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October 23, 2016 / 21 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘United States Army’

Analysis: At Last, Potential Buyer for Iron Dome System: the Pentagon

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

One of the problems with Iron Dome, the short-distance anti-missile system developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Raytheon and battle tested successfully in two Gaza wars was that, despite its stellar reputation and the great interest in it by high profile visitors to international weapons shows, no country so far has actually purchased the system. Israeli newspapers have reported on state visitors who expressed an interest in the system: NATO, South Korea, the US, Azerbijan, and India. But in the end all these interested buyers ended up going for something else.

The reason must be that Iron Dome was tailor-made to fit the bizarre, even grotesque relationship between Israel and Hamas. The system functions as a means of perpetuating an intolerable reality whereby an entity much weaker militarily than its neighbor nevertheless deigns to shoot hundreds, even thousands of rockets into its neighbor’s civilian centers without fear of annihilation. The Iron Dome does nothing to discourage the firing of rockets, it only works to keep the casualties to a minimum. Where else on the planet would such a relationship exist between two bordering countries?

But now, Defense News reports, the Pentagon wants to purchase a modified version of the Iron Dome’s Tamir interceptors for the US Army, to defend against a variety of threats, including rockets, artillery, mortars, and even cruise missiles and UAVs.

According to Defense News, the Israeli-designed Tamir interceptor has already been adapted for launch from a US Multi-Missile Launcher (MML), and last April, at the Army’s missile range in New Mexico, the MML-launched Tamir scored its first intercept on US soil against a target drone.

It turns out that the Iron Dome, too, much like most US military aid package components, is generating mostly American jobs, as half of the funds for the development program are already going to Raytheon, which operates many facilities in the US.

Yosi Druker, head of Rafael’s Air Superiority Systems division told Defense News that the Tamir would be modified to meet US standards, and would be produced entirely in the US. It would be “100 percent Raytheon,” he said, adding, “The minute that the US decides to procure Iron Dome, we will transfer all the knowledge and production file to Raytheon.”

Mind you, that purchase is yet to be made, and, judging by the Iron Dome’s track record so far, the deal could still go south. Still, Druker is hoping the low cost and excellent performance record of the Iron Dome should give it an advantage over the competition. “It’s clear that according to price and capability and maturity of the system, Iron Dome has advantages,” he said.

But John Patterson, a public relations director for Raytheon Missile Systems who spoke to Defense News, declined to comment on the chances of the system to sell to the Pentagon, and only stated that Raytheon has “an excellent working relationship with Rafael.”

Incidentally, if no other state in the world envisions a situation where they would be facing an absurd battle theater such as the one Israel has faced with Hamas since 2006, could it be that Israel is doing something wrong?


Israel Demolishes Home of Terrorist Who Murdered US Army Vet After PA Praises the Murder [video]

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

Security forces on Monday night demolished the northern Samaria Hajjah village house belonging to the family of terrorist Bashar Masalha who murdered an American tourist, 29-year-old US Army veteran Taylor Force, and wounded 11 others last March. Masalha embarked on a stabbing spree near the Jaffa harbor promenade on the same night US Vice President Joe Biden was appearing at the nearby Peres Peace Center. In the end, the terrorist was shot by an Israeli policeman and then killed while lying wounded on the grass by an Israeli police volunteer. Both men were commended for their resolute action.

Israel handed Masalha’s body over to the Palestinian Authority, whose official TV channel glorified him by calling him shahid-martyr 11 times, according to Palestinian Media Watch. The PA TV reporter said, among other things, “His family, friends, and people of the region took it upon themselves to ensure that this [burial] would be a large national wedding befitting of martyrs… The martyr was accompanied to his last resting place in the cemetery for martyrs in Hajja.”

The official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida also honored the martyr, saying, “Masalha died as a martyr on March 8, after carrying out a stabbing operation in Jaffa, in which he killed an American tourist.”

Or, as the PA TV reporter put it, “Martyr Bashar Masalha, 22, ascended to Heaven in Jaffa on March 8. He returned and was embraced by the soil of his homeland as a martyr.”

Someone should tell the State Dept. how the PA, a recipient of generous US aid, treats the murderer of an American citizen.

