Israel-Lebanon maritime accord vs. Israel-Arab peace treaties: impact on US interests

The US-engineered and guaranteed Israel-Lebanon maritime/gas accord is supposed to follow in the footsteps of the Israel-Arab peace treaties with Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco, reducing regional terrorism and instability, inducing moderation and enhancing US interests.  Does it?

Hezbollah and Lebanon

*The Shiite Hezbollah – Iran’s proxy and globally recognized terrorist organization – is a dominant player in the increasingly imploding, failed-state, Lebanon, politically, militarily, socially, educationally, religiously and journalistically.

Hezbollah has dramatically bolstered its capabilities and clout since its establishment in 1982 – by Iran’s Shiite Ayatollahs – as a vehicle to export the Shiite Islamic Revolution, extend the Ayatollahs’ reach from the Persian Gulf, through Iraq, Syria and Lebanon to the eastern Mediterranean, and undermine the US strategic posture in the Middle East.  Hezbollah has collaborated with Iran’s Ayatollahs in the Middle East, West Africa and throughout Latin America, all the way to the US-Mexico border. It has gained substantial sway due to its major contribution to the survival of the Assad regime.  Hezbollah has benefited from the Ayatollahs’ financial support, combat training, and the supply of precise missiles and predator unmanned aerial vehicles.

*Hezbollah’s dominant role in Lebanon’s decision-making has led the pro-US Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to ostracize Lebanon and suspend financial aid to Beirut, lest it bolsters Hezbollah’s stature.

Israel’s maritime accord vs. Israel-Arab peace treaties

*Israel’s peace treaties with the relatively-stable, pro-US, anti-Iran and anti-terrorist Sunni Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco, with the blessing of Saudi Arabia, which generated a critical impetus to the Abraham Accords. Their policy and vision do not extend beyond their own national boundaries.

On the other hand, the maritime/gas accord was concluded with the uncontrollable Lebanon, which is afflicted by intrinsic religious, ethnic and political fragmentation, that has been leveraged by the violently domineering, anti-US, pro-Iran Hezbollah, a major arm of Islamic terrorism in the Middle East, west Africa and Latin America. Hezbollah is dedicated to advancing the fanatic vision of a universal Shiite Moslem society, through the exportation of the Ayatollahs’ Shiite Islamic Revolution, toppling all Sunni (“apostate” and “heretic”) Sunni regimes, transforming the Republic of Lebanon into the Islamic Republic of Lebanon, a province of a universal Shiite Islamic entity, and bringing the “infidel” West (especially “the Great American Satan) to submission.

*The Abraham Accords were signed with regimes, which have accepted peaceful-coexistence with Israel and are focused on domestic stability, including economic growth.

Nonetheless, the maritime/gas accord was concluded with a country, dominated by Hezbollah, which perceives peaceful-coexistence with the Jewish state and its Sunni Arab neighbors an anathema to its fanatic vision, and has made it clear – since establishment – that its ideology supersedes financial and diplomatic benefits.

The conventional Western wisdom that Hezbollah will choose economic benefits over ideology should be assessed against the backdrop of the track record of Iran’s Ayatollahs and their adherence to their core ideology irrespective of the mega-billion-dollars of Western gifts, showered upon them by the US and the West since 1979. In addition, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas have exhibited faithfulness to hate-education, incitement and terrorism, notwithstanding the unprecedented geographic, diplomatic and financial concessions made by Israel, the US and the world at-large.

*The Abraham Accords were concluded with Arab regimes, which consider Israel as a most effective military and technological ally in the face of lethal threats and in their pursuit of economic diversification.

While these Arab regimes are not fully-reconciled to the existence of an “infidel” Jewish sovereignty in the “abode of Islam” (the Middle East), they do not consider it a top priority, realizing the potential Israeli contribution to their survival. Moreover, some of them (especially the UAE) are moderating their education curriculum and policy toward Israel, rethinking Islam’s fundamental view of the Jewish people and the Jewish State.

