A Stone Pillar Is a Possible Clue to the Origins of the Jews of Southern India

Historically, the Indian subcontinent has been home to several separate Jewish communities with distinct origins, but most of their history prior to the 18th century remains shrouded in mystery. The recent discovery in the southern Indian province of Tamil Nadu of an inscribed stone pillar, dated to the 13th century, is a potential source of data on the antiquity of the region’s Jewish population. Aaron Reich writes:

The stone was . . . found by the Ramanathapuram Archaeological Research Foundation president V. Rajaguru. . . . According to Rajaguru, the stone had 50 total inscriptions, though one side of it had its inscriptions destroyed. The text, analyzed by the epigraphist S. Rajagopal, reportedly spoke of a trade guild known as Ainnurruvar constructing Suthapalli in the Ramanathapuram district, specifically in the port village of Periyapattinam, as well as further mentions to the construction of Tharisapalli and Pizharpalli.

First off, the Ainnurruvar were a well-known medieval merchant guild from Tamil Nadu who were one of the most prominent merchant guilds of their era. . . . They also were known to have operated around the same time as the Anjuvannam, another merchant guild that mainly consisted of non-Indian traders, which usually included Arabs and Persians—specifically including Syrian Christians, Muslims, Zoroastrians, and Jews.

Next there is the term Suthapalli. . . . This is important because Suthapalli may actually be pronounced as Yudapalli, due to how the Tamil language works. The suffix -palli means places of worship that were not temples associated with Shaivism and Vaishnavism, with Yudapalli therefore meaning “Jewish place of worship.” This [interpretation] is further supported by other lines in the text.

Currently, despite the long presence of the Cochin Jewish community in the area, the oldest known synagogue in recorded history in southern India was the Kochangadi Synagogue, built in what is believed to have been in the 1340s CE.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Archaeology, Indian Jewry, Jewish history, Synagogues


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