I’m Jewish and Proud of it!

I’m Jewish and Proud of it!

© David Burton 2017


     I’m Jewish and proud of it!

     I was born in Chelsea, a suburb of Boston, that was nearly 50% Jewish when I grew up there in the late 30’s, the 40’s and the 50’s. Chelsea’s population was around 45,000 then. Today, Chelsea is the 2nd most densely populated city in Massachusetts with a population of just over 35,000 and a total area of just 2.21 square miles. It is the smallest city in the state in terms of total area.

     Nathan Morse was reportedly the first Jewish resident of Chelsea, arriving in 1864. As of 1890 there were only 82 Jews living in the city. However, Chelsea was a major destination for the "great wave" of Russian and Eastern European immigrants, especially Russian Jews, who came to the United States after 1890. By the 1930s there were about 20,000 Jewish residents in Chelsea out of a total population of about 45,000. Chelsea may have had the most Jews per square mile of any city outside of New York City. When I grew up in Chelsea, it was estimated that there were about a dozen synagogues in the city. At the time, it was estimated that there were about a dozen synagogues in the city. Also, there were kosher bakeries, kosher butcher shops, kosher delicatessens, a kosher slaughter house, a fish smoke-house and more in Chelsea.

     My father was born in Czarist Russia just before the start of the 20th century. He, along with my paternal grandparents, came to Boston in the first decade of the twentieth century as a very young boy. In Yiddish, Russian emigres were called “Rusheshas”. Around the age of 20, he joined the the Navy during World War I, making an Atlantic Ocean crossing on a troop ship bringing soldiers to France.

     My mother was born in Chelsea of Jewish parents who had emigrated from the Lithuania-Latvia region of western Europe and whose ethnicity was denoted as “Litvak” in Yiddish. My parents were considered to be part of a “mixed-marriage” - my father being a “Rushesha” and my mother being a “Litvak”. Being the offspring of this “mixed-marriage”, I was a Jewish “half-breed”.

     My parents were a combination of orthodox and secular Jewishness. My father was what is called a “three-day Jew”, meaning he only went to a synagogue on the 3 Jewish High Holy days of the year – Rosh Hashanah (Jewish new year) for 2 days and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement for 1 day). He had left school before completing high school in order to help with the family finances and to help a younger brother get through college and dental school. While I was growing up, my father worked 6 days of the week, including Friday evenings and Saturdays as a food store manager, teaching himself accounting, advertising and other necessary skills as needed in his occupation.

     My mother kept a kosher kitchen as I grew up, but she would occasionally take me to the very non-kosher only Chinese restaurant in Chelsea. With my father working Friday nights, there were no Friday night services to attend and no formal welcoming of the Sabbath at home, except for lighting of the Sabbath candles.

     At age seven, I was sent to “Cheder”, a form of Jewish religious school. In my case, the “Cheder” was run by an educated Jewish woman who set up a classroom in a room in her house. I learned an Eastern European dialect of Hebrew, called Ashkenazi Hebrew, Judaism, the Hebrew bible, Jewish holidays, etc. I attended this “Cheder” five days a week – Sunday through Thursday - for about an hour each day until I was Bar Mitzvah’d at age 13. Following my Bar Mitzvah, I attempted to be a good Jew by attending synagogue services on Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath. I did this exactly once, and, except for the Jewish High holidays did not again attend synagogue services until the death of my father, some seven years later.

     Upon the death of my father, I became a more or less regular synagogue attendee, going to services as many days a week as I could - morning service, afternoon service, and evening service - most times, seven days a week. For the first time in my life, I learned the various prayers of the services, got proficient enough to be permitted to lead the service, became familiar with the nuances of the daily and holiday customs in the synagogue, and began to learn the Torah in more detail than my basic “Cheder” learning had provided. Although I became somewhat educated in the orthodox Jewish tradition, I consider myself to be a secular, or perhaps a modern orthodox, Jew. Today, I attend synagogue services weekly on Saturday and Sunday mornings throughout the year, as well as on many of the major Jewish holidays.

     I feel that my Jewish education was not completed until I started to make frequent visits to Israel, beginning in 1996. That year, a subsystem on a project I was working on was being supplied by an Israeli company. I, and two others from my company, visited the company in Israel for a few days and later I interacted with Israeli designers who came to and worked at our company for a several weeks. I immediately fell in love with Israel and started taking modern Hebrew language courses. Later, I began making annual multi-week visits to Israel each winter. All in all, I have now visited Israel a dozen times, with most of these visits lasting between 4 and 8 weeks. These annual visits to the Jewish homeland turned me into an ardent supporter of the Jewish state. What I saw and learned in Israel has made me a better Jew and one who is proud to be a Jew.

     Why should I, along with every other Jew, be proud of our Jewish heritage and of the accomplishments of Jews throughout history? Read on.

Tikkun Olam

     One of the guiding principles of Jews and Israel has been and continues to be "tikkun olam" - healing the world. This concept requires that Jews and Israel work to create a better world for all.

     “On Independence Day 2017 Israel's population stood at a record 8,680,000. This is a 10-fold increase compared to when Israel was founded in 1948.” (Ref. 1) This tiny Israel, with its miniscule Jewish population or around 6.5 million has taken the concept of tikkun olam and is making it into a modern-day reality.

     On Israel’s 60th birthday in 2008, the New York Post wrote that, “the world should recognize the enormous gifts the Jewish state has given the world. Israel has exported more lifesaving medical technology to the far-flung corners of the earth than any nation of comparable size. It has done more to protect the environment, to promote literature, music, the arts and sciences, to spread agricultural advances and to fight terrorism within the rule of law.(Ref. 2)

     The world today is better because of Jews and because of the existence of the State of Israel. If you watch cable or satellite television provided by DirecTV, Sky or Star TV, you are using set-top box technologies developed by Jerusalem-based NDS, now part of Cisco Systems, Inc. If you eat vegetables, it's very likely that they were grown using Israeli developed drip irrigation technology. If you use a mobile phone, it's quite likely that the software that calculates your phone bill was developed by Amdocs in Israel. And these are but a few of the innumerable advancements in modern life brought to you by Jews and by Israel.

     As a Jew, one of the things that make me proud is the huge percentage of “accomplishments” which Jews have earned. Think Hollywood, Nobel prize winners, leading medical researchers, and even the military power of the IDF. We “Jews are one of the oldest nations in the world, and by natural law we should have ceased to exist. We have survived despite being exiled from our land – twice! – scattered across the globe and persecuted with a vengeance. This tiny nation miraculously returned to their homeland, revived their language and is making a mark on the world that far surpasses its numbers.” (Ref. 3)

     Most Jews gave up or were forced to give up farming in the Middle Ages. Their descendants – mine included - have been living off their wits ever since. They have continually migrated – frequently forced out the countries in which they settled – and have consequently developed the migrant’s ambition and drive as a result.

The Jewish Religion is the Foundation of Christianity and Islam

     Jews initiated monotheism and also became the basis for the world’s other two great monotheistic religions, Christianity and Islam. Jesus, the founder of Christianity was himself a Jew, as were his first disciples. Both Christianity and Islam incorporate Jewish history and much of its tradition as parts of their own. The founder of Islam, Mohammed, adopted some features of the Jewish worship and customs such as fasting on the Yom Kippur day. Also, the Jewish practice of having three daily prayer rituals appears to have been a factor in the introduction of the Islamic midday prayer. Muhammad initially adopted the practice of facing north towards Qiblah (Jerusalem) when performing the daily prayers.

