France’s Most Controversial, and Most Celebrated, Writer on Why There Must Be a Safe Haven for the Jews

The author of several works of fiction and collections of poetry, Michel Houellebecq gained international fame beyond literary circles with his sixth novel, Submission, which imagines France becoming an Islamic country. Recently, he spoke with Tamar Sebok, the French correspondent for the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth, about rising anti-Semitism and the war in Gaza:

Houellebecq’s screensaver displays a powerful image of Ido Shamir from Be’eri, who survived the massacre. In the center of the picture, among the ruins of a kibbutz home, lies [his] book To Stay Alive and Other Essays.

Houellebecq tells Sebok:

I’m supposed to be a depressed, depressing, disillusioned writer. That’s what I’ve read the critics say about me. Eventually I believed it myself. But this time, I was really way off with my illusions. I was certain that even the worst leftists, the ones who unreservedly support the Palestinians and always criticize Israeli politics, would say they can’t stand behind what happened this time. I was sure there’d be a wave of sympathy and solidarity for the Jews. The very opposite happened—anti-Semitic attacks skyrocketed. It’s been two months, and I still find it hard to believe that it’s happened.

We’ve gotten used to terrorist attacks. No one’s surprised anymore [in France] when a priest’s throat is slit. The best metaphor for the Jewish Question—and I don’t know who came up with it—is the canary in the coalmine. When a Jew is persecuted because he’s a Jew, a Christian should worry. He’s next in line.

Recent events in France, across Europe, and in the United States have proven, more than ever, that there needs to be a safe haven for Jews. I ask myself whether, as an exception, I might one day be able to emigrate to Israel.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Anti-Semitism, France, Literature


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