David Israel

Rebels Betray US and Turn over American Weapons to Al Qaeda

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

Remember how the Obama administration assured Congress that Syrian rebels would be vetted before being trained and armed by the U.S. Army?

It promised that only Moderate” rebels fighting the Assad regime would receive training and arms from the United States, but an entire rebel division that was part of the Obama administration’s “train and equip” program has turned over its weapons to the Al Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front, the London Telegraph reported.

Division 30, the first unit to be graduated in the U.S. training program to help fight the Islamic State (ISIS) but not the Assad regime, handed over a very large amount of ammunition and medium weaponry and a number of pick-ups,” according to a tweet by an al-Nusra member.

The report was confirmed by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which stated that 75 Division 30 fighters crossed from Turkey into Syria with four-wheel vehicles equipped with machine guns and ammunition bought with U.S. taxpayers’ money.

Last month, the first group of 54 U.S.-trained fighters re-entered Syria and promptly suffered a defeat at the hands of Al Nusra, which kidnapped several rebels.

In a hearing last week at the Senate Armed Forces Committee, U.S. Central Command General Lloyd Austin admitted that only “four or five” fighters remain as fighters against the ISIS in Syria.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Military Officers Come Out Strongly Against Nuclear Iran Deal

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

President Obama and fellow supporters of the Nuclear Iran Deal boasted that it must be the right deal because they were able to gather 36 military officers to endorse it.

Well, a group of five volunteers in less than a week were able to gather more than 190 retired officers to sign on to a letter in opposition to the deal.

Those officers include 22 Admirals and 4 star generals, 46 vice admirals and lieutenant generals, 96 Rear admirals and Major Generals and 24 brigadier generals.

The letter they signed unequivocally states that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action signed by the United States and its partners in the P5+1, rather than “‘cut[ting] off every pathway’ for Iran to acquire nuclear weapons,” instead actually “provides Iran with a legitimate path to doing that simply by abiding by the deal.”

The letter, the full text of which appears below, was delivered on Wednesday, Aug. 26, to the Speaker of the House, John Boehner, the House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid.

The volunteers who gathered the signatures were led by Marsha Halteman, who has been involved working with the military services for many years. In 2014, Halteman was awarded the US Special Operation Command Outstanding Civilian Service Medal.

The letter to the members of Congress, as delivered, reads as follows:

Dear Representatives Boehner and Pelosi and Senators McConnell and Reid:

As you know, on July 14, 2015, the United States and five other nations announced that a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has been reached with Iran to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons. In our judgment as former senior military officers, the agreement will not have that effect. Removing sanctions on Iran and releasing billions of dollars to its regime over the next ten years is inimical to the security of Israel and the Middle East. There is no credibility within JCPOA’s inspection process or the ability to snap back sanctions once lifted, should Iran violate the agreement. In this and other respects, the JCPOA would threaten the national security and vital interests of the United States and, therefore, should be disapproved by the Congress.

The agreement as constructed does not “cut off every pathway” for Iran to acquire nuclear weapons. To the contrary, it actually provides Iran with a legitimate path to doing that simply by abiding by the deal. JCPOA allows all the infrastructure the Iranians need for a nuclear bomb to be preserved and enhanced.Notably, Iran is allowed to: continue to enrich uranium; develop and test advanced centrifuges; and continue work on its Arak heavy-water plutonium reactor. Collectively, these concessions afford the Iranians, at worst, a ready breakout option and, at best, an incipient nuclear weapons capability a decade from now.

The agreement is unverifiable. Under the terms of the JCPOA and a secret side deal (to which the United States is not privy), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will be responsible for inspections under such severe limitations as to prevent them from reliably detecting Iranian cheating. For example, if Iran and the inspectors are unable to reach an accommodation with respect to a given site, the result could be at least a 24-day delay in IAEA access.The agreement also requires inspectors to inform Iran in writing as to the basis for its concerns about an undeclared site, thus further delaying access. Most importantly, these inspections do not allow access to Iranian military facilities, the most likely location of their nuclear weapons development efforts. In the JCPOA process, there is substantial risk of U.S. intelligence being compromised, since the IAEA often relies on our sensitive data with respect to suspicious and/or prohibited activity.

