The Paradoxes of Ukrainian Jewish History

April 18 2022

Five centuries ago, Ukraine was a land of opportunity for Jews fleeing persecution and impoverishment in Central Europe; what followed was a period of cultural, religious, and demographic flourishing—punctuated by outbreaks of some of the worst anti-Semitic violence before the Holocaust. Today, Ukraine still has one of Europe’s larger Jewish communities; it is also being led by a Jewish president in its fight for its national survival. In conversation with Ellie Krasne, Andrew N. Koss explores some of the paradoxes of the Ukrainian Jewish past, and gives reason to be sanguine about the present. (Audio, 55 minutes.)

Read more at The Salt

More about: Jewish history, Ukrainian Jews, Volodomyr Zelensky


Israel Is Courting Saudi Arabia by Confronting Iran

Most likely, it was the Israeli Air Force that attacked eastern Syria Monday night, apparently destroying a convoy carrying Iranian weapons. Yoav Limor comments:

Israel reportedly carried out 32 attacks in Syria in 2022, and since early 2023 it has already struck 25 times in the country—at the very least. . . . The Iranian-Israeli clash stands out in the wake of the dramatic events in the region, chiefly among them is the effort to strike a normalization deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and later on with various other Muslim-Sunni states. Iran is trying to torpedo this process and has even publicly warned Saudi Arabia not to “gamble on a losing horse” because Israel’s demise is near. Riyadh is unlikely to heed that demand, for its own reasons.

Despite the thaw in relations between the kingdom and the Islamic Republic—including the exchange of ambassadors—the Saudis remain very suspicious of the Iranians. A strategic manifestation of that is that Riyadh is trying to forge a defense pact with the U.S.; a tactical manifestation took place this week when Saudi soccer players refused to play a match in Iran because of a bust of the former Revolutionary Guard commander Qassem Suleimani, [a master terrorist whose militias have wreaked havoc throughout the Middle East, including within Saudi borders].

Of course, Israel is trying to bring Saudi Arabia into its orbit and to create a strong common front against Iran. The attack in Syria is ostensibly unrelated to the normalization process and is meant to prevent the terrorists on Israel’s northern border from laying their hands on sophisticated arms, but it nevertheless serves as a clear reminder for Riyadh that it must not scale back its fight against the constant danger posed by Iran.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Saudi Arabia, Syria