Two Forgotten American Jews Who Helped Build the U.S.-Israel Alliance

In the 1960s, Abraham (Abe) Feinberg and Myer (Mike) Feldman played key roles in facilitating the relations between the White House and Jerusalem. Neither was formally connected with any Jewish or Israeli institution; nor did either man hold a diplomatic position. Thus their efforts thus took place outside of the public spotlight. Abraham Ben-Zvi and Gadi Warsha tell their stories:

The two resolved to dedicate their time and efforts to bolstering Israel, not for financial reasons or vanity, but primarily so that they could advance what they considered shared interests by the two countries. Feldman was a successful and wealthy lawyer from Philadelphia when he was tapped by President Kennedy to be the liaison officer between the White House and the Jewish community. Feinberg was a philanthropist and a businessman from a family that made its wealth in the textile industry. Although he had been wielding influence in Democratic administrations since 1948, capitalizing on his ties, he became a real mover and shaker under Johnson, when he turned into a secret envoy for Israel, enjoying the [complete] trust of the president.

[Feldman’s] first action, which he undertook together with Feinberg, was in arranging the unofficial meeting between then-Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and John F. Kennedy in New York in May 1961. This was not just a logistical matter—it was complicated due to fierce opposition by some circles in the administration. Feldman ultimately wielded his unique influence on the presidential decision-making process in the run-up to the procurement deal with Israel for Hawk surface-to-air missiles: for the first time, a U.S. administration agreed to transfer sophisticated weapon systems to Israel. This created an important precedent on the path charted by Ben-Gurion as he sought to make Washington Israel’s main arms supplier.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: David Ben-Gurion, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, U.S.-Israel relationship


Hamas’s Hostage Diplomacy

Ron Ben-Yishai explains Hamas’s current calculations:

Strategically speaking, Hamas is hoping to add more and more days to the pause currently in effect, setting a new reality in stone, one which will convince the United States to get Israel to end the war. At the same time, they still have most of the hostages hidden in every underground crevice they could find, and hope to exchange those with as many Hamas and Islamic Jihad prisoners currently in Israeli prisons, planning on “revitalizing” their terrorist inclinations to even the odds against the seemingly unstoppable Israeli war machine.

Chances are that if pressured to do so by Qatar and Egypt, they will release men over 60 with the same “three-for-one” deal they’ve had in place so far, but when Israeli soldiers are all they have left to exchange, they are unlikely to extend the arrangement, instead insisting that for every IDF soldier released, thousands of their people would be set free.

In one of his last speeches prior to October 7, the Gaza-based Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar said, “remember the number one, one, one, one.” While he did not elaborate, it is believed he meant he wants 1,111 Hamas terrorists held in Israel released for every Israeli soldier, and those words came out of his mouth before he could even believe he would be able to abduct Israelis in the hundreds. This added leverage is likely to get him to aim for the release for all prisoners from Israeli facilities, not just some or even most.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli Security