What Orthodox Jews Can Teach Christian Conservatives about Abortion

Arguing that “conservatives must recognize the imperative of developing a more articulate and coherent position on [the] divisive and sensitive question” of whether abortion should be legal in cases where the pregnancy results from rape, Shlomo Brody believes it would help to contemplate Orthodox Jewish positions on the subject.

Jewish law clearly maintains a generally conservative outlook that rejects the pro-choice mantra of abortion on demand. Based on select verses in Genesis, the talmudic sages concluded that as a general rule feticide is prohibited . . . for Jews and Gentiles alike. As such, it remains prohibited to request or perform abortions not justified by Jewish law.

Yet instead of operating under one dominating moral claim, Jewish law introduces several ethical variables to address the complexities of the dilemma. While Orthodox Judaism has no centralized institution that issues authoritative rulings for its followers, various rulings of leading legal decisors . . . permit abortions in cases of rape, at least in the earlier stages of pregnancy.

This nuanced approach, surveys indicate, reflects the sentiments of many Americans, who see the “pro-life” versus “pro-choice” [categories] as overly simplistic. For this reason, it pays for conservative candidates who are generally averse to abortion on demand to pay attention to a biblically inspired moral perspective that may attract swing voters. . . .

Given the complex balance between competing moral values and the [requirement] to evaluate each case on an individual basis, Orthodox political activists have consistently favored legislation that keeps abortion legal in cases of rape and incest, which matches current Israeli law. . . .

Accordingly, pro-life activists operating with monochromatic guidelines have not found political bedfellows with the Orthodox Jewish community on this issue, in spite of its generally prohibitive stance toward abortions on demand. To my mind, this is unfortunate, as Orthodox Jews should ideally be joining with other pro-life advocates (religion and non-religious alike) in advocating for a more conservative approach to abortion.

Read more at Federalist

More about: Abortion, Halakhah, Orthodoxy, Religion & Holidays, Republicans

Israel Just Sent Iran a Clear Message

Early Friday morning, Israel attacked military installations near the Iranian cities of Isfahan and nearby Natanz, the latter being one of the hubs of the country’s nuclear program. Jerusalem is not taking credit for the attack, and none of the details are too certain, but it seems that the attack involved multiple drones, likely launched from within Iran, as well as one or more missiles fired from Syrian or Iraqi airspace. Strikes on Syrian radar systems shortly beforehand probably helped make the attack possible, and there were reportedly strikes on Iraq as well.

Iran itself is downplaying the attack, but the S-300 air-defense batteries in Isfahan appear to have been destroyed or damaged. This is a sophisticated Russian-made system positioned to protect the Natanz nuclear installation. In other words, Israel has demonstrated that Iran’s best technology can’t protect the country’s skies from the IDF. As Yossi Kuperwasser puts it, the attack, combined with the response to the assault on April 13,

clarified to the Iranians that whereas we [Israelis] are not as vulnerable as they thought, they are more vulnerable than they thought. They have difficulty hitting us, but we have no difficulty hitting them.

Nobody knows exactly how the operation was carried out. . . . It is good that a question mark hovers over . . . what exactly Israel did. Let’s keep them wondering. It is good for deniability and good for keeping the enemy uncertain.

The fact that we chose targets that were in the vicinity of a major nuclear facility but were linked to the Iranian missile and air forces was a good message. It communicated that we can reach other targets as well but, as we don’t want escalation, we chose targets nearby that were involved in the attack against Israel. I think it sends the message that if we want to, we can send a stronger message. Israel is not seeking escalation at the moment.

Read more at Jewish Chronicle

More about: Iran, Israeli Security