Centuries-Old Jewish Gravestones Discovered at an Austrian Castle

Recent renovations at the Austrian castle of Ebenfurth have uncovered 28 17th-century headstones from a Jewish cemetery, along with fragments of others. Jewish Heritage Europe reports:

The matsevot [gravestones] were discovered early this year. They had been used in the foundations of a wall built against the Ottoman invasion in 1683 at the Ebenfurth castle, about 30 miles south of Vienna on the border between Lower Austria and Burgenland, [i.e., in the northeastern part of the country].

“It is undoubtedly a sensational find,” wrote Johannes Reiss, the director of the Austrian Jewish Museum in nearby Eisenstadt, on the museum’s blog. He wrote that all the gravestones and fragments with legible dates dated from between 1622 and 1669. The oldest is the gravestone of one Eliezer, son of Abraham Moses, who died on 8 Tevet 5383 (Sunday, December 11, 1622).

Reiss wrote that, between 1652 and 1671, Ebenfurth was the largest of 48 Jewish communities in Lower Austria; by 1669 Jews made up 20 to 30 percent of the town’s population. But the community was expelled in 1671, and it wasn’t until nearly 200 years later, after 1867, that a few Jews settled there again.

Read more at Jewish Heritage Europe

More about: Austria, Austrian Jewry, Jewish cemeteries

Iran’s Program of Subversion and Propaganda in the Caucasus

In the past week, Iranian proxies and clients have attacked Israel from the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, and Yemen. Iran also has substantial military assets in Iraq and Syria—countries over which it exercises a great deal of control—which could launch significant attacks on Israel as well. Tehran, in addition, has stretched its influence northward into both Azerbaijan and Armenia. While Israel has diplomatic relations with both of these rival nations, its relationship with Baku is closer and involves significant military and security collaboration, some of which is directed against Iran. Alexander Grinberg writes:

Iran exploits ethnic and religious factors in both Armenia and Azerbaijan to further its interests. . . . In Armenia, Iran attempts to tarnish the legitimacy of the elected government and exploit the church’s nationalist position and tensions between it and the Armenian government; in Azerbaijan, the Iranian regime employs outright terrorist methods similar to its support for terrorist proxies in the Middle East [in order to] undermine the regime.

Huseyniyyun (Islamic Resistance Movement of Azerbaijan) is a terrorist militia made up of ethnic Azeris and designed to fight against Azerbaijan. It was established by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps . . . in the image of other pro-Iranian militias. . . . Currently, Huseyniyyun is not actively engaged in terrorist activities as Iran prefers more subtle methods of subversion. The organization serves as a mouthpiece of the Iranian regime on various Telegram channels in the Azeri language. The main impact of Huseyniyyun is that it helps spread Iranian propaganda in Azerbaijan.

The Iranian regime fears the end of hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan because this would limit its options for disruption. Iranian outlets are replete with anti-Semitic paranoia against Azerbaijan, accusing the country of awarding its territory to Zionists and NATO. . . . Likewise, it is noteworthy that Armenian nationalists reiterate hideous anti-Semitic tropes that are identical to those spouted by the Iranians and Palestinians. Moreover, leading Iranian analysts have no qualms about openly praising [sympathetic] Armenian clergy together with terrorist Iran-funded Azeri movements for working toward Iranian goals.

Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: Azerbaijan, Iran, Israeli Security