On the other hand, Hezbollah and their masters in Tehran, consider Israel as a loathsome entity, religiously and strategically, to be uprooted, in order to advance their fanatic, religious, megalomaniacal vision.

They recognize the Jewish State as the most effective beachhead of “The Great American Satan,” culturally and strategically, and a powerful ally of the “apostate” Sunni Arab regimes.

*All Israel-Arab peace treaties resulted from a deep appreciation, by the Arab partners, of Israel’s military, technological and diplomatic capabilities, including its military defiance of Iran and Hezbollah, and its ability to fend off US pressure, which have demonstrated Israel’s willingness to assume short-term setbacks, in order to benefit from long-term national security benefits. The pro-US Arab regimes consider Israel’s posture of deterrence as a key component of their own national security.

On the other hand, the maritime/gas accord, was brokered by the US under the assumption that an Israeli giveaway of the entire area in dispute (330 square miles of economic water and 10 square kilometers of sovereign water) would avert a Hezbollah threat to launch an attack of missiles and predator unmanned vehicles.  In other words, a sweeping capitulation, rather than confrontation and preemption of a terrorist threat.

*The maritime/gas accord – which reflects the State Department worldview that concessions made to terrorists could induce moderation – has eroded Israel’s posture of deterrence, which has transformed Israel (since 1967) into the most productive force-multiplier for the US, and a desirable ally of the pro-US Arab regimes, in the face of lethal threats.

The bottom line

*The US architects of the maritime/gas accord and their Israeli partners overlook the fact that terrorists bite the hands that feed them. For example, the Mujahideen defeated the Soviets in Afghanistan due to US support, and were quick to launch a major terror offensive against the US in the Middle East and in the US itself. Furthermore, Iran’s Ayatollahs seized power in Iran due to US support, and then became the lead epicenter of global anti-US terrorism. Moreover, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas responded to unprecedented Israeli gestures in 1993 (the Oslo Accord) and 2005 (the disengagement from Gaza) with unprecedented hate-education, incitement and terrorism.

*The US architects and their Israeli partners have ignored the fact that concessions to terrorists – just like any other rogue entity – whets their appetite and intensifies terrorism.

*The maritime/gas accord represents a victory of Western conventional wisdom over Middle East reality, sacrificing long-term national security on the altar of short-term gratification, which plays into the hands of rogue entities (e.g., Iran’s Ayatollahs, Hezbollah, Hamas, the Palestinian Authority), undermining the homeland and national security of Western democracies (e.g., the US, Europe and Israel).

*At a time, when most Iranians, and especially Iranian women, are rising against the repressive regime of the Ayatollahs, demanding regime-change, the US-engineered maritime/gas accord bolsters the Ayatollahs’ geo-strategic posture, while repeating the critically erroneous policy of 2009, when the US ignored the popular uprising in Iran, allowing the Ayatollahs to butcher its unarmed citizens.

*The US-engineered maritime/gas accord provides a tailwind to the Ayatollahs and their Hezbollah proxy, while ruling out active support of the regime-change movement in Iran; waiving an essential US military option (which is the only way to test the Ayatollahs’ intentions); sustaining the self-destructive diplomatic option (which has bolstered the Ayatollahs’ fortunes since their ascension to power in February 1979); assuming that the Ayatollahs are potentially good-faith negotiators; and viewing the Ayatollahs as if they were amenable to peaceful-coexistence, abandoning their 1,400-year-old fanatic, imperialistic vision, in return for another financial and diplomatic bonanza, which is currently offered – by the US – to Tehran.

*Against the backdrop of the aforementioned data, the US-engineered maritime/gas accord, is an extension of the well-intentioned US policy in the Middle East, which has been at odds with Middle East reality, intensifying regional terrorism and instability and eroding US posture and interests.

