On Remembrance Day, a Tribute to the Indomitable Israeli Spirit

Today is Israel’s day of remembrance for those fallen in its wars, which, at sunset, gives way to Yom Ha-Atsma’ut—independence day. At the annual ceremony at Mount Herzl marking the transition from the day of mourning to the day of celebration, Rachel Frenkel, Bat-Galim Shaer, and Iris Yifrach will light a candle together. The respective sons of these three women were kidnapped and murdered by Hamas while hitchhiking home in the summer of 2014, in what became the opening sortie of the ensuing Gaza war. Ruthie Blum comments:

Rather than attempting to dissipate their devastation by wallowing in self-pity and casting blame in every direction, . . . Frenkel, Shaer, and Yifrach channeled it into an optimistic endeavor. Mere months after their personal tragedy, the three mothers partnered with Jerusalem’s then-mayor Nir Barkat to honor their son’s lives by launching a cash prize to recognize the “efforts of organizations and individuals in Israel and the diaspora who actively work to advance unity throughout Jewish communities and Israeli society.”

It is for this reason that Culture Minister Miri Regev made an exception to the current rule of having a maximum of two people light a single torch of the twelve that are ceremoniously lit on the eve of its independence day, the theme of which this year is “Saluting the Israeli Spirit.”

Regev explained her decision by calling the three “the heroes . . . who, in the face of heart-piercing grief, chose to open a gate of the love of Israel to honor their loved ones.” Regev was right, of course. But these women joining hands to wish their country a happy birthday straight from visiting their sons’ graves is a feat of internal strength that would better be described as otherworldly. For this, they should be granted a lot more than the opportunity to light a torch—a privilege that each would gladly forfeit in exchange for being able to hold her son in her arms one last time.

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Read more at Dallas Jewish Monthly

More about: Israeli Independence Day, Israeli society, Palestinian terror, Protective Edge, Yom Ha-Zikaron

Will Tensions Rise between the U.S. and Israel?

Unlike his past many predecessors, President Joe Biden does not have a plan for solving the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Moreover, his administration has indicated its skepticism about renewing the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. John Bolton nevertheless believes that there could be a collision between the new Benjamin Netanyahu-led Israeli government and the Biden White House:

In possibly his last term, Netanyahu’s top national-security priority will be ending, not simply managing, Iran’s threat. This is infinitely distant from Biden’s Iran policy, which venerates Barrack Obama’s inaugural address: “we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”

Tehran’s fist is today otherwise occupied, pummeling its own people. Still, it will continue menacing Israel and America unless and until the internal resistance finds ways to fracture the senior levels of Iran’s regular military and the Revolutionary Guards. Netanyahu undoubtedly sees Iran’s growing domestic turmoil as an opportunity for regime change, which Israel and others can facilitate. Simultaneously, Jerusalem can be preparing its military and intelligence services to attack Tehran’s nuclear program, something the White House simply refuses to contemplate seriously. Biden’s obsession with reviving the disastrous 2015 nuclear deal utterly blinds the White House to the potential for a more significant victory.

To make matters worse, Biden has just created a Washington-based position at the State Department, a “special representative for Palestinian affairs,” that has already drawn criticism in Israel both for the new position itself and for the person named to fill it. Advocated as one more step toward “upgrading” U.S. relations with the Palestinian Authority, the new position looks nearly certain to become the locus not of advancing American interests regarding the failed Authority, but of advancing the Authority’s interests within the Biden administration.

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Read more at 19FortyFive

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Iran, Joe Biden, U.S.-Israel relationship