Is Israel Ostracized? Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger

"Israel Hayom," October 15, 2014,

The elitist media outlets of Israel, Western Europe and the USA are wrong! Israel is increasingly appreciated and embraced - not ostracized – by the global community.

In defiance of the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement in Britain, and despite the Gaza War, Israel's exports to Britain, and the Israel-Britain trade balance, surged by 38% and 28% respectively from January-August, 2014, compared to the same period in 2013, expanding employment in both countries.  In addition, 37 Israeli-British mergers & acquisitions and British stock market IPOs occurred during the same period.

The swelling Israel-Britain trade balance highlights Israel's special capabilities in the global market, generating cutting-edge technological and scientific developments which have given rise to unique medical, healthcare, agricultural, software and defense technologies and products. Moreover, most of Israel's export is business-to-business-based, supplying leading international businesses with critical components and technologies, which enhance the quality and reduces the cost of their own products, revolutionizing quality of life, in general, and commercial/defense performance, in particular.  The Israeli exports provide American, European, Russian, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, South Korean and additional global giants with a competitive edge in the global competition. 

Israel's unique niches in the area of healthcare were underlined in the June 2014 Forbes' list of ten health companies changing the world, five of them were Israeli. "It's amazing that Israel – a country of only eight million people – produces so many leading health technology companies," David E. Williams, president of the US-based Health Business Group, told the Grapevine.  According to Williams, "Israel's highly educated technical and medical workers are reared in a society that prizes problem-solving and innovation, placing tremendous value on curing illness and saving lives."

Barbara Opall-Rome, the Israel Bureau Chief of Defense News, sheds light on the global added-value of Israel's defense industries and Israel's rising weapon exports, which have grown since the Gaza War. The war revealed the potency of Israel – the world's largest and most advanced battle tested laboratory - especially in the area of shielding civilians from the wrath of short-range missiles and defending tank crews against guided missiles. According to Opall, "over the past five years, Israel has had military sales of around $7bn annually, and it puts Israel in the top five of the world's arms-exporting nations.... India is one of Israel's biggest customers, buying everything from ship and air defense systems to anti-tank missiles and drones."

Bloomberg News reported, following the Gaza War, that Shite Azerbaijan is the leading supplier of oil to Israel and a major buyer of advanced Israeli military systems, in spite of criticism from its neighbors, Iran and Turkey.

The California-based Entrepreneur suggests that "One country that stands out from the rest of the rest when it comes to research and development (R & D)  is Israel.  In fact, it ranks second only to Silicon Valley for startups…. The pool of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) talent in Israel is huge.  There are 140 scientists, technicians and engineers for every 10,000 Israeli employees, compared to 85 per 10,000 in the USA.... Israel is flush with entrepreneurs, second in numbers only to Silicon Valley.  The country is filled with people with courage, drive, creativity, boldness and tenacity, who will move mountains to achieve their goals and dreams…."

Israel's educational standing in the world was noted by the recent OECD's 2014 Education at a Glance study, published by Yahoo Finance on September 11, 2014: Israel ranks fourth in the world as far as post-high school educated population (46.4% of the population), trailing Japan (46.6%), Canada (52.6%) and Russia (53.5%), ahead of the USA, Korea, Australia, Britain, New Zealand and Ireland. 

The respectable, growing slate of more than 250 high-tech global giants, with R & D centers in Israel, clarifies how integrated Israel is in the global  economy: Intel, Microsoft, IBM, Apple, Motorola, Computer Associates, Qualcomm, HP, EMC, GE, AT&T, Xerox, Dell, AMD, Marvell, Cisco, GM, Google, Oracle, Paypal, McAfee, Polycom, Telefonica, Ebay, AOL, Yahoo, SanDisk, SAP, Siemens, Philips, Deutsche Telekom, Samsung, etc.  A recent arrival in Israel is the Russian Internet Security giant, Kaspersky Labs, which will inaugurate its first Israeli R & D center in Jerusalem.

2014 is shaping up to be an Israeli record year for raising capital, with Israeli IPOs on Wall Street surpassing $3.5bn. Two of the top ten Wall Street IPOs were Israeli companies, Mobileye ($890mn) and Israel Chemicals ($507mn).Intercontinental Exchange, the global network of exchanges and clearing houses, acquired Israel's SuperDerivatives for $350mn, as its R & D center.  Pulse Secure acquired Israel's cyber company, Mobile Spaces, for $100mn.

On September 22, despite the Gaza War and because of Israel's brain power and cutting edge and game-changing technologies, Intel announced an additional $6bn investment in its existing Israeli arsenal (four R & D centers and two manufacturing plants), which will develop  the next generation of Intel's chips.  

Intel's substantial investment constitutes a resounding vote of confidence in the long-term, geo-strategic and economic viability of Israel, as confirmed by Moody's credit rating, sustaining Israel's investment grade at A1 – a low credit risk.

And where does that leave the anti-Israel BDS movement, the Gaza War and other conventional and terrorist threats? Based on Israel's track record, they are bumps on the road of unprecedented growth and acceptability.

