Yoram Ettinger

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. 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:

US Embassy in Jerusalem enhances US Interest

Feb 26, 2018 — Yoram Ettinger

US Embassy in Jerusalem enhances US Interest
The US decision to comply with the law of the land - the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act – recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and relocating the US Embassy there, enhances the US posture of deterrence, in defiance of threats and pressure, while walking against the grain.

This reasserts the independence of US unilateral diplomatic action, rather than subordinate US interests to multilateral diplomacy, which tends to undermine US interests. Moreover, it challenges the political correctness of the UN, the Department of State and the “elite” media, which have been serial blunderers on Middle East issues.

US Palestinian policy – water or gasoline?

Feb 8, 2018 — Yoram Ettinger

US Palestinian policy – water or gasoline
President Trump’s Palestinian policy aims to avoid the critical errors of his predecessors, who joined the 1993 Oslo Process, which relocated 100,000 PLO members – headed by Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas –- from their terrorist headquarters and bases in Tunisia, Libya, Sudan, Yemen and Lebanon to Gaza, and the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria. It dramatically intensified the terror and hate-education infrastructures of these regions and misrepresented Arafat and Abbas as partners for peaceful-coexistence.

Therefore, it has failed to advance the cause of peace, while undermining US interests.

Israel’s sustained economic growth

Jan 21, 2018 — Yoram Ettinger

Tourism to Israel rose by 24.6% in 2017 and reached a record level of 3.6MN tourists, 800,000 from the USA. Tourism comprises around 2.5% of Israel’s GDP and is a substantial employer – a 35% growth in employment since 2010. (“Economist Intelligence Unit,” January 15, 2018).

Israel’s national debt-to-GDP ratio declines, systematically, from 70.6% in 2008, 69.6% in 2010, 67.1% in 2012 and 64.8% in 2014 to 60.6% in 2016 (Globes Business Daily, January 12, 2018). Israel’s exports are challenged by the appreciation of Israel’s Shekel, reflecting the robust performance of Israel’s economy (e.g., keeping inflation at 1%-3%; 4.1% unemployment, rising GDP and GDP per capita, etc.). In 2017, Israel’s exports surged, for the first time, beyond $100BN ($43BN hightech) – a 5% increase over 2016.

No foreign aid to Palestinians—a US interest!

Jan 7, 2018 — Yoram Ettinger

No foreign aid to Palestinians--a US interest!
President Trump should cut/suspend/terminate foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority and UNRWA, since they have undermined US values and national security interests, by abusing US foreign aid to promote hate-education and terrorism.

President Trump should follow in the footsteps of effective and moral law-enforcement and homeland security authorities, who sustain and intensify their pursuit of criminals and terrorists, in defiance of the latter’s threats to escalate rogue operations. Western national leaders and police chiefs who succumb to—rather than defy and uproot - threats by rogue and criminal elements betray their constituents.

President Trump’s security strategy: the impact on Israel

Dec 21, 2017 — Yoram Ettinger

Israel has been the largest US aircraft carrier
President Trump’s national security strategy – as enunciated on December 18, 2017 - reflects a realistic assessment of clear and present threats to the US, rejecting the politically-correct worldview of the foreign policy establishment, which has been crashed, repeatedly, against the rocks of reality. It provides a prescription for the enhancement of the flourishing, mutually-beneficial US-Israel relationship.

Contrary to the US and West European government, academic and media foreign policy establishment - which are highly critical of Israel and top heavy on wishful-thinking concerning the supposed Arab Spring, ostensible democratization and peaceful coexistence of the Arab World – Trump recognizes the complex and inherently brutal reality of the Middle East. Trump is aware of the lethal threats posed by Shiite (Ayatollahs) and Sunni terrorism and the threats posed by the 2015 Iran Nuclear Agreement.

Relocating US Embassy to Jerusalem – US interest!

Dec 7, 2017 — Yoram Ettinger

Relocating US Embassy to Jerusalem
Recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and relocating the US Embassy to Jerusalem - as prescribed by the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act - represent President Trump’s resolve to focus on US interests, defy Arab pressure/threats, and overrule the politically-correct bureaucracy of the State Department.

Relocating the US Embassy to Jerusalem underscores the resurrection of the US independent unilateral – rather than multinational – action.  It distinguishes the US President, Congress and most Americans from the US foreign policy establishment, the UN worldview, and Europe’s vacillation and cave-in.

Critical lessons of the 1947 Partition Plan

Dec 1, 2017 — Yoram Ettinger

Critical lessons of the 1947 Partition Plan
Past experience tends to repeat itself, creating the most glittering writing on the wall. However, too often it is overlooked by Western policy-makers, who frequently sacrifice long-term interests, strategic complexity and reality-based hope on the altar of short-term convenience, oversimplification and wishful-thinking.

The November 29, 1947 Partition Plan produced a series of long-term geo-strategic lessons—relevant to the 2017 national security of Israel and the US—which have been largely ignored, although they have recurred and have been reaffirmed, systematically, throughout the last 70 years.

Wake up America, Islamic terrorism targets you!

Nov 4, 2017 — Yoram Ettinger

Wake up America, Islamic terrorism targets you!
The claim that the perpetrator of the November 1, 2017 NYC bicycle-path-terror is a “lone wolf” ignores the wider context of Islamic terrorism, oversimplifies and underestimates the threat, alleviates the pressure off anti-US Islamic rogue regimes, and derails counter-terrorism. 

The NYC bicycle-path-terror was carried out by a member of the Islamic “pack of wolves” - not by a “lone wolf”—which has been systematically brainwashed and molded by the most effective production-line of Muslim terrorists: hate-education and incitement conducted by Islamic leaders, educators, social media and imams in mosques (and in US prisons!) in Muslim countries as well as in the US.

Concessions to Palestinians: choking or inflaming terrorism?

Oct 3, 2017 — Yoram Ettinger

In 1949, following Israel’s War of Independence, which overcame an Arab military attempt to eradicate the reborn Jewish State, Prime Minister Ben Gurion was aware that appeasing rogue regimes would provide a tailwind to radicalism and terrorism.  Therefore, he repulsed the aggressive US and global pressure to concede land acquired during a defensive war (“land-for-peace”) to Arab aggressors. Israel’s area was expanded by 50%, to 8,000sqm, and the liberated areas of Western Jerusalem, the Galilee, the Negev and the Triangle were resettled. Thus, Ben Gurion’s rejection of “land-for-peace” upgraded, dramatically, Israel’s posture of deterrence, and motivated the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs-of-Staff, General Omar Bradley, to recommend the upgrading of Israel’s stature to a major strategic ally of the US. That recommendation was rejected by the US State Department, the mentor of “land-for-peace.”

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.