The Centennial of the Deadly Riots That Shook Mandatory Palestine

One hundred years ago Saturday, a fistfight between two rival Labor Zionist groups gave way to fighting between Jews and Arabs in the Jaffa neighborhood of Manshiya. Oren Kessler describes what followed:

There were now several thousand people in Manshiya, where according to a subsequent commission of inquiry, “a general hunting of the Jews began.” Jews were assaulted—some fatally—in their homes and shops with blunt instruments, and afterward women, children and even the elderly came to loot. Three high-ranking Arab effendis, including the mayor, arrived to calm tempers but found Manshiya’s main street entirely pillaged.

It was nearly a week before order was restored. At least 100 people were dead, almost equally split between Jews and Arabs, with some 150 Jews and 75 Arabs wounded. As far as could be discerned, the fallen Jews were all killed by Arabs. Of the Arabs killed, the majority succumbed to the bullets and bombs of British troops and police. How many, innocent or complicit, were slain by Jews will likely never be determined.

Among those dead was the writer Yosef Ḥayyim Brenner, who not long before had warned of the dangers posed by Arab hostility toward Zionism. The Jaffa riots were not the first such outburst—the Nebi Musa pogrom preceded them by about a year—but they occurred on a greater scale, and presaged not just the Arab revolt of the 1930s, but also the disturbances in Jerusalem last week. To Kessler, the motivation for the violence can be found in a memorandum Arab leaders presented to Winston Churchill, then the British colonial secretary, in March 1921:

Jews, it said, were “clannish and unneighborly,” active across the globe as “advocates of destruction” who amassed wealth while impoverishing their countries of residence. It recommended he read The Jewish Peril, better known as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The memo’s tone was threatening to the extent of self-sabotage. Yet viewed in hindsight, it was also prophetic. “The Arab is noble and large-hearted, he is also vengeful and never forgets an ill deed. If England does not take up the cause of the Arabs, other powers will,” it said.

Kessler also notes that many Jaffa Arabs “had come under the impression that most Jews were Bolsheviks, and that Bolsheviks opposed property, marriage, and religion itself.”

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Anti-Semitism, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Mandate Palestine, Winston Churchill, Yosef Hayyim Brenner

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