     “As former Canadian Justice Minister Irwin Cotler said: ‘The Jewish people is the only people that still inhabits the same land, embraces the same religion, studies the same Torah, hearkens to the same prophets, speaks the same aboriginal language – Hebrew – and bears the same aboriginal name, Israel, as it did 3,500 years ago.’ “ (Ref. 4)

Jewish Contributions to the Founding of the United States

     Jews have played a prominent role in the history of the United States. One of the earliest contributors to this country was Haym Salomon. In his honor, “The U.S. Postal Service issued a stamp hailing Salomon as a ‘Financial Hero of the American Revolution.’ . . .
      - - -
     “Born in Lissa, Poland, in 1740, Salomon spent several years moving around western Europe and England, developing fluency in several languages that served him well for the remainder of his life. Reaching New York City in 1772, he swiftly established himself as a successful merchant and dealer in foreign securities. Striking up an acquaintance with Alexander MacDougall, leader of the New York Sons of Liberty, Salomon became active in the patriot cause. When war broke out in 1776, Salomon got a contract to supply American troops in central New York. In 1777, he married Rachel Franks, whose brother Isaac was a lieutenant colonel on George Washington's staff. . .
     “In the wake of a fire that destroyed much of New York City, British occupation forces arrested and imprisoned Salomon. He gained release because the British hoped to use his language skills to communicate with their German mercenaries. Instead, Salomon covertly encouraged the Hessians to desert. Arrested again in early 1778, Salomon had his property confiscated. A drum-head court martial sentenced him to hang. Salomon escaped – probably with the help of other Sons of Liberty – and fled penniless to Philadelphia. . .
     “In Philadelphia, Salomon resumed his brokerage business. The French Minister appointed him paymaster general of the French forces fighting for the American cause. The Dutch and Spanish governments also engaged him to sell the securities that supported their loans to the Continental Congress.
     “In 1781, Congress established the Office of Finance to save the United States from fiscal ruin. Salomon allied himself with Superintendent of Finance William Morris and became one of the most effective brokers of bills of exchange to meet federal government expenses. Salomon also personally advanced funds to members of the Continental Congress and other federal officers, charging interest and commissions well below the market rates. James Madison confessed that ‘I have for some time ... been a pensioner on the favor of Haym Salomon, a Jew broker.’
      - - -
     “Within five years of his arrival in Philadelphia, Salomon advanced from penniless fugitive to respected businessman, philanthropist and defender of his people. He risked his fortune, pledged his good name and credit on behalf of the Revolution, and stood up for religious liberty. Despite financial setbacks at the end of his life, Salomon's name is forever linked to the idealism and success of the American Revolution, and to the contributions Jews have made to the cause of American freedom.” (Ref. 5)

     Another example of Jewish influence in the establishment of American independence can be seen in the Seal of the United States. “If you take a one dollar bill out of your pocket and look at the back at the Eagle, the stars above the Eagle's head are in the six point Star of David to honor Jews. If you turn the Eagle upside down you will see a configuration in the likeness of a Menorah....both at the insistence of George Washington who said we should never forget the Jewish people and what they have done in the interest of America. . . This is the seal of the United States of America.” (Ref. 6)

Jews Have Been Significant Contributors to Democracy and Civil Rights in the United States

     American Jews have been among the strongest defenders of democracy and Civil Rights. In the 1950's and 1960's, Jews were in the forefront of the activists in the Civil Rights movement, with some losing their lives in the fight to gain equal rights for Blacks in America.

     The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), formerly known as the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith is an international Jewish non-governmental organization based in the United States. It is described as "the nation's premier civil rights/human relations agency". The ADL states that it "fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals and protects civil rights for all", doing so through "information, education, legislation, and advocacy".[7][8] Historically, the ADL has opposed groups and individuals it considered to be anti-Semitic and/or racist, including: Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, the American militia movement and white power skinheads. One of the ADL's major focuses has been religious freedom for people of all faiths. In 1997, the National Center for Black-Jewish Relations of Dillard University, a historically black university in New Orleans awarded the director of the ADL with the first Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. – Donald R. Mintz Freedom and Justice Award. In 2004, the ADL became the lead partner in the Peace and Diversity Academy, a New York City public high school with predominantly black and Hispanic students.

     Jews identified themselves forth­rightly with the Civil Rights movement of the 50's and 60s. In 1954, the United States Supreme Court rendered its judgment in Brown v. Board of Education, striking down racial segregation in public schools. Within the next dozen years, a series of federal laws and court orders shattered every legal support of racial segregation.

     “As far back as the 19th century, Jewish storekeepers were virtually the only Southern merchants who addressed black customers as ‘Mr.’ and ‘Mrs.’ and permitted them to try on clothing. By the early 20th century, a few Southern Jews even ventured to speak out against the evils of white supremacy. In 1929, Louis Isaac Jaffe {a Jew}, editorial writer for the Norfolk Virginia-Pilot won the Pulitzer Prize for his denunciation of lynching and the reactionary Harry Byrd political machine.
     “Julius Rosenwald, chairman of Sears Roebuck, contributed more generously in behalf of Southern blacks than did any philanthropist in American history. Rosenwald was Chicagoan, but his munificence was continued by his daughter, Edith Stern of New Orleans, whose Stern Family Fund in later years contributed vast sums to civil rights activities in the South. It was known, too, that Southern Jews privately tended to be more liberal on the race issue than Southern gentiles, and often quietly provided manpower and funds for civil rights causes.
      - - -
     “. . . Rabbi Julian Feibelman of New Orleans opened the doors of his Temple Sinai in 1949 for a lecture by Ralph Bunche, the black United Nations ambassador, permitting the first major integrated audience in New Orleans history.
     “At the height of the anti-integration effort, in 1957, Rabbi Ira Sanders of Little Rock testified before the Arkansas Senate against pending segregationist bills. Rabbi Perry Nussbaum of Jackson, Mississippi, also courageously lent his support to the integration effort, as did Rabbis Jacob Rothschild of Atlanta, Emmet Frank of Alexandria, and Charles Mantingand of Birmingham. . .
     “If Southern Jews believed that a low profile would permit them to continue living peacefully, they were wrong. Klan groups exploited the integration crisis to launch acts of anti-Semitic violence. In one year, from November 1957 through October 1958, temples and other Jewish communal edifices were bombed in Atlanta, Nashville, Jack­sonville, and Miami, and undetonated dynamite was found under synagogues in Birmingham, Charlotte, and Gastonia, North Carolina. Some rabbis received telephone death threats.
      - - -
     “{The participation of Northern Jews in the Civil Rights movement was of immense help in making the movement a success.} These were the people, it is recalled, who were the earliest supporters of the fledgling National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). In 1914, Professor Emeritus Joel Spingarn of Columbia University became chairman of the NAACP and recruited for its board such Jewish leaders as Jacob Schiff, Jacob Billikopf, and Rabbi Stephen Wise.
     “Jews also were the earliest supporters of the Urban League, founded in New York in 1911 to help newly arrived black migrants from the rural South. The International Ladies Garment Workers Union and the Amalgamated Clothing Workers took the lead in organizing ‘our black brothers’ for union membership (over the opposition of the American Federation of Labor national board). And, in the climactic civil rights drives of the 1950s and 1960s, Jewish participation was all but overwhelming.
     “In the landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education ruling itself, the Supreme Court accepted the research of the black sociologist Kenneth Clark that segregation placed the stamp of inferiority on black children. Clark’s study had been commissioned by the American Jewish Committee, and it appeared in the amicus curiae brief the Committee submitted to the court. The Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Congress also submitted amicus curiae briefs in behalf of the cause. . .
     “Jewish participation in the Civil Rights movement far transcended institutional associations. One black leader in Mississippi estimated that, in the 1960s, the critical decade of the voter-registration drives, ‘as many as 90 percent of the civil rights lawyers in Mississippi were Jewish.’ . . .
     “Jews similarly made up at least 30 percent of the white volunteers who rode freedom buses to the South, registered blacks, and picketed segregated establishments. Among them were several dozen Reform rabbis who marched among the demonstrators in Selma and Birmingham. A number were arrested. . .
     "Two young New Yorkers, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman, served in 1964 as voting-registration volunteers in Meridian, Mississippi. One of their coworkers was a young black Mississippian, James Chaney. Together they were waylaid and murdered by Klansmen, their bodies dumped in a secret grave. As much as any single factor, it was the nationwide attention given the discovery of their corpses that accelerated passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The Jews had long since achieved their own political and economic breakthrough. Rarely had any community gone to such lengths to share its painfully achieved status with others.” (Ref. 9) As an American and as a Jew, I supported the Civil Rights Movement of the 60’s, becoming a member of the NAACP, and traveled by bus from Boston to Washington to participate in the memorable March on Washington in August of 1963.

Jews Around the World Have Fought for the Countries in Which They Lived

     Except in the case of Nazi Germany, Jews have generally shown their loyalty to the countries in which they have resided by fighting and often giving up their lives in defense of their host countries.

     Here in America, Jewish participation if the military dates to 1654, when Jewish settlers, from Recife, Brazil, and the West Indies, came to New Amsterdam seeking religious freedom and equal opportunities and obligations alongside the Christian citizens.

