The Gettysburg Address, Written on “Jewish” Paper

On November 19, 1863, Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous speech at the dedication of the military cemetery at Gettysburg; a few months later, at the request of the historian George Bancroft, he wrote down the text of the speech so that Bancroft could consult it in composing his history of the United States. Archivists have recently determined that the paper the president used was produced by Philp & Solomons, a Washington-based stationery company. But this is not the only connection between the company’s co-founder Adolphus Simeon Solomons and President Lincoln. Rachel Delia Benaim writes:

Solomons was one of the handful of Jews in Lincoln’s circle of friends and colleagues. (He also had good relationships with Ulysses S. Grant and Chester Arthur.) A practicing Jew from New York City, Solomons was born in 1826 to a British-immigrant father and an American-born mother. In his youth, he served in the New York State National Guard, and he grew up to be a prominent Jewish Republican.

It is believed that Lincoln was the first non-Jewish public figure for whom kaddish, the Jewish prayer for the dead, was recited. In eulogizing Lincoln, Solomons is credited with saying “it was the Israelites’ privilege here, as well as elsewhere, to be the first to offer in their places of worship prayers for the repose of the soul of Mr. Lincoln.”

[Several years after Lincoln’s death], President Grant, who had attempted to expel the Jews from [the area occupied by his army] in 1862 but later expressed remorse for doing so, tried to appoint Solomons as governor of Washington, D.C., [but Solomons declined]. In 1881, Solomons co-founded the American Red Cross with Clara Barton and was appointed by President Arthur to represent the United States at the International Congress of the Red Cross in Geneva, Switzerland.

Read more at Tablet

More about: Abraham Lincoln, American Jewish History, Gettysburg, History & Ideas

Despite the Toll of War at Home and Rising Hostility Abroad, Investors Are Still Choosing Israel

When I first saw news that Google wasn’t going through with its acquisition of the tech startup Wiz, I was afraid hesitancy over its Israeli founders and close ties with the Jewish state might have something to do with it. I couldn’t have been more wrong: the deal is off not because of Google’s hesitancy, but because Wiz feared the FTC would slow down the process with uncertain results. The company is instead planning an initial public offering. In the wake of the CrowdStrike debacle, companies like Wiz have every reason to be optimistic, as Sophie Shulman explains:

For the Israeli cyber sector, CrowdStrike’s troubles are an opportunity. CrowdStrike is a major competitor to Palo Alto Networks, and both companies aim to provide comprehensive cyber defense platforms. The specific issue that caused the global Windows computer shutdown is related to their endpoint protection product, an area where they compete with Palo Alto’s Cortex products developed in Israel and the SentinelOne platform.

Friday’s drop in CrowdStrike shares reflects investor frustration and the expectation that potential customers will now turn to competitors, strengthening the position of Israeli companies. This situation may renew interest in smaller startups and local procurement in Israel, given how many institutions were affected by the CrowdStrike debacle.

Indeed, it seems that votes of confidence in Israeli technology are coming from many directions, despite the drop in the Tel Aviv stock exchange following the attack from Yemen, and despite the fact that some 46,000 Israeli businesses have closed their doors since October 7. Tel Aviv-based Cyabra, which creates software that identifies fake news, plans a $70 million IPO on Nasdaq. The American firm Applied Systems announced that it will be buying a different Israeli tech startup and opening a research-and-development center in Israel. And yet another cybersecurity startup, founded by veterans of the IDF’s elite 8200 unit, came on the scene with $33 million in funding. And those are the stories from this week alone.

But it’s not only the high-tech sector that’s attracting foreign investment. The UK-based firm Energean plans to put approximately $1.2 billion into developing a so-far untapped natural-gas field in Israel’s coastal waters. Money speaks much louder than words, and it seems Western businesses don’t expect Israel to become a global pariah, or to collapse in the face of its enemies, anytime soon.

Read more at Calcalist

More about: cybersecurity, Israeli economy, Israeli gas, Israeli technology, Start-up nation