Israeli Art in the Wake of the Black Shabbat

Let’s now turn away from the Israel-haters to Israel itself, and its cultural life. Sarah Rindner examines art in the Jewish state in the wake of October 7. She begins with a street-level perspective:

The now iconic red-and-black hostage posters line storefronts and traffic poles (in Israel they don’t get ripped down). Army green is everywhere—at times every fifth person walking down the street seems to be in uniform and carrying a large weapon. And street art and graffiti that focuses on the hostages or the ongoing military campaign is ubiquitous. Grassroots memorials take various forms—from yizkor candles to red poppies (the classic symbol of military loss is also a common wildflower in the south of Israel) to countless other manifestations.

This spontaneous public art is intense and concentrated in certain places, such as Hostage Square in Tel Aviv and the Nova massacre memorial in Re’im. But it also can be found on random street corners and benches, in malls or in doctor’s offices. Art is everywhere, a direct outcome of a nation that is actively grieving horrific events and continuing crises.

A new exhibit, recently opened at the ANU Museum of the Jewish People in Tel Aviv, seeks to explore this creative phenomenon in real time. The exhibit is simply titled “October 7.” . . . [I]t’s quite staggering to consider how much was written, painted, and created even in the immediate days following October 7. The ANU exhibit, which opened on February 23, was not even the first or even third such exhibit in Israel to showcase the art of October 7. . . . Included are colorful acrylic paintings by twin artists Nil and Karen Romano entitled Rage and From the Ashes, a Fire Shall Be Woken. The latter features demons of destruction coalescing into the image of a lion.

Read more at Moment

More about: Art, Gaza War 2023, Israeli culture, Jewish museums

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