France’s Jewish Question Comes to the Stage

While the Internet era has not been kind to local newspapers, it also allows me to find pieces in such publications that would otherwise never come to my attention. Here’s one: a review by Andy Hoffman of Josh Harmon’s play A Prayer for the French Republic, from Massachusetts’s Somerville Times.

Brother and sister Patrick Salomon and Marcelle Salomon Benhamou represent two sides of the problem. Patrick has assimilated to the extent that neither he nor his children observe Jewish holidays. Marcelle, on the other hand, married an Algerian Jew and described herself to a visiting young American cousin, Molly, as “traditional.” Both Marcelle and her husband Charles are successful physicians, he with a large practice and she as psychiatry department head. Their two adult children, Elodie and Daniel, still live with them. Charles says of his family that they lived in Algeria for 500 years, and in Spain for a thousand years before that, marking the family’s movement around the Mediterranean with the Spanish Inquisition and the rise of Islamic nationalism.

Read more at Somerville Times

More about: Anti-Semitism, French Jewry, Gaza War 2023, Holocaust, Theater

Israel Just Sent Iran a Clear Message

Early Friday morning, Israel attacked military installations near the Iranian cities of Isfahan and nearby Natanz, the latter being one of the hubs of the country’s nuclear program. Jerusalem is not taking credit for the attack, and none of the details are too certain, but it seems that the attack involved multiple drones, likely launched from within Iran, as well as one or more missiles fired from Syrian or Iraqi airspace. Strikes on Syrian radar systems shortly beforehand probably helped make the attack possible, and there were reportedly strikes on Iraq as well.

Iran itself is downplaying the attack, but the S-300 air-defense batteries in Isfahan appear to have been destroyed or damaged. This is a sophisticated Russian-made system positioned to protect the Natanz nuclear installation. In other words, Israel has demonstrated that Iran’s best technology can’t protect the country’s skies from the IDF. As Yossi Kuperwasser puts it, the attack, combined with the response to the assault on April 13,

clarified to the Iranians that whereas we [Israelis] are not as vulnerable as they thought, they are more vulnerable than they thought. They have difficulty hitting us, but we have no difficulty hitting them.

Nobody knows exactly how the operation was carried out. . . . It is good that a question mark hovers over . . . what exactly Israel did. Let’s keep them wondering. It is good for deniability and good for keeping the enemy uncertain.

The fact that we chose targets that were in the vicinity of a major nuclear facility but were linked to the Iranian missile and air forces was a good message. It communicated that we can reach other targets as well but, as we don’t want escalation, we chose targets nearby that were involved in the attack against Israel. I think it sends the message that if we want to, we can send a stronger message. Israel is not seeking escalation at the moment.

Read more at Jewish Chronicle

More about: Iran, Israeli Security