The Origins of Moroccan Jewish Music, and Its 21st-Century Heirs

In the 15th century, thousands of Jews made their way from Iberia to Morocco and other parts of northwest Africa, joining an existing Jewish community that had its own long history. Mohamed Chtatou describes how the musical traditions they brought with them from southern Spain (Andalusia) blended with local Jewish, Arab, and Berber (Amazigh) musical tradition to create a unique Moroccan-Jewish art form—and that art form’s modern legacy:

In recent years, Jews of Moroccan origin living in Israel and elsewhere have made contact with Morocco again and this population is gradually rediscovering Andalusian music. The Andalusian Orchestra of Israel was established in 1994 and offers a new field of collaboration between Jews and Arabs. Moroccan Muslim musicians perform in Israel, and Jewish musicians from Israel and elsewhere perform in Morocco and share generously experiences and artistic creations.

The matrûz—in Arabic, “that what is embroidered”—is an oral . . . musical tradition [derived from the] Hebraic, Muslim, and Christian artistic practice that blended in the melting pot of multicultural Andalusia. The matrûz designates a musical concept of Judeo-Arabic crossbreeding characterized by the alternation of Arabic and Hebrew in the lyrics. It is a music of oral tradition still present in certain Moroccan circles that value this common heritage of Jewish, Muslim, and Christian cultures of Andalusia. Usually, the first part of the [lyrics of a song in the] matrûz style is composed in Arabic, while the second part is in Hebrew.

The matrûz, which originated in the Middle Ages in Andalusia, which was at the time a Muslim territory . . . is more present in Morocco than in any other country.

Indeed, in the early part of the last century, there were several now-forgotten Moroccan Jewish performers, working in a modern version of the matrûz idiom, who were considered major stars by Jews and Muslims alike.

Read more at Eurasia Review

More about: Jewish music, Jewish-Muslim Relations, Moroccan Jewry, Morocco, Sephardim

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