On Passover, Remembering a More Recent Liberation

Recalling the family seders of her childhood, Daniella Greenbaum recounts the story her grandmother would tell, year after year, about a Passover not easily forgotten:

In March of 1945, in Bergen-Belsen, [my grandmother] Masha, her sister Shoshana, their mother Yehudit, and several others sat down to conduct a seder—of sorts. Without food, wine, prayer books, or even a table, they did their best to remember the liturgy and engage in some sort of ritual normalcy.

Somehow they spoke of the bread of affliction that their ancestors ate, despite the fact that they too were afflicted and had no bread to eat. Somehow they proclaimed, “Let all who are hungry come and eat,” despite their own hunger and lack of food. Somehow they spoke of how Pharaoh embittered the lives of his Jewish slaves, though they too were Jewish slaves whose lives had been impossibly embittered. . . .

One day, they prayed, they would be able to sing of slavery in the past tense, and retell, as Jews are commanded to do, the story of the exodus. For the millions that perished at the hands of the Nazis, including Masha’s father, this dream would never become reality.

Read more at Tablet

More about: Bergen-Belsen, Holocaust, Passover, Religion & Holidays, Seder

While Israel Is Distracted on Two Fronts, Iran Is on the Verge of Building Nuclear Weapons

Iran recently announced its plans to install over 1,000 new advanced centrifuges at its Fordow nuclear facility. Once they are up and running, the Institute for Science and International Security assesses, Fordow will be able to produce enough highly enriched uranium for three nuclear bombs in a mere ten days. The U.S. has remained indifferent. Jacob Nagel writes:

For more than two decades, Iran has continued its efforts to enhance its nuclear-weapons capability—mainly by enriching uranium—causing Israel and the world to concentrate on the fissile material. The International Atomic Energy Agency recently confirmed that Iran has a huge stockpile of uranium enriched to 60 percent, as well as more enriched to 20 percent, and the IAEA board of governors adopted the E3 (France, Germany, UK) proposed resolution to censure Iran for the violations and lack of cooperation with the agency. The Biden administration tried to block it, but joined the resolution when it understood its efforts to block it had failed.

To clarify, enrichment of uranium above 20 percent is unnecessary for most civilian purposes, and transforming 20-percent-enriched uranium to the 90-percent-enriched product necessary for producing weapons is a relatively small step. Washington’s reluctance even to express concern about this development appears to stem from an unwillingness to acknowledge the failures of President Obama’s nuclear policy. Worse, writes Nagel, it is turning a blind eye to efforts at weaponization. But Israel has no such luxury:

Israel must adopt a totally new approach, concentrating mainly on two main efforts: [halting] Iran’s weaponization actions and weakening the regime hoping it will lead to its replacement. Israel should continue the fight against Iran’s enrichment facilities (especially against the new deep underground facility being built near Natanz) and uranium stockpiles, but it should not be the only goal, and for sure not the priority.

The biggest danger threatening Israel’s existence remains the nuclear program. It would be better to confront this threat with Washington, but Israel also must be fully prepared to do it alone.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy