Replacing the Crosses on the Gravestones of American Jews Who Died Fighting Fascism

Yesterday, Americans recalled the sacrifices of their compatriots who, from the Revolutionary War until the present day, have given their lives to defend their country. Jamie Betesh Carter reports on the accomplishments of Operation Benjamin, an organization dedicated to making sure the memory of the Jews among them is properly preserved:

Shalom Lamm, Operation Benjamin’s CEO, grew up in Manhattan and always had an obsession with U.S. military history, so much so that while working full time and raising five children he went back to school and received a master’s degree in American military history. Around the same time, a rabbi and Lamm’s close friend named Jacob J. Schacter led a small tour through France, where he visited the Normandy American Cemetery. He returned from the trip and let Lamm know that while he was very moved by the experience, he expected to see more Stars of David in the cemetery.

Lamm and Schacter assumed that many fallen Jewish soldiers were mistakenly buried under Latin crosses, and conducted an experiment to see if their theory was true. . . . “It turns out there are thirteen World War II cemeteries, and in at least twelve of them there are hundreds of Jewish soldiers buried under crosses, mistakenly,” [said Lamm]. It was then, in 2020, that Operation Benjamin was created. . . . Lamm left his career in real estate to become CEO of this new nonprofit. Lamm estimates that there are between 400 and 500 Jewish soldiers mistakenly buried under crosses. Their goal is to find Jewish soldiers at American military cemeteries, and give them a proper Jewish burial and headstone.

This month, for Memorial Day 2023, Operation Benjamin will be leading a mission of over 60 participants to correct historical errors at the Normandy American Cemetery and Brittany American Cemetery in France. Soon they’ll be working to change the graves of American Jewish soldiers buried in Italy and England. “We’ve changed 23 headstones so far, and we have another 30 or so that are under active investigation,” said Lamm. “And as we go through those, we will continue further and further.”

Read more at Tablet

More about: American Jewry, Jewish cemeteries, Jews in the military, World War II

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