Remembering a Heroic Rebel against Soviet Tyranny

On Sunday, the nuclear physicist and former Soviet dissident Yuri Orlov died in Ithaca, NY at the age of ninety-six. Orlov’s signature idea was to use the Kremlin’s signing of the Helsinki Accords—a 1975 international agreement that included pledges to protect human rights—to call attention to the USSR’s own wrongdoings. While not Jewish himself, he worked closely with such activists as Natan Sharansky, who writes of his late friend:

In May 1976, eleven people led by Uri Orlov founded the Moscow Helsinki Watch group. In the next nine months, we had created and published nineteen official reports about human-rights violations in the USSR, presenting hundreds of concrete cases. We made them public through press conferences, and passed them on to various international bodies, including a special committee that the American Congress created to monitor the application of the Helsinki Accords. For the first time, we didn’t have to smuggle information out: we were invited instead to pass it officially to the American embassy.

Eight months later, Orlov—on the run from the KGB—met with Sharansky and a few other collaborators:

“I want you to arrange a press conference,” [Orlov] told me. “But the second I come back here with foreign reporters the KGB will arrest you,” I said. “They’re searching for you all over the Soviet Union!”

Orlov waved my objection away. “We cannot hide. All our strength lies in our public stand, in our appeal to the world’s public opinion.”

The next morning, Yuri was arrested. Three weeks later, so was I. But thanks to Yuri’s vision, our work didn’t disappear, and the truth couldn’t be buried in the KGB’s dungeons. We made the USSR’s crimes public, and they could not be hidden again.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Natan Sharansky, Soviet Jewry, Soviet Union

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