Everyday Life by the Rivers of Babylon in the Era of Jeremiah and Ezekiel

Thanks to the discovery of several cuneiform tablets, archaeologists have been able to reconstruct much about the experience of those Jews who were exiled to Babylonia after the conquests of Nebuchadnezzar in the 6th century BCE. Tero Alstola writes:

An exceptional case of a well-off Judean family in an urban context are the descendants of Arih. They lived in the city of Sippar in the second half of the 6th century, working as royal merchants and trading with the Ebabbar temple. They sold gold to the temple, and because the metal had to be imported to Babylonia from far-flung regions, it is possible that members of the family also travelled themselves. Travelling merchants are an example of people who could have provided a communication channel between the Judean communities in Judah and Babylonia.

Most of the Judean deportees were settled in the Babylonian countryside around Nippur and integrated into the so-called land-for-service system. They got a plot of land to cultivate, and, in exchange, they had to pay taxes and perform work and military service. Under this scheme, new land was brought under systematic cultivation by dependent settlers who were closely controlled by the state, ensuring efficient extraction of taxes.

Judeans were only one of the many groups of deportees who were brought to the Nippur region and settled in villages according to their place of origin. The names given to these villages, such as Ashkelon, Hamath, and Yahudu—the village of Judah—attest to this phenomenon.

Read more at Ancient Near East Today

More about: Ancient Near East, Babylonian Jewry

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