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Israel Answers

WHY DOES THE UNITED NATIONS SINGLE OUT ISRAEL

The United Nations charter of June 26, 1945, reflected lofty goals to help nations recover after WWII and set a course of peace for the future. The U.N. Security Council was specifically created to negotiate and maintain peace around the world. However, the UN currently seems to be preoccupied with the Palestinian issue, while ignoring genocide and gross human rights violations by a number of countries.

Increase in Number of Member States

In the ensuing years after WWII, the United States exercised considerable influence over the 50 odd member states. But, new nations came into being across the Middle East and in Africa. The United Nations member states grew from 51 to the current 193. While the US still holds significant weight, there are many other alliances among members that are also highly influential.

Alliances and Demographics of Member States

The sheer growth in numbers is not the major problem though. The alliances and demographics of those member states is. For example, the Non Aligned Movement (NAM), whose original purpose was within the context of the Cold War, now has 120 member nations who control every corner of the UN except for the UN Security Council. NAM is an umbrella for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Fifty-Seven member states are affiliated with the OIC and twenty-two of those states are members of the Arab League. This is a significant voting bloc in the UN.

For this reason, the historic UN General Assembly resolution on November 29, 1947–the United Nations Partition Plan–which paved the way for the creation of the modern State of Israel, would not pass in today’s UN due to the OIC voting bloc. In 1947, thirty-three nations voted YES, thirteen NO, and ten nations abstained. The next year on May 14, 1948 when Israel declared its independence, the new Jewish State was accepted into the UN with a majority vote of 33 nations voting YES. The OIC voting block today is significantly larger.

Conclusion

The scales have tipped towards a demonstrable coalition in the UN that defames Israel at every opportunity. The only democracy in the Middle East, with enshrined principles protecting and promoting religious freedom, humanitarian outreach, freedom, innovation, and pluralism, is routinely singled out by the UN Human Rights Council at the expense of other crises around the globe.

David Keyes, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's spokesman, said, "Imagine that. A country with free speech, free elections and minority rights is condemned more than mass murdering dictatorships like North Korea, Iran and Syria."

— by Susan Michael, US Director


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For more than thirty years, Susan Michael has pioneered the development of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem in the United States and around the world. She currently serves as the ministry’s USA Director and is a member of the ICEJ’s international Board of Directors.

HOW HAVE THE JEWISH PEOPLE SURVIVED AGAINST ALL ODDS?

One cannot help but notice when reading the Bible that most of the people groups mentioned no longer exist. Even the major empires such as the Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, and Roman Empires have passed from history. But, this tiny little people group—the Jewish people, numbering no more than 17 million at any time in history—still exists.

They somehow survived two exiles (one of which was almost 2,000 years long) and centuries of persecution and expulsions, as well as multiple attempts at annihilation. Certainly, the odds were against their continued existence, not to mention the reestablishment of national sovereignty in their ancient homeland.

Their Guaranteed Survival

To describe their survival as a miracle is justified and correctly assigns responsibility for it to God, who affirmed several times in the Hebrew Scriptures that the people of Israel would never cease to be a nation before Him (Jeremiah 31:36; Isaiah 66:22). Even if all the other nations are brought to an end, they would remain (Jeremiah 30:11).

The calling on the Jewish people was to bless the world with God’s redemptive plan—and they would suffer greatly for it. The powers of evil would forever fight against God’s plan because it would bring an end to their power on earth. They would attempt to stop it by destroying the people called to bring it about. The God of Israel understood the difficult place that this put His people in, and therefore guaranteed their survival.

The Book That Preserved

As His people, they represented Him in an evil and idolatrous world. Therefore, they needed to live a righteous life that reflected the holy characteristic of their God and observe hundreds of moral and ritual laws. As dispersed Jewish communities throughout all five continents passed down these laws from generation to generation, they retained an identity that went beyond their nation of residence. Even within a wide diversity of interpretations of these laws, the book in which they were found—the Torah—kept Jewish identity alive.

