The Jewish Chilean Artist Bringing Rabbinic Wisdom to His Biblical Paintings

Born and raised in Santiago, Mauricio Avayu decided a few years ago to try to expand his knowledge of Judaism while beginning a new phase of his artistic career. The result has reminded some experts of the work of the American painter Archie Rand. Jacob Kessler writes:

Avayu has seen his paintings—many of them Jewish-themed—shown in galleries around the globe, put on the walls in the homes of former presidents around the world and presented to Pope Francis. Today he’s working on his most ambitious project yet: capturing the key moments of the Torah in 40 large murals.

“Forty is a sacred number in Judaism,” Avayu told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “Forty years in the desert, 40 days and nights to receive the Torah.”

He has already finished the eight murals that comprise his depiction of Genesis, the Torah’s first book. . . . Rather than be intimidated by the vastness of the text, Avayu said he was drawn to its many “hidden messages” and the variety of commentary available for every passage.

Before he sets out to paint a new work, Avayu not only consults his rabbi but also reads multiple biblical commentaries from scholars such as Rashi and Maimonides, and chooses the one that resonates most deeply. When he painted the tree in the Garden of Eden, for example, he consciously did not do what many other famous artists have done: depict the “forbidden fruit” as an apple. Some commentators posit that the fruit is an etrog, others a grape; Avayu prefers the interpretation that it was a fig.

Read more at JTA

More about: Archie Rand, Hebrew Bible, Jewish art, Latin America


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