Netflix’s Heretics and Their Descent into the Postmodern Abyss

In the past year, Netflix has brought its subscribers the film The Awakening of Motti Wolkenbruch and the series Unorthodox, each of which tells the story of a young Jew who find his or her way out of an insular Orthodox community. Roy Pinchot, reviewing both, writes:

Both Unorthodox and The Awakening of Motti Wolkenbruch present the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community as an exotic, picturesque, and quasi-primitive society, out of touch with modern values and modern culture. [The two productions] portray only the weaknesses of this society—never attempting to show its strengths. . . . These stories attack the ultra-Orthodox community through ridicule and parody of the parents, rabbis, and adherents, all of whom are turned into a source of laughter. They possess little wisdom, and even less virtue, which gives the writer and director license to extricate the hero or heroine from this outdated prison and bring him and her to the delights of postmodern virtues and morals.

What are the idealized postmodern virtues and morals of these films, and who is the new Moses who leads the hero or heroine into the promised land? After the audience sees how controlling these religious societies are, and how they narrow the expectations of the adherents and surround them with rules, laws, and authority figures, the hero or heroine meets a representative of the outside modern world, whose life appears to be enlightened and superior. This angel of opportunity leads our protagonist out of the community and toward the promise of personal fulfillment. In this outside world, the main character undergoes a detoxing process that involves sexual activity as an expression of his or her new “freedom.”

Toward the end of Motti’s awakening, he visits a dying friend and fortuneteller, who helps him reframe his recent rejection of family, friends, and religion: “Everything is now possible,” he explains. There are no limits. In Habits of the Heart, the author Robert Bellah notes that “Progress, modernity’s master idea, seems less compelling when it appears that it may be progress into the abyss.” At the end of the movie, Motti sits on a park bench alone, having given up everything that had meaning in his life. He does not realize that a future without limits may mean descent into the abyss.

Read more at First Things

More about: Heresy, Judaism, Television, Ultra-Orthodox

Hizballah Is Learning Israel’s Weak Spots

On Tuesday, a Hizballah drone attack injured three people in northern Israel. The next day, another attack, targeting an IDF base, injured eighteen people, six of them seriously, in Arab al-Amshe, also in the north. This second attack involved the simultaneous use of drones carrying explosives and guided antitank missiles. In both cases, the defensive systems that performed so successfully last weekend failed to stop the drones and missiles. Ron Ben-Yishai has a straightforward explanation as to why: the Lebanon-backed terrorist group is getting better at evading Israel defenses. He explains the three basis systems used to pilot these unmanned aircraft, and their practical effects:

These systems allow drones to act similarly to fighter jets, using “dead zones”—areas not visible to radar or other optical detection—to approach targets. They fly low initially, then ascend just before crashing and detonating on the target. The terrain of southern Lebanon is particularly conducive to such attacks.

But this requires skills that the terror group has honed over months of fighting against Israel. The latest attacks involved a large drone capable of carrying over 50 kg (110 lbs.) of explosives. The terrorists have likely analyzed Israel’s alert and interception systems, recognizing that shooting down their drones requires early detection to allow sufficient time for launching interceptors.

The IDF tries to detect any incoming drones on its radar, as it had done prior to the war. Despite Hizballah’s learning curve, the IDF’s technological edge offers an advantage. However, the military must recognize that any measure it takes is quickly observed and analyzed, and even the most effective defenses can be incomplete. The terrain near the Lebanon-Israel border continues to pose a challenge, necessitating technological solutions and significant financial investment.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Hizballah, Iron Dome, Israeli Security