The Mock Haggadah of Bosnian Jewish Partisans

For decades after World War II, many Jews in Sarajevo who had fought the Nazis as partisans concluded their Passover seders with a vulgar parody of the Haggadah that described their wartime experiences. Ilan Ben Zion explains its origins:

Told in a blend of Ladino and Serbo-Croatian corresponding with [Hebrew and] Aramaic lines from the Passover seder, the Partisan Haggadah provides a glimpse of the brutal reality of guerrilla warfare against the Nazis. . . . . Sephardi Jews for centuries had a rich tradition of parody—typically playing off the familiar material found in the Haggadah. The Partisan Haggadah is just one piece of a larger mosaic of Ladino parodies that date back at least to 1789, and were popular among Sephardim from Suriname to Istanbul.

Before World War II, Sarajevo was 20-percent Jewish, home to eight synagogues and overwhelmingly Sephardi. The city fell to the fascist [Croatian] Ustaše regime in 1941. . . . Over the course of the war, 10,000 of the country’s 14,000 Bosnian Jews were killed.

Many Yugoslav Jews fled to the Italian-controlled sectors along the coast, where Italian authorities interned them in concentration camps, but didn’t engage in systemic mass murder. . . . Šalom “Šani” Altarac was one of the several thousand Jews who were interned at the Rab concentration camp off the coast of modern-day Croatia. With Italy’s surrender in August 1943, Altarac and 244 other young, untrained Jewish men and women formed a Jewish [partisan] battalion. . . .

Altarac became an education officer and the following spring performed a sort of stand-up routine for the Jewish partisan troops hiding in the thickly wooded mountains of the Yugoslavian hinterland. It was a parody of the familiar Passover Haggadah, sung to a traditional Sephardic tune and accompanied by guitar, and it reframed Holocaust life in the mold of an ageless story of redemption.

Read more at Jewish Exponent

More about: Bosnia, Haggadah, Holocaust, Religion & Holidays, Sarajevo, Sephardim, World War II


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