A Jewish Perspective on the Merits, and Dangers, of a Supreme Court Reversal on Abortion

The overturning of Roe v. Wade is, to Rabbi Avi Shafran—who serves as director of public affairs for the ḥaredi Agudath Israel of America—justified on constitutional, political, religious, and moral grounds. Yet he also worries about the possible adverse effects, especially for Jews, of such a decision:

[L]eaving each state’s voters to balance respect for personal freedom with respect for nascent life, as a reversal of Roe would do, strikes me as reasonable, while the howls of outrage at that scenario strike me as overwrought. There are two important and conflicting concerns to be weighed against one another here, and the weighing isn’t accomplished by chants and placards.

At the same time that I will heartily welcome a reversal of Roe, should the draft opinion be adopted by the court when its decision is handed down later this term, I have concerns about what might follow—such as legislative proposals that would afford a fetus full rights as a person or that outlaw abortion without exception.

There are cases in which the option of abortion does need to be available—like when a pregnancy’s progression threatens the life of the potential mother. Jewish law permits, in fact requires, abortion in such cases, and the vast majority of Americans are of similar mind. There are also pregnancies in which the fetus has genetic abnormalities or will face a fatal disease after birth. Some Jewish sources consider that a circumstance in which a woman might also be sanctioned to undergo an abortion.

Roe was a sledgehammer, and wrongly wielded. In the wake of its reversal, citizens in each state would be charged with using a scalpel to instead craft laws that treat nascent life with respect while accommodating the protection of women’s well-being.

Read more at NBC News

More about: Abortion, American law, Halakhah

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