Hatred of Israel Comes to the Classroom

In November, Fieldston—a prestigious Manhattan private school associated with the Ethical Culture movement—experienced an anti-Semitism scandal that came to a head after a guest speaker made disparaging comments about the Holocaust and a teacher rushed to defend them. After displaying indifference to the concerns of Jewish parents, the school’s administration did recently fire the teacher in question. Ammiel Hirsch and Joshua Davidson, the rabbis of two prominent Reform synagogues in New York City, warn that the “primal loathing” of Israel found on college campuses threatens to spill over into primary and secondary schools:

The events at Fieldston have broad importance, and are reflective of a much bigger problem. Anti-Israel activism has spread beyond the college campus and into the elementary and high-school classroom. In Newton, Massachusetts, a high school taught that Israel was “murdering and torturing Palestinian women.” In 2016, a Palestinian activist visiting an elementary-school classroom in Ithaca, New York inveighed against Israel and called on students to “be the freedom fighter” for the Palestinians.

A hateful obsession with Israel too often descends into hatred of Jews, even if it doesn’t start there. Hateful words lead to hateful deeds. This environment produces, teaches, accelerates, and normalizes anti-Semitism. Anti-Israel activity on some college campuses has led to verbal and even physical assaults on Jewish students. And we must be honest with ourselves. It is happening in our space—in the heart of intellectual liberalism.

Jewish parents should be especially worried. When teachers and professors turn the classroom into an arena for anti-Israel animosity, students become unwitting pawns instead of safeguarded learners. They should feel they can ask questions without fear of scorn, explore their own ideas, and draw their own conclusions. Academic malpractice is unfolding with too little pushback from parents and community leaders.

When Rabbis Davidson and Hirsch came to Fieldston to speak about anti-Semitism, the teacher at the heart of the scandal, who had not yet been dismissed, greeted them with an obscene gesture.

Read more at New York Times

More about: Anti-Semitism, Education, Israel on campus, New York City

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