What Israel’s Memorial Day Can Teach Americans

Americans, Gil Troy notes, are accustomed to associating Memorial Day with sales and barbecues. In Israel, it is altogether different. As Troy writes, “Spurred by two moments of silence—first at 8 p.m., then at 11 a.m.—the entire nation mourns together.” Alongside other rituals, both local and national, the sirens create the sense of living memory that defines virtually all Jewish holidays. These observances also help form a kind of civil religion, which “needs sacred moments that mute partisanship by consecrating shared memory.”

A popular Zionist yarn claims that in 1954, then-Secretary of State John Foster Dulles dismissed Israel’s founding prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, asking, “After 2,000 years of exile, can you honestly speak about a single nation, a single culture?” Noting that the Mayflower landed in America merely 300 years earlier, Ben-Gurion invited Dulles to find any “ten American children” and ask them, “What was the name of the captain of the Mayflower? How long did the voyage take? What did the people who were on the ship eat?”

Yet, Ben-Gurion noted, even though the Jews left Egypt 3,000 years earlier, thanks to the Passover holiday, which emphasizes educating one’s children about what happened—and ritualizing the teaching and learning—most Jewish kids know that Moses led the Jews, that they wandered 40 years before reaching Israel, and that they ate unleavened matzah on the run.

Jews kept Judaism and Jewish memory alive by reliving history through ritual.

With theaters closed, concert halls silenced, restaurants shuttered, radios playing somber songs, and every television station broadcasting martyrs’ tales, this new holy day enshrouds the whole country in a sacred silence.

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Read more at Tablet

More about: Israeli society, Judaism, Yom Ha-Zikaron

 

Iran’s Dangerous Dream of a Triple Alliance with Russia and China

Aug. 16 2022

Unlike Hamas, which merely receives support from the Islamic Republic, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)—with which Israel engaged in a short round of fighting last week—is more or less under its direct control. In fact, the recent hostilities began with a series of terrorist attacks launched by PIJ from Samaria, which might in turn have been a response to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s call “to open a new front in the West Bank against the Zionist enemy.” Amir Taheri writes:

In Gaza, the Islamic Republic has invested heavily in promoting Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. . . . Islamic Jihad is in a minority in Gaza, hence the attempt by Tehran to help it create a base in the West Bank.

Reliable sources in Baghdad say that [Iran’s expeditionary and terrorist paramilitary] the Quds Force has been “transiting” significant quantities of arms and cash via Iraq to Jordan, to be smuggled to the West Bank. The Jordanian authorities say they are aware of these “hostile activities.” King Abdullah himself has publicly called on Iran to cease “destabilizing activities.”

But such schemes, Taheri explains, are part of a larger strategic vision of creating a grand anti-Western alliance even while engaging in nuclear negotiations with the U.S. and Europe:

Last month, Khamenei praised Vladimr Putin for his invasion of Ukraine. And this month, China’s ambassador to Iran, Chang Hua, praised the Islamic Republic for supporting China in “asserting its sovereignty” over Taiwan.

It is clear that some dangerous pipe-dreamers in Beijing, Moscow, and Tehran have fallen for the phantasmagoric vision of “three great powers” banding together and with help from “the rest,” that is to say, the so-called Third World . . . to destroy an international system created by the “corrupt and decadent.”

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Read more at Gatestone

More about: China, Iran, Islamic Jihad, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Russia, West Bank