Hannah Szenes’s Lost Work Comes to Israel’s National Library

Dec. 23 2020

At the age of twenty-three, Hannah Szenes, along with 36 other Jews of Mandate Palestine, parachuted into Nazi-controlled Yugoslavia from British planes in a last-ditch effort to save their fellow Jews from the death camps. The Germans captured Szenes, tortured her, and then executed her. Thereafter, one of her comrades in arms discovered some of her unpublished poetry in her home at Kibbutz Sdot Yam, cementing her reputation as both poet and heroine. Now her other papers, long preserved by her family members, have made their way to the National Library of Israel. JNS reports:

The Hannah Szenes Archival Collection includes handwritten poems; diaries; a newspaper she edited when she was just six years old; extensive correspondence; photos and personal documents from throughout her life; study materials; the minutes of her trial; letters and documents related to the Kasztner affair, [a highly controversial Fustian bargain made with the Nazis to save a small portion of Hungarian Jewry]; family documents going back to the 19th century, including materials from her father, the writer Bela Szenes; as well as personal items such as the suitcase she took when she moved to the Land of Israel, her personal typewriter, camera, and more.

Perhaps the two most moving items in the collection are a pair of notes found in her dress following her execution: the last poem she ever wrote and a personal letter to her mother.

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Read more at JNS

More about: Hannah Szenes, Hebrew poetry, Holocaust, Mandate Palestine, Resistance

 

UN Peacekeepers in Lebanon Risk Their Lives, but Still May Do More Harm Than Good

Jan. 27 2023

Last month an Irish member of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) was killed by Hizballah guerrillas who opened fire on his vehicle. To David Schenker, it is likely the peacekeeper was “assassinated” to send “a clear message of Hizballah’s growing hostility toward UNIFIL.” The peacekeeping force has had a presence in south Lebanon since 1978, serving first to maintain calm between Israel and the PLO, and later between Israel and Hizballah. But, Schenker explains, it seems to be accomplishing little in that regard:

In its biannual reports to the Security Council, UNIFIL openly concedes its failure to interdict weapons destined for Hizballah. While the contingent acknowledges allegations of “arms transfers to non-state actors” in Lebanon, i.e., Hizballah, UNIFIL says it’s “not in a position to substantiate” them. Given how ubiquitous UN peacekeepers are in the Hizballah heartland, this perennial failure to observe—let alone appropriate—even a single weapons delivery is a fair measure of the utter failure of UNIFIL’s mission. Regardless, Washington continues to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into this failed enterprise, and its local partner, the Lebanese Armed Forces.

Since 2006, UNIFIL patrols have periodically been subjected to Hizballah roadside bombs in what quickly proved to be a successful effort to discourage the organization proactively from executing its charge. In recent years, though, UN peacekeepers have increasingly been targeted by the terror organization that runs Lebanon, and which tightly controls the region that UNIFIL was set up to secure. The latest UN reports tell a harrowing story of a spike in the pattern of harassment and assaults on the force. . . .

Four decades on, UNIFIL’s mission has clearly become untenable. Not only is the organization ineffective, its deployment serves as a key driver of the economy in south Lebanon, employing and sustaining Hizballah’s supporters and constituents. At $500 million a year—$125 million of which is paid by Washington—the deployment is also expensive. Already, the force is in harm’s way, and during the inevitable next war between Israel and Hizballah, this 10,000-strong contingent will provide the militia with an impressive human shield.

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Read more at Tablet

More about: Hizballah, Lebanon, Peacekeepers, U.S. Foreign policy