Former Israeli Ambassador speaks in Coarsegold

Yoram Ettinger, a past Minister for Congressional Affairs with the rank of Ambassador serving at Israel’s embassy in Washington, D.C., spoke to a crowd of nearly 350 gathered at the Yosemite Lakes Community Church on Feb. 8, focusing on United States-Israeli ties.

Ettinger warned that there are a number of “policymakers blind to the real Middle East developments.” He explained that no one in the world of business would do business with a team such as Iran and he believes that the United States is making a mistake when it considers “Iran to be worthy, credible partners for negotiation . . . (there is) no freedom of movement or expression in Iran,” Ettinger said.

Demonstrations where U.S. flags are burned and shoes are thrown at pictures of American leaders were examples cited by Ettinger to show the audience how the U.S. is viewed by Iran.

“The world is like a water mattress,” Ettinger said using the analogy to explain the global interrelationships that exist. “Everywhere you push, something pops out somewhere else. Europe has lost it. (They) have no will power to fight, no will power to flex a muscle. The Jewish state (Israel) is the only ally (of the U.S.) . . . it is reliable, predictable and willing to flex a muscle.”

The ties between Israel and the U.S. are beneficial for both nations, Ettinger said. He cited numerous instances as evidence: U.S. special operations units trained in Israel before arrival in Iraq and Afghanistan, more intelligence is provided by Israel to the U.S. than all NATO countries combined, the Israeli playbook with knowledge garnered by warfare in Gaza has been used by the U.S. to study urban warfare.

Citing a number of business ties between the U.S. and Israel, Ettinger noted that some 250 American high tech companies have a presence in Israel, including Intel and Microsoft and Israel is a major customer of the Northrop Grumman plant in Tennessee which manufactures robots used to handle and disarm explosives.

Collaboration between the U.S. and Israel has historical foundations, Ettinger said.

“The countries have shared values, and are facing mutual threats.”

Ettinger aso said Israel is the beachhead for the U.S. in the Middle East.

“Israel acts as the largest U.S. aircraft carrier that does not require a single U.S. boot on the ground,” Ettinger said.

“The more stable America is, the more reassured are American allies,” Ettinger replied to an audience question regarding the influence of oil on the world situation. “Israel and the U.S. need to find energy alternatives not only for the global environment but most importantly for global sanity.”

Following a number of Hebrew songs, retired Marine Colonel John Somerville of North Fork, active in Zion’s Watchmen Ministries, introduced Ettinger with whom he has established a professional and personal friendship. They first met in Texas. Somerville remembers their initial conversation which was about cowboy boots.

At the time of that conversation, Somerville did not realize that Ettinger was the scheduled keynote speaker for the meeting Somerville was to attend.