Abraham Lincoln, Providence, and Passover

The story of Passover, writes Yossi Prager, is one of “the increasing revelation of God’s hand in history.” Abraham Lincoln—who was killed on Passover—was a firm believer in the principle of divine providence, and searched for the presence of that divine hand in the unfolding of the Civil War:

President Lincoln believed in the justice of the Union’s cause and also thought the Union army to be the stronger force. He expected a faster war. Yet God seemed to will the war to continue. Why? . . . Lincoln chewed over the question until he believed he had found an answer—one that satisfied his theological questions as well as his political need to bind the North and South together. . . . .

God, argued Lincoln, held both the North and the South responsible for slavery in America, and drew blood “with the sword” as retribution for “blood drawn with the lash.” Why? Because all thirteen [original] colonies [had] permitted slavery. Slavery may have been abolished in the North earlier than in the South, but Lincoln viewed that as due in large measure to differences in the economies of the two sections of America. The North and South each had its own purposes for the war, but God had a larger purpose.

Read more at eJewish Philanthropy

More about: Abraham Lincoln, American Civil War, History & Ideas, Passover, Theodicy, Theology

Planning for the Day after the War in the Gaza Strip

At the center of much political debate in Israel during the past week, as well as, reportedly, of disagreement between Jerusalem and Washington, is the problem of how Gaza should be governed if not by Hamas. Thus far, the IDF has only held on to small parts of the Strip from which it has cleared out the terrorists. Michael Oren lays out the parameters of this debate over what he has previous called Israel’s unsolvable problem, and sets forth ten principles that any plan should adhere to. Herewith, the first five:

  1. Israel retains total security control in Gaza, including control of all borders and crossings, until Hamas is demonstrably defeated. Operations continue in Rafah and elsewhere following effective civilian evacuations. Military and diplomatic efforts to secure the hostages’ release continue unabated.
  2. Civil affairs, including health services and aid distribution, are administered by Gazans unaffiliated with Hamas. The model will be Area B of Judea and Samaria, where Israel is in charge of security and Palestinians are responsible for the civil administration.
  3. The civil administration is supervised by the Palestinian Authority once it is “revitalized.” The PA first meets benchmarks for ending corruption and establishing transparent institutions. The designation and fulfillment of the benchmarks is carried out in coordination with Israel.
  4. The United States sends a greatly expanded and improved version of the Dayton Mission that trained PA police forces in Gaza after Israel’s disengagement.
  5. Abraham Accords countries launch a major inter-Arab initiative to rebuild and modernize Gaza.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Gaza Strip, Gaza War 2023, Israeli Security, U.S.-Israel relationship