Yuval Waldman, the Violinist Who Made Israeli Tank Operators Weep in the Sinai

On February 1, the conductor and violinist Yuval Waldman—a protégé of Isaac Stern—died at the age of seventy-four. Besides being an accomplished performer, Waldman dedicated much of his energy to reviving the works of Jewish composers who were murdered in the Shoah, or whose work was suppressed by Soviet tyranny. Neil Genzlinger recounts some episodes from his remarkable life:

Vladimir Waldman was born on December 21, 1946, in Lvov, which was then part of the Soviet Union (and is now in western Ukraine, with the name usually rendered Lviv). He changed his first name to Yuval after the family had settled in Israel, taking the name of a figure from the Hebrew Bible associated with music.

In July 1973 Mr. Waldman interrupted his career to join the reserves of the Israel Defense Forces. Because of all of the languages he had mastered through his multinational upbringing and touring, he was assigned to the intelligence unit. His musical skills had gotten him assigned to the entertainment unit as well. When the Yom Kippur War broke out that October . . . he was assigned to play for tank units in Sinai.

Waldman’s son, [Ariel], said he told the story of the time he clambered onto a tank when a commander ordered him to play something to soothe the troops after a particularly intense bombing. He played Bach. Many in the unit were recent Moroccan immigrants to Israel and had not heard Bach before.

“My father remembered a moment when he was playing the Chaconne of Bach’s Partita No. 2 in D Minor,” Ariel Waldman said, “and looked up to see tears streaming down their faces in the dust.”

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Read more at New York Times

More about: Bach, East European Jewry, Jewish music, Moroccan Jewry, Music, Yom Kippur War

 

As Vladimir Putin Sidles Up to the Mullahs, the Threat to the U.S. and Israel Grows

On Tuesday, Russia launched an Iranian surveillance satellite into space, which the Islamic Republic will undoubtedly use to increase the precision of its military operations against its enemies. The launch is one of many indications that the longstanding alliance between Moscow and Tehran has been growing stronger and deeper since the Kremlin’s escalation in Ukraine in February. Nicholas Carl, Kitaneh Fitzpatrick, and Katherine Lawlor write:

Presidents Vladimir Putin and Ebrahim Raisi have spoken at least four times since the invasion began—more than either individual has engaged most other world leaders. Putin visited Tehran in July 2022, marking his first foreign travel outside the territory of the former Soviet Union since the war began. These interactions reflect a deepening and potentially more balanced relationship wherein Russia is no longer the dominant party. This partnership will likely challenge U.S. and allied interests in Europe, the Middle East, and around the globe.

Tehran has traditionally sought to purchase military technologies from Moscow rather than the inverse. The Kremlin fielding Iranian drones in Ukraine will showcase these platforms to other potential international buyers, further benefitting Iran. Furthermore, Russia has previously tried to limit Iranian influence in Syria but is now enabling its expansion.

Deepening Russo-Iranian ties will almost certainly threaten U.S. and allied interests in Europe, the Middle East, and around the globe. Iranian material support to Russia may help the Kremlin achieve some of its military objectives in Ukraine and eastern Europe. Russian support of Iran’s nascent military space program and air force could improve Iranian targeting and increase the threat it poses to the U.S. and its partners in the Middle East. Growing Iranian control and influence in Syria will enable the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps [to use its forces in that country] to threaten U.S. military bases in the Middle East and our regional partners, such as Israel and Turkey, more effectively. Finally, Moscow and Tehran will likely leverage their deepening economic ties to mitigate U.S. sanctions.

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Read more at Critical Threats

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Russia, U.S. Security, Vladimir Putin