What Makes Jewish Law Different from Both Ancient and Modern Law—and Other Reflections of a Bible Scholar

In the American legal system, punishments meted out in criminal cases almost never involve compensation for the victim—often leading victims or their families to follow up criminal prosecutions with civil suits. By contrast, notes Jeremiah Unterman, biblical and talmudic law make both punishment for the wrongdoer and restitution for the victim priorities in the sentencing of criminals. Just as stark is the contrast between Jewish law and its ancient competitors: Unterman notes that Hammurabi’s code of 282 laws contain not a single statute for the protection of the poor, while the Pentateuch constantly cites the needs of paupers, widows, orphans, and strangers.

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Read more at Center for Hebraic Thought

More about: American law, Ancient Near East, Hebrew Bible, Jewish law, Judaism

UN Peacekeepers in Lebanon Do More Harm Than Good

Aug. 12 2020

With its size, budget, and remit greatly expanded following the 2006 war between Israel and Hizballah, the United Nations International Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) is tasked with keeping both sides’ forces out of the southern portion of the country. While the IDF has indeed abided by the armistice, UNIFIL has failed spectacularly at compelling Hizballah to do the same. Eugene Kontorovich argues that, unless the peacekeeping force can be reorganized so as to be effective, it would be better to scrap it, or at the very least reduce its size:

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Read more at Kohelet

More about: Hizballah, Israeli Security, Lebanon, Peacekeepers, U.S. Foreign policy, United Nations