Their remarkable achievement in retaining a national identity during 2,000 years of dispersion is unmatched by any other people group in history. David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister quipped, “We have preserved the Book, and the Book has preserved us.”

Longing for Zion

Because many of the laws required residency in their ancient homeland, a longing to return to Zion also bonded communities of Jews now living on different sides of the world and without a common language. “Next year in Jerusalem” became the heartfelt motto for Jews no matter their age, ethnicity, place of residency, or language.

Resiliency of Heart

Almost half of the Jews of the world live in the Land of Israel today, where they have enjoyed 70 years of statehood and endured 70 years of a constant state of war and thousands of terror attacks. The Iranian regime reminds them regularly of its intention to annihilate Israel while it develops the nuclear weapons that will allow it to do so. The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS) has bombarded Israel with a steady stream of hatred and demonization of her citizens.

Yet, Israel has been ranked as the eleventh happiest country in the world for five years now! This astounding statistic indicates the great resiliency of the Jewish people. Centuries of opposition have made them a strong people. They have not just survived but have thrived.

Principals found in their Book have also made them a caring people. In spite of how they have been treated by others, they are volunteering and helping the helpless around the world. The little state of Israel has provided humanitarian assistance in over 140 countries—all because of the Jewish concept of tikkun olam, to “repair the world,” and their biblical mandate to be a “light to the nations” (Isaiah 60:3).

The story of the survival of the Jewish people is a painful one, filled with much suffering and great sorrow, but it ends with the greatest event of all history. That is the day the Lord will appear in His glory in Zion and rule the nations from there (Psalm 102:15–16). Jerusalem will be a praise in all the earth (Isaiah 62:7), all wars will cease (Isaiah 2:2–4), and the nations will come up to Jerusalem to worship the King of kings and Lord of lords—the God of Israel (Zechariah 14:16).
 

- by Susan Michael, US Director, creator of IsraelAnswers.com and the American Christian Leaders for Israel (ACLI) network.

WHAT SETS ISRAEL APART FROM OTHER NATIONS?

Israel, a nation as small as the state of New Jersey, occupies center stage of the world’s attention. While vilified by some circles, the Jewish State is also admired by many for a story that is unique from that of all other nations. Having defied the odds against the survival of this tiny people group—no more than 14 million worldwide—the Jewish people have built a nation that is thriving and is leading the world in many ways. Here are a few of the things that make her story not only unique but remarkable.

A Biblical Mandate

The Bible tells the unusual story of the miraculous inception of the Jewish people some 4,000 years ago and their calling to be God’s instrument of blessing in the world. Their role was to “bless all the families of the earth” (Genesis 12:3) by being the vehicle of God’s redemptive plan. This calling required that they follow certain laws and practices that marked them as His and caused them to stand out as different from other peoples. This uniqueness was also dangerous and made them an easy prey of cruel leaders who sought conformity to ideologies and practices at odds with Judaism. But God promised the Jewish people would survive, and one day, would return to their God-given land. Their story is unfolding just as the Bible foretold.

An Ancient Language Revived

Israel still holds the distinction as the only success story in world history where an ancient language achieved modern usage. The Hebrew language was preserved in sacred, written form, yet as a spoken language it had become extinct in the Diaspora. That is, until 2,000 years later when lexicographer Eliezer Ben Yehuda set out to resuscitate Hebrew in the late nineteenth century. Ben Yehuda immigrated to then-called Palestine in 1881 and lived in Jerusalem where he began his arduous task. Gabriel Birnbaum, a senior researcher at the Academy of Hebrew Language, said, “By 1914, Hebrew as a spoken language in the land of Israel was a fact.” Ben Yehuda’s legacy continues every time new immigrants of any age enroll in Israel’s free intensive Hebrew classes.

An Expert in Refugee Resettlement

When Israel became a modern Jewish state in 1948, Arab nations expelled hundreds of thousands of Jews who had lived in their lands for millennia. Israel—a tiny nation of 600,000 Jewish people barely out of the horrific Holocaust with scant resources—welcomed a million Jewish refugees between 1948 and 1960. They arrived with barely anything since the Arab nations kept all the Jewish wealth, homes, and businesses.

Israel has subsequently absorbed many waves of immigrants throughout her short history. One such wave has been that of Ethiopian Jews beginning primarily with Operations Moses and Solomon in the 1970s and 1980s. Israel once again demonstrated its remarkable DNA. It holds the distinction as the nation that brought African peoples to freedom rather than slavery.

Jewish Nobels

Looking at the worldwide Jewish population outside Israel itself, here’s a remarkable statistic: According to the Jewish Virtual Library, approximately 195 of the 900 Nobel prize honorees since 1901 have been Jewish (22%). It’s especially amazing since Jewish people make up less than 0.2% of the world’s population currently estimated at 7.6 billion people. The categories include literature, chemistry, medicine, world peace, physics, and economics. These numbers reveal not just intelligence but a commitment to education and innovation that helps to explain Israel’s leadership in so many fields today.

Israel and Innovations

Following are just a few of the thousands of examples of how Israel is leading the world in innovation and problem-solving: IDE Technologies is recycling salt water into fresh, drinkable water; Netafim’s smart drip and micro-irrigation have improved crop production worldwide; Mobile Eye has helped reduce auto accidents; ReWalk is helping paraplegics walk; and WoundClot bandages are saving lives. These innovations have made possible 65 Israeli companies on the NASDAQ. Only the United States and Canada have more.

Tiny Israel has survived war, terror, and anti-Semitism for decades while blessing the world in the process. Her oversized achievements not only make her unique but also truly remarkable amongst the nations. 

- by Susan Michael, US Director, creator of IsraelAnswers.com and the American Christian Leaders for Israel (ACLI) network.

IS IT SAFE TO VISIT ISRAEL?

Visitors Favor Israel

Tourists and business leaders alike flock to Israel. GLOBES, Israel’s financial daily, reports that pilgrimages, tours, vacations, and leisure bring the highest numbers of travelers, but due to Israel’s innovative climate, 11 percent of visitors come for business reasons. Apple, IBM, Intel, Google, and Microsoft deem Israel safe enough to invest multiple millions of dollars building R & D facilities in Israel. From India to Indonesia, the United States to the United Kingdom, from Nigeria to the Netherlands, and China to Chile, tourists flood tiny Israel—with a population of only 8.7 million. Tel Aviv, with its vibrant nightlife, and Jerusalem, with its holy sites, are just two examples of Israel’s cities, towns, and villages full of manifold things to do, see, and experience.

Tourists Feel Safe

The 24/7 news cycle often reports Israel in a negative light. While visitors know that terrorism lurks on Israel’s borders, they refuse to abandon their exciting plans to visit Israel. Most tourists feel safe in Israel—safer than in parts of their own cities and countries. Tour companies and the Israeli government maintain ongoing dialog regarding the safety of visitors. To top it off, the welcome visitors receive from Israelis is unparalleled. All Israelis are hyper-vigilant when it comes to security, but their intense celebration of life is evident everywhere in their daily lives and festivals.

Israel’s Tourism Increasing

First-time and returning visitors confirm the popularity and safety of Israel. Tourism to Israel is at an all-time high for 2017, with numbers some 25–30 percent higher than in 2016. The Ministry of Tourism notes that in 2016, first-time visitors reached 58 percent with 42 percent returning. Other 2016 statistics indicate that 56 percent of tourists were Christians made up of 41 percent Catholic, 26 percent Protestant and 22 percent Russian Orthodox. The Ministry also notes that 2,000 celebrities, opinion leaders, and tourist agents visited in 2016.

Tiny Israel, Lots to Do

Since Jerusalem is Israel’s capital city containing the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest site, 82 percent of all tourists visit the Holy City. The coastal city of Tel Aviv-Jaffa is next in line at 67 percent, with its modernity, outstanding restaurants, and beaches. Conde Nast magazine names Tel Aviv one of the world’s top travel destinations. The Dead Sea, Tiberias, and the Sea of Galilee are also popular. No matter what your interests, Israel likely has it: snorkeling, parasailing, snow skiing, archaeology, museums, hiking, concerts, churches, and synagogues.

Millions of first-time and returning visitors and 90+ airlines flying in and out of Tel Aviv say YES! It is safe to visit Israel!
 

- by Susan Michael, US Director, creator of IsraelAnswers.com and the American Christian Leaders for Israel (ACLI) network.

Why is Israel’s Modern Statehood a Miracle?

The story of modern Israel is amazing in itself, but when taken within the context of the history of the Jewish people, it is clearly miraculous. The only explanation for this epic tale is a biblical one.

Created to Bless the World

The uniqueness of the Jewish people is found in many aspects of their story but none more than in their beginnings. The story is found in Genesis 12:1–3 where God promises Abraham he would father a nation that would become a blessing to the world. The fact that Abraham’s wife Sarah was 99 and well past childbearing years makes the birth of their child, Isaac, a miracle—and proof that this nation is a fulfillment of God’s promise.

Given a Specific Land

Part of God’s promise to Abraham was the bequeathing of the land of Canaan as an “everlasting possession.” While Abraham himself only dwelt in the land as a foreigner, and died without seeing his descendants inherit the land, it surely came to pass hundreds of years later. After 400 years of slavery in Egypt, the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob entered the land of Canaan and established sovereignty over it.

Their Future Foretold

While many books in the Bible chronicle the story of the Jewish people and were written after the described events took place, the prophetic portions of Scripture foretold of many future events in the life of Israel and described in great detail how they would happen. These prophets foretold of two exiles and returns, and the centrality of the Jewish people in the establishment of God’s kingdom on earth. Israel’s story is a fulfillment of the promises and prophecies found in the Bible, and as such provides living proof of the absolute accuracy of the Scriptures.

Their Survival Against All Odds

The calling on the Jewish people was to bless the world with God’s redemptive plan—and they would suffer greatly for it. The powers of evil would forever fight against God’s plan and the best way to stop that would be to destroy the people called to bring it about. That this tiny people group survived two exiles, centuries of persecution, and multiple attempts at annihilation is a feat so beyond the norm that it is indeed a miracle—one promised by God (Jeremiah 31:36; Isaiah 66:23).

The Unprecedented Return

The story of the modern-day return of the Jewish people to their ancient homeland—the land of Canaan promised to Abraham 4,000 years ago—finds no parallel in human history. In the last 120 years or so, 3.5 million Jews have returned to their ancient homeland and reestablished national sovereignty there. This return from all the countries to which they had been dispersed was foretold in many verses, including Isaiah 43:5–6 and Jeremiah 16:14–15.

The Miracle of Israel

The day after the State of Israel was born five Arab countries with well-equipped armies attacked the fledgling nation. The newborn State had no unified defense force and many fighters were newly arrived Holocaust Survivors and refugees with no knowledge of Hebrew, equipped with few guns and inadequate supplies of ammunition. Their defeat of the vast Arab armies was nothing short of miraculous.

In the 70 years since, Israel has not known a day of peace and has had to focus its investments and energy on defense, yet is now leading the world in technology, innovation, medicine, agriculture, security, and disaster relief. The good heart of the Jewish people and their innate desire to Tikkun Olam (“repairing the world”) is increasingly making them a light to the nations.

The Future Glory of Israel

The Bible foretells of a day when it won’t be good deeds and accomplishments that will shine forth from Israel, but the actual glory of God. It will be so bright there will be no need for the sun nor the moon (Isaiah 60:3, 19), and the nations will come to worship the Lord there (Isaiah 66:18, 23). The birth of the modern State of Israel is a miracle, and there are even more to come.

- by Susan Michael, US Director, creator of IsraelAnswers.com and the American Christian Leaders for Israel (ACLI) network.

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THE RETURN OF THE JEWS TO THEIR HOMELAND?

A special term from the Hebrew Bible is used to describe the process of returning to the Land—Aliyah, which means, to “ascend.” It was used in ancient times in reference to Jewish pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem for the three great biblical Feasts of Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. Thus, the process of making Aliyah today is seen as having spiritual meaning beyond the physical act of return.
 
Let’s see what the Bible has to say about the modern-day return of the Jewish people to their ancient homeland—the Land of Israel.

There Are Two Returns

Isaiah 11:11 indicates there would be a day when God would raise his hand “a second time” to gather the children of Israel to their homeland. The first return was predicted by the prophet Jeremiah to take place after Israel had been in captivity for 70 years (Jeremiah 29:10), and according to Ezra 1:1 happened precisely as foretold. After 500 years of intermittent and partial sovereignty in the Land, the Jewish people were once again dispersed under the Roman Empire in AD 70. After 2,000 years, they have now returned and reestablished sovereignty. No other people group has managed to survive two exiles—much less one that was 2,000 years long—and then return to reestablish national sovereignty.

The Second Return is from All Nations

This second return was to be from every nation where they had been dispersed (Jeremiah 16:14–15; 23:3, 7–8; 29:14; 31:7–8), not just Babylon. Over the past 120 years or so, more than 3.5 million Jews have immigrated to the Land of Israel from all over the world—from the north, south, east, and west—in literal fulfillment of God’s promises (Isaiah 43:5–6).

A Banner to the Nations

The regathering of the Jewish people to their land is depicted as God’s banner to the nations (Isaiah 11:12). A banner was often a rallying point in military operations, and was carried to lead a formation, but often bore the name or image of that army’s God. Using this symbolism, the Hebrew prophet Isaiah considered the ingathering as a proclamation of God’s name and His character to the nations (Ezekiel 28:25).

The Return is not Based on Merit

The Mosaic Covenant was clear that living in the Land of Israel was a benefit of walking in obedience with God, and that even after exile, repentance would lead to Israel’s return. However, the Hebrew prophets spoke of a day when God would sovereignly gather His children back to the Land, not because of anything they had done, but to be a witness to the gentiles and to vindicate His name. The timing was up to Him (Psalm 102:13); He would do it (Jeremiah 23:3), and He would even use the gentiles to make it happen (Isaiah 49:22–26; 60:8–12).
 
God vindicates His name because it has been profaned before the nations through the disobedience and exile of His people (Ezekiel 36:22). He will demonstrate His holiness (Ezekiel 36:22–23) and His faithfulness, whether His children are deserving or not. It reflects His love and mercy toward them (Isaiah 60:8–10), as well as toward the world He plans to redeem and fill with His truth and glory for eternity (Psalm 102:16–22).

This Great Act of God Leads to Revival

The ingathering of the Jewish people in modern times holds great promise for Israel and for the world, as it heralds the soon coming of the Messianic kingdom. While it is a physical return with many logistical and practical aspects, it is a sacred thing because it is building a platform for the coming of the kingdom of God, when the glory of the Lord appears (Psalm 102:15–16) and He tabernacles with man (Ezekiel 37:26–27: Revelation 21:3).
 
That the gentiles are called to assist in this process is an amazing and holy thing. Isaiah 66:20 describes the act of gentiles bringing His people home—the people He loves and will use to bless the whole earth—as so sacred it is likened to “bringing an offering to the Lord.” What a wonderful image depicting the biblical significance of the return of the Jews to their homeland.

- by Susan Michael, US Director, creator of IsraelAnswers.com and the American Christian Leaders for Israel (ACLI) network.

How Can We Help Palestinian Refugees?

Seventy years ago, the United Nations voted to declare Israel a modern state. When Prime Minister Ben Gurion read Israel's Proclamation of Independence on May 14, 1948, he urged the Arab population to remain “on the basis of full and equal citizenship and due representation in all bodies and institutions.” The Jewish population danced and sang on Israel’s streets. Their joy was short-lived.

The Cause of the Refugee Problem

Arab armies from Jordan, Egypt, Syria, and Lebanon attacked the nascent state the next day. Their leaders ordered Arabs to leave their villages and cities promising a quick victory and return to their homes. The roughly 160,000 Arabs who stayed have grown into 1.5 million Israeli-Arab citizens with full rights in a thriving country with Hebrew and Arabic as the official languages.

Most, however, left—roughly 720,000. A few years later, the Jordanian newspaper Ad Difaa quoted one who had fled to Jordan saying, “The Arab governments told us, ‘Get out so that we can get in.’ So, we got out, but they did not get in.”

The 1947 UN Partition Plan had provided for two states, one for Jews and one for Arabs. Had Arab leaders accepted the UN solution, those who fled in 1948 would now reside in their own state. There would be no Palestinian refugees. The Jews accepted the UN Plan, and even though more than 850,000 Jewish people had to flee Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Iraq, Yemen, Turkey, Lebanon, and Syria in 1948, Israel absorbed all of the ones wishing to resettle in their ancestral homeland.

The UN Has Not Helped

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is the main agency working with the 22.5 million refugees worldwide. Its goal is resettlement in one of 37 countries with programs to do so.

However, a second and separate agency was created for Palestinians—the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). UNRWA’s goal is not to resettle Palestinian refugees but to “protect and assist” them. It has even expanded the definition of a refugee to include descendants. This means that in addition to the roughly 20,000–30,000 original refugees still alive today, UNRWA has added another 5.3 million Palestinians to its registry.

UNRWA itself has been a burgeoning bureaucracy of 30,000 staff members with an annual budget of $800 million. It is in UNRWA’s own interest to perpetuate the problem, because solving it through resettlement would mean the end of its existence.

UNRWA is Part of the Problem

UNRWA has fueled the Palestinian refugee problem for decades by treating the Palestinians differently than other refugees and holding out hopes that have not, and likely will not, materialize—to return to ancestral homes. No other refugee population in the world benefits from a specialized agency nor do descendants of refugees have hope of repatriation efforts.

Donor countries have given $6 billion to UNRWA since 1950 with the United States as the largest donor nation. But instead of solving the problem, UNRWA uses Palestinian refugees as political pawns in a campaign against Israel. Even worse, many UNRWA employees are affiliated with Hamas, teaching and promoting hatred among young people and hiding weapons in their facilities in Gaza.

What Are Some Practical Solutions? 

UNRWA must give the Palestinians an honest assessment of their future and change its charter to adopt similar resettlement goals as UNHCR. Only those refugees without citizenship or permanent residency in their host country should be registered as a refugee. All funding to UNRWA should be redirected for the purposes of resettlement and the agency put on a five-year plan to shut down.

Refugee camps in the West Bank governed by the Palestinian Authority and in Gaza under Hamas should be shut down. Future donations to these governments should be allocated for the absorption of the refugees, and if the Palestinian authorities refuse, the refugees should be offered the right to resettle elsewhere.

Working together, Israel, UNHCR, and UNRWA can identify bona fide refugees and implement affordable, effective plans. Putting UNRWA out of business and redirecting its budget into fresh, workable solutions would be a godsend to the Palestinian refugees.


- by Susan Michael, US Director, creator of IsraelAnswers.com and the American Christian Leaders for Israel (ACLI) network.

Does the United States Benefit from its Alliance with Israel?

Like a diamond with many facets, Israel shines in its value to the United States. Our ally enhances our national security and economy, and improves our quality of life.

National Security

On the national security front, since Israel’s expertise in fighting terrorism is second to none, US and Israeli military train in joint exercises with exotic names like Austere Challenge, Juniper Cobra, and Reliant Mermaid. This training includes missile defense training and search and rescue.

Israel’s military intelligence leads the world in its expertise. Former head of the US Air Force Intelligence Maj. Gen. George J. Keegan Jr., estimated back in the 1970s that Israel’s intelligence value exceeded “five CIAs.” Today, terrorism challenges have exponentially increased Israel’s worth.

Former NATO Supreme Commander and US Secretary of State Gen. Alexander Haig (deceased) viewed Israel this way: “If there would not be an Israel, the United States would have to deploy real aircraft carriers, along with tens of thousands of US soldiers, which would cost tens of billions of dollars annually, dragging the United States unnecessarily into local, regional, and global conflicts.”

