Israel’s Third President’s Surprising Fascination with a False Messiah

March 28 2018

Born Shneur Zalman Rubashov in 1889, Zalman Shazar would serve in Israel’s first cabinet and later as the country’s president from 1963 until 1973. Shazar, however, was not a politician by calling but a historian, who studied under Simon Dubnov—then the dean of Russian Jewish historians—and later trained at German universities. His research on the disastrous career of the 17th-century false messiah Shabbetai Tsvi would inspire Gershom Scholem’s definitive studies. Stuart Schoffman revisits Shazar’s peculiar fascination with this historical figure:

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Read more at Jewish Review of Books

More about: Gershom Scholem, History & Ideas, Israel & Zionism, Jewish history, Shabbetai Tzvi, Simon Dubnov, Zalman Shazar

How the U.S. Can Get Smart about Promoting Democracy and Human Rights in the Middle East

Sept. 27 2021

Considering the current state of the region and the policy mistakes of the recent past, David Pollock and Robert Satloff outline a strategy that is “both virtuous and realistic” for defending human rights and encouraging democratization in a region plagued by autocracy, chaos, and brutality. They argue that “in the long run, more democratic, tolerant, and inclusive governments are likely to be better at defending themselves, and more reliable and effective security partners for the United States.”

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Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Arab democracy, Human Rights, Middle East, U.S. Foreign policy