Restoring the Meaning of Jerusalem Day

On Yom Yerushalayim—which celebrates the liberation of the historic Jewish capital from Jordanian occupation—Haviv Rettig Gur laments how the holiday has become politicized and too often focuses attention away from shared national joy to internecine divisions. Gur looks to the day’s history, along with the poetry of Ḥaim Ḥefer and Yehuda Amichai, to recover its true significance:

In the immediate aftermath of the 1967 Six-Day War, Jerusalem Day, first formally observed in 1968, was a holiday of liberation. More specifically, it was a day of gratitude established by a people that felt itself to have been rescued from the jaws of death. Until the Six-Day War, Israelis did not really understand that they had become a powerful nation. They faced the run-up to the war with existential dread.

And that made the astonishing successes of the IDF something far larger than mere military victory. It was for ordinary Israelis an emergence from a long dark tunnel, a glimpse of the sunlit pastures of strength and safety. The first Jerusalem Day meant different things to different people. But at its core, it was for most Jewish Israelis a celebration of a sudden lifting of the great burden of fear, a discovery of one’s own power not yet sullied by the use of that power.

Three generations later, Jerusalem Day should be about more than remembrance and relief. It must be an expression of love—love not only for the abstract Jerusalem of our imaginations, but for the reality that surrounds us. It is a day that must turn our gaze to our own time and place, to our neighbors, to the real living city that must find a way to thrive amid and despite the whirlpool of sacred abstractions that surrounds us.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Israeli society, Jerusalem, Six-Day War


Hizballah Is Learning Israel’s Weak Spots

On Tuesday, a Hizballah drone attack injured three people in northern Israel. The next day, another attack, targeting an IDF base, injured eighteen people, six of them seriously, in Arab al-Amshe, also in the north. This second attack involved the simultaneous use of drones carrying explosives and guided antitank missiles. In both cases, the defensive systems that performed so successfully last weekend failed to stop the drones and missiles. Ron Ben-Yishai has a straightforward explanation as to why: the Lebanon-backed terrorist group is getting better at evading Israel defenses. He explains the three basis systems used to pilot these unmanned aircraft, and their practical effects:

These systems allow drones to act similarly to fighter jets, using “dead zones”—areas not visible to radar or other optical detection—to approach targets. They fly low initially, then ascend just before crashing and detonating on the target. The terrain of southern Lebanon is particularly conducive to such attacks.

But this requires skills that the terror group has honed over months of fighting against Israel. The latest attacks involved a large drone capable of carrying over 50 kg (110 lbs.) of explosives. The terrorists have likely analyzed Israel’s alert and interception systems, recognizing that shooting down their drones requires early detection to allow sufficient time for launching interceptors.

The IDF tries to detect any incoming drones on its radar, as it had done prior to the war. Despite Hizballah’s learning curve, the IDF’s technological edge offers an advantage. However, the military must recognize that any measure it takes is quickly observed and analyzed, and even the most effective defenses can be incomplete. The terrain near the Lebanon-Israel border continues to pose a challenge, necessitating technological solutions and significant financial investment.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Hizballah, Iron Dome, Israeli Security