Abraham Lincoln’s Triumph, and Death, through the Eyes of an American Hebrew Journalist

In the middle of the 19th century, before modern Zionism or Eliezer Ben-Yehuda’s quixotic effort to revive the language of the Bible, Russian Jews began publishing Hebrew newspapers. One such publication, Ha-Magid, employed Henry Vidaver, the rabbi of a St. Louis, Missouri synagogue, as its American correspondent. In honor of Lincoln’s birthday, David Geffen recounts some of Vidaver’s dispatches from the fateful year of 1865:

“The end of the month of April. . . . From the time I sent you my last dispatch, mighty acts has God performed, which could be readily seen in the eyes of the citizenry of this country. . . . Who can fathom the secrets of God, and who can know his plans? Suddenly, a strong voice is heard in the land that General Lee, the Confederacy commander-in-chief, had surrendered to General Grant, the Northern commander-in-chief. . . . When the announcement was made that Richmond had fallen, great was the joy of the North, but the entire nation, in its enthusiasm, shouted out ‘Heydad, heydad’!”

The joy, described earlier, did not last long, as can be seen in the continuation of Vidaver’s story. “A voice was heard wailing! Abraham Lincoln, the president of the United States, has been assassinated by a murderer who lay in wait for him in the theater.”

Vidaver then described how Lincoln and his family had come to the theater to celebrate with citizens of the nation. “But a man came from behind the curtains and shot Lincoln in his forehead and killed this tsaddik.”

Vidaver’s own synagogue in St. Louis was packed with men, women, and children, Christians as well as Jews. “I spoke in English, expressing our anguish for the death of this great leader.”

Read more at Jerusalem Post

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

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