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2023 Inflated Palestinian Demography

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

*500,000 overseas residents, who have been away for over a year, are included in the Palestinian 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 daily due to births.

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

*A 390,000 Arab net-emigration from Judea & Samaria is excluded from the Palestinian census, notwithstanding the annual net-emigration since 1950.   For example, 15,466 in 2022, 26,357 – 2019, 15,173 – 2017 and 24,244 – 2014, as documented by Israel’s Population and Migration Authority (exits and entries) in all the land, air and sea 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 3.02 births in 2021, as documented by the CIA World Factbook. It reflects the sweeping urbanization, growing enrollment of women in higher education, rising marriage age and the use of contraceptives.

*The number of Arab deaths in Judea & Samaria has been under-reported (since the days of the British Mandate) for political and financial reasons.

*The aforementioned data documents 1.4 million Arabs in Judea and Samaria, when deducting the aforementioned documented-data from the official Palestinian number (3 million).

In 2023: a 69% Jewish majority in the combined area of Judea, Samaria and pre-1967 Israel. In 1947 and 1897: a 39% and 9% Jewish minority. In 2023, a 69% Jewish majority benefiting from fertility tailwind and net-immigration.  Arab fertility is Westernized, and Arab net-emigration from Judea and Samaria.  No Arab demographic time bomb. A Jewish demographic momentum.

    More data in this article and this short video.
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Iran’s Ayatollahs poke the US in the eye

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Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
July 26, 2023

The British “Cambridge Middle East and North Africa Forum” reported that “On January 11, 2023, Iran’s naval commander announced that before the end of 2023, Iran would station warships in the Panama Canal [which facilitates 5% of the global maritime trade].”  

According to the December 1823 Monroe Doctrine, any intervention by a foreign power in the political affairs of the American continent could be viewed as a potentially hostile act against the US. However, in November 2013, then Secretary of State John Kerry told the Organization of the American States that “the era of the Monroe Doctrine is over.”

Is Iran’s dramatic and rogue re-entrenchment in Latin America underscoring the relevance/irrelevance of the Monroe Doctrine? Does it vindicate John Kerry’s assessment?

Latin America and the Ayatollahs’ anti-US strategy

*Since the February 1979 eruption of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, the Ayatollahs have leveraged the US diplomatic option (toward Iran’s Ayatollahs) and the accompanying mega-billion dollar benefit (to Iran’s Ayatollahs) as a major engine, bolstering their anti-US rogue policy, regionally and globally.

*The threat posed to the US by Iran’s Ayatollahs is not limited to the survival of the pro-US Arab regimes in the Middle East and the stability of Central Asia, Europe and North and West Africa. The threat extends to Latin America up to the US-Mexico border. The Ayatollahs poke the US in the eye in a most vulnerable geo-strategic area, which directly impacts the US homeland.    

*Iran’s penetration of Latin America – the backyard of the US and its soft belly – has been a top national security priority of the Ayatollahs since assuming power in February 1979. The Ayatollahs’ re-entrenchment in Latin America has been assisted by their Hezbollah proxy, driven by their 1,400-year-old mega imperialistic goal (toppling all “apostate” Sunni regimes and bringing the “infidel” West to submission), which requires overcoming the mega hurdle (“the Great American Satan”), the development of mega military capabilities (conventional, ballistic and nuclear) and the adoption of an apocalyptic state of mind.

*Iran’s penetration of Latin America has been based on the anti-U.S. agenda of most Latin American governments, which has transcended the striking ideological and religious differences between the anti-US, socialist, secular Latin American governments and the fanatic Shiite Ayatollahs. The overriding joint aim has been to erode the strategic stature of the US in its own backyard, and subsequently (as far as the Ayatollahs are concerned) in the US homeland, through a network of sleeper cells.

