The Torah’s Prohibitions of Incest Distinguished the Israelites from Their Neighbors

April 30 2018

The prohibitions of various sexual relationships, enumerated in the book of Leviticus and included in the most recent Sabbath Torah reading, are prefaced by a command not to imitate the ways of the Egyptians or the Canaanites, and are followed by another admonition not to imitate Canaanite practices. The text thereby seems to suggest that such relationships, most of which involve forms of incest, were commonplace among both peoples. While little is known about Canaanite law and marital practices, Eve Levavi Feinstein draws upon Hammurabi’s Code (18th century BCE), a Hittite legal code (ca. 1650–1500 BCE), and Egyptian documents to place the biblical prohibitions in context:

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Read more at theTorah.com

More about: Ancient Egypt, Ancient Near East, Hebrew Bible, Leviticus, Religion & Holidays, Sexual ethics

Hamas Is Winning the War for Palestinian, and Israeli Arab, Hearts and Minds

While many in the West seem to think the current fighting in Israel is about housing policy, or human rights, or the selective blockade of the Gaza Strip, the rhetoric of Palestinian leaders and on Palestinian social media makes clear that it is in fact about al-Aqsa mosque. This should come as no surprise: fabricated claims that “al-Aqsa is in danger” have been used to provoke anti-Jewish violence for a hundred years. In this particular case, explains Haviv Rettig Gur, both Hamas and Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party exploited the claim in their rivalry for Palestinian hearts and minds:

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Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Al-Aqsa Mosque, Hamas, Israeli Arabs, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict