IM Issue 9 – December 2007


Israel and the United States have agreed to appoint two working committees for the purpose of developing a joint strategy against Iran’s nuclear ambitions, Israel public radio has reported. Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz headed discussions on the matter in the United States this week.
One committee will deal with intelligence on Iran’s nuclear drive and the other with international sanctions, the chief weapon in an effort to convince Tehran to halt uranium enrichment. The next formal discussions between Israeli and US officials on Iran will be in two months in Israel.

Recently, Mofaz called for Mohamed ElBaradei to be removed as head of the UN nuclear watchdog, International Atomic Energy Agency, saying he had turned a blind eye to Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Public radio quoted unnamed Israeli officials as saying the Mofaz delegation to Washington fed precise intelligence to the United States, alluding to satellite photographs.

Israel and the United States are leading the campaign against Iran’s nuclear program, believing it to be a cover to develop an atomic bomb. Tehran insists its activities are aimed solely at producing electricity for a growing population once fossil fuels run out.

Israel Gets U.S. Aid for Anti-Missile System

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s office announced the United States has given Israel 155 million dollars to develop an advanced missile interception system. The money, approved by Congress, will help advance the development of a multi-layered anti-missile system. The system, dubbed David’s Sling, is intended to counter projectiles ranging from rudimentary rockets like those used by Gaza militants to long-range missiles like those in the arsenal of Iran.

Al-Jazeera: Syrian Raid by U.S. with Nuclear Bombs

According to the Jerusalem Post, the Al-Jazeera Web site has reported the September 6 raid on Syria was carried out by the US Air Force — not Israel. Quoting Israeli and Arab sources, Al-Jazeera stated that two US jets armed with tactical nuclear weapons carried out an attack on a suspected nuclear site under construction. The sources were quoted as saying that Israeli jets provided cover for the US planes, each of which was said to have carried one tactical nuclear weapon. The website reported the site was hit by one bomb and was totally destroyed.

ImageTBS — Experiences in Israel

After taking the Florida Bar Exam in late July, as a reward I took a well-earned, long vacation in Israel.a summer of beaches, nature hikes, touring and friends old and new, I again volunteered with the Sar-El program ( or ). This, my fourth time in the program, was for three weeks (with weekends off) during which I lived and worked on an IDF medical supply base near Tel Aviv. The help of volunteers, both Jewish and gentile, from such places as the U.S., Canada, England, New Zealand, France, Germany, and even Finland, I packed over 800 boxes full of medical equipment for use by the IDF’s Medical Corps.only was the work extremely rewarding in itself, but it gave me the opportunity to create friendships with both volunteers and base soldiers alike. I encourage anyone interested in helping Israel with their own two hands to check out the Sar-El program at the above websites and to contact the organization for more information. Although each time I’ve participated the experience has been different, I continue to find volunteering with Sar-El to be a personally satisfying experience. — Daniel Berns

“Exodus” Voyage Re-Enacted

ImageMore than 300 Jews from France docked in Israel on Oct. 31st  after retracing a historic journey made by thousands of Holocaust survivors who were refused entry to Palestine in 1947. The symbolic reenactment of the trip made aboard the “Exodus” sixty years ago saw hundreds of travelers of all ages arrive in the port of Haifa on board a modern chartered cruise liner from the neighboring island of Cyprus. The vessel received a ceremonial welcome after completing the 12-hour cruise from the Cypriot port of Larnaca.

The original Exodus left from near Marseille, France, in July 1947 carrying 4,515 people, most of them Holocaust survivors headed for Palestine, which was then under British mandate. The British refused to allow the ship to dock and forced refugees on to deportation boats back to Europe, although most were interned on Cyprus, then a British colony, and did not reach Israel until it declared statehood in 1948. More than 50,000 Jews were held on the Mediterranean island after World War II in British internment camps after they were barred from Palestine. The plight of those on the Exodus was dramatized in the 1960 film of the same name that starred Paul Newman. The reenactment was organized by French Jewish organizations. Most travelers were Jewish donors, but also on board were about thirty new immigrants to Israel and ten Holocaust survivors and former mates on illegal immigration ships.

Editorial: Israel and Evangelical Christians

On October 21st, the national organization, Christians United For Israel (CUFI), sponsored its first annual Connecticut, “Night to Honor Israel” at the Gateway Christian Fellowship Church in West Haven. One of many such meetings held around the country, it was attended by an estimated 1,000 members of local Christian churches and ministries. Members of the Jewish community were invited and a representative from the Consulate General of Israel was a featured speaker.

It is fair to say that most Jews in attendance were skeptical about what to expect. After all, we have millennia of experience that suggests taking a low profile is often the sa-fest response when singled out by our religion. What came to pass that evening was a presentation that opened eyes and often filled them with tears. The program delivered the strong message that the Christian faithful stands squarely in support of the State of Israel.

This raises the two-fold question: Why Israel, and why now?

As background, evangelical leaders stress the message that Christians are commanded to pray for the safety and security of the State of Israel. For, according to their teachings, the Messiah will arrive only when Israel is safe and secure. To be certain, there is a fundamental and irreconcilable distinction between the Christian view of the Messiah and that held by Jews. That said, until the Messiah comes there is a strong commonality between the two faiths as each reads the same Bible.

CUFI’s message is that Christians have a Biblical obligation to defend Israel in its time of need. Citing the obligation to pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6), to speak out for Zion’s sake (Isaiah 62:1), to be watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem (Isaiah 62:6), and to bless the Jewish people (Genesis 12:3), CUFI believes this is a critical time for Israel and Christians are obliged to rally to its defense.

While recognizing that there are significant differences between Christian and Jewish theology, nonetheless, evangelical Christians have demonstrated that they are prepared to stand up and be recognized as an inseparable ally of Israel. Moreover, that they mean to back it up with words, deeds, and financial support. With respect to the latter, the offering that evening raised more than $24,000 that was split evenly between an Israeli charity that supports olim from around the world (Loving Kindness Fund Ohr Torah Stone, of Efrat) and the New Haven Jewish Federation for the benefit of Afula, Israel.

The message from the representative of the Israeli consulate was unequivocal: Israel needs, welcomes, and deeply values the support of the evangelical Christian community. If the government of Israel supports their cause, until proven otherwise so, too, should we.  For those remaining skeptical consider the old adage: “The friend of my friend is my friend and the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

For more information about CUFI see:

ImageToday’s Israel

Today’s Israel is the on-line magazine about Israel that is sponsored by the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism’s Israel Commission. Read this excellent publication on the Web at:  

Israel Key to Motorola’s Plans

The president of Motorola Inc. said recently that Israel will remain a key focus for its investments in the future. “We have invested more in start-ups in Israel in the last three years than in all of Europe.” He said Israel has secured a large share of Motorola’s research and development budget and that Israel was fertile ground for the venture capital industry. Motorola employs 3,500 in Israel and is one of the largest international companies in the country. Besides the traditional communications business, Motorola has expressed interest in Israel’s homeland security development activities and its water and irrigation control systems.

Send your comments about Israel Matters! to Ed and Randy Berns, Co-Chairs, TBS Israel Affairs Committee, at: