Yoram Ettinger


Yoram Ettinger photo
Ambassador (Retired) Yoram Ettinger is an insider on US-Israel relations, Mideast politics and overseas investments in Israel's high tech. He is a consultant to members of the Israeli Cabinet and Knesset, and regularly briefs US legislators and their staff. His OpEds have been published in Israel and the US he has been interviewed in both Australia and the U.S. A graduate of UCLA and undergraduate at UTEP, he served amongst other things, as Minister for Congressional Affairs at Israel's Embassy in Washington. He is the editor of "Straight from the Jerusalem Cloakroom and Boardroom" newsletters on issues of national security and overseas investments in Israel's high-tech.

Most Recent Articles by Yoram Ettinger:

Islamic terrorism—extrinsic or intrinsic?

Sep 19, 2017 — Yoram Ettinger

Since September 11, 2001, there have been 31,722 Islamic terrorist attacks, mostly hitting Muslims. In August, 2017, there were 180 Islamic terrorist attacks in 32 countries, resulting in 1,014 murdered and 1,090 injured.

Christianity is on the verge of extinction in the Middle East. In the past century, over 50% of Middle East Christians emigrated or were killed. According to the May 13, 2015 US House Foreign Affairs Committee testimony, “Christianity could be eradicated from large swaths of the Middle East in the next five years…. In the last decade, the Christian community in Iraq has plummeted from 1.5 million to under 300,000, half of whom are displaced…. [In Muslim countries], there is also real persecution of [Muslim] Yazidis, Turkomen, Shia and Sunni….”


Israeli hightech attracts more overseas investors

Sep 9, 2017 — Yoram Ettinger

During 2016, overseas investment in Israel totaled $12.6BN - a 7% increase over 2015, while overseas investment in the world declined by 2%.  320 overseas multinationals operate in Israel, spending 50% of their research & development budget in Israel, employing 50,000 people. 200 multinationals perform both production and R & D operations in Israel. During the last decade, there has been an annual increase of 30 multinationals entering Israel, compared to a 10-company-increase a decade ago (Globes, September 7, 2017).

Japan’s Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma (MTPC) acquired Israel’s NeuroDerm, which developed drug treatments for Parkinson’s disease, for $1.1BN in cash—the largest ever buyout of an Israeli pharmaceutical company. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit (August 2, 2017), “the flow of deals [in Israel’s hightech sector] seems to be increasing steadily. On July 25, 2017, five separate acquisitions totaling $135MN were announced, and capital raising by Israeli companies totaled $1.26BN in the 2nd quarter of 2017, compared to $1.8BN in the peak, 4th quarter of 2016.¬† The Mitsubishi purchase reflects the growing involvement of Japanese multinationals in Israel, especially in technology companies.


US anti-Semitism superseded by civic foundations

Aug 27, 2017 — Yoram Ettinger

Contrary to European anti-Semitism, the recent episodes of anti-Semitism in the US—such as hundreds of white supremacists, bearing torches and giving the Nazi salute - represent a negligible American minority, religiously, socially, ethnically and politically. These episodes defy the civic, moral and religious foundations of the US, as well as the US political, media and civic discourse, which have demonstrated high esteem for Judaism from the era of the early Pilgrims, through the Founding Fathers until today.

The Colonial Origin of the American Constitution, by University of Houston Prof. Donald Lutz, highlights “the continuity from the [November 11, 1620] Mayflower Compact to the American state and national constitutions of the late eighteenth century, [which] clearly evolves from basic symbols in the Judeo-Christian tradition…. Protestants writing [constitutional] documents viewed their work as equivalent to the Jewish biblical covenants… between God and his chosen people…. The political compact eventually evolved into what we now recognize as the American form of constitutionalism….”


Quo Vadis the Arab Tsunami (a.k.a. “the Arab Spring”)?

Aug 21, 2017 — Yoram Ettinger

Where is the Arab Middle East heading following the 2010-2017 disintegration of Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen and Sudan; the toppling of several Arab regimes; the estimated toll of 400,000 fatalities and six million refugees, resulting from intra-Arab conflicts; the proliferation of Islamic Sunni terrorism; the unprecedented power-projection surge by Iran’s Shiite Ayatollahs; the approaching Sunni and Shiite terrorist machetes to the throat of the House of Saud and all other pro-US Arab regimes; and the intensified squashing of human rights in every Arab country, all ruled by minority-regimes?

