Josel of Rosheim, Martin Luther, and Jewish Politics in 16th-Century Germany

When his proclaimed attempt to purify Christianity failed to precipitate a mass conversion of Jews, Martin Luther declared that “their synagogues . . . should be set on fire, . . . their homes should likewise be broken down and destroyed,” and their sacred books confiscated. He also advocated the execution of rabbis. Josel of Rosheim, a capable and resourceful leader, sought to rebut Luther’s slanders and successfully interceded with the Holy Roman emperor to obtain an official confirmation of Jewish rights and privileges. Eli Kavon comments:

Josel had the title of “chief of the Jews in the German Lands.” Time after time, he had to place his life at risk to defend his fellow Jews. In his [Hebrew-language] memoirs he relates how he had to confront peasants in Alsace [during their 1525 revolt] and convince them not to attack the Jews. . . .

Josel’s genius was rooted in his ability to persuade both Protestants and Catholics, based on the underpinnings of their theology and politics, not to harm Jews and to allow Jews to live in peace and with privileges. Toward the end of his life, he found himself siding with Catholic rulers to provide Jews with protection against Luther and the Protestant Reformation. While he realized that the emperors posed a danger to the Jews as well, he feared Luther most of all.

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Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Anti-Semitism, German Jewry, History & Ideas, Jewish history, Martin Luther, Reformation

Terror Returns to Israel

Nov. 28 2022

On Wednesday, a double bombing in Jerusalem left two dead, and many others injured—an attack the likes of which has not been seen since 2016. In a Jenin hospital, meanwhile, armed Palestinians removed an Israeli who had been injured in a car accident, reportedly murdering him in the process, and held his body hostage for two days. All this comes as a year that has seen numerous stabbings, shootings, and other terrorist attacks is drawing to a close. Yaakov Lappin comments:

Unlike the individual or small groups of terrorists who, acting on radical ideology and incitement to violence, picked up a gun, a knife, or embarked on a car-ramming attack, this time a better organized terrorist cell detonated two bombs—apparently by remote control—at bus stops in the capital. Police and the Shin Bet have exhausted their immediate physical searches, and the hunt for the perpetrators will now move to the intelligence front.

It is too soon to know who, or which organization, conducted the attack, but it is possible to note that in recent years, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) has taken a lead in remote-control-bombing terrorism. Last week, a car bomb that likely contained explosives detonated by remote control was discovered by the Israel Defense Forces in Samaria, after it caught fire prematurely. In August 2019, a PFLP cell detonated a remote-control bomb in Dolev, seventeen miles northwest of Jerusalem, killing a seventeen-year-old Israeli girl and seriously wounding her father and brother. Members of that terror cell were later arrested.

With the Palestinian Authority (PA) losing its grip in parts of Samaria to armed terror gangs, and the image of the PA at an all-time low among Palestinians, in no small part due to corruption, nepotism, and its violation of human rights . . . the current situation does not look promising.

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Read more at JNS

More about: Israeli Security, Jerusalem, Palestinian terror