On Sunday evening, Jews around the world began celebrating Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. As they begin the year 5783, we are going to discuss the threats faced by the children of Israel, both here at home and around the world.

The Home Front is the Front Line

Earlier this week, if you drove by a Jewish community center or house of worship, you may have noticed a police presence. In fact, you may have noticed this presence during any recent Friday evening or Saturday morning Jewish worship service. In the wake of a credible threat that shut down all Jewish gatherings recently in San Antonio and the massive increase in violent antisemitic incidents in the U.S., law enforcement’s presence at Jewish communal institutions is necessary and vital.

We are the land of the free because we are the home of the brave. At the CUFI Action Fund, we are deeply grateful to those in uniform who ensure we can worship God as we see fit. It is a sad commentary on our society today, that for American Jews to worship God as they see fit, a visible law enforcement presence is required – but that is the reality.

That is why we have long backed increased funding for the federal government’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP), which enables houses of worship and other entities to receive the financial support necessary for hardening these targets, hiring local security, and the like. During the most recent appropriations process, this funding was increased to $250 million.

This would not have happened without the support of a wide swath of Americans expressing their approval of this funding. In other words, this wouldn’t have happened without you and people like you. So, if you happen to drive by a Jewish community facility in the coming weeks and you notice an increased level of security, know that you played a pivotal role in keeping the people inside that house of God safe and free.

The Green Line

In 1949 when Israel’s War of Independence concluded, the armistice line drawn on the map between then Jordanian-controlled territory and the fledgling State of Israel was written in green pencil. That is why, today, we refer to the line along the West Bank/Judea and Samaria as the Green Line. But let’s be clear, its existence is a modern invention. Moreover, Arabs and Israelis live on both sides of this line. The difference is that the Arabs that live on the side that in 1949 was controlled by Israel, enjoy full human and civil rights. Sadly, the Arabs who live inside now Palestinian Authority (PA) controlled territory suffer at the hands of their corrupt and autocratic PA rulers.

Hamas, the terrorist organization that controls the Gaza Strip, would like nothing more than to take over PA-controlled territory in the West Bank. Now, to be clear, this is not because they want to help the Palestinians living there. If one wants to know what Hamas would do with such territory, one needs to look only to Gaza, where the population lives in poverty while the terrorist rulers live in splendor and launch attacks against Israel.

It is, therefore, alarming that, as of late, Hamas has been more than toying with the idea of launching terror attacks against Israel from the West Bank. In fact, Israel’s security services recently arrested several Hamas-affiliated terrorists in Judea and Samaria who had engaged in a shooting attack against Israelis.

Israel will do everything in its power to stop Hamas from taking over PA-controlled territory, not because the PA is that much better, but because the PA is marginally less violent than Hamas. For example, while the PA encourages acts of terrorism, we do not see many rockets fired from PA-controlled territory. Israel has established a certain level of deterrence with the PA – Hamas, less so. Sometimes one must choose between the lesser of two evils, and make no mistake, both the PA and Hamas are evil, but if Hamas gains a militarily significant foothold in the West Bank, the Middle East will see a war with significant casualties.

Way Over the Line

Some of you may have seen Iranian President (and mass murderer) Ebrahim Raisi’s speech last week at the United Nations. Don’t worry, if you didn’t catch it, you didn’t miss much. In a nutshell, Raisi still hates the U.S., Israel, freedom, liberty, and puppies (ok, we may have made the last one up).

Perhaps the most nauseating element of the speech was Raisi’s unbridled hypocrisy. There he stood, a man whose country is currently in the throes of (God-willing successful) protests against Iran’s autocratic, theocratic, and kleptocratic regime, admonishing the world for all the wrongs he feels we’ve committed.

Raisi stood on the world’s stage lecturing the planet on human rights while at home, his regime was offering a master class on how to abuse them. Moreover, Raisi delivered his repugnant remarks while his regime, not content just to murder women who don’t dress the “right” way, is actively seeking to murder American citizens, including former American officials, right here in the U.S.

It is for this reason that the CUFI Action Fund is supporting the PUNISH Act, led by Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Rep. Michael Waltz (R-FL), which would prevent “the Biden administration from re-entering the Iran Nuclear Agreement until the U.S. can certify that Iran has not planned any assassination attempts on Americans for five years.”

In the press release announcing the bill, CUFI Action Fund Chairwoman Sandra Parker had this to say, “The PUNISH Act will help ensure that no administration can sweep Iran's malign activities under the rug for the sake of political expediency. The nuclear deal currently being negotiated will do nothing to stop Iran's global reign of terror. The full force of American sanctions should and must be enforced against Iran as they continue their efforts to kill American officials and Iranian dissidents both here at home and abroad.”

Reports are already out that some in Congress want to block this law, and that leaves us scratching our heads…. Is certifying that Americans aren’t being targeted for murder before making a deal with Tehran too high a bar?

We’re living in a country where our Jewish neighbors need police protection from neo-Nazis, and those who choose to serve in government need police protection from would-be Iranian assassins. Let’s do something about it. Let’s continue to support funding for the NSGP, and let’s pass the PUNISH Act, sending a message throughout the world that we don’t make deals with those who seek to murder our countrymen.


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