     At first, Governor Peter Stuyvesant denied them these basic rights, including the right to be a part of the defense force of the city. Pressure from Holland forced Governor Stuyvesant to grant them these rights. This was the beginning of Jews serving in the military of our country – more than 360 years ago.

     Since then, many American Jews have served their country in its armed forces. My father served in the U.S. Navy during World War I. My sister’s brother-in-law gave his life in the Pacific during World War II. Other relatives of mine have served in the American military. [9a]

     “The finest tribute paid to the Jewish fighting men in World War I was given by General John J. Pershing: ‘When the time came to serve their country under arms, no class of people served with more patriotism or with higher motives than the young Jews who volunteered or were drafted and went overseas with our other young Americans to fight the enemy.’ After the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the United States declared war on Japan and Germany. Over 550,000 Jewish men and women responded to America’s call for the Armed Forces in World War II. About 11,000 were killed; over 40,000 were wounded.” (Ref. 10)

     Jews have fought for the Russian Czar, for Kaiser Bill and Germany in World War I - 100,000 Jews served in the German forces and 12,000 were killed in action. Jews have fought for the Russian motherland during World War II, for France, for Poland, and for England - the Jewish Infantry Brigade Group served in Europe during the Second World War. More than 30,000 Palestinian Jews volunteered to serve in the British Armed Forces in the fight against Nazi Germany.

     Joseph Trumpeldor was an early Zionist activist. He helped organize the Zion Mule Corps for the British in World War I. In 1920, Trumpeldor died defending the settlement of Tel Hai and subsequently became a Zionist national hero. His dying words are reported to have been "It does not matter, it is good to die for our country."

     But prior to that, Trumpeldor fought for the Russian Czar and the country in which he was brought up. In 1902, Trumpeldor volunteered for the Russian army. During the Russo-Japanese War, he participated in the siege of Port Arthur, where he lost his left arm. He spent a hundred days in the hospital recovering, but elected to complete his service. When he was questioned about his decision and told that he was heavily advised not to continue fighting given his handicap, he responded "but I still have another arm to give to the motherland." Trumpeldor received four decorations for his bravery including the Cross of St. George, which made him the most decorated Jewish soldier in Russia. In 1906, he became the first Jew in the army to receive an officer's commission.

     Ze'ev Jabotinsky, was another Russian Jew who was one of the founders of the Jewish Legion of the British army in World War I. Later he helped establish the Irgun, the predecessor of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). His initial military training and career were in support of England.

     When called to serve in the armed forces of the nations in which they lived, Jews throughout history and around the globe have answered the call.

Jews Have Made Major Contributions to Science and Other Fields of Endeavor

     While Jews make up only 0.2% of the world population, they constitute 27% of the Nobel physics laureates, 31% of the medicine laureates and 54% of the world chess champions. Here in the good old U. S. of A., Jews make up only 2% of the population, but 21% of the Ivy League student bodies, 26% of the Kennedy Center honorees, 37% of the Academy Award-winning directors, 38% of those on a recent Business Week list of leading philanthropists, and 51% of the Pulitzer Prize winners for nonfiction. As World Chess champions, Jews have held the title 54% of the time since 1866.

     Jews have been significant contributors to science throughout the world. From 1901 to 2016, at least 197 individuals with Jewish ancestry were awarded the Nobel Prize. During this same period, 36% of all US recipients were of Jewish backgrounds. Some 22% of all organizations awarded the Nobel Peace Prize were founded principally by people of Jewish descent. Since the beginning of this 21st century, Jews have been awarded 25% of all Nobel Prizes and 27% of those in the scientific research fields.[11]

     Perhaps the greatest scientist of all time, Albert Einstein, was a Jew. Dr. Sigmund Freud, a Jewish Austrian physician, was the founder of psychoanalysis and father of psychiatry.

     Jews created the first department stores: B. Altman & Co. (1865-1990), Gimbels (1887-1987), Kaufmanns (1871-2006), Lazaruses (1851-2005), I. Magnin & Company (1876-1994), Mays (1877-2005), and Abraham & Straus, later A&S, (1865-1995). Isadore & Nathan Straus ("Abraham & Straus") eventually became sole owners of Macy's, the world's largest department store, in 1896.

     Julius Rosenwald revolutionized the way Americans purchased goods by improving Sears Roebuck's mail order merchandising. Hart, Schaffner, Marx, Kuppenheimer, and Levi Strauss became household names in men's' clothing.

     Louis Santanel was the financier who provided the funds for Columbus' voyage to America, while the fortunes of English-Jewish financiers such as Isaac Goldsmid, Nathan Rothschild, David Salomons, and Moses Montefiore helped England become an empire.

     Jews have figured prominently in the field of computational and information science technology in terms of logical as opposed to hardware development. This includes areas such as computation theory, artificial intelligence, the statistical theories of information, communication, systems control, cryptography, operations research, network architectures, and algorithm and software design. The level of Jewish achievement in this field of science is reflected in the roughly 45% Jewish membership in the Computer and Information Sciences division of the US National Academy of Sciences and in the percentages of Jewish recipients for several of the most prestigious awards in the field. These include:

  • 32% of recipients of the ACM A.M. Turing Award in Computer Science were Jewish,
  • 35% of recipients of the IEEE C.E. Shannon Award in Information Theory were Jewish,
  • 41% of recipients of the John von Neumann Theory Prize in Operations Research were Jewish,
  • 41% of recipients of the EATCS/ACM Kurt Gödel Prize in Theoretical Computer Science were Jewish,
  • 45% of recipients of the ACM Paris Kanellakis Theory & Practice Award in Computer Science were Jewish, and
  • 56% of recipients of the IMU Rolf Nevanlinna Prize in Computer & Information Science were Jewish.[12]

Jewish Contributions to the Arts and Related Fields are Legendary

     The number of outstanding Jews contributing to the field of entertainment is almost beyond belief. There are untold numbers of some of the most illustrious actors, comedians, singers, song writers, producers, script writers, movie moguls, along with television and movie producers and directors. To name but just a few, consider:

Woody Allen; Jack Benny; Irving Berlin; Mel Brooks; Eddie Cantor; George Gershwin; Carole King; Billy Joel; Al Jolsen; the Marx Brothers; Leonard Nimoy; Gene Wilder; Harry Houdini; Dustin Hoffman; Gilda Radner; Jerry Lewis; George Burns; Isaac Stern; Allan Sherman; Leonard Bernstein; Alan King; David Copperfield; Tony Curtis; Paul Simon; Sophie Tucker; Neil Simon; Leonard Cohen; Samuel Goldwyn; Louis B. Mayer; Yasha Heifetz; Benny Goodman; Aaron Copland; Felix Mendelssohn; Carl Reiner; Kurt Weil; Ringo Starr; Milton Berle; Florenz Ziegfeld; Arthur Miller; Jerome Kern; Ethel Merman; Barbra Streisand; Bert Bachrach; Oscar Hammerstein; Victor Borge; Edward G Robinson; Carrie Fisher.[13]

     And the list goes on and on, and on, and on, and . . .

     European Jews are the founding fathers of all the Hollywood Studios. Jews are disproportionately counted in most of the arts. America's leading symphony orchestras have been led by Jewish conductors one-third of the time. They have created nearly two-thirds of Broadway's longest running musicals. Probably one-fourth of the greatest photographers of all time have been Jews, as have 10% of the world's great master architects. Of movie directors who earned Oscars, 38% were Jews. In broad artistic recognition, 13% of the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Awards have gone to them.

Numerous Jews Have been and are Prominent in Law and Medicine

     Jews have entered the fields of law and medicine in far greater numbers than their proportion of the population would suggest. Not only have there been large numbers of Jews in these two professions but they have proven to be among the most prominent and respected.

     In the field of law, Jews throughout history and around the globe, have gained international reputations as lawyers and judges. Here in America, there have been some seven Jewish Attorneys on our Supreme Court: Louis Brandeis; Stephen G. Breyer; Benjamin N. Cardozo; Abe Fortas; Felix Frankfurter; Ruth Bader Ginsburg; Arthur J. Goldberg.[14] So, why are Jews so interested in law, and why have there been so many Jewish lawyers?