The raging Arab Tsunami of the last 6.5 years – referred to by the Western establishment as the Arab Spring – has further destabilized the one-bullet, provisional, Arab regimes, characterized by tenuous policies and uncertain bilateral and multilateral intra-Arab agreements.


Reality vs. political correctness

Aug 16, 2017 — Yoram Ettinger

An historical divide exists between short-term convenience and long-term national security. The former adds fuel to the Arab-Israeli fire, as evidenced by the litany of genuine Western (mostly US) peace initiatives – all of them failed, attempting to subordinate reality to oversimplification, frustrating expectations, and therefore intensifying terrorism and injuring Western stature. The only two successful attempts, so far, were Israeli initiatives of direct negotiation with Egypt and Jordan.


Arabs marginalize the Palestinian issue

Aug 6, 2017 — Yoram Ettinger

The Al-Aqsa Mosque controversy has exposed, once again, the non-centrality of the Palestinian issue in the overall Arab order of priorities.

Contrary to Western media headlines, Arab policy-makers and the Arab Street are not focused on Palestinian rights and Al Aqsa, but on their own chaotic, raging local and regional challenges, which are not related to the Palestinian issue.


Israel - a cybersecurity powerhouse

Jul 21, 2017 — Yoram Ettinger

According to the June 15, 2017 Wall Street Journal, six Israeli startups (three in the cybersecurity sector) are among the top 25 tech companies, which may be the global leaders of tomorrow.

According to Forbes Magazine, Israel has become a cybersecurity powerhouse, creating more than 300 cybersecurity startups, exporting in 2016 $6.5BN in cybersecurity products, convincing more than 30 multinationals to establish local research & development centers in Israel and attracting foreign investors. According to Forbes, there are six reasons leading to Israel’s prominence in the world of cybersecurity: the close government-military-business-academia interaction; government support of early-stage cybersecurity startups; Israel’s military as a startup incubator and accelerator, combining research and operation; investing in human capital (e.g., cybersecurity is an elective high school matriculation exam, and operating six university cybersecurity research centers); Israel’s overall inter-disciplined and diverse human factor enhanced through military service and interaction with global giants; Israel’s constant need to defy security and commercial odds.


Obstacles to peace: a politically-incorrect diagnosis

Jul 18, 2017 — Yoram Ettinger

Political-correctness suggests that the resolution of the Palestinian issue is predicated upon a dramatic Israeli land-concession and the establishment of a Palestinian state: the two state solution.

Moreover, political-correctness has subordinated Middle East reality and long term national security to the achievement of the holy grail of peaceful-coexistence between Jews and Arabs west of the Jordan River.  In the process, the “holy grailers” have oversimplified the highly-complex, unpredictable, violent, intolerant, fragmented Middle East.  This is the same school of thought, which applauded the 1993 (Oslo Accord) and 2005 (uprooting all Jews from Gaza) sweeping Israeli concessions—which, in fact, escalated terror, war and hate education—and misperceived the Arab Tsunami, in 2011, as an “Arab Spring,” the “Youth Revolution” and the “transition towards democracy.”


US pressure on Israel? No need to panic!

Jun 26, 2017 — Yoram Ettinger

Can Israel afford to defy US presidential pressure to concede land, which is historically and militarily critical to the future of the Jewish State?

US presidential pressure has been an integral part of the US-Israel saga since 1948. However, in retrospect, US pressure on Israel has been based on erroneous assessments of the Middle East, failing to advance the cause of peace, as evidenced by the only two peace accords (between Israel and Egypt and Jordan), which were the result of direct Israeli initiatives, not US pressure.

In fact, US pressure on Israel has forced Arabs to outflank the US from the maximalist side, causing further setbacks to the peace process.


Israel’s economy - persistent defiance of conventional wisdom

Jun 15, 2017 — Yoram Ettinger

In defiance of the jagged cutting edge of the Middle East, the inherent regional unpredictability, uncertainty, instability, violence, brutal Islamic intolerance of the “infidel” and the lack of formal diplomatic relations with most of its neighbors, Israel has displayed a unique level of resilience, steadfastness, stability and creativity.


The Palestinian-North Korean Connection

Jun 12, 2017 — Yoram Ettinger

A thorough examination of the track record of the Palestinian Authority, the PLO, Fatah (all three headed by Mahmoud Abbas) and Hamas is a prerequisite for a realistic assessment of the nature of the proposed Palestinian state and its potential impact upon vital US interests in the Middle East.

North Korea has scrutinized these terror organizations since their inception, in 1959 (Fatah), and has identified the significant, long-term, geo-political synergies between them and Pyongyang. Hence, the systematic and elaborate geo-strategic cooperation, since 1966, between one of the most repressive, terroristic and anti-US regimes in the world and the Palestinian terror organizations, which have been systematically anti-American, role-models of international and intra-Arab terrorism, subversion and treachery. Similarly to North Korea, they forged alliances with the USSR and the ruthless East European communist regimes, collaborated with Iran’s Ayatollahs, fomenting egregious systems of hate-education, incitement and repression.


The 1967 Six Day War mega-bonus to the USA

May 25, 2017 — Yoram Ettinger

The expanded strategic cooperation between Israel, Saudi Arabia and other pro-US Arab Gulf States in 2017 – in the face of clear, present and lethal threats posed by Iran’s Ayatollahs and Islamic terrorism - has its roots in the June, 1967 Six Day War and the civil war in Yemen during the early 1960s.

The impact of the June, 1967 Six Day War transcended the Arab-Israeli conflict.  It highlighted Israel as a unique national security producer for the US, extending the strategic hand of the US and upgrading the US posture of deterrence, without requiring US personnel and bases.


Secretary Tillerson’s political correctness

May 19, 2017 — Yoram Ettinger

While the election of President Trump represented a setback to political-correctness, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s interview on May 14, 2017 NBC’s Meet the Pressreflected the State Department’s political correctness on US-Israel and US-Arab relations, the Palestinian issue and the relocation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem.

The interview may have sent a message of US procrastination on the relocation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem, the ancient core of Judaism and Jewish history, which inspired the early US Pilgrims and Founding Fathers. Procrastination would be interpreted by Arabs as US retreat in the face of Arab pressure and threats, eroding the US posture of deterrence, triggering further pressure and emboldening anti-US Islamic terrorism.


Israel’s economy surges against all odds

May 4, 2017 — Yoram Ettinger

Intel acquired Mobileye, Israel’s auto-tech giant, for $15.3BN (Globes, March 13, 2017) The British equity firm, APAX, acquired Israel’s medical equipment Syneron for $397MN (Globes, April 30). The New Jersey-based Becton-Dickinson, the medical equipment giant, acquired Israel’s CME for $250mn (Globes, April 5). Palo Alto acquired Israel’s LightCyber for $130mn. In 2014,, Palo Alto acquired Israel’s Cyvera for $112mn (Globes, March 1) The Washington, DC-based Danaher acquired Israel’s printing quality inspection AVT for $107mn (Globes, March 6). The New York-based event-ticketing giant, SeatGeek, acquired Israel’s TopTix for $56mn (Globes, April 20).  


Convergence of US-Israel national security interests

Apr 30, 2017 — Yoram Ettinger

In 2017, the national security interests of the US and Israel have converged, in an unprecedented manner, in response to the anti-US Arab Tsunami; anti-US Islamic terrorism; the declining European posture of deterrence; drastic cuts in the US defense budget; an increasingly unpredictable, dangerous globe; Israel’s surge of military and commercial capabilities and US-Israel shared values.

Contrary to conventional wisdom—and traditional State Department policy - US-Israel and US-Arab relations are not a case of zero-sum-game. This is currently demonstrated by enhanced US-Israel strategic cooperation, concurrently with expanded security cooperation between Israel and Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and other pro-US Arab countries, as well as stronger cooperation between the US and those same Arab countries. Unlike the simplistic view of the Middle East, Arab policy-makers are well aware of their priorities, especially when the radical Islamic machete is at their throats. They are consumed by internal and external intra-Muslim, intra-Arab violence, which have bled and dominated the Arab agenda, prior to - and irrespective of - the Palestinian issue, which has never been a core cause of regional turbulence, a crown-jewel of Arab policy-making, nor the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict.