The Mystery of the Oldest Hebrew Bible Continues

March 10 2015

The Aleppo Codex, written by the leading Jewish scribes of the 10th century, is the oldest known complete copy of the Hebrew Bible. Moses Maimonides declared it the authoritative manuscript on which all Bibles and Torah scrolls should be based. From the 14th century until 1947, it was kept intact by the Jews of the Syrian city of Aleppo. When it eventually arrived in Israel, almost half its pages were missing. Matti Friedman, who wrote a book on the subject, speaks about the codex and related issues. (Interview by Miri Pomerantz Dauber; video, 27 minutes.)

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More about: Aleppo codex, Bible, History & Ideas, Israel, Maimonides, Syrian Jewry

Will Costco Go to Israel?

Social-media users have mocked this week new Israeli finance minister Bezalel Smotrich for a poorly translated letter. But far more interesting than the finance minister’s use of Google Translate (or some such technology) is what the letter reveals about the Jewish state. In it, Smotrich asks none other than Costco to consider opening stores in Israel.

Why?

Israel, reports Sharon Wrobel, has one of the highest costs of living of any country in the 38-member Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

This

has been generally attributed to a lack of competition among local importers and manufacturers. The top three local supermarket chains account for over half of the food retail market, limiting competition and putting upward pressure on prices. Meanwhile, import tariffs, value-added tax costs and kosher restrictions have been keeping out international retail chains.

Is the move likely to happen?

“We do see a recent trend of international retailers entering the Israeli market as some barriers to food imports from abroad have been eased,” Chen Herzog, chief economist at BDO Israel accounting firm, told The Times of Israel. “The purchasing power and technology used by big global retailers for logistics and in the area of online sales where Israel has been lagging behind could lead to a potential shift in the market and more competitive prices.”

Still, the same economist noted that in Israel “the cost of real estate and other costs such as the VAT on fruit and vegetables means that big retailers such as Costco may not be able to offer the same competitive prices than in other places.”

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Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Costco, Israel & Zionism