Rome’s Forgotten Second Ghetto

In 1555, Pope Paul IV ordered Jews to be confined to separate, closed-off neighborhoods. Soon ghettos appeared in cities throughout Italy, including Rome, where Jews were forced to live within the walls until the French Revolution. Italian archivist Giancarlo Spizzichino recently discovered the existence of a second ghetto, known as Ghettarello, in Rome. The Holy See closed it down in 1735—in an outburst not of tolerance but of intolerance, as Micol Debash writes:

The Papal State had a number of reasons to close the Ghettarello. For one, it was under financial stress, which could be partially alleviated by selling the ghetto buildings. Also, the Pope needed to fight against the tendencies of the Enlightenment, where an appeal to reason was favored over faith. Anti-Jewish regulation and legislation were starting to be repealed: the Pope . . . felt threatened by these changes and for his part became even more severe. . . . “Closing the Ghettarello was one of the many acts of the Papal State to put pressure on the Jews in order to force them to give up on their religion and identity,” explained Spizzichino.

Read more at Haaretz

More about: Anti-Semitism, Ghetto, Italian Jewry, Jewish history, Papacy, Rome

As Hamas’s Power Collapses, Old Feuds Are Resurfacing

In May, Mahmoud Nashabat, a high-ranking military figure in the Fatah party (which controls the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority), was gunned down in central Gaza. Nashabat was an officer in the Gaza wing of the Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, a terrorist outfit that served as Fatah’s vanguard during the second intifada, and now sometimes collaborates with Hamas. But his killers were Hamas members, and he was one of at least 35 Palestinians murdered in Gaza in the past two months as various terrorist and criminal groups go about settling old scores, some of which date back to the 1980s. Einav Halabi writes:

Security sources familiar with the situation told the London-based newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat that Gaza is now also beleaguered by the resurgence of old conflicts. “Many people have been killed in incidents related to the first intifada in 1987, while others have died in family disputes,” they said.

The “first-intifada portfolio” in Gaza is considered complex and convoluted, as it is filled with hatred among residents who accuse others of killing relatives for various reasons, including collaboration with Israel. . . . According to reports from Gaza, there are vigorous efforts on the ground to contain these developments, but the chances of success remain unclear. Hamas, for its part, is trying to project governance and control, recently releasing several videos showcasing how its operatives brutally beat residents accused of looting.

These incidents, gruesome as they are, suggest that Hamas’s control over the territory is slipping, and it no longer holds a monopoly on violence or commands the fear necessary to keep the population in line. The murders and beatings also dimension the grim reality that would ensue if the war ends precipitously: a re-empowered Hamas setting about getting vengeance on its enemies and reimposing its reign of terror.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Fatah, Gaza War 2023, Hamas