In battlefield medicine, Israel’s expertise in combat and development of post-traumatic stress treatment directly helps our American troops. Israel often takes our military hardware and improves it. For example, Israel created an underside reactive armor for our Bradley tanks which has saved more than a thousand US soldiers from IEDs.

In addition, US police commissioners, police chiefs, and sheriffs rely on Israel’s law enforcement practices, and conduct cooperative programs in both countries. Our airline security is effectively increased due to the Transportation Security Administration learning how to improve their proficiency by working closely with experts at Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport.

Economic

In the economic arena, statistics show that Israel invested more than $25 billion in the United States in 2015. Thirty states have official cooperative agreements with Israel in the fields of technology, agriculture, energy, business, and homeland security.

According to Myron Brilliant, the executive vice president and head of international affairs for the US Chamber of Commerce, our economic relationship with Israel is extensive: the United States has the oldest free-trade agreement with Israel—30 years—which now produces more than $40 billion annually. Israel imports more goods from the United States than any other Middle East nation, even though it is only 2 percent of the region’s population. And because Israel excels in innovation, 250 multinational companies have operations in Israel; two-thirds are US companies like Apple, Intel, Microsoft, IBM, and Cisco.

Medical Innovations

Israel’s medical innovations are another vast resource for Americans. The list of Israeli medical innovations is extensive, but just a few of their medical advances include: Re-Walk, a robotic exoskeleton that enables paraplegics to walk; Ice Cure, which penetrates benign breast tumors in a ten-minute ultrasound procedure; the Total Lift Bed, which places hospital patients in an upright position; and fingertip monitors, which aid in sleep disorders and cardiac ailments.

Is Israel a benefit to the United States? Facts say a resounding “YES!”
 

- by Susan Michael, US Director and creator of IsraelAnswers.com

IS MEDIA COVERAGE ACCURATE ABOUT ISRAEL'S MILITARY ACTIONS?

The United States and Israeli militaries are closely aligned with similar ethics policies governing their actions. Although the media often characterize Israel Defense Forces (IDF) operations as crimes, let’s take a reality check. Here are examples of context and facts which demonstrate the humanitarian bedrock of Israel’s military personnel.

Twisted Facts Abound

In 2014, Israel conducted Operation Protective Edge, and common headlines were, “Israel Bombs Gaza.” Most news reports omitted the context that terrorists had rocketed southern Israel’s civilians for years on end, during which Israel demonstrated great restraint while almost daily her frightened citizens ran for cover from incoming rockets. Other articles with headlines such as, “Israel Kills Civilians in Gaza” made no mention that Hamas terrorists purposely hid themselves inside their own civilian population, cruelly turning them into human shields, and had used apartment buildings as weapons storage sites.

One of the best-kept secrets during the war were the protective measures taken by Israel to save the lives of civilians in Gaza. Those measures included the Israel Air Force dropping pamphlets in Gaza warning the population to take shelter before they attacked a known weapons cache or rocket launcher. Thousands of warning phone calls were also made from Israel into Gaza before attacks. After all that, Israelis also rerouted in-flight missiles if civilians were observed in harm’s way in the last few seconds. It seems Israelis were more protective of Gaza’s civilians than its Hamas terrorist government.

Checkpoints a Necessity

Accusations about Israel’s checkpoints are also skewed and lack context. Due to decades-long, deadly terror resulting in the murder of thousands of Israeli civilians in restaurants, buses, and homes, Israel is forced to maintain checkpoints and conduct searches. They don’t prefer to do this but necessity calls for it, because armed terrorists have been found hiding in ambulances and suicide bomb-belts have been hidden under Palestinian women’s burkas.

Checkpoints are certainly inconvenient for Palestinians who work inside Israel or need to travel to Israeli hospitals for treatment. Despite the challenges, however, thousands of Palestinians daily go in and out of the checkpoints to their needed destinations.

