When Chaim Weizmann Met with Emir Faisal

Toward the end of World War I, Chaim Weizmann, head of the World Zionist Organization and later the first president of Israel, established cordial relations with Emir Faisal, the son of Sherif Hussein of Mecca and later the first king of Iraq. Shortly thereafter, the two would sign an agreement establishing an alliance between an unborn Jewish state and an unborn Arab one, as recounted by the Israel State Archives:

On June 17, 1918, Weizmann wrote to his wife Vera in London about the romantic journey along the Red Sea past the “glowing mountains” of Sinai via Aqaba to the Anglo-Arab army in southeast Transjordan. Here he met Faisal: “the first real Arab nationalist I have met. He is a leader! He is quite intelligent and a very honest man, handsome as a picture. He is not interested in Palestine, but on the other hand he wants Damascus and the whole of northern Syria.”

Weizmann noted that [Faisal] he was contemptuous of the Palestinians and did not regard them as Arabs. He saw Faisal as an alternative to the Palestinian leadership, which was hostile to the Zionists’ aspirations. . . . Weizmann did not realize the depth of Arab nationalism, which was in its early stages but would quickly gain ground.

In December 1918, Faisal and Weizmann met again in London. In the interim, Faisal had captured Damascus, which he hoped would be the capital of the Arab kingdom promised by the British, but his regime there was fragile. In their talk on December 11, Weizmann promised help from the Zionist movement. . . . An agreement was drawn up, signed on January 3, 1919, in which Faisal expressed approval of the Balfour Declaration and Jewish settlement in Palestine. Other clauses ensured freedom of religion and Muslim control of the holy places sacred to Islam.

That accord was short-lived. Giving in to the demands of Arab nationalists, Faisal petitioned the Western powers for an Arab state that included Palestine. In short order, the British allowed France to take over Syria (against the wishes of both Faisal and Weizmann), Faisal became king of Iraq, and nothing came of his earlier alliance with the Zionists.

Read more at Israel's Documented Story

More about: Arab nationalism, Chaim Weizmann, History & Ideas, Israeli history, Sykes-Picot Agreement, World War I

While Israel Is Distracted on Two Fronts, Iran Is on the Verge of Building Nuclear Weapons

Iran recently announced its plans to install over 1,000 new advanced centrifuges at its Fordow nuclear facility. Once they are up and running, the Institute for Science and International Security assesses, Fordow will be able to produce enough highly enriched uranium for three nuclear bombs in a mere ten days. The U.S. has remained indifferent. Jacob Nagel writes:

For more than two decades, Iran has continued its efforts to enhance its nuclear-weapons capability—mainly by enriching uranium—causing Israel and the world to concentrate on the fissile material. The International Atomic Energy Agency recently confirmed that Iran has a huge stockpile of uranium enriched to 60 percent, as well as more enriched to 20 percent, and the IAEA board of governors adopted the E3 (France, Germany, UK) proposed resolution to censure Iran for the violations and lack of cooperation with the agency. The Biden administration tried to block it, but joined the resolution when it understood its efforts to block it had failed.

To clarify, enrichment of uranium above 20 percent is unnecessary for most civilian purposes, and transforming 20-percent-enriched uranium to the 90-percent-enriched product necessary for producing weapons is a relatively small step. Washington’s reluctance even to express concern about this development appears to stem from an unwillingness to acknowledge the failures of President Obama’s nuclear policy. Worse, writes Nagel, it is turning a blind eye to efforts at weaponization. But Israel has no such luxury:

Israel must adopt a totally new approach, concentrating mainly on two main efforts: [halting] Iran’s weaponization actions and weakening the regime hoping it will lead to its replacement. Israel should continue the fight against Iran’s enrichment facilities (especially against the new deep underground facility being built near Natanz) and uranium stockpiles, but it should not be the only goal, and for sure not the priority.

The biggest danger threatening Israel’s existence remains the nuclear program. It would be better to confront this threat with Washington, but Israel also must be fully prepared to do it alone.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy