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We are blessed . . .

As many of your readers know, Michael Oren, Israeli ambassador to the United States, spoke at the Jewish Community Campus on Jan. 28 as a guest of Jewish Community Relations Bureau|American Jewish Committee. He gave a factual and informative account of what is happening in Israel today. He touched upon the many serious threats facing Israel today from her neighbors as well as the near miraculous events that have propelled Israel from the day of its birth in May 1948 to the powerhouse that it is today, both economically and militarily, in spite of the uncertainties that have haunted the Jewish state since in inception.

The next day Ambassador Oren visited the Command Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth. He was given a personal tour of the facility by the commanding general, Lt. Gen. David Perkins. This beautiful $115 million facility houses some of the most sophisticated educational, technical and planning tools anywhere.

Ambassador Oren was accompanied by Maj. Gen. Yaacov Ayish, defense attaché Israeli embassy; Col. Eyal Rosen, IDF military attaché, Israeli embassy; and Roey Gilad, Counsel General of Israel in Chicago. I had the unique opportunity of attending thanks to Lt. Col. Uzi Klieger, who attended as well, and represents the IDF this year at the Command and General Staff College (CGSC) at Fort Leavenworth.

The purpose of this visit was to promote future strategic alliances with the U.S. military. Ambassador Oren touched upon this topic during his presentation and remarked that the level of cooperation between the United States and Israel was exemplary. The visit to Fort Leavenworth was meant to bring the relationship to even higher levels of cooperation.

Oren was given the opportunity to address more than 200 “students” at the School of Advanced Military Studies (SAMS). These individuals all have the rank of major or higher and represent more than 13 different countries. All these individuals have already graduated from the CGSC and this education represents a master’s degree in military art and science. Graduates are known as “Jedi Knights” and since the school’s inception SAMS planners have supported every major U.S. military campaign, providing the army “with many of its top campaign planners for the late 20th and early 21st centuries.”

What was remarkable and why we are so blessed is the nature of 60-minute talk delivered by Ambassador Oren. The diplomat, a famed historian and without any written notes, delivered a stirring address of the history of the U.S. relationship with the Middle East, pre-Israel Palestine, and now the State of Israel.

The author of “Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East: 1776 to the Present,” which I highly recommend, Oren addressed a long list of topics, too long to present here. He emphasized the strong scientific and economic ties between our two countries and made note of the fact that Israel is one of only a handful of countries, including the United States, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, that have never known a day of non-democratic rule, in spite of the many crises Israel has faced over the years.

The entire audience, the future military leaders of the free world, was riveted. He made his point. Our mutual history is long and enduring. We are blessed to have such an individual representing Israel and Jews across the globe!

Larry Nussbaum is a supporter of Israel and an adviser of AIPAC Kansas.