Henrietta Szold: The Great Zionist and Philanthropist Who Founded Hadassah

First published in Hebrew in 2019, the Israeli historian Dvora Hacohen’s biography of Henrietta Szold has recently appeared in English—with an introduction by the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Szold is best known for founding Hadassah (the women’s Zionist organization of America), as well as the Jerusalem hospital of the same name. Amy Spiro writes in her review:

Szold was born in Baltimore in 1860, shortly before the outbreak of the Civil War. From a young age she pursued educational and professional paths that were normally closed off to women. She became the first-ever female editor at the Jewish Publication Society, the first woman enrolled at the Jewish Theological Seminary (though she had to promise to not seek ordination), and the only female member of the Federation of American Zionists’ executive committee. She died in 1945 in Jerusalem at age eighty-four, “a life bounded by two wars,” wrote Hacohen.

Later, Szold also became a passionate and outspoken Zionist. . . . In 1933, at age seventy-three, Szold relocated to Jerusalem and became an active driving force behind Youth Aliyah, the organization that rescued 30,000 Jewish children from Nazi Europe. Though Szold never married or had children of her own—to her great regret—she became known as such a maternal figure in Israel that the country’s Mother’s Day is marked on the anniversary of her death, “because she was called the mother of Youth Aliyah.”

“Today Hadassah is one of the largest Jewish organizations in the world, with hundreds of thousands of members,” noted Hacohen. Szold was “an ardent Zionist,” who first visited Palestine in 1909. The poverty and disease she saw during that trip spurred her to dedicate the rest of her life to the welfare and health of the Jews living there, through extensive health clinics, medical training schools, soup kitchens, educational institutions, and much more.

Read more at Jewish Insider

More about: American Jewish History, Hadassah, History of Zionism, Holocaust rescue, Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Iran’s Program of Subversion and Propaganda in the Caucasus

In the past week, Iranian proxies and clients have attacked Israel from the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, and Yemen. Iran also has substantial military assets in Iraq and Syria—countries over which it exercises a great deal of control—which could launch significant attacks on Israel as well. Tehran, in addition, has stretched its influence northward into both Azerbaijan and Armenia. While Israel has diplomatic relations with both of these rival nations, its relationship with Baku is closer and involves significant military and security collaboration, some of which is directed against Iran. Alexander Grinberg writes:

Iran exploits ethnic and religious factors in both Armenia and Azerbaijan to further its interests. . . . In Armenia, Iran attempts to tarnish the legitimacy of the elected government and exploit the church’s nationalist position and tensions between it and the Armenian government; in Azerbaijan, the Iranian regime employs outright terrorist methods similar to its support for terrorist proxies in the Middle East [in order to] undermine the regime.

Huseyniyyun (Islamic Resistance Movement of Azerbaijan) is a terrorist militia made up of ethnic Azeris and designed to fight against Azerbaijan. It was established by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps . . . in the image of other pro-Iranian militias. . . . Currently, Huseyniyyun is not actively engaged in terrorist activities as Iran prefers more subtle methods of subversion. The organization serves as a mouthpiece of the Iranian regime on various Telegram channels in the Azeri language. The main impact of Huseyniyyun is that it helps spread Iranian propaganda in Azerbaijan.

The Iranian regime fears the end of hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan because this would limit its options for disruption. Iranian outlets are replete with anti-Semitic paranoia against Azerbaijan, accusing the country of awarding its territory to Zionists and NATO. . . . Likewise, it is noteworthy that Armenian nationalists reiterate hideous anti-Semitic tropes that are identical to those spouted by the Iranians and Palestinians. Moreover, leading Iranian analysts have no qualms about openly praising [sympathetic] Armenian clergy together with terrorist Iran-funded Azeri movements for working toward Iranian goals.

Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: Azerbaijan, Iran, Israeli Security