Stopping Weapons Transfers

Israel’s Air Force is excoriated when it conducts targeted bombing runs into Syria, yet from the beginning of Syria’s unraveling Israeli leaders have been clear they would bomb any detected weapons transfers from Iran to Hezbollah. The weapons transfers continued unabated, and now that the war is slowing down, Hezbollah is pulling out of Syria to again focus its energy on using those weapons to destroy Israel.

IDF Humanitarian Aid

An underreported yet powerful example of the IDF’s humanitarian character is the field hospital on the Syrian border where they have rescued more than 5,000 wounded Syrians who make it to safety. If the wounds are serious, the IDF transports them to Ziv Medical Center, a hospital in northern Israel. Through translators, the Syrian patients express shock, then gratitude for the skillful and kind treatment they receive. Although Israel and Syria have no peace treaty, Israelis still provide humanitarian aid when possible.

It’s useful to recall Benjamin Franklin’s quote when you are forming your opinion about Israel’s military and media coverage of its actions: “Half a truth is often a great lie.” 

- by Susan Michael, US Director and creator of IsraelAnswers.com

DOES ISRAEL RECEIVE THE MOST US FOREIGN AID?

Israel’s detractors and even uninformed friends often complain that Israel receives more US foreign aid than other nations. Let’s clear away the debris of misinformation to look at the facts.

The Big Picture: US Foreign Aid Budget

First, take a moment to ask yourself: What percentage of the US budget goes toward foreign aid? Your answer might be 10% or even 25%. It’s much less. Foreign aid is only 1% of our annual budget and includes both economic aid and security assistance.

Foreign Aid to Israel

US foreign aid to Israel is only 6% of the 1%, and it is security assistance—not economic aid. This financial aid designated for military expenses is critical to Israel’s small budget.

Comparing defense spending in several countries as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the US allocates 4.35% for its defense, the United Kingdom 2.49%, and China 1.99%. Tiny Israel spends more than 5.8% of its GDP, the highest in the industrialized world. Surrounded by a sea of terrorist threats, they are forced to allocate a higher percentage of their GDP on their military budget—around $55 billion in 2016.

Countries Costing the United States More

Nevertheless, Israel is not the largest recipient of US foreign aid. Afghanistan costs American tax payers $4.7 billion per year from both the economic and security assistance budgets.

The $3.1 billion in security assistance to Israel is far less than what the United States spends on other countries if you also take into account the larger Department of Defense budget for things like overseas military bases. There are 48,828 American soldiers stationed on Japanese soil costing the American tax payer $27 billion per year. US troops are also stationed in Germany costing $21 billion and in South Korea $15 billion. Moreover, these American troops may be expected to enter a war if these nations are threatened.

In contrast, Israel does not ask for or want American soldiers to fight their battles. While the United States and Israel closely cooperate on multiple levels, the only US service personnel on the ground in Israel are a few dozen stationed at an Israeli facility housing a US military radar installation.

Most Aid to Israel Stays in the United States

Approximately 75% of Israel’s $3.1 billion annual foreign aid never leaves American bank accounts because funds are used for weapons manufactured right here at home in defense industry plants throughout the country. Thus, US foreign aid to Israel is essentially a way of subsidizing the American defense industry while strengthening the military capabilities of its strategic ally.

Among many other benefits, Israelis also improve our weaponry. For example, they invented a Bradley tank under-carriage reactive armor that blows explosions from Improvized Explosive Devices (IEDs) outward, thus saving more than 1,000 American soldiers serving in Iraq.

Both Democrats and Republicans in the US Congress agree that Israel’s value to US security is incalculable. Congress demonstrated this by renewing a ten-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that increased foreign aid to Israel to $3.8 billion annually beginning in 2018.

Compared to the costs the United States would incur if Israel did not have our backs in the Middle East, this is a small price to pay. Without Israel the United States would be forced to maintain American military bases throughout the region with protective air and sea patrols. This would cost many times over what we pay now in foreign aid to Israel.  

- by Susan Michael, US Director and creator of IsraelAnswers.com

 

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