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.
What Makes Jewish Law Different from Both Ancient and Modern Law—and Other Reflections of a Bible Scholar
How Israel Helped Win the Cold War
When Harry Truman announced that he was inclined to recognize the fledgling Jewish state, George C. Marshall and other eminent foreign-policy advisers urged him not to, arguing that the new country would be a severe liability to American interests—a way of thinking that persists to this day. But, to the contrary, Israel has proved itself time and again to be an invaluable ally. Joshua Muravchik describes some of its important contributions to fighting the cold war: