The IDF’s Presence at Surfside Shows That the Jewish People Remains a Family

Present in pictures and reports from the building collapse in the Florida town of Surfside are members of the team of rescue workers dispatched there by the Israel Defense Forces’ Homefront Command. A sense of their significance can be gleaned from the plea, made by a woman whose twenty-six-year-old daughter had been in the apartment building and was still missing, to Governor Ron DeSantis and other officials. Armin Rosen reports:

[I]n her confrontation with DeSantis, the mother articulated a somewhat unexpected criteria for proving that every means of rescue was in fact being exhausted. “I was promised yesterday, and everybody else was promised, that the Israelis would be allowed in and that they are here,” she pleaded. “I have inside information they are not here and they are not working. Governor, it’s in your control, as I understand. You promised us and they’re not here.”

The IDF team has been an object of special fascination. On [June 30], in a tented and muddy press area with a weird resemblance to a county fairground, members of the press swarmed Elad Edri, a close-shaven and unflinchingly calm IDF colonel clutching a yellow hard-hat, angling for quotes even while DeSantis was speaking less than 100 feet away.

That the Israeli visitors have succeeded in alleviating anyone’s suffering shows what the Jewish state can mean to people thousands of miles away during the worst moment of their lives. Just weeks after an eleven-day conflict with Hamas that raised fresh anxieties over a schism between Israel and the Diaspora, the tragedy in Surfside shows that the connections between American Jews and the Jewish state are not merely political and go beyond the strictly rational. The bonds are resilient in ways that perhaps only a crisis can fully bring to the surface. In moments of need, all other contexts retreat into the background, and the Jews can still resemble a family.

Read more at Tablet

More about: American Jewry, IDF, Israel and the Diaspora


How America Sowed the Seeds of the Current Middle East Crisis in 2015

Analyzing the recent direct Iranian attack on Israel, and Israel’s security situation more generally, Michael Oren looks to the 2015 agreement to restrain Iran’s nuclear program. That, and President Biden’s efforts to resurrect the deal after Donald Trump left it, are in his view the source of the current crisis:

Of the original motivations for the deal—blocking Iran’s path to the bomb and transforming Iran into a peaceful nation—neither remained. All Biden was left with was the ability to kick the can down the road and to uphold Barack Obama’s singular foreign-policy achievement.

In order to achieve that result, the administration has repeatedly refused to punish Iran for its malign actions:

Historians will survey this inexplicable record and wonder how the United States not only allowed Iran repeatedly to assault its citizens, soldiers, and allies but consistently rewarded it for doing so. They may well conclude that in a desperate effort to avoid getting dragged into a regional Middle Eastern war, the U.S. might well have precipitated one.

While America’s friends in the Middle East, especially Israel, have every reason to feel grateful for the vital assistance they received in intercepting Iran’s missile and drone onslaught, they might also ask what the U.S. can now do differently to deter Iran from further aggression. . . . Tehran will see this weekend’s direct attack on Israel as a victory—their own—for their ability to continue threatening Israel and destabilizing the Middle East with impunity.

Israel, of course, must respond differently. Our target cannot simply be the Iranian proxies that surround our country and that have waged war on us since October 7, but, as the Saudis call it, “the head of the snake.”

Read more at Free Press

More about: Barack Obama, Gaza War 2023, Iran, Iran nuclear deal, U.S. Foreign policy