Remembering One Jewish Hero on Israel’s Memorial Day

On Tuesday, the Jewish state observed Yom ha-Zikaron, the solemn day of remembrance for those who lost their lives in its defense. Allan Arkush uses the occasion to recall a former student, whose letters and diary entries were collected and published in book form:

While Jews around the world all live in the shadow of the Holocaust and may commemorate Yom HaShoah in similar ways, it’s not the same with Yom ha-Zikaron. For Israelis, it is above all a day that rekindles memories of specific individuals who died in Israel’s wars and always evokes a sense of personal loss. For those American Jews who mark it, the day is more likely to bring with it a sense of collective loss. This is only natural, but it is not true without exception. Some of those who lost their lives were very much ours—they were raised among us. And of them, there are a few who have made lasting marks, like Alex Singer, who served as a paratrooper between 1985 and 1987 and died, on his twenty-fifth birthday, fighting terrorists in southern Lebanon.

Born in White Plains, New York, in 1962, Alex first encountered Israel as a youngster, when he spent four years there with his family, including a year at a kibbutz high school. . . . Alex’s love for Israel is present on every page of this book. You see it in the joy he feels when he stumbles across Israeli tourists in England or in Spain. A visit to Israel in the spring of 1983 reminds him how very tired he is of being outside of it and leads him to conclude that he can’t put off aliyah forever.

When he finished [IDF] officers’ training, Alex got a job behind the lines—training the defenders of air-force bases. He relished the perks on those bases, especially the outstanding food, but yearned to do “real work directly involved with defense rather than the difficult and almost purposeless labor” he had been doing. At a shiva in Jerusalem for a friend who had died in an accident, he met a battalion commander in the Givati Brigade who arranged for him to become a platoon commander in the infantry.

It was in this capacity that he arrived in the Golan Heights in June. Only a few months later, in September, he died in a firefight with terrorists.

Read more at Jewish Review of Books

More about: Aliyah, Golan Heights, Yom Ha-Zikaron

Strengthening the Abraham Accords at Sea

In an age of jet planes, high-speed trains, electric cars, and instant communication, it’s easy to forget that maritime trade is, according to Yuval Eylon, more important than ever. As a result, maritime security is also more important than ever. Eylon examines the threats, and opportunities, these realities present to Israel:

Freedom of navigation in the Middle East is challenged by Iran and its proxies, which operate in the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea, and the Persian Gulf, and recently in the Mediterranean Sea as well. . . . A bill submitted to the U.S. Congress calls for the formulation of a naval strategy that includes an alliance to combat naval terrorism in the Middle East. This proposal suggests the formation of a regional alliance in the Middle East in which the member states will support the realization of U.S. interests—even while the United States focuses its attention on other regions of the world, mainly the Far East.

Israel could play a significant role in the execution of this strategy. The Abraham Accords, along with the transition of U.S.-Israeli military cooperation from the European Command (EUCOM) to Central Command (CENTCOM), position Israel to be a key player in the establishment of a naval alliance, led by the U.S. Fifth Fleet, headquartered in Bahrain.

Collaborative maritime diplomacy and coalition building will convey a message of unity among the members of the alliance, while strengthening state commitments. The advantage of naval operations is that they enable collaboration without actually threatening the territory of any sovereign state, but rather using international waters, enhancing trust among all members.

Read more at Institute for National Security Studies

More about: Abraham Accords, Iran, Israeli Security, Naval strategy, U.S. Foreign policy