While failing to assure prevention of Iran’s nuclear weapons development capabilities, the agreement provides by some estimates $150 billion dollars or more to Iran in the form of sanctions relief. As military officers, we find it unconscionable that such a windfall could be given to a regime that even the Obama administration has acknowledged will use a portion of such funds to continue to support terrorism in Israel, throughout the Middle East and globally, whether directly or through proxies. These actions will be made all the more deadly since the JCPOA will lift international embargoes on Iran’s access to advanced conventional weapons and ballistic missile technology.

In summary, this agreement will enable Iran to become far more dangerous, render the Mideast still more unstable and introduce new threats to American interests as well as our allies. In our professional opinion, far from being an alternative to war, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action makes it likely that the war the Iranian regime has waged against us since 1979 will continue, with far higher risks to our national security interests. Accordingly, we urge the Congress to reject this defective accord.(emphasis added.)

1.Admiral David Architzel, US Navy, Retired

2.Admiral Stanley R. Arthur, US Navy, Retired

3.General William Begert, US Air Force,Retired

4.GeneralJ.B. Davis, US Air Force, Retired

5.AdmiralWilliam A. Doughert, US Navy, Retired

6.Admiral Leon A. “Bud” Edney, US Navy, Retired

7.General Alfred G. Hansen US Air Force, Retired

8.Admiral Thomas Hayward, US Navy, Retired

9.Admiral James Hogg, US Navy, Retired

10.Admiral Jerome Johnson, US Navy, Retired

11.Admiral Timothy J. Keating, US Navy, Retired

12.Admiral Robert J. Kelly, US Navy, Retired

13.Admiral Thomas Joseph Lopez, US Navy, Retired

14.Admiral James A. “Ace” Lyons, US Navy, Retired

15.Admiral Richard Macke, US Navy, Retired

16.Admiral Henry Mauz, US Navy, Retired

17.General Lance Smith, US Air Force, Retired

18.Admiral Leighton Smith, US Navy, Retired

19.Admiral William D. Smith, US Navy, Retired

20.General Louis C. Wagner, Jr., US Army, Retired

21.Admiral Steve White, US Navy, Retired

22.General Ronald W. Yates, US Air Force, Retired

23.Lieutenant General Teddy G. Allen, US Army, Retired

24.Lieutenant General Edward G. Anderson, III, USArmy, Retired

25.Lieutenant General Marcus A. Anderson, US Air Force, Retired

26.Lieutenant General Spence M. Armstrong, US Air Force, Retired

27.Lieutenant General Harold W. Blot, US Marine Corps, Retired

28.Vice Admiral Michael Bowman, US Navy, Retired

29.Lieutenant General William G. “Jerry” Boykin, US Army, Retired

30.Vice Admiral Edward S. Briggs, US Navy, Retired

31.Lieutenant General Richard E. “Tex” Brown III, US Air Force, Retired

32.Lieutenant General William J. Campbell, US Air Force, Retired

33.Vice Admiral Edward Clexton, US Navy, Retired

34.Vice Admiral Daniel L. Cooper, US Navy, Retired

35.Vice Admiral William A. Dougherty, US Navy, Retired

36.Lieutenant General Brett Dula, US Air Force, Retired

37.Lieutenant General Gordon E. Fornell, US Air Force, Retired

38.Lieutenant General Thomas B. Goslin, US Air Force, Retired

39.LieutenantGeneral Earl Hailston, US Marine Corps, Retired

40.Vice Admiral Bernard M. Kauderer, US Navy, Retired

41.Lieutenant General Timothy A. Kinnan, US Air Force, Retired

42.Vice Admiral J. B . LaPlante, US Navy, Retired

43.Vice Admiral Tony Less, US Navy, Retired

44.Lieutenant General Bennett L. Lewis, US Army, Retired

45.Vice Admiral Michael Malone, US Navy, Retired

46.Vice Admiral John Mazach, US Navy, Retired

47.Lieutenant GeneralThomas McInerney, US Air Force, Retired

48.Lieutenant General Fred McCorkle, US Marine Corps, Retired

