Known from the New Testament as well as from the Talmud and the ancient historian Josephus as a cruel ruler, Herod reigned over Judea as a Roman client from ca. 37 BCE to 4 BCE. On his father’s side, he was descended from Idumeans, a tribe living in the Negev who had converted to Judaism in the 2nd century BCE; his mother was a princess from Nabataea, a kingdom in what is now Jordan. Together with the fact that he had taken the crown from the Hasmonean dynasty by force, his parentage led many of his subjects to consider him less than fully Jewish. Evie Gassner examines what can be determined about his commitment to Judaism from the archaeological record:
How Jewish Was Herod?
Iran’s Attack on an Israeli Ship Is a Diplomatic Opportunity
Today Prime Minister Netanyahu confirmed that the explosions that blew two holes in an Israeli-owned cargo ship on Friday were the work of Iran. The incident was followed by airstrikes on military targets in the vicinity of Damascus, likely carried out by the IDF—which might have been retaliation, but might also have been routine attempts to curtail the Iranian military buildup in Syria. But irrespective of its military response, Yoav Limor urges Jerusalem to act diplomatically as well: