Is more conflict in store for Israel’s northern border?
Hezbollah Opens Fire
Fifteen years after the guns fell silent at the end of the Second Lebanon War, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah decided last week to open fire with a rocket barrage at the Mount Dov area after Israel attacked from the air. Why did the terror chief choose to shatter the quiet, and is more conflict in store for Israel’s northern border?
“These are days of dilemma for Nasrallah,” a senior Northern Command officer told Mishpacha. “On the one hand, Lebanon’s internal situation is very disturbing and the economic collapse and polarization in Lebanese society have weakened his organization. On the other hand, a new government in Israel, led by Naftali Bennett openly attacked Lebanese soil, and is in conflict on a number of fronts with Nasrallah’s patron Iran.”
In this complex environment, Hezbollah have sent a three-fold message. To the Lebanese people, Nasrallah seeks to portray himself as defending Lebanon’s sovereignty, in contrast to the failed administration in Beirut. Firing at open areas near outposts on Mount Dov in response to the airstrikes in open areas in Lebanon sends a message to Israel that Hezbollah will match any Israeli escalation. And to his Shi’ite base, the barrage served as revenge for a number of Hezbollah operatives killed recently.
Israel’s working assumption is that in Lebanon’s decrepit state, war does not serve Hezbollah’s interest. The organization wants to maintain the current situation — preserving a weak government that allows it to do whatever it pleases. For Nasrallah, the incident is closed, but Hezbollah’s response signals that something has changed: the organization intends to hit back after every blow from Israel, even if that risks a conflict.
Even the economic restraints on Hezbollah’s behavior could trigger fighting. If the organization feels that it is threatened at home both economically or politically, it may turn on Israel as a distraction from its problems. In this context, it’s worth noting two incidents from recent days: the video of Druze residents in the village of Chouya attacking Hezbollah members who fired the rockets at Israel. That incident embarrassed the organization, which was quick to respond that it didn’t fire from populated areas. A second incident is the revenge of Sunni Arab tribes on a Hezbollah operative, which turned into a bloodbath at his funeral in southern Beirut, and Nasrallah’s men suffered several casualties there.
Over the past year, there has hardly been a dull moment on the border with Lebanon. Drug and arms smuggling, infiltration attempts and violent riots on the border have been blamed on Palestinian factions in Lebanon. Hezbollah may have been dragged along, but make no mistake: the soaring price of bread and milk in Lebanese supermarkets could drag Israel into a new war with its neighbor.
Obama: Can Biden Abide ’Im?
Far be it from this column to engage in pointless political gossip. As fundamentally serious people, why would we waste time reporting on President Obama’s 60th birthday extravaganza, which was planned to feature 500 celebrities served by 200 staff, in a Martha’s Vineyard re-enactment of Shushan Habirah?
We’re equally uninterested in partisan carping like Kyle Smith’s note in National Interest that the scaled-back version due to the Delta wave didn’t seem all that scaled back.
In fact, his assertion that President Biden missing his former boss’s birthday bash was because of “the very obvious enmity between the most recent two Democratic presidents” seems way off the mark. How do I know? Because a search for details on that alleged enmity throws up little more than a recent sweet New York Times story about how the relationship “looks rosy” and the two men learned to be friends.
And so, if no journalists have attempted to cover the story, it can’t be, as Smith says, because “reporters aren’t curious about the internal rifts in both parties,” but because those rifts only exist in the other party.
So if none of this holds water, what’s the point of mentioning it? Simply put, it’s an Elul spirit of sheer admiration for middos perfection.
As the NYT puts it, Obama’s initial attempts to dissuade Biden from running weren’t, chas v’shalom, driven by jealousy or petty motives, but by “affection and loyalty.” He didn’t want his older Veep to “embarrass himself” or “damage his legacy.”
The Times hath spoken, and who is Kyle Smith to gainsay it?
The recent news that the Church of England intends to apologize for the expulsion of the country’s Jews back in 1290 at the 800th anniversary of a foundational church gathering next year, was greeted with the predictable retort “better late than never.”
But for Jewish history aficionados riding the London Underground from Golders Green to Charing Cross stations, there’s an Ashkenazi-Sephardi shidduch connection. Edward I, the king who expelled the Jews, was married to Eleanor of Castile, a Spanish princess.
Unusually for a royal marriage, when she died, Edward was grief-stricken and set up a series of monuments (crosses) around London, one of which became the Charing Cross train station.
The good news for the North-West London Jewish community — whose patronage keeps the nearby Brent Cross shopping center open — is that they don’t need to stop shopping there because of a cheirem on Edward.
Despite the name, Mishpacha can exclusively reveal, the mall had nothing to do with England’s Expellor of the Jews.
The number of jobs the American economy added in July. Given that analysts expected just 870,000 new jobs, the actual number is encouraging, proving the resilience of the American economy, which continues its recovery from the economic collapse of last year despite the spread of the Delta variant.
As expected, the recovery came mostly in the tourism and restaurant industries, which were shut down through most of 2020.
Along with a fall in unemployment to just 5.4%, these are heartening numbers, but the road to recovery is still long. Some 6 million people who had stable employment before the pandemic are still out of a job. Could the beginning of the school year improve those figures? Depending on what the opening looks like in the United States given the Delta variant, it could lead to schools hiring extra teachers and workers to reduce class sizes and spread-out school desks.
(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 873)
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