How India’s Bene Israel Helped to Build the Jewish State

Historically, the Indian subcontinent was home to several distinct Jewish populations, of which one of the oldest and most significant were the Bene Israel, most of whom eventually settled in Israel. Nissim Moses describes their role in the Zionist enterprise:

The Bene Israel played an important role in the creation and development of modern Israel from before the establishment of the state in 1948. They participated in activities in support of Jews suffering during the pogroms in tsarist Russia. Bene Israel community members began visiting Jerusalem and other parts of Israel during the late 1800s and early 1900s. They donated money toward building a well and plaque at Rachel’s Tomb and they served in Indian units in Palestine during World War I.

After World War II, Lieutenant Ellis Ashton of [Britain’s] 3rd Maratha Light Infantry Regiment became a prominent fighter in the Haganah, where he was given the code-name “Hodi” (meaning Indian in Hebrew). He smuggled Polish Jewish refugees into Israel through Iraq, issuing them false documents, and raided British arms and weapons depots. He . . . was killed in action when he was betrayed . . . to the British.

After Israel was established, most Bene Israel moved to the Jewish state. Today there are an estimated 5,000 members of Bene Israel left in India, while the community in Israel numbers more than 60,000.

But one of the most salient features about Indian Jewry is that it experienced almost no anti-Semitism. Its members came to Israel not out of fear of persecution but out of love for their homeland.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Haganah, History of Zionism, Indian 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