Did William the Conqueror Have a Jewish Mother?

It is known that the Norman king was the illegitimate son of the previous duke of Normandy and a woman name Herleva, whose father was a tanner. Joshua Gelernter examines some circumstantial evidence that she might have been Jewish:

According to the 19th-century historian Edward Freeman, William the Conqueror, who was also known as William the Bastard, was sometimes known as “William the Mamzer.” This is where things get interesting. Mamzer is a Hebrew pejorative meaning the child of an illegitimate sexual relationship, such as adultery or incest. In Europe, it may have entered the vernacular as a pejorative for the offspring of a particular type of illegitimate relationship—one between a Christian man and a Jewish woman. . . . [Furthermore], in medieval Europe, tanners were frequently Jews. . . .

We know that in the 11th century Normandy was home to a large number of Jews. By some estimates, its capital Rouen began that century with a population that was one-fifth Jewish. And we know that William was relatively fond of the Jews: after his Conquest, he suggested Normandy’s children of Israel resettle in England—a surprising invitation, even for someone interested in developing trade and finance. . . .

Does any of this prove that England as we know it was founded by a Jew? Of course not. But it’s something to chew on.

Read more at Standpoint

More about: England, French Jewry, History & Ideas, Intermarriage, Middle Ages

 

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