Archive for December 2007

The Bulldozer as a Symbol of Israeli-Palestinian Relations

December 31, 2007

Dr. Ralph Harrington is writing a book on the historical significance of bulldozers (yes, really).  According to him, “The use of these machines (built in the United States and fitted with their armour and other military accoutrements in Israel) in house demolitions and in support of military operations has given them a significance for Israel’s critics similar to that of whaling ships among environmentalists.”

Read the whole at History News Network.


Two Holocaust Stories

December 30, 2007

History News Network summarizes the report Holocaust Denial: A Global Survey – 2007,  published by The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies.  According to the study, Holocaust denial was on the decline in 2006 but has become more popular in 2007.  Holocaust denial in Iran is of course very strong, but is also found in Austria, Italy, and among Israeli Arabs.

A joint project of  Targum Shlishi and ATZUM – Justice Works is the filming of interviews with Righteous Gentiles who saved Jews during the Holocaust and moved to Israel during World War II.  The films focus on the interviewees’ reasons for immigrating to Israel and their lives in the Jewish state.

Another John Strugnell Obituary

December 27, 2007

Hanan and Esther Eshel have written an obituary of John Strugnell. If you didn’t like the sensational obits that were published in the newspapers, you will find this one more to your liking.

The obituary can be downloaded from the Orion Center for the Study of the Dead Sea Scrolls website.
I was alerted to this obituary by the blog of Dr. Jim West.

Update: The Times has just published an obituary of John Stugnell, also fairly admiring.


December 27, 2007

Although scholarly consensus is that Qumran was occupied by the Essenes or another similar sect, alternative theories are still being proposed.  Yitzhak Magen and Yuval Peleg have just published an online article claiming that Qumran was in fact a pottery factory and that the scrolls which were found there were brought to the site by refugees fleeing Jerusalem during the First Jewish Revolt (66-73 CE).

A PDF of the article appears on the Israel Antiquities Authority website.

Competition over Immigration

December 25, 2007

The private organization Nefesh B’Nefesh is competing with the Jewish Agency to bring more immigrants from North American and England.  Each group has published the “official” numbers for immigration in 2007, and each group claims the other has doctored the numbers.  So, although we can’t know how many immigrants really made aliyah with each group, at least we know that immigration is still a priority in Israel.

Read all about it in Haaretz’s article entitled Nefesh B`Nefesh, JA publish conflicting immigration numbers.

Theodor Herzl on the Dreyfus Affair

December 24, 2007

“The Dreyfus case embodies more than just a judicial error; it embodies the desire of a vast majority of the French to condemn a Jew and to condemn all Jews in this one Jew… In republican, modern, civilized France, a hundred years after the Declaration of the Rights of Man, the French people, or rather the greater part of the French people, does not want to extend the rights of man to Jews. The edict of the great revolution has been revoked.”

Alex Bein, Theodor Herzl, A Biography (translated from German by Maurice Samuel), Philadelphia, 1940, pp. 115-116.

Canada and the Jews

December 20, 2007

Former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney speaks about the Canadian Jewish community, the history of anti-Semitism, Canada’s role in the Holocaust, and support for Israel.

Particularly chilling are the quotations from the diary of Canada’s Prime Minister Mackenzie King, who was impressed by Hitler and his deputies.

The speech can be read at Sigmund, Carl and Alfred (blog).