*Iran’s penetration of Latin America has been a hydra-like multi-faceted structure, focusing on the lawless tri-border-areas of Argentina-Paraguay-Brazil and Chile-Peru-Bolivia, as well as Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua and all other anti-US governments. It involves a growing collaboration with all regional terror organizations, the leading drug cartels of Mexico, Columbia, Brazil and Bolivia, global money launderers and every anti-US government in Latin America. Moreover, the Ayatollahs have established terror-training camps in Latin America, as well as sophisticated media facilities and cultural/proselytizing centers. They have exported to the region ballistic technologies, predator unmanned aerial vehicles and tunnel construction equipment.     

Latin America and the Ayatollahs’ anti-US tactics

*According to the Cambridge MENAF (ibid), the Brazilian navy reported that two Iranian warships have been granted permission to dock in Brazil. Experts speculate that the vessels could reach the Panama Canal as early as mid-February 2024. The presence of Iranian warships in the Panama Canal threatens not only Western security, but the safety and reliability of one of the world’s key trade routes.  

“The gradual permeation of Iranian influence across Latin America over the past 40 years is a significant phenomenon, which has paved the way for this recent strategic move by Teheran. Attention is concentrated toward Iran’s criminal and terrorist network [in Latin America] via Hezbollah operations….”

*Wikileaks cables claim that Secret US diplomatic reports alleged that Iranian engineers have visited Venezuela searching for uranium deposits…. in exchange for assistance in their own nuclear programs. The Chile-based bnAmericas reported that “Iranian experts with knowledge of the most uranium-rich areas in Venezuela are allegedly extracting the mineral under the guise of mining and tractor assembly companies…. Planes are prohibited from flying over the location of the plant…. The Iranian state-owned Impasco, which has a gold mining concession in Venezuela, is linked to Iran’s nuclear program. Its Venezuela mine is located in one of the most uranium-rich areas, which has no-fly restrictions….”     

*According to the June 2022 Iran-Venezuela 20-year-agreement (military, oil, economy), Iran received the title over one million hectares of Venezuelan land, which could be employed for the testing of advanced Iranian ballistic systems. Similar agreements were signed by Iran with Cuba, Nicaragua and Bolivia.  

*Venezuela has issued fraudulent passports, national IDs and birth certificates to Iranian officials and terrorists, avoiding international sanctions and blunting counter-terrorism measures. The Iran-Venezuela air traffic has grown significantly, although tourism activity has been marginal….

*Since the early 1980s, Iran’s Ayatollahs have leveraged the networking of Hezbollah terrorists in the very large and successful Lebanese communities in Latin America (and West Africa). Hezbollah’s narcotrafficking, money laundering, crime and terror infrastructure have yielded billions of dollars to both Hezbollah and Iran. The US Department of Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) estimates that Hezbollah earns about $2bn annually through illegal drug trafficking and weapon proliferation in the Tri Border Area of Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil, expanding ties with the most violent drug cartels in Latin America, including Mexico’s Los Zetas, Colombia’s FARC and Brazil’s PCC, impacting drug trafficking, crime and terror in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Iran has intensified its Hezbollah-assisted intelligence missions against US and Israeli targets in Latin America and beyond. Hezbollah has leveraged its stronghold, the Bekaa Valley, in Lebanon, which is one of the largest opium and hashish producing areas in the world.  

The bottom line

The track record of the Ayatollahs, including the surge of their rogue presence in Latin America, documents the self-destructive nature of the diplomatic option toward Iran – which has served as a most effective tailwind of the Ayatollahs’ anti US agenda – and the self-defeating assumptions that the Ayatollahs are amenable to good-faith negotiation, peaceful-coexistence with their Sunni Arab neighbors and the abandonment of their 1,400-year-old fanatical imperialistic vision.

