A Jewish False Messiah’s Bizarre Embrace of Islam

Dec. 26 2016

In 1666, the Jewish messianic pretender Shabbetai Tsvi was brought before an imperial Ottoman court on charges of sedition. Offered a choice between conversion to Islam and death, he chose the former. Most Jews who had believed in him were quickly disillusioned, but others maintained their faith secretly, viewing his conversion as an act of cosmic redemption, justified through the logic of his antinomian mysticism. While some of these true believers maintained outward conformity to Jewish orthodoxy, others, known as the Dönmeh, followed their leader into the Islamic fold. Cengiz Sisman explains:

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Read more at Tablet

More about: History & Ideas, Islam, Kabbalah, Messianism, Ottoman Empire, Shabbetai Tzvi

Why a Government Victory in Southwestern Syria Is Bad News for Israel

Sept. 17 2021

Last week, Russia negotiated a ceasefire between the Syrian government and rebel forces in the city of Daraa, where the initial protests that sparked the uprising against Bashar al-Assad began. The agreement ended a 75-day assault on the city, located near the country’s southwestern border, by Russian, Iranian, and Syrian forces. Jonathan Spyer explains the significance of these events:

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Read more at Jonathan Spyer

More about: Golan Heights, Iran, Israeli Security, Russia, Syrian civil war