For Berl Katznelson, Judaism, Zionism, and Socialism Were Parts of a Whole

As a founding editor of the leftwing Hebrew newspaper Davar and a co-founder of the Histadrut workers’ union, Berl Katznelson (1887–1944) was one of the most influential figures in the history of Labor Zionism. Alex Harris explores Katznelson’s attitudes toward the Jewish tradition, which were very different from those of such fellow Zionist socialists as the theoretician Ber Borochov or the novelist Y.H. Brenner. The great Hebrew writer S.Y. Agnon described him thus:

I will say something akin to a paradox, but it is true. [Katznelson] was not a Torah scholar in the conventional sense. But the love of Torah and clarity of his thoughts and strong mind allowed him to understand. Out of a love of Torah, he would sit for hours and hours and look at books that were seemingly distant from the center of his operations and his face would light up like one who found a treasure.

Harris elaborates:

Rather than viewing the socialist Zionist movement as a complete rupture from the past, Katznelson saw the young men and women of the Yishuv as continuing the arc of Jewish history. Both tradition and revolution were integral parts of the unfolding of history. In [his] article “Destruction and Detachment” (1934) Katznelson wrote: “Would we be capable today of a revival movement if the Jewish people had not protected in their hardened hearts and their holy hinterland the memory of the destruction?”

He also saw the practical value of traditional events in the modern calendar. Katznelson repeatedly praised Shabbat: “We have a need for Shabbat greater than for anything else—we will uphold it as a miracle and build our lives upon it—we will turn our Shabbats and our holidays into cultural bonfires.” Elsewhere he wrote, “the Sabbath for me is a pillar of Hebrew culture and the first socialist achievement of Adam, the first worker in human history.”

Read more at Tel Aviv Review of Books

More about: History of Zionism, Labor Zionism, S. Y. Agnon

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