Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Proud to be a Jew and an American

19 F-35s being sold to Israel - the first country outside of the US to fly them
Pride. That’s what I feel when I read a story in the JerusalemPost (republished at VIN) like this: 
Israel’s military is the most powerful in the Middle East while its air force ranks second to none globally, according to a new study conducted by military experts for the publication Business Insider. 
The publication ranked the 15 strongest armies in the region while noting the size of the countries’ respective defense budgets as well as the latest geopolitical tumult and its impact on military strength.

This is yet another demonstration that the ‘People of the Book’ seem to excel at virtually everything they (we) do. If this sounds like I’m bragging about the Jewish people – I am. Guilty as charged.

We have a lot to be proud of in our long history. Despite persecution throughout the ages, We the Jewish people have always managed to not only survive, but to thrive. The corpus of Jewish literature produced over time is so huge, that one could study it day and night for a lifetime and never fully complete it. And that’s just religious literature.  Add all of the non religious literature into the mix and several lifetimes wouldn’t be enough to cover it all.

Given a little freedom, our accomplishments explode. The list of Jewish Nobel laureates in all fields is eye popping.  And a much greater percentage by far than our percentage of the world’s population. And now it isn’t only our intellectual prowess and artistic talent that has been noted for excellence, it is our military prowess too, specifically in our air force.

Is it any wonder that the Jewish people are so admired? Not long ago a poll revealed that the most admired religion in America is Judaism. 

When it comes to Israel’s military superiority in the region, I guess you can say that necessity breeds success. Israel is surrounded by enemies that would wipe it off the map if it could. Israel has no choice but to maintain a qualitative military advantage over everyone else in the region. Which is one reason it is so strong. It has to be.

But will, determination, and talent is not enough.  It should not go unnoticed that Israel’s qualitative edge would not exist without the United States. They have given Israel the means. Their military has some of the most advanced weaponry and military equipment in the world, thanks to the United States. And now the US is selling them even more. From Arutz Sheva
(T)he Israel Aerospace Industries, together with representatives of the Israeli Ministry of Defense announced Tuesday that Israel will acquire a new squadron of F-35 jets from the US Army and Lockheed-Martin.
The transaction was finalized, in theory, last week between Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon and US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, during Ya'alon's US visit.
However, the deal will not be finalized in practice until the US government signs off on the deal in a public announcement.
As part of the deal, the IDF will receive 19 "stealth" aircraft at a cost of $2.7 billion, which will be deducted from US aid funds to Israel.
As early as 2016, Israeli pilots will train on the new aircraft at a US Air Force base in Arizona. 
So, yes, we have a lot to pat ourselves on the back about. But one thing we should always remember and be grateful for is the United States of America. Because even when there is disagreement between Israel and the United States (as there is now about Israel’s building expansion in East Jerusalem), the US still ‘has our back’ (to us the President’s terminology).

That is why I am so proud to – not only be a Jew – but to be an American. And once again I want to publicly express gratitude - Hakoras HaTov to this great ‘nation of kindness’ called America. And Acharon Acharon Choviv  - to God for granting the Jewish people the wisdom and skill to achieve great things and for protecting His people.