The War Is Easing Israel’s Divide between Arab and Jew

On Tuesday, Yehoshua Pfeffer wrote about how the war is bringing together the different sectors of Israeli Jewish society. But this newfound sense of unity applies to Israel’s non-Jews as well. Arab Israelis—horrified by the depredations of Hamas and well aware that the terrorists slaughtered, abused, and kidnapped Arab and Jew alike—have been setting aside their differences with their Jewish compatriots, and vice-versa. Likewise, the many tales of heroism that have emerged from October 7 include more than a few examples of extraordinary measures taken by Arabs to save their fellow Israelis.

Neville Teller focuses on statements made by two of Israel’s leading Arab politicians: Mansour Abbas, from whom such statements can be expected, and Ayman Odeh, who has often stoked pro-Palestinian sentiment among his constituents:

Referring to the “unfortunate, tragic, and reprehensible events” still in progress, [Abbas] called on the leadership of the Palestinian factions in Gaza to “release the captives in your hands. Islamic values command us not to imprison women, children, and the elderly.” A little later, when Hamas leaders began calling on Israel’s Arab citizens to join the fight, the Arab Knesset member Ayman Odeh responded angrily. In a media interview, he said: “Any call for militant actions and igniting a war between Arabs and Jews inside Israel is something we will not accept.” It quickly became clear that the two Arab Israeli politicians were speaking for the vast majority of their community.

An article in the Washington, DC-based outlet Al Monitor, although not excessively friendly to Israel, gives some heartening examples of present attitudes:

A resident of the Galilee Jewish community of Atzmon, two of whose residents were killed in the assault on southern Israeli communities, praised the support of her neighbors from the Arab town of Sakhnin. “Many stores ran out of water, but we found a grocery store in Sakhnin that gave us water and refused to accept payment,” she said. The grocer told her that since hearing about the horrors perpetrated by Hamas, he had been thinking of ways to help.

Such sentiments were reciprocated. A convoy of motorcycles and ambulances operated by a Jewish company accompanied the body of a resident of the village of Iksal, Awad Darawsheh, who was killed while working as a paramedic at a music festival on the Gaza border and was being brought for burial in his hometown.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Gaza War 2023, Israeli Arabs, Israeli society


Israel Just Sent Iran a Clear Message

Early Friday morning, Israel attacked military installations near the Iranian cities of Isfahan and nearby Natanz, the latter being one of the hubs of the country’s nuclear program. Jerusalem is not taking credit for the attack, and none of the details are too certain, but it seems that the attack involved multiple drones, likely launched from within Iran, as well as one or more missiles fired from Syrian or Iraqi airspace. Strikes on Syrian radar systems shortly beforehand probably helped make the attack possible, and there were reportedly strikes on Iraq as well.

Iran itself is downplaying the attack, but the S-300 air-defense batteries in Isfahan appear to have been destroyed or damaged. This is a sophisticated Russian-made system positioned to protect the Natanz nuclear installation. In other words, Israel has demonstrated that Iran’s best technology can’t protect the country’s skies from the IDF. As Yossi Kuperwasser puts it, the attack, combined with the response to the assault on April 13,

clarified to the Iranians that whereas we [Israelis] are not as vulnerable as they thought, they are more vulnerable than they thought. They have difficulty hitting us, but we have no difficulty hitting them.

Nobody knows exactly how the operation was carried out. . . . It is good that a question mark hovers over . . . what exactly Israel did. Let’s keep them wondering. It is good for deniability and good for keeping the enemy uncertain.

The fact that we chose targets that were in the vicinity of a major nuclear facility but were linked to the Iranian missile and air forces was a good message. It communicated that we can reach other targets as well but, as we don’t want escalation, we chose targets nearby that were involved in the attack against Israel. I think it sends the message that if we want to, we can send a stronger message. Israel is not seeking escalation at the moment.

Read more at Jewish Chronicle

More about: Iran, Israeli Security