49.Vice Admiral Robert Monroe, US Navy, Retired

50.Vice Admiral Jimmy Pappas, US Navy, Retired

51.Vice Admiral J. Theodore Parker, US Navy, Retired

52.Lieutenant General Garry L. Parks, US Marine Corps, Retired

53.Lieutenant General Everett Pratt, US Air Force, Retired

54.Vice Admiral John Poindexter, US Navy, Retired

55.Lieutenant General Clifford “Ted” Rees, Jr., US Air Force, Retired

56.Vice Admiral William Rowden, US Navy, Retired

57.Vice Admiral Robert F. Schoultz, US Navy, Retired

58.Lieutenant General E.G. “Buck” Shuler, Jr., US Air Force, Retired

59.Lieutenant General Hubert ‘Hugh” G. Smith, US Army, Retired

60.Vice Admiral Edward M. Straw, US Navy, Retired

61.Lieutenant General David J. Teal, US Air Force, Retired

62.Vice Admiral D.C. “Deese” Thompson, US Coast Guard, Retired

63.Lieutenant General William E. Thurman, US Air Force, Retired

64.Lieutenant General Billy Tomas, US Army, Retired

65.Vice AdmiralJohn Totushek, US Navy, Retired

66.Vice Admiral Jerry Tuttle, US Navy, Retired

67.Vice Admiral Jerry Unruh, US Navy, Retired

68.Vice Admiral Timothy W. Wright, US Navy, Retired

69.Rear Admiral William V. Alford, Jr., US Navy, Retired

70.Major General Thurman E. Anderson, US Army, Retired

71.Major General Joseph T. Anderson, US Marine Corps, Retired

72.Rear Admiral Philip Anselmo, US Navy, Retired

73.Major General Joe Arbuckle, US Army, Retired

74.Rear Admiral James W. Austin, USNavy, Retired

75.Rear Admiral John R. Batzler, US Navy, Retired

76.Rear Admiral John Bayless, US Navy, Retired

77.Major General John Bianchi, US Army, Retired

78.Rear Admiral Donald Vaux Boecker, US Navy, Retired

79.Rear Admiral Jerry C. Breast, US Navy, Retired

80.Rear Admiral Bruce B. Bremner, US Navy, Retired

81.Major General Edward M. Browne, US Army, Retired

82.Rear Admiral Thomas F. Brown III, US Navy, Retired

83.Rear Admiral Lyle Bull, US Navy, Retired

84.Major General Bobby G. Butcher, US Marine Corps, Retired

85.Rear Admiral Jay A. Campbell, US Navy, Retired

86.Major General Henry D. Canterbury, US Air Force, Retired

87.Major General Carroll D. Childers, US Army, Retired

88.Rear Admiral Ronald L. Christenson, US Navy, Retired

89.Major General John R.D. Cleland, US Army, Retired

90.Major General Richard L. Comer, US Air Force, Retired

91.Rear Admiral Jack Dantone, US Navy, Retired

92.Major General William B. Davitte, US Air Force, Retired

93.Major General James D. Delk, US Army, Retired

94.Major General Felix Dupre, US Air Force, Retired

95.Rear Admiral Philip A. Dur, US Navy, Retired

96.Major General Neil L. Eddins, US Air Force, Retired

97.Rear Admiral Paul Engel, US Navy, Retired

98.Major General Vince Falter, US Army, Retired

99.Rear Admiral James H. Flatley, US Navy, Retired

100.Major General Bobby O. Floyd, US Air Force, Retired

101.Major General Paul Fratarangelo, US Marine Corps, Retired

102.Rear Admiral Veronica “Ronne” Froman, US Navy, Retired

103.Rear Admiral R. Byron Fuller, US Navy, Retired

104.Rear Admiral Frank Gallo, US Navy, Retired

105.Rear Admiral Albert A. Gallotta, Jr., US Navy,Retired

106.Rear Admiral James Mac Gleim, US Navy, Retired

107.Rear Admiral Robert H. Gormley, US Navy, Retired

108.Rear Admiral William Gureck, US Navy, Retired

109.Major General Gary L. Harrell, US Army, Retired

110.Rear Admiral Donald Hickman, US Navy, Retired

111.Major General Geoffrey Higginbotham, US Marine Corps, Retired

112.Major General Kent H. Hillhouse, USArmy, Retired

113.Rear Admiral Tim Hinkle, US Navy, Retired

114.Major General Victor Joseph Hugo, US Army, Retired

115.Major General James P. Hunt, US Air Force, Retired

116.Rear Admiral Grady L. Jackson, US Navy, Retired