     At the beginning of the book of Deuteronomy, “Moses reviews the history of the Israelites’ experience in the wilderness, beginning with the appointment of leaders throughout the people, heads of thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. He continues:
     "And I charged your judges at that time, ‘Hear the disputes between your people and judge fairly, whether the case is between two Israelites or between an Israelite and a foreigner residing among you. Do not show partiality in judging; hear both small and great alike. Do not be afraid of anyone, for judgment belongs to God. Bring me any case too hard for you, and I will hear it.’ (Deut. 1: 16-17)
     “Thus at the outset of the book in which he summarized the entire history of Israel and its destiny as a holy people, he already gave priority to the administration of justice: something he would memorably summarize in a later chapter (16: 20) in the words, ‘Justice, justice, shall you pursue.’ The words for justice . . . are repeated, recurring themes of the book. . .
     “Justice has seemed, throughout the generations, to lie at the beating heart of Jewish faith. Albert Einstein memorably spoke of “the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake, an almost fanatical love of justice . . .
     “One of the great Jewish lawyers of our time, Alan Dershowitz {has written} about Abraham, whom he sees as the first Jewish lawyer, ‘the patriarch of the legal profession: a defense lawyer for the damned who is willing to risk everything, even the wrath of God, in defense of his clients,’ the founder not just of monotheism but of a long line of Jewish lawyers. Dershowitz gives a vivid description of Abraham’s prayer on behalf of the people of Sodom (‘Shall the Judge of all the earth not do justice?’) as a courtroom drama, with Abraham acting as lawyer for the citizens of the town, and God, as it were, as the accused. . .
     “In modern times, Jews reached prominence as judges in America: among them Brandeis, Cardozo, and Felix Frankfurter. Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the first Jewish woman to be appointed to the Supreme Court. In Britain, between 1996 and 2008, two of Britain’s three Lord Chief Justices were Jewish: Peter Taylor and Harry Woolf. In Germany in the early 1930s, though Jews were 0.7 per cent of the population, they represented 16.6 per cent of lawyers and judges.
     “. . . Throughout the Hebrew Bible some of the most intense encounters between the prophets and God are represented as courtroom dramas. Sometimes, as in the case of Moses, Jeremiah and Habakkuk, the plaintiff is humanity or the Jewish people. In the case of Job it is an individual who has suffered unfairly. The accused is God himself. The story is told by Elie Wiesel of how a case was brought against God by the Jewish prisoners in a concentration camp during the Holocaust. At other times, it is God who brings a case against the children of Israel.
     “The word the Hebrew Bible uses for these unique dialogues between heaven and earth is riv, which means a law-suit, and it derives from the idea that at the heart of the relationship between God and humanity – both in general, and specifically in relation to the Jewish people – is covenant, that is, a binding agreement, a mutual pledge, based on obedience to God’s law on the part of humans, and on God’s promise of loyalty and love on the part of heaven. Thus either side can, as it were, bring the other to court on grounds of failure to fulfill their undertakings. Three features mark Judaism as a distinctive faith. First is the radical idea that when God reveals himself to humans He does so in the form of law. In the ancient world, God was power. In Judaism, God is order, and order presupposes law. In the natural world of cause and effect, order takes the form of scientific law. But in the human world, where we have freewill, order takes the form of moral law. Hence the name of the Mosaic books: Torah, which means ‘direction, guidance, teaching,’ but above all ‘law.’ The most basic meaning of the most fundamental principle of Judaism, Torah min ha-Shamayim, ‘Torah from Heaven,’ is that God, not humans, is the source of binding law.
     “Second, we are charged with being interpreters of the law. . .
     “. . . Judaism is a continuing conversation between the Giver of the law in Heaven and the interpreters of the law on Earth. That is part of what the Talmud means when it says that ‘Every judge who delivers a true judgment becomes a partner with the Holy One, blessed be He, in the work of creation.’
     “Third, fundamental to Judaism is education, and fundamental to Jewish education is instruction in Torah, that is, the law. . . The result of {Jewish} thorough education in {its} laws from the very dawn of intelligence is that they are, as it were, engraved {on the Jews’} souls. To be a Jewish child is to be . . . “learned in the law.” {As a consequence, Jews} are a nation of constitutional lawyers.
     “Why? Because Judaism is not just about spirituality. It is not simply a code for the salvation of the soul. It is a set of instructions for the creation of . . . ‘societal beatitude.’ It is about bringing God into the shared spaces of {Jewish} life. That needs law: law that represents justice, honoring all humans alike regardless of colour or class, that judges impartially between rich and poor, powerful and powerless, even in extremis between humanity and God, the law that links God, its Giver, to us, its interpreters, the law that alone allows freedom to coexist with order, so that my freedom is not bought at the cost of yours.
     “Small wonder, then, that there are so many Jewish lawyers.” (Ref. 15)

     In the field of medicine, a significant number of Jews have made medical and scientific advances that are credited with saving billions of lives. Jewish involvement in medicine is legendary, going back at least 800 years to the time of the famous Jewish physician, Maimonides. One estimate of the number of human lives saved by the most important lifesaving advances in the history of science, medicine, and technology, by some 26 Jewish scientists, physicians, and engineers among the 105 principal developers of approximately 43 lifesaving breakthroughs comes to between 2.8 and 4.3 billion people. Some of these Jews and their lifesaving contributions include:

Karl Landsteiner - Blood Transfusions; Abel Wolman - Chlorination of Drinking Water; Benjamin Rubin - Smallpox Eradication; Samuel Katz - Measles Vaccine; Paul Ehrlich - Diphtheria and Tetanus Antitoxin; Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin - Polio Vaccine and Polio Pill; Henry Heimlich - Heimlich Maneuver; Baruch Blumberg - vaccine for hepatitis; Oskar Minkowski – Discovery of Insulin; Dr. Selman Abraham Waxman - the Wassermann Test for Syphilis. [16][6]

Israel was Established by International Agreements - Not by War nor by Seizure

     In modern times, the State of Israel was reborn through international agreements – not by revolution, conquest, genocide or other horrific acts. “The rights of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel were codified in international law beginning with the San Remo Conference of 1920 and these international agreements remain in effect to this day.
     "At {the San Remo} conference to decide the future of the former territories of the Ottoman Empire, a binding international agreement was reached ‘to reconstitute the ancient Jewish State within its historic borders.’ The desire to restore the Jewish people to its native land was then ratified by a unanimous vote of The League of Nations, thereby correcting the historical injustice of forced exile. [Emphasis mine] As the British, tasked with re-settling the Jewish people within its ancestral homeland, declared, the Jewish people are in this land ‘as of right and not on sufferance.’ [Emphasis mine] (Ref. 4)

     The San Remo Agreement was followed by the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine of 1922 (provisionally operative from 1920). The Jewish people’s right to reestablish their nation-state in the biblical Land of Israel became a pillar of international law and this aspect of international law was merely a formal acknowledgment of the 4,000 year old aboriginal Jewish right to the Land. Later in 1947, the United Nations ratified these agreements with United Nations General Assembly Resolution no. 181 (II) - commonly known as the “Palestine Partition Plan”. This resolution recommended the creation from all of the lands of Mandatory Palestine west of the Jordan River, representing only 22% of original Mandatory Palestine, a Jewish state (comprising slightly less than 11% of the Land), an Arab state (comprising slightly less than 11% of the Land) and an internationally- administered greater Jerusalem. The 1947 U.N. endorsement bestowed upon Israel a unique international legal status, namely, that of being the only nation in the World whose establishment was officially endorsed by both the League of Nations and the United Nations.[4a]

     Israel has honored these international agreements by being a safe haven for the oppressed. “. . . with the horrific persecution and slaughter of Christians throughout the Middle East, Israel is a safe haven. As the Vicar of St. George’s Church in Baghdad Canon Andrew White says of Israel, it is “the only place in the Middle East [where] Christians are really safe.” As Father Gabriel Naddaf, head of the Greek Orthodox Church in Yafia, near Nazareth, says of Israel, “In no Arab country do Christians have as good a life as they have in the State of Israel.” (Ref. 4)

Israel has Rewarded the World Many Times over for Helping Reestablish the State of Israel

     As a Jew, I am proud of the fact that the Jewish State of Israel is the only country in the Middle East where Jew, Muslim, Christian, Druze, Baha’i, Samaritan, Circassian and Karaite are all free to worship as they wish. Outside of Israel, the Druze have been ostracized and discriminated against. The Circassians were driven out of Czarist Russia, in what, these days, would be termed genocide. Today, with the exception of Israel, Christians throughout the Middle East are being murdered and persecuted.

     ”Israel has built a thriving country that protects the rights of its citizens, protects freedom of religion and ensures that all religions have access to their religious sites – something that was not allowed when Israel was not governing Jerusalem. Israel protects a free press, minority rights and women’s rights in a part of the world where such rights and protections are alien. Minorities participate in all areas of civic life. As Israel’s first Bedouin diplomat, Ishmael Khaldi, declares, ‘I am a proud Israeli – along with many other non-Jewish Israelis who live in one of the most culturally diversified societies and the only true democracy in the Middle East... By any yardstick you choose – educational opportunity, economic development, women and gay’s rights, freedom of speech and assembly, legislative representation – Israel’s minorities fare far better than any other country in the Middle East.’ “ (Ref. 4)

     Jews and Israel believe in the core value of "Tikkun Olam" – “repairing the world”. “MASHAV, Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation, has trained close to 270,000 course participants from approximately 132 countries in the hope of sharing with developing countries Israel’s innovations and technology in beneficial ways.
     “In addition, Israel is consistently a first responder in times of crisis the world over. In 2010, Israel was among the first nations to send relief and rescue units to Haiti after the earthquake.
     “Former US president Bill Clinton had stated: ‘I don’t know what we would have done without the Israeli hospital in Haiti. The Israeli hospital was the only operational facility which was able to perform surgery and advanced tests.’
     “In 2011, Israel sent aid to Turkey.
     “Israel sent an aid team to Japan at the time of the earthquake and tsunami of 2011.
     “In Boston, in the wake of the horrific Marathon Day bombings, doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital credited Israel with training the hospital’s first-response team. In 2013, in response to the typhoon in the Philippines, a 147-member delegation and 100 tons of humanitarian and medical supplies were dispatched in aid.
     “In 2015, Israel sent a team of 250 medical personnel and rescue workers to Nepal after the earthquake there.
     “Aboud Dandachi, a Syrian refugee who launched the website Thank You Am Israel, said, ‘History will record that when Syrians were being turned away from Arab countries and most European ones, the Jewish people opened their hearts to our plight... I grew up with statements like ‘these people are your enemies. The Jews are evil.’ And then I saw that the Jews are the most humane and generous people of this era.’ “ (Ref. 4)

     “. . . {D}uring the 20th century, when the vast majority of the 850,000 Jews who were living in Arab countries and Iran had to flee for their lives – leaving behind billions of dollars in property in their hundred, or even thousand- year-old communities – Israel provided a safe haven for approximately 600,000 of these Jewish refugees. Israel continues to provide a welcoming country for Jews who are fleeing the often violent anti-Semitism that they encounter today around the world.” (Ref. 4)

     Jews have become prominent in many countries and regions throughout the world ever since the their expulsion from their homeland by the Romans in 70 C.E. From the beginning of the Diaspora, to the present day, Jews have benefitted just about every country in which they have lived – Egypt, Spain, France, Germany, Russia, the U.S.A., and on and on.

     As one example of one of the first Jews who benefitted those countries in which he resided, we can point to Maimonides who is regarded as the greatest Jewish philosopher of the medieval period and is still widely read today. He also achieved fame as a physician and wrote medical treatises on a number of diseases and their cures.

     In the Iberian Peninsula, under Muslim rule, Jews were able to make such great advances in mathematics, astronomy, philosophy, chemistry and philology that this era is sometimes referred to as the Golden age of Jewish culture in the Iberian Peninsula.

     Maimonides was born to a distinguished family in Cordova, Spain in 1138. At that point, Cordova was under Muslim rule and stood as one of the great intellectual centers of the world. Events took a turn for the worse when the Almohads invaded in 1148 and offered all non-Muslims the choice of conversion, exile, or death. Maimonides’ family was forced to leave Cordova. Maimonides arrived in Egypt in 1166 and eventually settled in a section of Cairo.[17] Aside from being revered by Jewish historians, Maimonides also figures very prominently in the history of Islamic and Arab sciences and is mentioned extensively in studies. As a widely respected physician in Egypt, he was appointed court physician to the Grand Vizier Al Qadi al Fadil, then to Sultan Saladin, after whose death he remained a physician to the royal family.

     Maimonides’ life marked the zenith of Spanish Jewry. From this time onward it was downhill - politically, economically, socially and every way possible. Some 2-1/2 centuries later, with the expulsion of Jews under Catholic rule, Spain also began its downward spiral.

Israel Has Never Been an Expansionistic Nation

     Israel has never shown any aggressive expansion aspirations. To the contrary, in 1979 Israel returned to Egypt the Sinai Peninsula, an area nearly three times the land area of Israel that contains oil, gas and mineral deposits. Early on, Israel granted autonomy to the Arabs in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Israel later withdrew entirely from the Gaza Strip. As a matter of historical fact, Israel has voluntarily withdrawn from territory captured in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, 1982, and 2006

     Israel captured and controlled the entire Sinai Peninsula after three wars with Egypt. Under the Israel–Egypt Peace Treaty of 1979, Israel withdrew from all of the Sinai Peninsula except the contentious territory of Taba, which was also returned after a ruling by a commission of arbitration in 1989.

     From 1948 onward, Israel has repeatedly suffered numerous provocations from Lebanon that have included attacks on Israeli civilians and soldiers, kidnapping and killing of Israeli soldiers,and the firing of thousands of rockets into northern Israel. These ongoing attacks were primarily perpetrated by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Syrian (and now Iranian) backed terrorist organization, Hezbollah.

     In response, Israeli forces entered Southern Lebanon in 1978 and 1982 and pushed the anti-Israel terrorist organizations away from Israel’s northern border. Israel withdrew from most of Lebanon in 1985, but kept control of a 12-mile security buffer zone. In 2000, Israel withdrew to its side of the Israel-Lebanon border. However, Hezbollah continued cross border attacks intermittently over the next six years. Hezbollah kidnapped Israeli soldiers in 2004 and again in 2006 which ignited the 2006 Lebanon War. In spite of the continuing provocations by Hezbollah, Israel has not reoccupied Southern Lebanon.

     Prior to 1967, Syrian forces repeatedly shelled Israeli farmers and infiltrated terrorists into Israel from the Golan Heights. Syria even instituted a project to divert water from the Jordan River, which supplies a major portion of Israel’s scarce water resources. However, at the conclusion of the 1967 “Six Day War” Israel was in control of the Golan Heights. Six years later, Syria, along with Egypt, attacked Israel on the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur, and attempted to capture the Golan Heights. After several days of fierce fighting in which the Syrians had early-on swept across the Golan and threatened Israel’s population centers, Israel was able to finally repulse the invaders. The IDF was then able to force a Syrian retreat and begin a march forward toward Damascus, which, by then, was essentially defenseless. With the initiation of a U.N. Sponsored cease-fire, Israel pulled back out of Syria and returned the border town of Kuneitra to Syria.

     In spite of several wars, innumerable provocations, and deadly attacks, Israel returned all conquered territory to the attacking nations – the one exception being the Golan Heights, which was formally annexed by Israel to prevent any further attacks by Syria on its farmers and to preclude any possibility or Syria ever again attempting to divert the Jordan River.

     On top of this, Israel voluntarily removed all Jewish residents of the Gaza Strip and turned complete control of that territory over to the “Palestinians” in a “land for peace” attempt that has disastrously backfired, on both Israel and on the unfortunate Arabs living in Gaza under the oppresive yoke of the terrorist organization, Hamas.

Jews Have Been Good Citizens in their Host Countries and Welcoming to Foreigners in Israel

     Throughout our Jewish history, Jews have shown their gratitude toward the nations that have allowed us to live there by being good citizens. With the exception of armed resistance to the Nazis in World War II, and then only as last resort, Jews have not risen up in rebellion against the rulers of their host countries. Jews have not attempted to invade, overthrow or permanently occupy other nations. This tradition is routed in our Torah:
  • “You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” - Exodus 22:20.
  • “You shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the soul of the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” - Exodus. 23:9.
  • “The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as one of your citizens; you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” - Leviticus 19:34.
  • “You too must befriend the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” - Deuteronomy10:19.
  • “You shall not hate an Egyptian, for you were stranger in his land” - Deuteronomy 23:8.
  • “Always remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt; therefore do I enjoin you to observe this commandment”
     An example of the welcoming spirit of Israel toward “foreigners” is that of the Baha'i faith which was founded in Iran in 1863.

