The Centenary of Winston Churchill’s Visit to the Land of Israel

One-hundred years ago last week, Herbert Samuel—the Anglo-Jewish politician who had just been appointed high commissioner for Palestine—T.E. Lawrence (a/k/a Lawrence of Arabia), and Winston Churchill arrived in the Holy Land by train from Egypt. Churchill, himself recently made the secretary of state for the colonies, remained in Palestine for eight days. Lee Pollock describes the visit:

Churchill’s experiences during that visit served to solidify both his admiration for the Jewish people and his support of Zionism. He set himself up in Government House in Jerusalem, meeting with both Arab and Jewish delegations. A talented amateur painter, he also found time to create a beautiful landscape of sunset over the city, a work still owned by his descendants.

On March 27, he dedicated the new British Military Cemetery on the Mount of Olives and the following day met with Emir Abdullah, the newly designated king of Trans-Jordan, to assuage his anxiety about the pace of Jewish immigration into the area. While Abdullah was not wholly mollified, Churchill agreed that Jewish settlement east of the River Jordan would be proscribed.

Two days later, he planted a tree at the site on Mount Scopus of the future Hebrew University, telling the assembled dignitaries, “My heart is full of sympathy for Zionism. The establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine will be a blessing to the whole world.”

Before returning to Cairo the evening of March 30, Churchill visited the then-twelve-year-old Jewish town of Tel Aviv, meeting with its Mayor Meir Dizengoff, and the agricultural settlement in Rishon LeZion. On his return to London, he told the House of Commons: “Anyone who has seen the work of the Jewish colonies will be struck by the enormous productive results which they have achieved from the most inhospitable soil.”

Read more at Librarians

More about: Hebrew University, History of Zionism, Mandate Palestine, T. E. Lawrence, Tel Aviv, Winston Churchill

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