Why France’s Leading Crusader Against Anti-Semitism Gave Up and Left for Israel

Even before the Hyper Cacher terrorist attack in January, Sammy Ghozlan, a retired police commissioner who founded France’s leading organization for combating anti-Semitism, decided to move to Israel. (He continues his efforts from there.) Marie Brenner examines the rising tide of hatred:

This past year, Ghozlan’s frequent bulletins—detailing attacks in parks, schools attacked, synagogues torched, assaults on the Métro—have clogged the inboxes of reporters at Le Monde, Le Figaro, and Le Parisien, and of thousands of Jews throughout the [lower-class Paris suburbs known as the] banlieues. Ghozlan’s bulletins sometimes come twice a day, with claims that have also been backed up by hard numbers: according to a watchdog group, the Jewish Community Protection Service, or S.P.C.J., which reports statistics collected by the country’s Interior Ministry, there were 851 recorded anti-Semitic incidents in France in 2014, more than doubling the total from 2013. Ghozlan and his nineteen volunteers are on the front lines in the most troubled areas, documenting, trying to confirm, hoping to get a reporter or a police prefect or a court to take action. . . .

For Ghozlan, July 2014 was the tipping point, after years of escalating anti-Semitic violence: “There was no debate in our family. We all knew—it is time to go. Leaving is better than running away,” Ghozlan later told me. He would ultimately come to think of the [2014] summer riots as the predictors of the catastrophes that would play out six months later in the terror attacks at the offices of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, three-quarters of a mile from the Place de la République, on January 7, 2015, and then, two days later, at Hyper Cacher, a kosher grocery store in the Porte de Vincennes neighborhood of eastern Paris. . . .

Not long after the attack on the Hyper Cacher, representatives of the Ministry of the Interior appeared [at Ghozlan’s house] on the Avenue Henri Barbusse in Le Blanc-Mesnil. They had come to alert Ghozlan that he would now have a security detail posted at his house at all times. Ghozlan’s tenants informed them, “Mr. Ghozlan has moved from France,” and gave them his new address in Israel.

Read more at Vanity Fair

More about: Anti-Semitism, Charlie Hebdo, France, French Jewry, Jewish World

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