     The Baha'i religion is administered by the Universal House of Justice, and is based in Haifa. While the Baha’i world headquarters is based in Israel, few Baha'i actually live there. The Baha'i have found Israel to be the only welcoming country in the Middle East where they are not persecuted or looked down upon as heretics or outsiders.

     The gold-domed Shrine of the Bab in Haifa was built in 1953 to contain the tomb of the Bab – a Muslim in Persia who proclaimed the coming of a “Promised One” in 1844. He was executed in 1850 in Iran for heresy. His disciples, who consider him to be a Martyr, brought his remains to Haifa in 1909. The man the Baha’is believe was the “Promised One” is buried near Akko (Acre) where he died in 1892. [18]

     “The establishment of a Baha'i Department under the Ministry of Religious Affairs, the official acceptance of Baha'i marriage and the excusing of Baha'i children from school attendance on Baha'i Holy Days, the exemption of Baha'i properties from taxation and customs duties are all evidences of the official recognition accorded by the State of Israel to the World Centre of the Baha'i Faith.” (Ref. 19))

     There is a long-standing arrangement/agreement between the Baha'i World Center and the Israeli Government that no active teaching of the Faith will occur in Israel. They have agreed to not proselytize or to try to solicit conversions in Israel. This policy was instituted more than 50 years before the establishment of the State of Israel by the leader of the Baha’I faith.

     “The Shrine of the Bab {in Haifa} is one of the most recognized and visited landmarks in Israel. The peaceful gardens and impressive shrine bring in many pilgrims every year, as well as tourists of all faiths. Despite the importance of these Israeli landmarks in the Baha'i faith, there is no Baha'i community in Israel. The only Baha'i residents of Israel are the volunteer workers at the sites. . . {T}he Baha'i edict of loyalty to whatever government is in power in their land {along with a welcoming Israeli acceptance has} forged a very positive relationship between the Baha'i faith and the Israeli government.” (Ref. 20)

Israel Took in Millions of Refugees Without Asking Others to Pay for Their Settlement

     Starting with the cessation of hostilities in Europe at the end of World War II, Israel has accepted millions of refugees without ever seeking funding from the other nations of the world. For most of the span of time when immigration into the Land of Israel was at its peak, the country was economically underdeveloped and it was constantly burdened by the out-of-proportion demands of national defense in the face of constant external hostility and overt aggression from its Arab neighbors and from the ongoing internal terrorism and hostility of a segment of Israel’s Arab population.

     Israel, and Jews from around the world, willingly accepted the multiple burdens of a major influx of refugees - most of whom were destitute, many with little education, few with the ability to speak the Hebrew language. Contrast this Jewish behavior with that of Muslims and Arabs on the issue of the so-called “Palestinian refugees”. For nearly 70 years, these “Palestinian refugees” have been forced to live in squalid refugee camps, nearly totally supported by the generosity of the non-Muslim world through the aegis of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). Today, UNRWA provides support for some 5 million supposed “Palestinian refugees”. Remember that only some 700,000 or so Arabs left their home in 1948, either willingly under Arab urging or involuntarily when forced to leave by Israeli defense forces fighting for the life of their new nation and the lives of their fellow Jews in Israel who were threatened with extermination by the attacking armies of the Arab nations surrounding the newly founded state.

     To this day, no Arab nation, excepting Jordan, will take in these “Palestinian refugees” or will grant them citizenship. Their Arab brethren have refused to financially help tthem and have left them to rot in the UNRWA run terrorist training camps. This includes the oil-rich countries of the Arabian Peninsula.

     As a percentage of its population, no other country on the face of the earth has even come close to Israel in accepting newcomers under such stressing conditions – and it has done so with open arms and a willing heart. Consider the following:
  • Between 1939 and 1948, approximately 110,000 Jewish immigrants came to Palestine, both legally and illegally – the majority illegally. Between 1939 and 1945, another 6 million European Jews were murdered by the Nazis.
  • In May 1948, when Israel became independent, there were only some 600,000 Jews in the country. By the time the fighting subsided, toward the end of that year, 110,000 immigrants had arrived.
  • By the end of 1952, 738,891 immigrants had arrived, including the 110,000 who had earlier arrived in the second half of 1948. Israel had more than doubled its population in four short years. Most of these new arrivals were Holocaust survivors.
  • Israel absorbed nearly all of the 850,000 Jews who were expelled or had to flee from Arab and other Muslim countries after the Arab world initiated hostilities against the Jews of Israel in 1948. Nearly all were destitute, having to leave nearly all of their possessions behind. They have never been compensated for their losses.
  • More than 1.2 million immigrants have come to Israel from the Former Soviet Union, peaking in the years following the Soviet Union’s breakup. Israel absorbed them, even though many were of questionable Jewish background.
  • From 1948 through 1991, Israel absorbed about 40,000 Ethiopian Jews - these were almost totally uneducated black Jews, unfamiliar with the modern world, and whose religious practices were mostly different from the practices of Israeli Jews. From 1991 – 1997, Israel took in another 32,000 "Falash Mura" Ethiopian immigrants. These are Ethiopian Jews who converted to Christianity under pressure during the 19th and 20th centuries. By 2013, the number of Ethiopians who had immigrated to Israel had exceeded 90,000.
     Today, Israel is home to a widely diverse population from many ethnic, religious, cultural and social backgrounds. Relative to the size of its population, Israel is the largest immigrant-absorbing nation on earth. Immigrants come in search of democracy, religious freedom, and economic opportunity. [21] Around 8.5 million people live in Israel today, including approximately 6-1/2 million Jews and 1-1/4 million Arabs.

I am Especially Proud of the Fact that Israel Has Always Been a Staunch Ally of America

     As an American-Jew, I am proud that Israel has been and is a staunch supporter of the United States. Israel has consistently been America's top U.N. ally. Israel has voted with the U.S. nearly 100 percent of the time, exceeding the support levels of major U.S. allies. Israel and the United States are partners in the war on terrorism.

     Israel is a strategic ally of the United States that enjoys the status of a major non-NATO ally. Haifa is one of the most popular ports of call for the U.S. navy while American and Israeli troops regularly engage in joint exercises.

     As one organization dedicated to the Zionist restoration of Israel said, “We wish to remind our friends in the US that there is only one country in the Middle East that shares the values of freedom and liberty; one country in the Middle East that the US can always count on for support. Israel stands with the American people against those who would like to see the fall of Western values." (Ref. 22)

I am Proud that Israel is a World Leader in Agriculture and the Protection of the Environment

     Among all the countries on the face of this earth, Israel is the only one that ended the twentieth centuries with more trees than it began the century with. Before Jews began their return to the land of their ancestors, Palestine was a mixture of miserable mosquito-infested swamps, inhospitable deserts, and backward small towns and villages. As Jews returned they rapidly changed the land back to one of “milk and honey”.

     Israel is a recognized world leader in agricultural research and development which has led to dramatic increases in the quantity and quality of the country's crops.

     During several of my annual trips to Israel, I have noted many people staying at the same hotels where I was who were from Africa and Asia. When I would talk to them and ask where they were from and what they were doing in Israel, I was impressed and proud to hear what countries they were from and that they were part of missions to Israel who were there to learn about Israel’s agricultural techniques so as to improve the quality of agriculture in their home countries. I have visited a number of the agricultural development sites in Israel and can attest to the miraculous results being achieved.

     From drip irrigation to natural pesticides, Israeli innovations have been helping to fill hungry bellies everywhere, but particularly in the developing world.

