For Medieval Jews, Fantasies of Jewish Kingdoms Served a Polemical Purpose

March 27 2020

As early as the 3rd century CE, Christian writers argued that Jews lived in exile, with their Temple destroyed and their sovereignty lost, because God had chosen to punish them for their rejection of Jesus. Jewish thinkers had a simple rebuttal: God was indeed punishing His people with exile—as the biblical prophets had said He would—but was doing so because they had failed to observe His Law. In the Middle Ages, as Jewish-Christian relations became more intimate, Jews developed what Michael Weiner argues is a different sort of answer: imagining that in some faraway land, Jews maintained their political independence:

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Read more at Lehrhaus

More about: Christianity, Exile, Judaism, Ten Lost Tribes

Israel Has Dodged a Constitutional Crisis, but Only Temporarily

April 3 2020

Two weeks ago, then-Speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein refused to hold a vote for his replacement, insisting that, in keeping with precedent, the new speaker should only be chosen after a governing coalition has been formed. As his move prevented the newly installed Israeli parliament from resuming its normal business, the Supreme Court tried to break the impasse with two unprecedented interventions into the legislative branch. To Evelyn Gordon, Edelstein acted out of a “genuine and serious concern” about constitutionally questionable moves by his opponents, even if the court was justified in its order that elections for the new speaker take place.

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Read more at JNS

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Benny Gantz, Israeli politics, Israeli Supreme Court, Knesset