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.

The 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 years ago.

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 minister.

“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.

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