Israel plans to name an Arrow defense missile facility after deceased former US
senator Daniel Inouye for his contribution to Israel, marking the first time
Israel has named a military facility after a non-Israeli.
“I knew Inouye
for 30 years, and he was Israel’s greatest supporter in Congress,” Robert Asher,
a former president of AIPAC, told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.
ceremony is scheduled to take place on January 14 at a secret military facility,
and Inouye’s wife, Irene, will be the honored special guest of the Defense
Ministry. The following day, she will present the inauguration of a scholarship
in Inouye’s memory at the Israel Arts and Science Academy in Jerusalem – an
elite charter high school that Asher and his wife, Mary Jane, founded over 20
The school combines the humanities and sciences and has
students from all sectors of Israeli society.
Asher, who is helping
coordinate the events, said that after Inouye died in 2012, the former AIPAC
president had told Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that the country should do
something in his memory.
Asher speaks passionately about Inouye, an
honored World War II veteran, recalling how he developed a dedication to Jews
and Judaism after studying their history. At one point, Inouye told Asher that
he had even considered converting to Judaism.
“The Jews are a remarkable
people,” Inouye had told him.
Asher recalled that the senator “had a
mezuza on the doors of all five of his offices,” as well as “something Israeli
in each of them.”
He recounted a conversation he had witnessed in the
mid-1980s between Inouye and Shimon Peres, when the latter was prime
“We speak kind of Israel in Congress and loan to Israel at high
interest rates, but give grants to others – that is not right,” Inouye told Peres.
“Mr. Prime Minister, I have studied the
situation – there will be no more loans to Israel,” he declared – implying that
from then on, Israel would be receiving grants.
“Peres’s jaw dropped, and
he turned white,” said Asher. “Think how much [aid] Israel has gotten all
together. [Inouye] was the guy who started it.”
The Arrow system combines
“Israeli brains and US finance,” he said, insisting that without Inouye, there
would have been no US aid.