How Kabbalah Shaped America

While the influence of the Hebrew Bible, Christian Hebraism, and even talmudic and post-talmudic thought on the American founding has been much remarked upon, much less notice has been paid to early American thinkers’ fascination with kabbalah. Arcane mysticism might even seem anathema to intellectuals formed by Enlightenment rationalism or radical Protestantism. Yet, Brian Ogren argues, prominent Christian Hebraists like Ezra Stiles—a Congregationalist minister and the seventh president of Yale University—were very much taken with kabbalah. Ogren discusses his recent book on the subject, and the longer history of Christian interest in Jewish mysticism, in conversation with Ari Lamm. (Audio, 51 minutes.)

Read more at Good Faith Effort

More about: American founding, Christian Hebraists, Kabbalah

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