Israel Is More Than a Haven from Anti-Semitism

Immigration to Israel in 2014 was at its highest in a decade. No doubt, this had something to do with the wave of anti-Semitism sweeping Europe. But Jews do not come to Israel solely to escape persecution; like Rom Lerner, who emigrated from Kenya with the assistance of Garin Tzabar, an Israel Scouts project, many come because they want to live in and serve their national homeland. He writes of his own experience:

Most of us have not personally experienced unusual anti-Semitic events, most of our parents haven’t been seriously affected by the economic situation, and to be honest, most of us had a comfortable, well-planned life ahead of us. The truth is that the real reason is very simple and contains two parts. . . . None of the young people of Garin Tzabar, myself included, have given up—despite the many temptations—on our right to take on the burden of protecting our Jewish identity. We were never willing to cut the historic, cultural, or religious ties that bind us [to the Jewish people], even if some of us had only seen Israel on postcards. We always fought—in school, at conferences, in forums, in conversations with friends—to tell Israel’s side, despite the criticism we got for it.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Aliyah, Anti-Semitism, Israel, Zionism

The Possible Death of Mohammad Deif, and What It Means

On Saturday, Israeli jets destroyed a building in southern Gaza, killing a Hamas brigade commander named Rafa Salameh. Salameh is one of the most important figures in the Hamas hierarchy, but he was not the primary target. Rather it was Mohammad Deif, who is Yahya Sinwar’s number-two and is thought to be the architect and planner of numerous terrorist attacks, of Hamas’s tunnel network, and of the October 7 invasion itself. Deif has survived at least five Israeli attempts on his life, and the IDF has consequently been especially reluctant to confirm that he had been killed. Yet it seems that it is possible, and perhaps likely, that he was.

Kobi Michael notes that Deif’s demise would have major symbolic value and, moreover, deprive Hamas of important operational know-how. But he also has some words of caution:

The elimination of Deif becomes even more significant given the current reality of severe damage to Hamas’s military wing and its transition to terrorism and guerrilla warfare. However, it is important to remember that organizations such as Hamas and Hizballah are more than the sum of their components or commanders. Israel has previously eliminated the leaders of these organizations and other very senior military figures, and yet the organizations continued to grow, develop, and become more significant security threats to Israel, while establishing their status as political players in the Palestinian and Lebanese arenas.

As for the possibility that Deif’s death will harden Hamas’s position in the hostage negotiations, Tamir Hayman writes:

In my opinion, even if there is a bump in the road now, it is not a strategic one. The reasons that Hamas decided to compromise its demands in the [hostage] deal stem from the operational pressure it is under [and] the fear that the pressure exerted by the IDF will increase.

Read more at Institute for National Security Studies

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas