Rabbi Joel R. Schwartzman
Rabbi Joel R. Schwartzman

A Jilted Israel Needs to Wake Up!

The fact that a small number of Progressive Democrats, “the Squad,” were able to amend legislation to exclude the Iron Dome’s billion-dollar package isn’t all that significant.  The funding for replacement missiles will reappear under its own guise and not be attached to some unrelated bill.  What is significant is that Israel now has avowed, identifiable and effective enemies in the United States House of Representatives in a party that has traditionally been supportive.  Even more significant is the message that this latest legislative act should have sent the Jewish state.  It is that the United States Congress may one day soon be wholly unresponsive to Israel’s needs, dire though they may become.

Israel found itself in such a position during the Yom Kippur War in 1973.  Running desperately short of ammunition and having lost too many of its Phantom war planes to Russian made, shoulder harnessed, Egyptian missiles, Israel appealed to President Nixon via then Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, and received last minute supplies that had to be rushed to the front and immediately into action.  The lesson ought not to have been lost on Israel then.  It most certainly has become apparent now.

Israel has never asked for American troops to fight its battles.  Given its civilian army, it does not want or need the aid of foreign troops to defend itself.  However, what it does require is a source from which it can obtain weaponry that it does not and, perhaps, cannot itself produce.  Sophisticated missiles and fighter jets a la the F-35 are beyond its present capabilities, budgetarily if not technologically. Israel found out what would happen were such a source to all of a sudden dry up as did French fighter jets after the Six Day War.  Fortunately, it was able to secure an entirely different and better avenue through the purchase of these fixed winged platforms from the United States.

What the antics of the Squad have revealed is that Israel must become even more self reliant than it has ever been lest it become vulnerable to the vagaries and shenanigans of any small group in Congress.  Its very existence may depend on votes manipulated by those who side with Israel’s enemies.

Two other results of the Squad’s act are now obvious.  The first is that Progressives in Congress care as little about putting American jobs at risk as they are in enabling Israel to protect itself with defensive missiles.  Those Iron Dome projectiles are produced in someone’s state here in America.  Perhaps their components come from different states.  That billion dollars will not be coming to those factories or workers any time in the near future, and that’s something that the American media hasn’t seemed to be interesting in or fathom.  The second deduction is that without those defensive missiles, Israel, as it is attacked, would have to strike with more aggressiveness, thereby causing the very destruction about which the Squad would be vigorously clamoring.

That the Democratic Party ultimately must fish or cut bait with its Far Left element has become increasingly apparent.  Whether it will be able to reign in the Squad remains to be seen.  The longer the Dems dither and deflect this confrontation, the more difficult such a move will become.  Meanwhile, Israel can ill afford to lean back in the hope that the Democrats will repair themselves.  It must pull its collective head out of the sand, realize a new reality and make adjustments and preparations for a time when its strongest ally may not be there to have its back and provide for its needs.

About the Author
After twenty-three years of military service, Rabbi Schwartzman retired at the rank of Colonel in September 1998. From July 1999 to July 2000, Rabbi Schwartzman was Associate Rabbi of Temple Sinai in Denver, Colorado. For a decade thereafter he served as the Rabbi of both Congregation B’nai Chaim in Morrison, Colorado, and the Synagogue of the Summit in Summit County, Colorado.
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