical region, with no Americans on board” – made by a former Supreme Commander of NATO and Secretary of State, the late General Alexander Haig – reverberates an assessment made in 1923 by the British Colonel Richard Meinertzhagen, a top intelligence officer in the western region of the Middle East: “I’ve always considered the Land of Israel to be the key to the defense of the Middle East…. When a Jewish State will be established, Britain shall benefit from air force, naval and land bases…as well as Jewish fighting capabilities…which will secure its long-term regional interests…. Unlike the Arabs, Jews are reliable and do comply with agreements…. The British policy in the Middle East bets on the wrong horse, when appeasing the Arabs….”

Will President Trump adhere to – or ignore – past experience?

Will President Trump defy the State Department’s and “elite” media’s traditional quid-pro-quo (and self-defeating, artificial connection) between the enhancement of the mutually-beneficial US-Israel strategic cooperation, on the one hand, and Israeli retreats from critical terrain, which would exacerbate regional instability, intensify threats to pro-US Arab regimes and undermine US national and homeland security?

Will President Trump continue to expand US-Israel strategic cooperation, by focusing on the wider strategic context of the Middle East, or will he follow in the failed footsteps of Europe, which has largely sacrificed Middle East geo-strategic reality on the altar of oversimplification, quick-solution state-of-mind, appeasement and the misperceived role of the Palestinian issue?!

More data on US benefits: https://bit.ly/2A95lichttps://bit.ly/2GGecaB,

 

“Israel Hayom”

All US (Israel-Arab) peace initiatives, initiated by Democratic and Republican Presidents, aimed at advancing the cause of peace, while enhancing the US strategic stature. However, all failed on both accounts.

The well-intentioned US peace initiatives were doomed to failure by the tendency to downplay the complex intra-Arab/Muslim Middle East reality, since they conflicted with the eagerness to advance peace ASAP, wishful-thinking and oversimplification.

US peace initiatives were the casualties of the inherent conflict between Western eagerness for quick-fix and short-term convenience, on the one hand, and the long-term and complicated nature of the intricate reality and national security, on the other hand.

US peace initiatives were frustrated by the tectonic forces which have shaped the well-documented intra-Arab/Muslim labyrinth since the birth of Islam in the 7th century: explosive unpredictability, violence, intolerance (religiously, ethnically, politically and socially), absence of peaceful-coexistence domestically and regionally, minority/rogue regimes, disregard of civil liberties, brutal domestic fragmentation (tribally, ideologically and religiously) and the tenuous/provisional nature of regimes, policies and agreements.

Moreover, the US peace initiatives were further derailed by the politically-correct assumptions that the Arab-Israeli conflict has been “The Middle East Conflict” and that the Palestinian issue has been the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict, a core-cause of Middle East turbulence and a crown-jewel of Arab policy-making.

Such assumptions have been dashed against the rocks of Middle East reality, as highlighted by the 2010 eruption of the still-raging Arab Tsunami (erroneously named “the Arab Spring”), which has been totally unrelated to the dramatically less significant Arab-Israeli conflict and the Palestinian issue.

Furthermore, the preoccupation with the Palestinian issue – at a time when the Middle East and the US are confronted with significantly more pivotal national and homeland security challenges/threats – has damaged the US posture of deterrence and its regional and global standing.

All US peace initiatives attempted to force Israel into making major concessions to the Arab/Palestinian side, thus rewarding systematic Arab aggression, which encouraged further aggression. These initiatives exhibited the self-defeating moral equivalence between (Arab) aggressors and the intended (Israeli) victim; between the most effective, unconditional strategic ally of the US (Israel), and a close ally of enemies and rivals of the US, such as Nazi Germany, the USSR, the Ayatollahs, Saddam Hussein, Bin Laden, North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela (the Palestinians); and between the role model of counter-terrorism (Israel) and a role model and a major training ground of anti-US terrorists and a shrine of hate-education (the Palestinians).

The subversive and terroristic track record of the Palestinians, and their closest allies, sheds light on the inherent contradiction between the need to minimize Middle East instability and violence, on the one hand, and the attempt to establish a Palestinian state, on the other hand.

US peace initiatives have forced the Palestinians, in particular, and the Arabs, in general, to outflank the (“infidel”) US from the maximalist/radical side, thus further intensifying conflict and disagreements.

Contrary to the well-meant goal of the US peace initiatives, this added fuel – not water – to the fire, exacerbated instability and undermined US diplomatic and geo-strategic posture and interests. One may note that in spite of the US presidential recognition of the PLO, its support for the idea of a Palestinian state and sustained pressure on Israel to freeze Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), the US has been systematically terrorized by Shite and Sunni Islamic terrorism.

While all US (Israel-Arab) peace initiatives have failed (e.g., the 1970 Rogers Plan, the 1973-75 Kissinger initiatives, the 1982 Reagan Plan, the 1989-92 Bush/Baker initiatives, the Clinton initiatives, the G.W. Bush initiatives and the Obama/Kerry initiatives), Middle East reality has highlighted the indispensable role of the US as a facilitator – not initiator – of peace initiatives, which were launched directly between Israel and Arab entities.  Thus, it was the critical US support of the Israel-Egypt and Israel-Jordan initiated peace processes – during their intermediary and mature stages – which propelled them to fruition.

