How a Latvian Parliamentarian Rescued a Lubavitcher Rebbe from the Soviet Union

In the wake of the Bolshevik takeover of Russia, most of the country’s ḥasidic courts quickly emigrated and sought to re-establish themselves elsewhere. The rebbe of the Chabad-Lubavitch Ḥasidim, Joseph Isaac Schneersohn, insisted however in remaining—despite the increasing repression of religion. In 1927, Schneersohn was arrested as part of a broader crackdown. Dovid Margolin tells the story of a Latvian parliamentarian who helped obtain the rebbe’s release, and his emigration from the Soviet Union:

Mordechai Dubin [was an] influential Jewish community leader in the then-independent Baltic state of Latvia . . . and an elected representative in every sitting of the country’s parliament, the Saiema, until its dissolution in 1934. Before that, he’d been a member of Latvia’s provisional National Council and interim Constituent Assembly. Dubin, a dedicated and pious Chabad-Lubavitch Ḥasid, . . . led the [Orthodox] Agudas Yisrael political party in Latvia, though Chabad had formally withdrawn from the worldwide Agudah organization in 1909.

On June 2, 1927, Latvia signed a trade deal with the Soviet Union. Though economically Latvia needed this deal much more than the Soviets did, the Bolsheviks had their own reasons for seeing the deal through. Yet, due to well-founded fears of Soviet encroachment on Latvia—after all, the country had been a Russian territory for some 150 years prior to the Revolution—there was strong internal Latvian opposition to the deal, and it still needed to be ratified by the Saiema. Dubin’s party at that point held two seats in parliament. When the rebbe was arrested less than two weeks later, the thirty-eight-year-old Dubin found himself in prime position to play hardball with the Soviets.

As Margolin goes on to explain, it worked.


More about: Anti-Semitism, Chabad, Jewish history, Latvia, Soviet 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