     “No other single country – certainly not one as young and as tiny as Israel – has contributed more breakthroughs in this area than Israel.
     “Since the 1950s, Israelis have not only been finding miraculous ways to green their own desert but have shared their discoveries far and wide through channels including MASHAV, Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“{There are many} dozens of food-related advances pioneered by Israelis. Here are 12 major ways Israel {is helping to} feed the world.
  1. Drip irrigation: Probably no other advancement has been quite as significant. . . Israeli drip and micro-irrigation solutions {have} rapidly spread worldwide. . . 700 farming families in Senegal {were able} to reap crops three times a year instead of just once, even on infertile land. MASHAV has {fostered} similar activities in Kenya, South Africa, Benin and Niger.
  2. Grain cocoons: Israeli-designed GrainPro Cocoons provide a surprisingly simple and cheap way for African and Asian farmers to keep their grain market-fresh. The huge bags . . . keep both water and air out. They’re used all over the developed world, including Africa and the Far East . . . Subsistence farmers in developing countries tend to store their crops in primitive baskets or bags, which are not effective in keeping hungry bugs and micro-contaminants out. The Cocoon solves that problem, even in extreme heat and humidity.
  3. Biological pest control: {A} company called Bio-Bee breeds beneficial insects and mites for biological pest control and bumblebees for natural pollination in greenhouses and open fields. Subsidiary Bio-Fly sells sterile Mediterranean fruit flies to control this major pest in fruit trees. . . Bio-Bee exports eight different species of biological control agents, plus pollinating bumblebees, to 32 nations from Japan to Chile. Bio-Fly collaborates with Jordanian and West Bank Palestinian Authority agricultural experts.
  4. Dairy farming: 10 Israeli companies {are} involved in a five-year project in Vietnam to implement every aspect of a vast $500 million dairy farm project. It’s the largest project of its kind in the world. . . In the meantime, China is sending groups of dairy farm manager trainees to Israel to learn how to boost milk production there as well.
  5. Tailor-made farm solutions: {A} Kibbutz-based {company} makes unique software to help producers grow fruits and vegetables, raise poultry and dairy cows, manage vineyards and make olive oil. . . {The} project gives farmers anywhere in the world access to information from Israeli experts. Hundreds of thousands of farmers can obtain tailor-made solutions, arrange group purchases of supplies and communicate with colleagues.
  6. A better potato: It took nearly 30 years of research, but {a} Hebrew University professor developed strains of potatoes that thrive in hot, dry climates, and can be irrigated by saltwater. Potatoes are one of the top sources of nutrition in the world, but they never before grew well in hot, desert regions like the Middle East. Now farmers in these regions can grow potatoes as a cash crop.
  7. Squeezing every drop of water from the air: {Another Israeli company has} developed reusable plastic trays to collect dew from the air, reducing the water needed by crops or trees by up to 50 percent. . . {T}he trays also block the sun so weeds can’t take root, and protect the plants from extreme temperature shifts. ‘Farmers need to use much less water, and in turn much less fertilizer on the crop,’ which translates to less groundwater contamination.
  8. Unparalleled crop protection: {A} Hebrew University tech-transfer company teamed with {a} world leader in crop protection products to develop and commercialize slow-release herbicides and a targeted insecticide that doesn’t harm beneficial insects. . . The novel insecticide kills caterpillars of night-flying moths – a common scourge for farmers worldwide – but unlike common commercial preparations, has minimal or no effect on any other creature. High levels of control can be achieved with much less product, greatly minimizing environmental impact.
  9. Fishing in the desert: Overfishing is a serious threat to the food supply, a grave situation since fish is the main source of protein for hundreds of millions of people. . . {An} Israeli developed ‘zero-discharge’ system eliminates the environmental problems in conventional fish farming, and doesn’t depend on electricity or proximity to a body of water. Specially developed microbes purify fish waste byproducts right in the tank, with no need for spillage and refilling.
  10. Food from greenhouse gas: {An} Israeli clean-tech company {has} launched a commercial algae farm in China and does business in the United States and Italy as well. People don’t eat algae, but algae ponds nourished by power-plant effluent conserve farmed produce for human consumption because they generate 30 times more feedstock for biofuel than do land-based crop alternatives. Plus, the tiny plants, which thrive on carbon dioxide and sunlight, produce a valuable . . . food additive that is especially popular in the Far East.
  11. Reintroducing carp to Africa: Half a century ago, Lake Victoria carp was a significant part of the diet of the nearby Ugandan villagers. But when Nile perch was introduced to the lake, it decimated most of the smaller fish including the carp. Villagers had neither the equipment nor the expertise necessary to start fishing the huge perch, and symptoms of protein deficiency started becoming apparent in their children. {A} Hebrew University {professor} came to the rescue with a multiyear project near to help these African families. Her team was able to apply techniques developed over many years for Israeli fish farmers. The Israeli project not only successfully spawned carp on Ugandan fish farms, but also provided training on how to dig and fill ponds and raise the small fish. Now local children have an abundant supply of protein to eat with their fruit and vegetables.
  12. Hardier seeds for better crops: Hebrew University agricultural scientists . . . developed . . . a . . . technology that enables the introduction of genetic materials into seeds without modifying their DNA. This method immediately and efficiently improves plants before they’re even sowed. ‘The new ability to deliver traits within days instead of years, and to offer a treatment with results similar to breeding to all current species, answers a long and unmet need that will revolutionize modern agriculture and significantly impact the vegetable and commodity crop markets.’ “ (Ref. 10)
     And all of this is only a portion of the results being achieved, almost on a daily basis, at Israel’s agricultural research facilities, in Israel’s universities, and by private companies in Israel. While these advancements have made Israel a agriculturally self-sufficient and an exporter or many agricultural products, the technology has been widely and rapidly disseminated throughout the world to the benefit all of mankind. On top of all this, there are outstanding Israeli achievements in waste water recycling, solar rooftop water heaters, solar panel farms, desert land reclamation, and ecological education.

     Israel boasts the largest amount of solar collector area per capita in the world and this number continues to grow at a rapid pace. Israeli universities graduate the highest number per capita of engineers and scientists specializing in alternative energy in the world. Israeli experts in this field are sought after by the most developed countries. The Weizmann Institute of Sciences in Rehovot is a world leader in solar technology. The solar water heaters that convert solar energy into thermal energy, and which are ubiquitous on rooftops throughout Israel are an Israeli invention and are in use around the world.

I am Proud that Israel is a World Leader in Technology, Medicine, Education and Literacy

     A major source of Israeli and Jewish pride is the enormous number of inventions and innovations that have taken root on Israel’s soil over the past 70 years — despite challenges of geography, size and war. The ever-churning Israeli mind has brought us drip irrigation, the cherry tomato, the electric car grid, the Disk-on-Key and much more.

     Tel Aviv has become one of the world’s foremost entrepreneurial hot spots. Israel has more high-tech start-ups per capita than any other nation on earth, by far. It leads the world in civilian research-and-development spending per capita. It ranks second behind the US in the number of companies listed on the Nasdaq. Israel, with 8-1/2 million people, attracts as much venture capital as France and Germany combined. Israel’s technological success is the fruition of the Zionist dream. The country was not founded so stray settlers could sit among thousands of angry Palestinians. It was founded so Jews would have a safe place to come together and create things for the world. The economic benefits of Israel’s technological success today are even spilling over into the Arab world, including places like the West Bank and Jordan.

     Israel is among the best educated nations in the world. Its schools and universities are open to all. According to the Webometrics ranking, six of Israel's universities place in the top 100 schools of Asia. Four universities place in the top 150 in the world according to the Shanghai Jiao Tong University Academic Ranking of World Universities, and three are in the Times Higher Education-QS World University Rankings (i.e. amongst the "Top 200 World Universities"). In addition, Israeli universities are among 100 top world universities in science and engineering, mathematics, physics, chemistry, computer science, and life sciences. Similarly, Israeli universities rank in the top 100 in the world in the social sciences and economics. Israel, as a country, is ranked 23rd on RePec's Country and State Ranking.

     Among Mid-East countries, Israel ranks 1st in literacy and basic educational access and 3rd in percent of students attending higher education institutions. Israel—with fewer people than the state of New Jersey, no natural resources, and hostile nations all around—produces more tech companies listed on the NASDAQ than all of Europe, Japan, South Korea, India, and China combined. Israel attracts, per capita, 30 times as much venture capital as Europe and more than twice the flow to American companies. For its size, it produces the most cutting-edge technology startups in the world. Much of the credit for all of this is the Israeli education system.

     For an insignificantly small nation, Israel ranks right near the top of the world’s leading nations for innovation and technology. In a 2011 analysis of 82 nations on technology, innovation, human capital and other measures of economic competitiveness, Israel ranked 4th.