Wishing you a Happy Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) and a Happy New Year,

Yoram Ettinger, Jerusalem, "Second Thought: A US-Israel Initiative"

Not Forgetting What We Are Supposed To Remember

Rabbi Stuart Weinblatt, March 15, 2014

I have always felt that Zachor, the name associated with this shabbat captures in a single word the essential moral imperative of what it means to be a Jew. We are commanded Zachor: Remember.

 But what are we commanded to remember?

On Passover and at other times we are commanded to remember that we were once slaves in the land of Egypt.

Our experience as strangers and as slaves is meant to make us sensitive to the plight of the downtrodden and the oppressed. We are thereby commanded to stand with the victims of oppression and repression, and to be advocates for the powerless. The reminder of our experience is to inoculate us so that we do not become hardened and insensitive to the suffering of others, so that we do not become like those who mistreated and enslaved us during our 400 year ordeal in Egypt.

This notion is so ingrained in our conscience and so much a part of our psyche that it helps to explain why Jews are so often in the forefront and leaders of liberal causes and movements to help others. We should take pride in the work that Jewish individuals, as well as of the role played by Jewish organizations throughout history to help to better the lives of others. It is why Jews are such disproportionately generous donors to hospitals, and cultural and social welfare institutions throughout the world.

But the Zachor we are commanded about today is different than what we are commanded to remember on Passover. On the Sabbath before the holiday of Purim we are told to remember what it is that the Amalekites sought to do to us. And while Judaism is well known for its disputes and controversies, about this the Torah and the commentaries are very clear.

The Amalekites are described as a people who had no fear of God. Not only did they attack the Jewish people, but it was especially offensive because they did so at their weakest moment, and at their most vulnerable point. They attacked the rear. They preyed upon the weak, the elderly, the infirm; the very people whom our tradition teaches us we have an obligation to shelter and protect. The Amalekites are portrayed as the embodiment of evil, bent upon destroying the Jewish people, and are the very antithesis of all we venerate. Haman, portrayed as evil incarnate is an Amalekite.

 For me the message of this Shabbat is unequivocal and relevant to today.

 It means we should not be so naïve as to believe that the rest of the world is like us. We should not be so naïve as to believe that there are not those who seek our destruction. It means we must be ever vigilant.

Just last week, Israeli naval ships captured a ship headed for Sudan loaded with missiles. The hidden cargo was supposed to make its way across land and wind up in the hands of Hamas in the Gaza strip. The weapons were more potent than anything they currently have, with a range three times further than anything they currently have, and would have put the entire country of Israel within missile range of Hamas.

This is what it means to remember.

It means we have to recognize and admit that Israel has enemies who are very real, and who will do whatever they can to bring about its destruction. When I read in the Torah portion that Israel upon its departure from Egypt and after 40 years of wandering in the desert was ayef vayageah, tired and weak - I think of the Jewish people after the devastation of the Holocaust. Within just three years of the annihilation of one third of our people, at a time when we were ayef vayageah, tired and weary, within hours of its becoming an independent nation, the newly established Jewish nation was attacked by Arab nations who sought to prey upon the vulnerability of the Jewish people and destroy the sapling that had just been planted within the international community of nations.

This is what we must remember.

When we see efforts to denounce Israel, such as the well-financed, well-orchestrated campaign to isolate and defame Israel, known as BDS, we must cry out against these efforts, for we are commanded to remember that there are enemies of the Jewish people.

Israel's neighbors are not Canada or Luxemburg.

 And we should also remember that,

Israel after all, is not Iran - where homosexuals are imprisoned.
Israel is not Malaysia or Pakistan -- where honor killings are carried out and justice subverted.
Israel is not Saudi Arabia -where women are not granted basic human rights.
Israel is not North Korea, the most repressive country on the planet.
Israel is not Syria, where its regime has killed over 100,000 people, and where Palestinian refugees are being starved and rounded up.

Rather, Israel is a country that in the last few months alone, has taken in 800 Syrians and treated them in their hospitals. And by the way, when they are sent home with medicine, the Hebrew has to be taken off the label, lest a Jihadist see it and take revenge on the patients or their families.

 For that matter, Israel also fares favorably when compared to Western European nations who are suddenly discovering the discomfort caused by immigration and who are not quite as hospitable as they profess.

The message of this week is zachor, to remember. Remember that there is Hezbollah, and Hamas, Islamic Jihad, The Moslem Brotherhood, Al Qaeda, Syria, Iran, and countless Islamist terrorist splinter groups all vying for the title of who can wreak the most destruction upon the Jewish state. 

Carol King's song "You've got a friend" comes to mind. It warns -

"They'll hurt you and desert you.
They'll take your soul if you let them,
Ahh, but don't you let them. "

That is what we must remember today, not to let them hurt or destroy us. In a month we will remember what the Egyptians did to us. We will be reminded of the imperative to be compassionate. Today we recall what others did to us so we will remain vigilant and so that this compassionate people will survive.