Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, of Blessed Memory

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, the former chief rabbi of the United Kingdom, died on Saturday at the age of seventy-two. Sacks was the unusual figure who commanded respect from wide swathes of the Jewish world, and was deeply learned in Judaism’s sacred texts, the Western tradition, and contemporary social science. Although a consummate Englishman, he had an abiding appreciation for the American Founding as well as for his own country’s political traditions. He also became a widely admired public figure in Britain, able to reach far beyond Jewish circles. Earlier this year, Mosaic published an excerpt from his final book, Morality: Restoring the Common Good in Divided Times, quoted below. We have also often linked to his essays and speeches over the years; some of these can be found here.

Almost all civilizations have developed ways of consecrating marriage and the family. Historically, the strength of Jewish families was the source of the resilience of Jewish communities that allowed them to survive the enforced exiles and expulsions, the ghettos and pogroms, of a thousand years of European history. Family in Judaism is a supreme value. It’s how we celebrate our festivals and Sabbaths. A Jewish child always has a starring role at the seder table on Passover night, where we are inducted into our people’s history, and where our parents fulfill their first duty: namely, to teach children to ask questions. Strong families create adaptive communities.

More generally, marriage is fundamental to the moral enterprise because it is a supreme example of the transformation of two “I’s” into a collective “We.” It is the consecration of a commitment to care for an Other. It is the formalization of love, not as a passing passion but as a moral bond. To see what is at stake we need to understand the difference between two things that look and sound alike but actually are not: namely, contracts and covenants.

Read more at Mosaic

More about: Family, Jonathan Sacks, Judaism


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