On September 6, 2007, Israeli jets destroyed a nuclear reactor in the Syrian desert, provoking neither international condemnation nor significant retaliation. By coincidence, just after the tenth-year anniversary of this bombing, the IDF appears to have destroyed another Syrian installation producing dangerous weapons. Gabriel Scheinmann revisits the dramatic story of Israel’s bringing intelligence about the reactor to President George W. Bush, the Bush administration’s choice not to act, and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s decision to solve the problem without U.S. support—a story that has significant implications for today’s concerns about Iran and North Korea. (Interview by Jonathan Silver. Audio, 57 minutes.)
Ten Years Ago, Israel Stopped Bashar al-Assad’s Syria from Becoming Another North Korea
The Movement to Return Jewish Worship to the Temple Mount Has Gone Mainstream
During the eruption of violence against Israelis in Jerusalem this summer, and the subsequent struggle over metal detectors, the Islamic authorities briefly boycotted the Temple Mount. As a result, Jewish visitors, normally prohibited from praying there, immediately began to do so. Meir Soloveichik puts the episode in context and describes its meaning:
The Temple Mount is fast becoming a pilgrimage site for religious Jews. In the past, most abstained from visiting out of concern that they might enter a sacred area in a state of ritual impurity, but many now believe that, with a knowledge of the layout, history, and religious laws pertaining to the location, it is permissible to visit certain parts of the Temple Mount plaza. They thus visit the site under religious guidance—immersing first in a ritual bath, or mikveh—and tread only in specific areas. What was once a trickle of pilgrims has become a stream, and this year they numbered in the many thousands. . . .
[Indeed, a] sea change has taken place in the past fifteen years: . . . the segment of Jews visiting the Temple Mount is becoming more and more mainstream, supported by rabbis noted for their liberalism in social or religious affairs. . . .
Visiting Jews were, for a brief and brilliant moment [this summer], able to utter several words of prayer without interference. The Israeli media published photos of a diverse group of Jews standing on the Temple Mount reciting the kaddish, so close to where their ancestors, on Yom Kippur, had once stood listening to the high priest pronounce the Name of God. Soon after this kaddish, the [status quo ante] returned; Jews again were no longer free to pray at the site toward which all Jewish prayer has been directed for thousands of years. But images of that one unimpeded kaddish remain; to study them is to look back on the miraculous and heartbreaking past half-century in Jerusalem, to celebrate what has been achieved, and to mourn what might have been.