An Ancient Prenup for a Jewish Soldier in the Persian Army

At the Pushkin Museum in Moscow there is a large collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts, including several from the isle of Elephantine in the Upper Nile, which from the 7th to the 5th centuries BCE was home to a Persian garrison defending the southern frontier of the empire. A sizeable number of Jewish soldiers of the shah were stationed there, along with their families. Matti Friedman describes a prenuptial agreement in the museum’s collections, not so different from a Jewish k’tubah or marriage contract, found on Elephantine and drawn up between a Jewish Temple employee and his Egyptian wife. (Video, nine minutes.)


Read more at Beit Avi Chai

More about: ancient Judaism, Ancient Persia, Elephantine island, Jewish marriage, Museums

Only Hamas’s Defeat Can Pave the Path to Peace

Opponents of the IDF’s campaign in Gaza often appeal to two related arguments: that Hamas is rooted in a set of ideas and thus cannot be defeated militarily, and that the destruction in Gaza only further radicalizes Palestinians, thus increasing the threat to Israel. Rejecting both lines of thinking, Ghaith al-Omar writes:

What makes Hamas and similar militant organizations effective is not their ideologies but their ability to act on them. For Hamas, the sustained capacity to use violence was key to helping it build political power. Back in the 1990s, Hamas’s popularity was at its lowest point, as most Palestinians believed that liberation could be achieved by peaceful and diplomatic means. Its use of violence derailed that concept, but it established Hamas as a political alternative.

Ever since, the use of force and violence has been an integral part of Hamas’s strategy. . . . Indeed, one lesson from October 7 is that while Hamas maintains its military and violent capabilities, it will remain capable of shaping the political reality. To be defeated, Hamas must be denied that. This can only be done through the use of force.

Any illusions that Palestinian and Israeli societies can now trust one another or even develop a level of coexistence anytime soon should be laid to rest. If it can ever be reached, such an outcome is at best a generational endeavor. . . . Hamas triggered war and still insists that it would do it all again given the chance, so it will be hard-pressed to garner a following from Palestinians in Gaza who suffered so horribly for its decision.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict