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
Iran’s Attack on an Israeli Ship Is a Diplomatic Opportunity
Today Prime Minister Netanyahu confirmed that the explosions that blew two holes in an Israeli-owned cargo ship on Friday were the work of Iran. The incident was followed by airstrikes on military targets in the vicinity of Damascus, likely carried out by the IDF—which might have been retaliation, but might also have been routine attempts to curtail the Iranian military buildup in Syria. But irrespective of its military response, Yoav Limor urges Jerusalem to act diplomatically as well: