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.

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at Israel from the Inside

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

Why the Leader of Hamas Went to Russia

Sept. 30 2022

Earlier this month, the Hamas chairman Ismail Haniyeh and several of his colleagues visited Moscow, where they met with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and other Russian officials. According to Arabic-language media, Haniyeh came seeking “new ideas” about how to wage war against the Jewish state. The terrorist group has had good relations with the Kremlin for several years, and even maintains an office in Moscow. John Hardie and Ivana Stradner comment on the timing of the visit:

For Moscow, the visit likely reflects a continuation of its efforts to leverage the Palestinians and other issues to pressure Israel over its stance on Russia’s war in Ukraine. Russia and Israel built friendly relations in the decades following the Soviet Union’s dissolution. After Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Jerusalem condemned the war, but made sure to tread carefully in order to preserve working ties with Moscow, lest Russian military forces in Syria disrupt Israel’s strategically important air operations there.

Nevertheless, bilateral tensions spiked in April after Yair Lapid, then serving as Israel’s foreign minister, joined the chorus of voices worldwide accusing Russia of committing war crimes in Ukraine. Jerusalem later provided Kyiv with some non-lethal military aid and a field hospital. In response, Moscow hardened its rhetoric about Israeli actions in the Palestinian territories.

The Palestinian issue isn’t the only way that Russia has sought to pressure Israel. Moscow is also threatening, on seemingly spurious grounds, to shutter the Russian branch of the Jewish Agency.

Moscow likely has little appetite for outright conflict with Israel, particularly when the bulk of Russia’s military is floundering in Ukraine. But there are plenty of other ways that Russia, which maintains an active intelligence presence in the Jewish state, could damage Israel’s interests. As Moscow cozies up with Hamas, Iran, and other enemies of Israel, Jerusalem—and its American allies—would do well to keep a watchful eye.

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at Algemeiner

More about: Hamas, Israeli Security, Russia