Judea & Samaria

Israel-Saudi accord and Israel’s control of Judea & Samaria (video)

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
September 15, 2023, https://www.israelnationalnews.com/news/377022

*The platform of an Israel-Saudi accord is the volcanic, violent and unpredictably tenuous Middle East, not Western Europe or No. America;

*Saudi Arabia is driven by Saudi – not Palestinian – interests;

*Unlike the State Department, Saudi Arabia accords much weight to the rogue Palestinian track record in the intra-Arab arena, and therefore limits its support of the proposed Palestinian state to (mostly) talk, not to walk; *An accord with Saudi Arabia – in the shifty, tenuous Middle East – is not a major component of Israel’s national security. On the other hand, Israel’s control of the mountain ridges of Judea & Samaria is a prerequisite for Israel’s survival in the inherently turbulent, intolerantly violent Middle East, which features tenuous regimes, and therefore tenuous policies and accords.


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

Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) Guide for the Perplexed, 2023

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
Based on ancient Jewish Sages, September 20, 2023

More on Jewish holidays: Smashwords, Amazon    

1. Soul searching. Yom Kippur is observed on the 10th day of the Jewish month of Tishrei(September 25, 2023). It is called the Super Sabbath (Shabbat Shabbaton in Hebrew), concluding 10 days of soul-searching and spiritual self-awareness and self-enhancement, which begins on Rosh Hashanah, the first day of the Jewish year.

According to Leviticus 23:26-32: “The Lord said to Moses, that the tenth day of the seventh month [Tishrei] is the Day of Atonement…. Do not do any work on that day…. This is a lasting ordinance for generations to come….”

Yom Kippur commemorates the day of divine forgiveness for the sin of worshipping the golden calf idol. It cautions against the temptation to sacrifice spiritual values on the altar of materialism and convenience.

2. Social responsibility. Asking forgiveness of fellow human-beings is a major feature of Yom Kippur, transferring human behavior from acrimony and vindictiveness to forgiveness and peaceful coexistence. It is consistent with the philosophy of Hillel the Elder, a leading 1st century BCE Jewish Sage: “The essence of the Torah is: do not do unto your fellow person that which is hateful to you; the rest [of the Torah] is commentary.” 

3. No ill-speaking. According to Judaism, the tongue can be a lethal weapon, and therefore, ill-speaking of other people (“evil tongue” in Hebrew) may not be forgiven.  Yom Kippur is a reminder that words are controllable while inside one’s mouth, but they become uncontrollable once they are uttered out.

4. Behavioral enhancement. Yom Kippur highlights magnanimity, humility, genuine-repentance, compassion, consideration, forgiveness, responsibility, optimism and faith.  It recognizes one’s fallibilities, emphasizes learning from one’s mistakes, minimizing future missteps, elevating morality and enhancing family and community cohesion.

Criminals and sinners are invited to participate in Yom Kippur services.

5. Fasting is a key feature of Yom Kippur, reducing material pleasure, in order to focus on one’s soul-searching, and enhancing empathy with the needy. The Hebrew spelling of fasting [צומ] is the root of the Hebrew word for reducing/focusing ((צמצומ.

There are six annual Jewish fasting days: (a) the 10th day of the month of Tishrei is Yom Kippur; (b) the 10th day of the Jewish month of Tevet commemorates the beginning of the 586-589 BCE siege of Jerusalem by the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar; (c) the 17th day of the month of Tammuz commemorates the 586 BCE and 69 CE breaching of Jerusalem’s walls by the Babylonian and Roman Empires, as well as the breaking of the Tablets by Moses upon confronting the golden calf lapse of faith; (d) the 9th day of the month of Av is the most calamitous day in Jewish history, commemorating the destruction of the 1st (586 BCE) and 2nd (70 CE) Jerusalem Temples by the Babylonian and Roman Empires and the ensuing exile; the Ten Spies’ bankruptcy of faith; the crushing of the 132-135 CE Bar Kokhbah Revolt by the Roman Emperor Adrianus (600,000 Jewish fatalities); the pogroms of the First Crusade (1096-1099) in Germany, France, Italy and Britain; the expulsion of the Jews from Britain (1290) and Spain (1492); the eruption of the First World War (1914); and the beginning of the 1942 deportation of Warsaw Ghetto Jews to the Treblinka extermination camp; (e) the 3rd day of the month of Tishrei commemorates the murder of the Jewish Governor of Jerusalem, Gedalyah Ben Achikam, by another Jew, Yishmael Ben Netanyah (586 BCE); (f) The 13th day of the month of Adar is the Fast of Queen Esther – one day before the Purim holiday, commemorating Queen Esther’s three-day-fast prior to her appeal to the Persian King Ahasuerus to refrain from exterminating the Jews (around 480 BCE).

