Where Was the Biblical Abraham Born?

According to Genesis, Abraham hailed from a Mesopotamian city called “Ur Kasdim,” a name usually rendered in English as “Ur of the Chaldeans.” Most commentators have read this passage to mean that Abraham was born in Ur, although the great 13th-century rabbinic scholar and exegete Moses Nahmanides argues that Abraham was born not in Ur but in the land of Haran, in northern Mesopotamia. Reuven Chaim Klein disposes of this claim in light of rabbinic commentaries and archaeological knowledge about the city of Ur and the Chaldean language:

According to [traditional Jewish] versions of the narrative, Abraham’s family escaped Ur and relocated to Aram [i.e., the northern part of Mesopotamia] in order to flee from the influence of Nimrod. The reason for their escape is recorded by tradition: Nimrod—civilization’s biggest sponsor of idolatry—sentenced Abraham to death by fiery furnace for his iconoclastic stance against idolatry. After Abraham miraculously emerged unscathed from the inferno, his father Terah decided to relocate the family from Ur (within Nimrod’s domain) to the city of Haran in the Aram region, which was relatively free from Nimrod’s reign of terror (Gen. 11:31). It was from Haran that Abraham later embarked on his historic journey to the land of Canaan (Gen. 12).

Josephus in Antiquities of the Jews mentions a similar version of events. He quotes the first-century Greek historian Nicolaus of Damascus who wrote that Abraham, a “foreigner” from Babylonia, came to Aram. There, he reigned as a king for some time, until he and his people migrated to the land of Canaan.

Read more at Seforim

More about: Abraham, Genesis, Josephus, Mesopotamia, Nahmanides, Torah

Despite the Toll of War at Home and Rising Hostility Abroad, Investors Are Still Choosing Israel

When I first saw news that Google wasn’t going through with its acquisition of the tech startup Wiz, I was afraid hesitancy over its Israeli founders and close ties with the Jewish state might have something to do with it. I couldn’t have been more wrong: the deal is off not because of Google’s hesitancy, but because Wiz feared the FTC would slow down the process with uncertain results. The company is instead planning an initial public offering. In the wake of the CrowdStrike debacle, companies like Wiz have every reason to be optimistic, as Sophie Shulman explains:

For the Israeli cyber sector, CrowdStrike’s troubles are an opportunity. CrowdStrike is a major competitor to Palo Alto Networks, and both companies aim to provide comprehensive cyber defense platforms. The specific issue that caused the global Windows computer shutdown is related to their endpoint protection product, an area where they compete with Palo Alto’s Cortex products developed in Israel and the SentinelOne platform.

Friday’s drop in CrowdStrike shares reflects investor frustration and the expectation that potential customers will now turn to competitors, strengthening the position of Israeli companies. This situation may renew interest in smaller startups and local procurement in Israel, given how many institutions were affected by the CrowdStrike debacle.

Indeed, it seems that votes of confidence in Israeli technology are coming from many directions, despite the drop in the Tel Aviv stock exchange following the attack from Yemen, and despite the fact that some 46,000 Israeli businesses have closed their doors since October 7. Tel Aviv-based Cyabra, which creates software that identifies fake news, plans a $70 million IPO on Nasdaq. The American firm Applied Systems announced that it will be buying a different Israeli tech startup and opening a research-and-development center in Israel. And yet another cybersecurity startup, founded by veterans of the IDF’s elite 8200 unit, came on the scene with $33 million in funding. And those are the stories from this week alone.

But it’s not only the high-tech sector that’s attracting foreign investment. The UK-based firm Energean plans to put approximately $1.2 billion into developing a so-far untapped natural-gas field in Israel’s coastal waters. Money speaks much louder than words, and it seems Western businesses don’t expect Israel to become a global pariah, or to collapse in the face of its enemies, anytime soon.

Read more at Calcalist

More about: cybersecurity, Israeli economy, Israeli gas, Israeli technology, Start-up nation