Tuesday, August 16th | 19 Av 5782

March 25, 2021 12:03 pm

Passover and the US-Israel Bond

avatar by Yoram Ettinger


An Israeli flag and an American flag fly at Abu Dhabi International Airport, before the arrival of Israeli and US officials, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Aug. 31, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Christoper Pike.

Here’s a quick Passover recap:

According to Heinrich Heine, the 19th century German poet, “Since the Exodus, freedom has always spoken with a Hebrew accent.”

Professor Yehudah Elitzur, one of Israel’s pioneers of Biblical research, maintained that the Exodus occurred in the second half of the 15th century BCE, during the reign of Egypt’s Amenhotep II. Joshua reestablished the Jewish Commonwealth in the Land of Israel when Egypt’s next rulers, Amenhotep III and Amenhotep IV, were preoccupied domestically. Moreover, the Tel el Amarna tablets, which were discovered in Egypt’s ancient capital city, documented a 14th century BCE military offensive launched by the “Habirus” (Hebrews and other Semitic tribes), corresponding to Joshua’s battles.

Passover is a Jewish national liberation holiday, highlighting faith, humility, and solidarity. It emphasizes patriotism, optimism, defiance of the odds, liberty, gratitude, and education; it shows the ancient Jewish roots in the Land of Israel. Passover is one of the three historic Jewish pilgrimages to Jerusalem, in addition to Shavuot (Pentecost) and Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles).

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Passover spotlights the centrality of women. Yocheved, Moses’ mother, hid Moses and then breastfed him at the palace of the Pharaoh, posing as a nursemaid.  Miriam was Moses’ older sister and advisor. Batyah, the daughter of Pharaoh, saved and adopted Moses (Numbers 2:1-10). Shifrah and Pou’ah, two Jewish midwives, risked their lives to spare the lives of Jewish male babies, in violation of Pharaoh’s command (Numbers 1:15-19).  Tziporah, a daughter of Jethro and also Moses’ wife, saved Moses’ life and set him back on the Jewish course (Numbers, 4:24-27).

Dayenu is a Passover hymn, which expresses appreciation for 15 benefits bestowed by God upon the Jewish people — though one benefit would have been enough. During the prayer, the Jewish people answer, “it would have been enough,” when each is recited.

The US-Israel bond may be assessed in a similar manner — by saying “it would have been enough.”

If the US Founding Fathers had considered the United States as “the modern day Promised Land,” and the Biblical Jubilee as a role model of liberty; but had not been inspired by the legacy of Moses in the formulation of the Federalist Papers, the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and US civic culture; it would have been enough (Dayenu).

If US civic culture had been inspired by the legacy of Moses; but over 400 US dignitaries, including Supreme Court justices, Congressional leaders, governors and mayors, had not signed the 1891 Blackstone Memorial, calling for the reconstruction of the Jewish State in the Land of Israel; it would have been enough (Dayenu).

*If the Abolitionist movement had been inspired by Moses and the Exodus; but US-Israel relations were based on shared values, as well as on the mutually-beneficial two-way-street US-Israel defense and commercial cooperation; it would have been enough (Dayenu).

*If US-Israel relations were based on shared values and strategic cooperation; but Israel did not provide the US with perhaps more intelligence than all NATO countries combined; it would have been enough (Dayenu).

*If General George Keegan had assessed that the US would have to establish 5 CIAs, in order to procure the Israel-provided intelligence; but General Alexander Haig, a former NATO Supreme Commander and US Secretary of State, had not defined Israel as the largest US aircraft carrier, effectively deployed in a critical region with no US personnel on board, sparing the US the need to deploy a few more real aircraft carriers; it would have been enough (Dayenu).

*If Israel were the most cost-effective battle-tested laboratory for the US defense industries and the US armed forces, but had not destroyed Iraq’s nuclear reactor in 1981, which spared the US a potential nuclear confrontation; it would have been enough (Dayenu).

*If Israel had destroyed Iraq’s nuclear reactor, but did not train US Special Operations units — including those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan — in neutralizing suicide bombers, car bombs, and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), thus saving many American lives; it would have been enough (Dayenu).

*If Israel trained US Special Operations units; but were not the site of research and development centers for over 200 major US high-tech companies, yielding game-changing telecommunications, healthcare, Internet, cellular, cyber, artificial intelligence and social media technologies and products, thus increasing US exports and expanding US employment; it would have been enough (Dayenu).

In light of the track record of US-Israel relations, the Jewish State is, indeed, the most reliable and potent ally of the US, politically, commercially, and militarily.

The author is a former Israeli ambassador and political commentator.

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