Abraham Lincoln’s Chiropodist, Confidant, Jewish Community Liaison, and Back-Channel Diplomat

Reviewing a recent biography of Issachar Zacharie, who treated President Lincoln’s foot ailments during the Civil War and won his trust, Harold Brackman writes:

A non-observant English Jew who sometimes claimed to be American-born, Zacharie worked for a time as a mohel in Gold Rush California. He won renown as a self-promoting medical healer and patent-medicine dispenser, who rose by force of personality and skill to become the country’s premier foot doctor—or chiropodist.

Zacharie’s great moment of fame came during the Civil War, when President Lincoln relied on him not only to treat his bunions, but to keep him abreast about Jewish and other political matters. In 1862, Lincoln sent him to New Orleans, recently occupied by Union troops, to consult with General Nathaniel P. Banks about how best to win over Southern Jews to the Union cause. Zacharie recruited a network of Jewish peddlers, whom he used to gather political and military intelligence. He urged Lincoln to rescind General Grant’s notorious . . . General Order No. 11, [expelling the Jews from Tennessee].

Returning to Washington in 1863, Zacharie—at the suggestion of General Banks—persuaded Lincoln to allow him to visit Richmond, where he met with the Jewish Confederate Judah P. Benjamin and broached . . . peace terms with other prominent Southern leaders. Confederate President Jefferson Davis was not interested.

But, as Brackman goes on to explain, Zacharie’s career ended in ignominy and he eventually returned to England.

Read more at Algemeiner

More about: Abraham Lincoln, American Civil War, American Jewish History


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