The Fighting in Gaza, the Jewish Calendar, and the Rejection of Victimhood

Operation Breaking Dawn, in which the IDF decapitated the leadership of Islamic Jihad in Gaza, coincided with the Fast of Tisha b’Av, which marks the end of an annual three-week period of mourning. Noting the significance of the timing, Daniel Gordis observes:

The “Three Weeks” begin on the date that, as tradition has it, Jerusalem’s walls were first breached after months of siege (in 586 BCE by the Babylonians with the First Temple and in 70 CE by the Romans with the Second), and they culminate with the 9th of Av, when the invaders reached the Temple (each time) and burned it.

Those ancient sieges spelled disaster for the Jewish people. The destruction of the First Temple led almost immediately to a massive exile of the Jews from the Land of Israel. . . . These Three Weeks are therefore, for me, a reminder of Israel’s fundamental purpose. There were many reasons that the Jews got into the state-making business of course, but key among them was the rejection of Jewish victimhood. We would not fall again to the Babylonians. We would not fall to the Greeks. Or the Romans. Or whatever venomous hatred Europe and the West would cook up next.

Those days were gone. Jewish victimhood would be replaced by Jewish triumph. . . . That rejection of defeat and embrace of flourishing, though, does not wash in today’s culture of reverence for victimhood. In a world in which people view life only through the prisms of power versus weakness, and white versus brown, Israel (which is more brown than white, but what do facts really matter anymore?) knows what the reaction will be abroad, even among Jews.

Read more at Israel from the Inside

More about: Gaza Strip, Islamic Jihad, Israeli Security, Tisha b'Av


Israel’s Covert War on Iran’s Nuclear Program Is Impressive. But Is It Successful?

Sept. 26 2023

The Mossad’s heist of a vast Iranian nuclear archive in 2018 provided abundant evidence that Tehran was not adhering to its commitments; it also provided an enormous amount of actionable intelligence. Two years later, Israel responded to international inspectors’ condemnation of the Islamic Republic’s violations by using this intelligence to launch a spectacular campaign of sabotage—a campaign that is the subject of Target Tehran, by Yonah Jeremy Bob and Ilan Evyatar. David Adesnik writes:

The question that remains open at the conclusion of Target Tehran is whether the Mossad’s tactical wizardry adds up to strategic success in the shadow war with Iran. The authors give a very respectful hearing to skeptics—such as the former Mossad director Tamir Pardo—who believe the country should have embraced the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. Bob and Evyatar reject that position, arguing that covert action has proven itself the best way to slow down the nuclear program. They acknowledge, however, that the clerical regime remains fully determined to reach the nuclear threshold. “The Mossad’s secret war, in other words, is not over. Indeed, it may never end,” they write.

Which brings us back to Joe Biden. The clerical regime was headed over a financial cliff when Biden took office, thanks to the reimposition of sanctions after Washington withdrew from the nuclear deal. The billions flowing into Iran on Biden’s watch have made it that much easier for the regime to rebuild whatever Mossad destroys in addition to weathering nationwide protests on behalf of women, life, and freedom. Until Washington and Jerusalem get on the same page—and stay there—Tehran’s nuclear ambitions will remain an affordable luxury for a dictatorship at war with its citizens.

Read more at Dispatch

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, Mossad, U.S. Foreign policy