A Yiddish Novella of Pre-Statehood Israel

Avrom Rives left his native Poland for Palestine in the 1920s and made a name for himself as an author of short stories in Yiddish. His 1947 novella Iberflants (“Transplant”) tells the story of a group of young kibbutzniks. An excerpt has recently been translated into English:

Hills and mountains rolling into rough marshy plains unfolded into the distance; behind them, more stretches of land led all the way to the wadi. It was land that rustled with the sounds of galloping wheels and bouncing melodies, sounds that came from the concealed creases and crevices of the barren land.

At the sloping base of the heights, young people hammered stakes and poles into untouched earth that was still covered in wild grasses and peculiar herbs. With every crack of the hammer, grassy roots leaped into the humid air. Men who were hungry after a day’s toil tugged at thick ropes, the palms of their hands splitting and cracking under the strain. They were occupied fastening tarpaulin sheets to tent poles.

“The hammer, Siyomke, pass it over. Can’t you see I’m losing my grip here?”

“That’s how it goes, comrade. Pull on it!”

Kneeling down, young people busied themselves with the poles and the edges of the tarpaulin tents. Struggling against the hostile winds that pulled and slapped hard against the sheets, they tied the stubborn rope to the earth; the wind whistled furiously in protest.

Read more at Pakn Treger

More about: Avrom Rives, Israeli literature, Kibbutz movement, Yiddish

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