117.Major General William K. James, US Air Force, Retired

118.Rear Admiral John M. “Carlos” Johnson, US Navy, Retired

119.Rear Admiral Pierce J. Johnson, US Navy, Retired

120.Rear Admiral Steven B. Kantrowitz, US Navy, Retired

121.Major General Maurice W. Kendall, US Army, Retired

122.Rear Admiral Charles R. Kubic, US Navy, Retired

123.Rear Admiral Frederick L. Lewis, US Navy, Retired

124.Major General John D. Logeman, Jr., US Air Force, Retired

125.Major General Homer S. Long, Jr., US Army, Retired

126.Major General Robert M. Marquette, US Air Force, Retired

127.Rear Admiral Robert B. McClinton, US Navy, Retired

128.Rear Admiral W. J. McDaniel, MD, US Navy, Retired

129.Major General Keith W. Meurlin, US Air Force, Retired

130.Rear Admiral Terrence McKnight, US Navy, Retired

131.Major General John F. Miller, Jr., US Air Force, Retired

132.Major General Burton R. Moore, US Air Force, Retired

133.Rear Admiral David R. Morris, US Navy, Retired

134.Rear Admiral Ed Nelson, Jr., US Coast Guard, Retired

135.Major General George W. “Nordie” Norwood, US Air Force, Retired

136.Major General Everett G. Odgers, US Air Force, Retired

137.Rear Admiral Phillip R. Olson, US Navy, Retired

138.Rear Admiral Robert S. Owens, US Navy, Retired

139.Rear Admiral Robert O. Passmore, US Navy, Retired

140.Major General Richard E. Perraut, Jr., US Air Force, Retired

141.Rear Admiral W.W. Pickavance, Jr., US Navy, Retired

142.Rear Admiral L.F. Picotte, US Navy, Retired

143.Rear Admiral Thomas J. Porter, US Navy, Retired

144.Major General H. Douglas Robertson, US Army, Retired

145.Rear Admiral W.J. Ryan, US Navy, Retired

146.Rear Admiral Norman Saunders, US Coast Guard, Retired

147.Major General John P. Schoeppner, Jr., US Air Force, Retired

148.Major General Edison E. Scholes, US Army, Retired

149.Rear Admiral Hugh P. Scott, US Navy, Retired

150.Major General Richard Secord, US Air Force, Retired

151.Rear Admiral James M. Seely, US Navy, Retired

152.Major General Sidney Shachnow, US Army, Retired

153.Rear Admiral William H. Shawcross, US Navy, Retired

154.Rear Admiral Bob Shumaker, US Navy, Retired

155.Major General Willie Studer, US Air Force, Retired

156.Major General Larry Taylor, US Marine Corps, Retired

157.Rear Admiral Jeremy Taylor, US Navy, Retired

158.Major General Richard L. Testa, US Air Force, Retired

159.Rear Admiral Robert P. Tiernan, US Navy, Retired

160.Major General Paul E. Vallely, US Army, Retired

161.Major General Kenneth W. Weir, US Marine Corps, Retired

162.Major General John Welde, US Air Force, Retired

163.Rear Admiral James B. Whittaker, US Navy, Retired

164.Major General Geoffrey P. Wiedeman, Jr., MD, US Air Force, Retired

165.Rear Admiral H. Denny Wisely, US Navy, Retired

166.Brigadier General John R. Allen, Jr., US Air Force, Retired

167.Brigadier General John C. Arick, US Marine Corps, Retired

168.Brigadier General Loring R. Astorino, US Air Force, Retired

169.Rear Admiral Robert E. Besal, US Navy, Retired

170.Brigadier General William Bloomer, US Marine Corps, Retired

171.Brigadier General George P. Cole, Jr., US Air Force, Retired

172.Brigadier General Richard A. Coleman, US Air Force, Retired

173.Brigadier General James L. Crouch, US Air Force, Retired

174.Rear Admiral Marianne B. Drew, US Navy, Retired

175.Brigadier General Philip M. Drew, US Air Force, Retired

176.Brigadier General Larry K. Grundhauser, US Air Force, Retired

177.Brigadier General Thomas W. Honeywill, US Air Force, Retired

178.Brigadier General Gary M. Jones, US Army, Retired

179.Brigadier General Stephen Lanning, US Air Force, Retired

180.Brigadier General Thomas J. Lennon, US Air Force, Retired

181.Rear Admiral Bobby C. Lee, US Navy, Retired

