Passover, the Prayer for Rain, and the Jewish Love Affair with the Land of Israel

On the Jewish liturgical calendar, a one-line prayer for rain is replaced on Passover with a prayer for dew. David Wolpe explains the significance of this seasonal shift:

[I]n Israel the time for the grain harvest [begins on Passover], and if the winds blow and the rains fall, the grain cannot be harvested and will rot in the field. Dew, on the other hand, will moisten the grain without damaging it. That simple change in the prayer marks a profound truth about Judaism that touches on modern politics as well. . . .

[Throughout history], Jews all over the world prayed for rain or dew when it was needed in Israel, no matter where they lived. The assumption of Jewish history is that they would soon be back in Jerusalem. . . .

Such practices remind us [of] a deep truth about Judaism—it is a 3,000-year-old love affair with a land. . . . For generations, Jews in every corner of the globe prayed for the land they had never seen, that many would never see.

Read more at Time

More about: Land of Israel, Passover, Prayer, Rain, Religion & Holidays

Iran’s Program of Subversion and Propaganda in the Caucasus

In the past week, Iranian proxies and clients have attacked Israel from the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, and Yemen. Iran also has substantial military assets in Iraq and Syria—countries over which it exercises a great deal of control—which could launch significant attacks on Israel as well. Tehran, in addition, has stretched its influence northward into both Azerbaijan and Armenia. While Israel has diplomatic relations with both of these rival nations, its relationship with Baku is closer and involves significant military and security collaboration, some of which is directed against Iran. Alexander Grinberg writes:

Iran exploits ethnic and religious factors in both Armenia and Azerbaijan to further its interests. . . . In Armenia, Iran attempts to tarnish the legitimacy of the elected government and exploit the church’s nationalist position and tensions between it and the Armenian government; in Azerbaijan, the Iranian regime employs outright terrorist methods similar to its support for terrorist proxies in the Middle East [in order to] undermine the regime.

Huseyniyyun (Islamic Resistance Movement of Azerbaijan) is a terrorist militia made up of ethnic Azeris and designed to fight against Azerbaijan. It was established by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps . . . in the image of other pro-Iranian militias. . . . Currently, Huseyniyyun is not actively engaged in terrorist activities as Iran prefers more subtle methods of subversion. The organization serves as a mouthpiece of the Iranian regime on various Telegram channels in the Azeri language. The main impact of Huseyniyyun is that it helps spread Iranian propaganda in Azerbaijan.

The Iranian regime fears the end of hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan because this would limit its options for disruption. Iranian outlets are replete with anti-Semitic paranoia against Azerbaijan, accusing the country of awarding its territory to Zionists and NATO. . . . Likewise, it is noteworthy that Armenian nationalists reiterate hideous anti-Semitic tropes that are identical to those spouted by the Iranians and Palestinians. Moreover, leading Iranian analysts have no qualms about openly praising [sympathetic] Armenian clergy together with terrorist Iran-funded Azeri movements for working toward Iranian goals.

Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: Azerbaijan, Iran, Israeli Security