OpinionU.S.-Israel Relations

Sovereignty now: ‘Just do it’

The time to apply Israeli law to Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley has come. The longer one waits, the more the naysayers have time to apply pressure and make trouble.

U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman with leaders of local councils in Judea and Samaria during a visit to Efrat on February 20, 2020. Photo by Gershon Elinson/Flash90.
U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman with leaders of local councils in Judea and Samaria during a visit to Efrat on February 20, 2020. Photo by Gershon Elinson/Flash90.
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Joseph Frager
Dr. Joseph Frager is a lifelong activist and physician. He is chairman of Israel advocacy for the Rabbinical Alliance of America, chairman of the executive committee of American Friends of Ateret Cohanim and executive vice president of the Israel Heritage Foundation.

Nike came up with a great saying, used in all of its advertisements, which has had a profound influence on the world: “Just do it.”

“Just do it” is what I say to the administrations of Israel and the United States in relation to the application of Israeli sovereignty to parts of Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley. This is the right time. The longer one waits, the more the naysayers have time to apply pressure and make trouble.

Looking back at the move of the American embassy to Jerusalem and the recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, one can see that U.S. President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not allow critics enough time to complain publicly and gain steam. They just flat out did it.

Once the moves were done, there was barely a whimper from all the various factions now entering the fray.

Netanyahu’s announcement that he was holding off, even though he had vowed to begin it on July 1, just took some wind out of sovereignty’s sails. Not for too long, I hope.

It is important to point out that all the opposing forces have ulterior motives. Once sovereignty is applied to Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley, they will stop flexing their laryngeal muscles.

Let’s start with the Gulf States. Thus far, only the UAE has piped up and publicly criticized “annexation.”

The overriding concern about and fear of Iran dictates how the Gulf States behave vis-à-vis Israel. Once “sovereignty” is applied, the dependence on Israel and the United States for protection against Iranian aggression will rule the day. Therefore, there is no need to worry about the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar or Oman getting in the way.

As far as U.S. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her comrades blasting Israel are concerned, what else is new? She jumps on the anti-Israel bandwagon every chance she gets. Most Democrats do not agree with her stance on Israel. This conceivably could change, which is even more reason to get the job done now, while Israel has the most gracious, giving and sympathetic president ever to be in the White House.

As for Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz: He had agreed to extend sovereignty as part of his working agreement with Netanyahu going into negotiations for the current national-unity government. Though he seems to be backing off and attaching conditions, such as saying that Jordan has to agree to the move, he eventually will have to fulfill his promise. He knows full well that Netanyahu will not hesitate to call for a fourth election.

Then comes British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, a true friend of Israel’s. I believe that his opposition to “annexation” is based purely on his post-COVID-19 struggles in the United Kingdom. He lost significant power as a result of the coronavirus crisis, and he is trying to shore up support in a country many of whose citizens despise Israel, no matter what the Jewish state does. It is also a country that has a large Muslim population.

Where Trump is concerned, sovereignty can only help his re-election. For starters, it would continue his practice of fulfilling all promises to Israel that his predecessors failed to keep. His unwavering support for Israel will be one of the greatest crowning achievements of his presidency. Israel’s applying of sovereignty would make his legacy that much stronger.

Although The New York Times downplays the significance of “annexation” to evangelical Christians, this is far from the truth. “Annexation” will fire up his base like nobody’s business. He needs them to come out to vote like never before.

It will also increase his support among Jewish voters. Though he has overwhelming support among Orthodox voters, his strong pro-Israel moves have caught the attention of quite a few non-Orthodox voters in key battleground states, just as former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani did in 1993, when he captured 60 percent of the Jewish vote. He was able to push this to 72 percent in 1997 because of his pro-Israel stand.

I believe that the president can improve from 24 percent of the Jewish vote in 2016 to a much higher percentage this time around. The Jewish vote can tip the balance in Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

“Annexation,” or sovereignty as I prefer to call it, indeed can provide the impetus and momentum for Trump to triumph in November. So, please, let’s “just do it.”

Dr. Joseph Frager is first vice president of the National Council of Young Israel.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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