182.Brigadier General Robert F. Peksens, US Air Force, Retired

183.Brigadier General Joe Shaefer, US Air Force, Retired

184.Brigadier General Graham E. Shirley, US Air Force, Retired

185.Brigadier General Stanley O. Smith, US Air Force, Retired

186.Brigadier General Hugh B. Tant III, US Army, Retired

187.Brigadier General Michael Joseph Tashjian, US Air Force, Retired

188.Brigadier General William Tiernan, US Marine Corps, Retired

189.Brigadier General Roger W. Scearce, US Army, Retired

190.Brigadier General Robert V. Woods, US Air Force, Retired

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Obama ‘Threatening to Abandon Israel’ at UN Security Council

Friday, March 20th, 2015

President Barack Obama appears to be “rushing to the United Nations” to force a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Fox News reported Thursday night. It’s another nail in the coffin replacing the trust Israelis once had in American presidents, a commentator observed.

In an interview on the cable television news network, U.S. Army Lt.-Col. Ralph Peters (res.), said Obama seems to want to “pick a fight – a deadly fight potentially – with Israel.”

Peters, clearly upset, told the interviewer he could not understand why Obama appears to be aligning the United States with radical Islamist nations against the sole democracy in the Middle East. “Our policy is off the rails,” he said.

Obama’s staff, he maintained, “overplayed their hand so badly that the Israeli people, even those who don’t much like Bibi (Netanyahu), turned this from an economy-based election to a security-based election. Obama’s accommodation with Iran at any cost is very frightening.”

Although most U.S. politicians consider the Iranian nuclear deal to be a policy issue, Peters correctly noted that in Israel, “it is a matter of survival.

“And that’s what this election told us, that the people of Israel, for the first time ever, fear an American president,” he concluded.

However, Fox News journalist Megan Kelly reported in a separate segment that the White House does not see it the same way. She quoted President Obama as saying that he sees “no path to a peace agreement,” and added that the president is “now threatening to abandon Israel at the United Nations.”

The comment referred to Obama’s threat to consider the option of not using America’s veto to block a UN Security Council resolution to grant statehood to the Palestinian Authority, possibly along the 1949 Armistice lines, also known as the “1967 border.”

Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu responded: “You can’t force the people of Israel, who just elected me by a wide margin to bring them peace and security — to secure the State of Israel — to accept terms that would endanger the very survival of the State of Israel.

“I don’t think that’s the direction of American policy,” he said. “I hope it’s not.”

Kelly interviewed Netanyahu about the issue on her Fox News TV program, The Kelly File, late Thursday night.

Hana Levi Julian

Israel’s ‘Trophy’ Defense for APCs Passes Tough US Army Test

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

Israel’s “Trophy” defense system for General Dynamic’s LAV-III armored personnel has passed tough tests, including live fire under harsh terrain conditions in Canada, Israel Defense reported Tuesday.

The system withstood advanced anti-tank rocket fire, recoilless guns, short range fire and fire from different weapons simultaneously to verify the system’s functionality.

The Trophy system’s success in Israel has been proven on the IDF’s Merkava Mark IV tanks, which were deployed in Gaza during last year’s Pillar of Cloud counter-terrorist operation.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Parshat Vayishlach

