Born in Babylonia in the late 2nd century CE, Abba ben Ayvo was one of the earliest amoraim—as the sages whose teachings make up the Gemara, or latter stratum of the Talmud, are known. His contemporaries knew him as Abba Arikha (Abba the Tall), but his influence was so great that the Talmud’s editors most often refer to him simply as Rav (rabbi). As a young man, he studied in the land of Israel before returning to his native country, which in his lifetime began to rival—and would later eclipse—Roman Palestine as the center of rabbinic intellectual activity. Henry Abramson presents a brief synopsis of his remarkable career. (Video, 4 minutes.)
The Rabbi, Beer-Brewer, and Price Regulator Who Brought 3rd-Century Talmudic Scholarship to Babylonia
Israel’s Covert War on Iran’s Nuclear Program Is Impressive. But Is It Successful?
The Mossad’s heist of a vast Iranian nuclear archive in 2018 provided abundant evidence that Tehran was not adhering to its commitments; it also provided an enormous amount of actionable intelligence. Two years later, Israel responded to international inspectors’ condemnation of the Islamic Republic’s violations by using this intelligence to launch a spectacular campaign of sabotage—a campaign that is the subject of Target Tehran, by Yonah Jeremy Bob and Ilan Evyatar. David Adesnik writes:
The question that remains open at the conclusion of Target Tehran is whether the Mossad’s tactical wizardry adds up to strategic success in the shadow war with Iran. The authors give a very respectful hearing to skeptics—such as the former Mossad director Tamir Pardo—who believe the country should have embraced the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. Bob and Evyatar reject that position, arguing that covert action has proven itself the best way to slow down the nuclear program. They acknowledge, however, that the clerical regime remains fully determined to reach the nuclear threshold. “The Mossad’s secret war, in other words, is not over. Indeed, it may never end,” they write.
Which brings us back to Joe Biden. The clerical regime was headed over a financial cliff when Biden took office, thanks to the reimposition of sanctions after Washington withdrew from the nuclear deal. The billions flowing into Iran on Biden’s watch have made it that much easier for the regime to rebuild whatever Mossad destroys in addition to weathering nationwide protests on behalf of women, life, and freedom. Until Washington and Jerusalem get on the same page—and stay there—Tehran’s nuclear ambitions will remain an affordable luxury for a dictatorship at war with its citizens.