How the Gaza War Gave Psalm 23 a New Tune

During the first month of the current conflict, a soldier named Yossi Hershkovitz composed a melody and taught it to a comrade one night in Gaza. From there, it has spread. Meir Soloveichik tells this song’s story:

That the two would be so interested in music, even in the midst of battle, was not a surprise. Yossi Hershkovitz, a celebrated educator and principal of the Pelech High School for boys in Jerusalem, was a gifted violinist who often played on behalf of the sick in Israel’s hospitals. Golan Vach was from a musically famous family in Israel that had released a number of albums. Vach later described how he asked his comrade to teach him the tune: “This was a very special moment when we were sitting there. It was total darkness, and he was sitting next to me and singing me a song.” The tune Hershkovitz sang was newly composed, but the age-old Hebrew words were first written by a man who was himself a singer and soldier: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me.”

Thus did Hershkovitz teach Golan Vach a new way to sing the 23rd Psalm, a psalm that truly describes Vach’s life. Vach leads Israel’s National Rescue Unit, which is activated in case of disaster; he has overseen responses to catastrophes not only in Israel, but in humanitarian missions around the world. His entire career has been spent in the valley of the shadow of death, and yet faith has sustained him throughout, especially when he entered the greatest scene of suffering he had ever experienced.

Vach has seen death and destruction all over the world, but nothing compared with what he suddenly saw in the kibbutzim and communities near Gaza that were attacked on October 7. . . . But God, he believed, was there in that hell, and made Himself manifest.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Gaza War 2023, Israeli music, Jewish music, Psalms

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