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

While Israel Is Distracted on Two Fronts, Iran Is on the Verge of Building Nuclear Weapons

Iran recently announced its plans to install over 1,000 new advanced centrifuges at its Fordow nuclear facility. Once they are up and running, the Institute for Science and International Security assesses, Fordow will be able to produce enough highly enriched uranium for three nuclear bombs in a mere ten days. The U.S. has remained indifferent. Jacob Nagel writes:

For more than two decades, Iran has continued its efforts to enhance its nuclear-weapons capability—mainly by enriching uranium—causing Israel and the world to concentrate on the fissile material. The International Atomic Energy Agency recently confirmed that Iran has a huge stockpile of uranium enriched to 60 percent, as well as more enriched to 20 percent, and the IAEA board of governors adopted the E3 (France, Germany, UK) proposed resolution to censure Iran for the violations and lack of cooperation with the agency. The Biden administration tried to block it, but joined the resolution when it understood its efforts to block it had failed.

To clarify, enrichment of uranium above 20 percent is unnecessary for most civilian purposes, and transforming 20-percent-enriched uranium to the 90-percent-enriched product necessary for producing weapons is a relatively small step. Washington’s reluctance even to express concern about this development appears to stem from an unwillingness to acknowledge the failures of President Obama’s nuclear policy. Worse, writes Nagel, it is turning a blind eye to efforts at weaponization. But Israel has no such luxury:

Israel must adopt a totally new approach, concentrating mainly on two main efforts: [halting] Iran’s weaponization actions and weakening the regime hoping it will lead to its replacement. Israel should continue the fight against Iran’s enrichment facilities (especially against the new deep underground facility being built near Natanz) and uranium stockpiles, but it should not be the only goal, and for sure not the priority.

The biggest danger threatening Israel’s existence remains the nuclear program. It would be better to confront this threat with Washington, but Israel also must be fully prepared to do it alone.

Read more at Ynet

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