6. Kippur. The Hebrew word Kippur [כיפור] means atonement/repentance – a derivative of the Biblical word Kaporet [כפורת], which was the dome/cover of the Holy Ark in the Sanctuary, and the word Kopher [כופר], which was the cover/dome of Noah’s Ark and the Holy Altar in the Jerusalem Temple. 

Yom Kippur resembles a spiritual cover/dome, which separates between spiritualism and materialism/mundane. The Kippah [ [כיפהis the skullcap – a spiritual dome – which covers one’s head during prayers. 

7. Venus/Noga. The astrological sign of Tishrei is Libra (♎), which symbolizes the scales of justice, truth, optimism, humility and tolerance. Libra is ruled by the planet Venus (Noga in Hebrew – נגה– which is the name of my oldest granddaughter). Venus/Noga represents divine light and compassion.  

8.  Shofar. Yom Kippur is concluded by blowing theShofar (a ritual ram’s horn), which represents a moral-wakeup-call, optimism, determination, humility, and peace-through-strength.

The Hebrew word Shofar שופר]] means “to enhance,” “top quality,” glory and spiritual pleasure [שפר, שופרא].

The blowing of the Shofar commemorates the saving of Isaac by a ram’s horns; the receipt of the (second) Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai; the re-entry to the Land of Israel and the conquest of Jericho by Joshua; as well as Gideon’s victory over the much larger Midianite military.

9. Jonah. The Biblical Scroll of Jonah – which is the fifth book in The Twelve Prophets – is read on Yom Kippur, underscoring the four universal pillars of Yom Kippur: repentance, prayer/faith, justice, and forgiveness.

The Prophet Jonah (“dove” in Hebrew), son of Amitai (“truth” in Hebrew and the name of my – so far – youngest grandson) sailed to a faraway land and transformed a sinful society into a pious society; thus, displaying social responsibility.

10. Parents. A Memorial Candle in memory of one’s parents is lit on Yom Kippur, reaffirming “Honor thy father and mother,” providing an opportunity to ask forgiveness of one’s parent(s).

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US interests and Israel’s control of Judea & Samaria (West Bank)

A new 8-minute-video: YouTube, Facebook


*Israel’s control of the topographically-dominant mountain ridges of the Golan Heights, Judea and Samaria has enhanced Israel’s posture of deterrence, constraining regional violence, transforming Israel into a unique force-multiplier for the US.

*Top Jordanian military officers warned that a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River would doom the pro-US Hashemite regime east of the River, transforming Jordan into a non-controllable terrorist heaven, generating an anti-US domino scenario in the Arabian Peninsula.

*Israel’s control of Judea and Samaria has eliminated much of the threat (to Jordan) of Judea and Samaria-based Palestinian terrorism.

*Israel’s posture of deterrence emboldens Jordan in the face of domestic and regional threats, sparing the US the need to deploy its own troops, in order to avoid an economic and national security setback.

*The proposed Palestinian state would become the Palestinian straw that would break the pro-US Hashemite back.

*The Palestinian track record of the last 100 years suggests that the proposed Palestinian state would be a rogue entity, adding fuel to the Middle East fire, undermining US interests.

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Islamic Terrorism

Iran’s Ayatollahs poke the US in the eye