     Considering economic output devoted to R&D investment, Israel ranked 1st in the world. Using patents per capita as a measure of innovation, Israel took 5th place in the entire world.

     “. . . Israel has the highest concentration of engineers in the world—135 per 10,000 people, compared to 85 per 10,000 people in the United States. . .” (Ref. 23)

     In the field of medicine, Israel leads the world in patents for medical devices.[24]

     To find out about some of the most important inventions by Israel, see Reference 25.

I am Proud that Israel is Helping Many Countries Around the World

     “Israelis are all too familiar with the reality of genocide. In both the Rwandan and Sudanese genocides, Israel provided humanitarian assistance to the refugees. [Emphasis mine] In Rwanda, Israel established a field hospital and sent several doctors and nurses as well as medical supplies and vaccinations. Israel has also dispersed $5 million to aid Sudanese refugees.
     “In more than two dozen recent cases, Israel has contributed to relief efforts after earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and other natural disasters. [Emphasis mine] For example, Israel sent medicine, water, food and other supplies to Sri Lanka after the tsunami in 2004. The next year, Israel also sent humanitarian aid and equipment to New Orleans for victims of Hurricane Katrina. After the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Israel sent a comprehensive hospital team that set the standard for treating victims of a natural disaster in a speedy and humane manner.” (Ref. 26)

     Israel has even been aiding hurricane victims here in the United States. On 5 September of this year, The Israeli embassy in Washington DC "packed up a truck with several tons of supplies and donations to send to the victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas. . . . {A day earlier.} the Israeli Ministry of Diaspora Affairs announced that it was advancing a plan to give $1 million in emergency aid, in the wake of the disaster caused by Hurricane Harvey.” (Ref. 27) In addition, “A delegation of volunteers from humanitarian aid NGO IsraAID were sent to Houston to assist in immediate disaster relief – such as cleaning homes of debris – and to offer trauma counselling. . . The Israeli aid group iAID is also sending a team of around 10 Israeli relief experts to assist the national guard and other American aid groups, as well as communities affected by the storm. They will remove debris and help families salvage some of their belongings as well as create recreational spaces in shelters. Trauma counselling and other emotional support will also be offered by the volunteers. This is not the first time that IsraAID has offered aid to Texas or the US. The organization, which has provided aid to 41 countries over the last decade, flew a seven-man relief team to Wimberley, Texas in May 2015 when the area was ravaged by floods. IsraAID has provided aid to 41 countries in the past ten years, with multiple teams sent to help in natural disasters that have struck the U.S.” (Ref. 28) “With a 12-member team of volunteers currently working in the clean-up operation following Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas, the Israeli ZAKA Search and Rescue organization is also establishing command centers in advance of the expected damage from Hurricane Irma in Miami, Florida. . . As millions of residents are fleeing the hurricane, tens of volunteers from the ZAKA International Rescue Unit, Hatzalah Miami and the Amudim organization have established two command centers to offer assistance to the local communities when weather conditions allow. . . The command centers are equipped with generators, sleeping bags, tinned food, water and all the relevant specialist search, rescue and recovery equipment. . . This is the IRC’s fourth international mission in three years having had members dispatched to Nepal following the 2015 earthquake, to Haiti in 2016 following Hurricane Matthew, and most recently in Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.” (Ref. 29)

     Even today, Israel continues to provide medical treatment for victims of the fighting in Syria, irrespective of which side the victims are fighting on.

     “Since 1959, Israel has maintained numerous medical outreach programs, including eye clinics in developing countries. Israel’s eye clinics have operated for decades in Nepal, Mauritania, Tonga, Liberia and Micronesia.” (Ref. 26)

     To find out more about what Israel has been doing to help numerous nations around the globe, see Reference 30.

As a Jew, I am Proud that Israel is a Real Democracy with Equal Rights for ALL

     In modern time, the rights of all citizens of the Israel are spelled out in the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel. “The declaration stated that the State of Israel would ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex, and guaranteed freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture.” (Ref. 31)

     The principles stated in the Israel’s Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel were reinforced when “In 1994 the Knesset amended two basic laws, Human Dignity and Liberty and Freedom of Occupation, introducing (among other changes) a statement saying that "the fundamental human rights in Israel will be honored . . . in the spirit of the principles included in the declaration of the establishment of the State of Israel". (Ref. 31)

     As expressed in the actual language of the Israeli Declaration of Independence, the State of Israel committed itself to “foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.” (Ref. 31)

I am Proud that Jews and Israel are Contributing So Much to the Betterment of Mankind.

     There are numerous examples of how Israel and Jews in many countries around the globe have contributed to the betterment of mankind throughout the ages. In the case of Israel, by nearly any standard, this is a true modern miracle – such a tiny nation with such a small population, under the constant threat of annihilation by a multitude of hostile neighbors, contributing so much to improving the lives of so many around the world. Jews and Israel are living up to the requirement of "tikkun olam" - healing the world - as no other people and no other nation have done. I, along with other Jews and Israel have ample reason to be pround of all these accomplishments.


  1   Vital Statistics: Latest Population Statistics for Israel, Jewish Virtual Library, May 2017.
  2   ISRAEL’S GIFT TO THE WORLD, Alan Dershowitz, New York Post, 4 May 2008.
  3   10 Things to Love about Being Jewish, Rabbi Nechemia Coopersmith, aish.com, Accessed 10 September 2017.
  4   I stand with Israel, Yonina Pritzker, The Jerusalem Post, 6 April 2016.
       http://www.rosenblit.com/CREATE%20ISRAEL.htm, Accessed 13 September 2017.
  5   Haym Salomon: The rest of the story, Michael Feldberg, Jewish World Review, Accessed 6 September 2017.
  6   Jewish Celebrations, mazornet.com, Accessed 10 September 2017.
  7   About ADL, ADL, Accessed 28 May 2007.
  8   More About ADL, ADL.
  9   Jews in the Civil Rights Movement, Howard Sachar, My Jewish Learning, Accessed 7 September 2017.
  9a HISTORY OF JEWS IN THE U.S. MILITARY, Abigail Klein Leichman, Aleph Institute,
       Accessed 11 September 2017.
 10  12 top ways Israel feeds the world, Abigail Klein Leichman, Israel21c, 10 May 2012.
 11  JEWISH NOBEL PRIZE WINNERS, JINFO.ORG, Accessed 7 September 2017.
 13  The List Of Jews In Entertainment, Max, Truth in Our Time, 20 May 2011.
       Accessed 10 September 2017.
 15  Why Are There So Many Jewish Lawyers?, Britain's Former Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, Orthodox Union,
       Accessed 10 September 2017.
, JINFO.ORG, Accessed 7 September 2017.
 17  Maimonides, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 15 March 2017.
 18  The Baha’i, Jewish Virtual Library, Accessed 24 July 2013.
 19  Baha’i-Israel Relationship, http://bahai-israel.webs.com, Accessed 25 July 2013.
 20  Religions in the Holy Land: Baha'i Faith, International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, Accessed 25 July 2013.
 21  Interesting Facts About Israel, Oren Kessler, Jewish Federation of the North Shore, Accessed 15 August 2013.
 22  Israelis rally in support of America, Ryan Jones, israel today, 2 October 2012.
 23  The World’s Leading Nations for Innovation and Technology, Richard Florida, citylab.com, 3 October 2011.
 24  Israel - Innovation & Investment Creative Technology Powerhouse, Cultural Savvy, Accessed 12 June 2016.
 25  Israel’s top 45 greatest inventions of all time, Abigail Klein Leichman, Israel21c, 26 September 2011.
 26  Israel Around the World, aipac.org, Accessed 13 June 2016.
 27  Israel sends $1 million in emergency aid to Hurricane Harvey victims, i24NEWS, Israel andstuff.com,
      6 September 2017.
 28  Israel Sends Relief Aid to Texas, Deborah Danan, Breitbart, 30 August 2017.
 29  Israeli Aid Groups Ready to Help with Hurricane Irma Disaster, Deborah Danan, United With Israel,
      10 September 2017.
 30  What Jews/Israel and Moslems/Arabs Contribute to the World – Part 2, David Burton, Son of Eliyahu; Article 254,
      1 September 2012.
 31  Israeli Declaration of Independence, Wikipedia,
      the free encyclopedia;http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israeli_Declaration_of _Independence
, 2010.


  19 September 2017 {Article 306; Israel_36}    
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