Furthermore, the cardinal US role in facilitating and coalescing Israel’s enhanced cooperation with pro-US Arab regimes in the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Peninsula – which has not been preconditioned upon Israeli concessions to the Palestinians – has projected a realistic US policy in the Middle East. It has been a policy which recognizes the order of regional and global priorities, highlighting the intensified lethal threats of Iran’s Ayatollahs and Sunni Islamic terrorism to the US’ homeland and national security, as well as to every pro-US Arab regime in the region, none of which is related, directly or indirectly, to the Palestinian issue.

Will the US benefit from the lessons of its many well-intentioned (Israel-Arab) peace initiatives by avoiding past errors?!

Will the US leverage its peace-making experience by focusing on its game-changing, constructive role as a facilitator, rather than an initiator?!

Will US policy-makers adhere to the life-saving advice, shared with drivers in West Texas: When smothered by lethal sandstorms (the Arab Tsunami…), don’t get preoccupied with the tumbleweeds on the road (the Palestinian issue…)?!

 

“Israel Hayom”

The UN Human Rights Council (HRC), on the one hand, and human rights, on the other hand, constitute a classic oxymoron, as underlined by the country-membership of the Council.

Moreover, since its establishment in 2006, and just like its predecessor, the UN Commission on Human Rights, the HRC has been dominated by non-democratic regimes, which have been hostile to the US.

For example, the anti-US, pro-Ayatollahs member-state Venezuela has robbed its opposition-led legislature of any effective power, jailing political opponents and prosecuting civilians in military courts. The Democratic Republic of Congo is ruled by a ruthless president who is holding on to power beyond the constitutionally mandated two-term limit, repressing, silencing and murdering opponents. Pakistan features a proliferation of military courts with death sentences for members of the opposition, unaccountability for human rights violations, the absence of a free press, no tolerance of religious minorities and women’s rights and is fertile ground for anti-US Islamic terrorism. In Afghanistan, neither the government nor the Taliban opposition adheres to human rights, which has resulted in a massive toll of murders and executions, many of them carried out by government-supported illegal gangs. Another member of the HRC, Burundi, which has been accused by the HRC, itself, of crimes against humanity and refuses to cooperate with the HRC investigation. Burundi is ruled by a president, whose term has been extended beyond constitutional limits, and whose security organs have followed a routine of kidnapping, torture, arbitrary arrests, executions and the “disappearance” of citizens. The repressive Cuban regime has sustained arbitrary arrests of opposition leaders, human rights leaders and free press activists.

Other member-states of the HRC – despite their non-democratic regimes and questionable-to-horrendous track records on human rights – are Rwanda, Senegal, Togo, Ivory Coast, Angola, Iraq, Ethiopia, Ecuador, Tunisia, Qatar, China, etc.

The US withdrawal from the HRC exposed the reality of the latter, which leveraged the US participation to legitimize anti-US regimes, undermining US interests throughout the globe, while advancing the interests of US rivals and enemies.

The US withdrawal has sent a message to the UN, and other entities which have benefitted from US commercial and military support. They realize that US participation in – and support of – global initiatives should not be taken for granted, but will be preconditioned upon pro-US conduct.

Such a policy is consistent with the US departure from the non-ratified 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (Nuclear Agreement), which rewarded the anti-US Ayatollahs with immediate, tangible, sweeping benefits in return for verbal, intangible gestures, while the Ayatollahs’ machete is at the throat of Saudi Arabia and all other pro-US Arab regimes, entrenching their foothold in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. The US departure from the 2015 Nuclear Agreement and the HRC bolsters confidence among US allies and deters rogue regimes, thus reducing the scope of global instability and violence.

US policy toward the HRC – which has been an authentic reflection of the UN at large – sends a message to the UN, raising somber doubts about the future of US financial support for that organization, unless the UN deviates from its modus operandi, which has provided tailwinds to anti-US rogue regimes and organizations, while benefitting from the hospitality and financial generosity of the US. Thus, the UN may forfeit part, or all, US foreign aid, which amounts to 20% of its annual budget, including 25% of UNRWA’s budget, which has funded visceral hate-education and glorification of terrorists.

In 2008, the HRC reflected the deeply-rooted worldview of its key members, by appointing Richard Falk – known for his systematic contempt for US policy – to a 6-year term as a Special Rapporteur. The appointment was approved by a consensus of the 47 members of the HRC. In 2008, Falk accused the US government of a cover-up concerning 9/11, including the supposed implication of neoconservatives in the attack. In 2013, in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon terrorism, Falk wrote in the Foreign Policy Journal: “Those to whom evil is done, do evil in return…. How many canaries will have to die before we awaken from our geopolitical fantasy of global domination?”

The track record of the Human Rights Council, on the one hand, and the national security and homeland security of the US, on the other hand, constitute an oxymoron. Hence, quitting the HRC enhances the interests of the US and the Free World.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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).

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

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Golan

Secretary Blinken on settlements – vindicated by facts?

Islamic Terrorism

Can Israel afford NOT to defy State Department pressure?