Wednesday, December 6th, 2006

       On July 7, 1919 the United States Army sent a caravan of 72 vehicles on a cross- country trip. The purpose of this “mission” was to highlight the poor condition of the country’s roads and demonstrate the need to improve them. Additionally, the army wanted to gain publicity for itself since it was quickly being disbanded and forgotten in the aftermath of World War One. Since there was no Route 80 back then, it took the caravan 62 days, at an average of 58 miles a day, to complete the journey. Although in certain instances the soldiers were able to avail themselves of paved roads, most of the time they were forced to use dirt and mud paths.
         One of the young officers who participated in this mission was none other than Dwight D. Eisenhower. Despite the fact that he enjoyed himself tremendously on the trip, he nonetheless was astonished at the poor condition of the United States road system. He firmly believed that the roads “had to be upgraded for both vacationers yearning to visit different parts of the country as well as for the military intending to defend it.” (Eisenhower by John Wukovits, Palgrave Macmillan New York, NY 2006, p.32.)
         Many years would go by before Eisenhower could do anything about the roads. But riding on his popularity as the general who led America to victory in the Second World War, Eisenhower was elected president in 1952. Besides his experience as a participant in the 1919 caravan, he now had the experience of World War II. During the battles against the Nazis (y”s) Eisenhower saw how the Germans had used the autobahn to their immense advantage. Having such a sophisticated highway system enabled the Germans to quickly transport soldiers from one battle to another. Eisenhower felt that this capability in no small measure allowed the Germans to prolong the defense of their country.
         In 1956 Eisenhower proposed the Federal Aid Highway Act. This act authorized the funds to build “what became the interstate highway system, the elaborate network of concrete that connected all sectors of the nation, sparked increased travel, and spurred the growth of restaurants and motels catering to vacationers” (p.176). Additionally, it provided the necessary mobility for the military to defend the country.
         Eisenhower recognized that, for the United States to develop and be able to defend itself, its infrastructure had to be improved. Only by enabling easy travel between the different parts of the country would the various regions be able to effectively complement one another and realize the full potential of this nation.
         In this week’s parshah we see that Yaakov had already, thousands of years ago, understood the importance of improving a country’s infrastructure. After surviving his encounter with Esav, Yaakov arrived safely at the city of Shechem. Upon reaching the city, the Torah describes (33:18): “Va’yechan Yaakov et pnei ha’ir” -and Yaakov camped on the outskirts of the city. The Gemara in Shabbat (33b) explains that the word vayechan has an additional definition besides camped. According to the Gemara, vayechan also means that he graced the city. In line with this definition, several rabbis offered different suggestions as to how Yaakov graced Shechem.
         Rav claimed that Yaakov minted coins for them to use as a common currency of exchange. Shmuel claimed that he organized markets for them to sell and purchase their merchandise. And Rav Yochanan claimed that he built bathhouses for them.
         According to the opinions of these rabbis there are two questions. The first is − why did Yaakov do anything for Shechem? The second is − why specifically, these things? On a superficial level Yaakov did these things in order to ingratiate himself to his neighbors and to demonstrate his appreciation to them for allowing him to be their neighbor. On a deeper level, Yaakov, by doing these things, was actually demonstrating his proprietary rights over Israel. Only a person who has an ownership stake would bother with such activities.
         In line with this reasoning, we can understand why Yaakov chose to do these things for Shechem. Realizing that his children would ultimately inherit the land, he wanted it to be built up and developed as much as possible by the time of the conquest. Economic development can only take place if people can interact with one another easily. Therefore, by establishing an accepted currency of exchange and a market economy, Yaakov ensured that people would interact with and help one another. With Yaakov’s improvements, a broad and deep economy would flourish, and the land of Israel would develop.
         But as we know from history, when people from different areas interact, they transfer diseases from one to the other. Thus, the building of bathhouses was necessary to maintain proper hygiene to prevent people from getting sick.
         All leaders must understand the importance of addressing infrastructure issues if they want their organizations to develop and succeed. While there isn’t too much glory involved with such issues, if the infrastructure is neglected, the organization will ultimately collapse.
         While many people who drive on U.S. highways every year are unaware that the general who defeated Germany was responsible for building them, it is no exaggeration to claim, that Eisenhower’s greatest legacy as president, was that he authorized the interstate highways to be built. Even though we have the information highway today, we could not function without our interstates.

         Rabbi David Hertzberg is the Principal of the Yeshivah of Flatbush Middle Division. Questions and comments can be emailed to him at Mdrabbi@aol.com.

Rabbi David Hertzberg

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/parshat-vayishlach/2006/12/06/

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