How Yitzhak Shamir Saved Israel’s Relationship with Jordan, Brought in a Million Soviet Jews, and Helped Create an Economic Miracle

Sept. 6 2022

Born in a shtetl in what is now Belarus in 1915, Yitzḥak Shamir came to the Land of Israel in 1935, where he later joined the underground Zionist group known as the Leḥi and was eventually imprisoned by the British mandatory authorities. After Israeli independence, he served for several years in the Mossad before entering politics. He held the post of prime minister from 1983 to 1984, and again from 1986 to 1992, leading the nation during the first intifada, the Iraqi Scud-missile attacks of the Persian Gulf war, and the Madrid peace talks with the Palestinians. Although Shamir, who died in 2012, is remembered in a positive light by large numbers of Israelis, he is much less admired by journalists and academics.

Erez Fridman and Igal Lerner, who have recently released a documentary about Shamir, discuss his legacy with his son Yair Shamir, the historian Martin Kramer, and the marketing executive Noa Cacharel. Among much else, they highlight the role of Israel’s seventh prime minister in cultivating peace with Jordan, in orchestrating the Russian aliyah, and in transforming the Jewish state into the start-up nation. (Moderated by Naomi Reinharz. Video, 62 minutes.)

Read more at America-Israel Friendship League

More about: Aliyah, Israeli economy, Israeli history, Jordan, Yitzhak Shamir

American Aid to Lebanon Is a Gift to Iran

For many years, Lebanon has been a de-facto satellite of Tehran, which exerts control via its local proxy militia, Hizballah. The problem with the U.S. policy toward the country, according to Tony Badran, is that it pretends this is not the case, and continues to support the government in Beirut as if it were a bulwark against, rather than a pawn of, the Islamic Republic:

So obsessed is the Biden administration with the dubious art of using taxpayer dollars to underwrite the Lebanese pseudo-state run by the terrorist group Hizballah that it has spent its two years in office coming up with legally questionable schemes to pay the salaries of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), setting new precedents in the abuse of U.S. foreign security-assistance programs. In January, the administration rolled out its program to provide direct salary payments, in cash, to both the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and the Internal Security Forces (ISF).

The scale of U.S. financing of Lebanon’s Hizballah-dominated military apparatus cannot be understated: around 100,000 Lebanese are now getting cash stipends courtesy of the American taxpayer to spend in Hizballah-land. . . . This is hardly an accident. For U.S. policymakers, synergy between the LAF/ISF and Hizballah is baked into their policy, which is predicated on fostering and building up a common anti-Israel posture that joins Lebanon’s so-called “state institutions” with the country’s dominant terror group.

The implicit meaning of the U.S. bureaucratic mantra that U.S. assistance aims to “undermine Hizballah’s narrative that its weapons are necessary to defend Lebanon” is precisely that the LAF/ISF and the Lebanese terror group are jointly competing to achieve the same goals—namely, defending Lebanon from Israel.

Read more at Tablet

More about: Hizballah, Iran, Israeli Security, Lebanon, U.S. Foreign policy