The Other Hanukkah Victory That Changed Jewish History

On December 11, 1917—the second day of Hanukkah—British troops marched into Jerusalem after fierce fighting with Ottoman forces. Britain’s victory was decisive not just for the course of World War I, but also for Jewish history. Larry Domnitch writes:

The commander and chief [of Britain’s Egyptian Expeditionary Force], General Edmund Allenby, respectfully entered its walls by foot through the Jaffa gate as the city’s 34th conqueror. Excited crowds lined Jerusalem’s streets to welcome the city’s liberators. Their very presence signified an end to the terrible suffering the people of Jerusalem had endured during the war.

One British officer described his entry into Jerusalem and the reception by its residents, “People of all ages and apparently of all nationalities, thronged the roadway, crowded at their doors and windows, and squeezed themselves on the roofs of their houses. Swarms of children, Arab, Jew, and Christian, ran with us as we marched along, and the populace clamored to any point of vantage, waving and clapping their hands, cheering and singing. Jews clad in European dress came running up, singled out any one of us, wrung him by the hand, and—talking excitedly in broken English—said that they, the people of Jerusalem, had been waiting for that two-and-a-half years.

Rabbi Joseph H. Hertz, the chief rabbi of the British Empire issued a statement linking the British entry into Jerusalem to the holiday of Hanukkah, “Jerusalem which for ages has been the majestic pole of love and reverence of the world is now in British hands. And this soul thrilling news reaches us on the day that the Jews are celebrating the Maccabean festival. On this day 2,080 years ago, the Maccabees freed the Holy City from the heathen oppressor and thereby changed the spiritual future of humanity. Who knows but that today’s victory may form as glorious a landmark in the history of mankind.”

The British victory of course paved the way for the implementation of the Balfour Declaration, which had been issued just a few weeks earlier.

Read more at Israel National News

More about: Balfour Declaration, Edmund Allenby, Ottoman Palestine, World War I

While Israel Is Distracted on Two Fronts, Iran Is on the Verge of Building Nuclear Weapons

Iran recently announced its plans to install over 1,000 new advanced centrifuges at its Fordow nuclear facility. Once they are up and running, the Institute for Science and International Security assesses, Fordow will be able to produce enough highly enriched uranium for three nuclear bombs in a mere ten days. The U.S. has remained indifferent. Jacob Nagel writes:

For more than two decades, Iran has continued its efforts to enhance its nuclear-weapons capability—mainly by enriching uranium—causing Israel and the world to concentrate on the fissile material. The International Atomic Energy Agency recently confirmed that Iran has a huge stockpile of uranium enriched to 60 percent, as well as more enriched to 20 percent, and the IAEA board of governors adopted the E3 (France, Germany, UK) proposed resolution to censure Iran for the violations and lack of cooperation with the agency. The Biden administration tried to block it, but joined the resolution when it understood its efforts to block it had failed.

To clarify, enrichment of uranium above 20 percent is unnecessary for most civilian purposes, and transforming 20-percent-enriched uranium to the 90-percent-enriched product necessary for producing weapons is a relatively small step. Washington’s reluctance even to express concern about this development appears to stem from an unwillingness to acknowledge the failures of President Obama’s nuclear policy. Worse, writes Nagel, it is turning a blind eye to efforts at weaponization. But Israel has no such luxury:

Israel must adopt a totally new approach, concentrating mainly on two main efforts: [halting] Iran’s weaponization actions and weakening the regime hoping it will lead to its replacement. Israel should continue the fight against Iran’s enrichment facilities (especially against the new deep underground facility being built near Natanz) and uranium stockpiles, but it should not be the only goal, and for sure not the priority.

The biggest danger threatening Israel’s existence remains the nuclear program. It would be better to confront this threat with Washington, but Israel also must be fully prepared to do it alone.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy