The Tomb of Ezra and the Fate of the Jewish Heritage in Iraq

The ongoing fighting in Iraq and Syria has caused the destruction of many Jewish sites—remnants of once great Jewish communities—and threatened many others. One of them is the tomb of Ezra the Scribe in Iraq, where the nearby synagogue seems to have been turned into a mosque. Lyn Julius reports (with video):

Neglect, destruction, or Islamization are the triple threats facing historic Jewish shrines in Iraq.

Since 2010, there has been concern that the shrine of Ezekiel at Al-Kifl south of Baghdad, the most important of Jewish holy sites in Iraq, was also being converted into a mosque, and Hebrew inscriptions were being painted over. These reports turned out to be mostly false, but one visitor testified to the loudspeakers affixed to the outside to call the Muslim faithful to prayer.

Read more at Israel National News

More about: Ezra, Iraqi Jewry, ISIS, Jewish World, Synagogues, Syrian civil war

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