“Havah Nagilah” Goes to the Night Clubs

Written in 1918 to capture the spirit of Zionist pioneers, Havah Nagilah doesn’t seem like the sort of song that would be popular in trendy restaurants in 2023. But, writes Alyson Krueger, it is:

On a Monday afternoon in May, Havah Nagilah, the infectious Jewish folk song, was reverberating through the Monte-Carlo Beach Club, a resort on the Mediterranean Sea in Monaco. The music was coming from a cliff-side, open-air venue, where revelers dressed in suits and dresses were dancing in circles and swirling cloth napkins in the air. Some people passing by remarked how lovely it was that a Jewish wedding was taking place. But a server quickly corrected them. That was no Jewish wedding, he said. It was an after-party for the Formula 1 car race from the previous day.

Havah Nagilah, a song traditionally played at Jewish life events including weddings and bar and bat mitzvahs, is now making appearances at highly secular, non-Jewish gatherings. You can hear it at sporting events, trendy bars and clubs, music festivals, and private parties. “It is played from time to time here at Citi Field, especially when we have an organist,” said Julia Baxley, a spokeswoman for the Mets baseball team, in an email.

It is played at least once a weekend at Calissa, a Greek restaurant in Water Mill, NY, that hosts big-name D.J.s and performers like Samantha Ronson and Wyclef Jean.

James Loeffler, a professor of Jewish history at the University of Virginia who has studied the song, said he wasn’t surprised Havah Nagilah was getting so much airtime today. “It’s a song that is about transformation and reinvention, so that is destined to keep happening,” he said. “It’s always had new lives.”

Read more at New York Times

More about: Israeli music, Popular culture, Popular music

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