The Book of Ruth: A Glimmer of Hope in Dark Times

Elli Fischer reviews Yael Ziegler’s recent study of the book of Ruth—traditionally read on the holiday of Shavuot, which begins this Saturday evening:

In Ziegler’s presentation, the book of Ruth is a contrast and corrective to the book of Judges. The opening verse sets the events of Ruth in the era of the Judges . . . and indeed, the book of Ruth is placed immediately after Judges in the Christian canon. Whereas Judges describes an Israelite society plagued by anarchy, godlessness, and self-centeredness, Ruth offers a way out, a recipe for overcoming dissolution and building toward a cohesive and godly society. Ziegler supports this thesis by drawing a series of linguistic and thematic parallels between the book of Ruth and other biblical books, particularly Genesis and Judges.

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More about: Bible, Book of Judges, Book of Ruth, Religion & Holidays, Shavuot

Palestinian Acceptance of Israel as the Jewish State Must Be a Prerequisite to Further Negotiations

Oct. 19 2018

In 1993, in the early days of the Oslo peace process, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) under Yasir Arafat accepted the “right of the state of Israel to exist in peace and security.” But neither it nor its heir, the Palestinians Authority, has ever accepted Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, or the right of the Jewish people to self-determination. Robert Barnidge explains why this distinction matters:

A Jewish state for the Jewish people, after all, was exactly what the [UN] General Assembly intended in November 1947 when it called for the partition of the Palestine Mandate into “the Arab state, the Jewish state, and the city of Jerusalem.”

Although the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish state does not stand or fall on this resolution—in declaring the independence of Israel on the eve of the Sabbath on May 14, 1948, the Jewish People’s Council, [the precursor to the Israeli government], also stressed the Jewish people’s natural and historic rights—it reaffirms the legitimacy of Jewish national rights in (what was to become) the state of Israel.

The Palestinians have steadfastly refused to recognize Jewish self-determination. [Instead], the PLO [has been] playing a double game. . . . It is not simply that the PLO supported the General Assembly’s determination in 1975, rescinded in 1991, that “Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination.” It is that that the PLO leadership continues to speak of Jews as a religious community rather than a people, and of Zionism as a colonial usurper rather than the national liberation movement that it is.

The U.S. government, Barnidge concludes, “should demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel’s right to exist in peace and security as a Jewish state” and refuse to “press Israel to negotiate with the Palestinians unless and until that happens.”

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More about: Israel & Zionism, Peace Process, PLO, US-Israel relations, Yasir Arafat