Former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Yoram Ettinger recently spoke to a gathering at the Chabad Center for Jewish Life and Learning in Oklahoma City. The event began with a presentation by Rabbi Ovadia Goldman, who told the attendee that the upcoming Jewish holiday of Passover was an occasion for them to embrace the children of God, which is all of humanity.
Ettinger spoke of the ties between Israel and the United States that originated with the pilgrims who analogized their departure from England to the new world to the ancient Hebrews’ flight out of Egypt into the promised land. He reported that there are many places in the U.S. that were named after Jewish communities that were referenced in the Old Testament and that they include Hebron, Jerusalem and Salem.
He reported that many of the U.S. Special Forces received training in Israel and that he recently spoke with a member of a U.S. Army Special Forces Unit who told him that his training in Israel prepared him for his tour of duty in Afghanistan.
The U.S. Army College in Leavenworth, Kan., has hosted many Israeli military officers over the last several decades, Ettinger said.
The former ambassador was recently in Fort Worth where the F-16 fighter jet is manufactured and he was told there that many modifications to that aircraft have been in accordance with advice received from Israeli Air Force pilots who fly them in the Middle East.
He also told of a tour he took of a plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., that manufactures robots that can locate explosive devices and he was advised that the fact that Israel purchases them has resulted in many other nations buying them as well.
Israel’s economy is growing with many hi-tech businesses and many of them are operated by U.S. firms.
Ettinger reported that there are more than 300 American hi-tech firms doing business in Israel and that IBM has 13 operations there .
The “Sage of Omaha,” Warren Buffett, of Berkshire Investments, made his first overseas investment in the Jewish State in 2006. Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google, has recently invested there as well, according to Ettinger.
Other nations, including the United Kingdom and Turkey have also invested in Israel, he reported.
Last year, oil and gas deposits were found off of the Mediterranean coast of Israel and the diplomat said that oil and gas firms in Oklahoma could possibly be working with Israel to develop those resources.
A reception followed Ettinger’s presentation that included wines from Israel. The attendees included Oklahoma State legislators Randy McDaniel, Paul Wesselhoft and Lee Denney and many other supporters of Israel.
William F. O’Brien is an Oklahoma City attorney.