Three Intellectuals and a People
By Laurent Cohen | 05/11/2009
Despite the diametric differences between Hannah Arendt, Gershom Scholem, and Simone Weil, there is something they have in common: their Jewish identity. Each was confronted by the Jewish issue at an early stage in their lives, and they had to decide about the meaning of their belonging to the Jewish people, the price of their loyalty to this people, and the obligations likely to ensue from this affiliation; and also to consider the possibility of turning this belonging to alienation. The intellectual decisions and biographies of Scholem, Arendt, and Weil were a direct result of their way to answer these questions
The almost legendary figures of Gershom Scholem, Hannah Arendt, and Simone Weil hover over the history of modern thought. Scholem forged what would be a science in its own right: Kabbalah research, that is, a historical-philological analysis of the founding texts of Jewish mysticism. Additionally, Scholem had an outstanding intellectual friendship with Walter Benjamin, about whom innumerable essays, articles, and even novels have been written. Benjamin - whom many are inclined to view as "the last philosopher," and as "the man who brought philosophy to an end" - and Scholem were one of the most romantic pairs (zugot, in the Mishnaic sense of the word) of the twentieth century, similar to Max Brod and Franz Kafka, or Martin Buber and Franz Rosenzweig. Gershom Scholem's book on their intellectual affinity (Walter Benjamin: The Story of a Friendship, Faber and Faber, 1981), and the fascinating correspondence that the two left behind attests to the exalted plane of the spiritual dialogue that they conducted from an early age.
Hannah Arendt, on her part, revealed to the West in her many now classic works the ideas and the psychohistorical background of the phenomenon of totalitarianism. Her closeness to Heidegger, her sharp and uncompromising style, her political positions, and her trenchant statements on the state of intellectual life in the modern era - the criticism of culture has been harnessed to all these since the 1960s, and enabled Arendt to play a leading role on the most prestigious intellectual stages.
And finally, Simone Weil, who is called "the saintly," the "pure," or to be more precise, the "martyr," managed in her short life - she died at the age of 34 - to witness severe historical earthquakes (Stalinism, Nazism) and to leave for following generations works in which philosophy recurringly draws on her spiritual source. She was born in Paris in 1909 as a Jew, and became such an extreme thinker and mystic that even the representatives of the Church refused to baptize her. Simone Weil, or the troublesome search for the divine in everything and the revelation in every "thought event." Simone Weil, who until the last moments of her life did not let out of her hands the books by her heroes: Plato (whom she always read, understood, and interpreted as an "authentic mystic," and even as "the father of Western mysticism"), Krishna, Buddha, and for her the foremost among them, Jesus.
Seemingly, nothing connects these three intellectual giants. To the contrary, the differences between them were always so unfathomable, and even monstrous, if we compare the texts by Weil and by Scholem that were written in the same years and on the same topics. But despite the diametric differences between Hannah Arendt, Gershom Scholem, and Simone Weil, there is something they have in common: their Jewish identity. Each was confronted by the Jewish issue at an early stage in their lives, and they had to decide about the meaning of their belonging to the Jewish people, the price of their loyalty to this people, and the obligations likely to ensue from this affiliation; and also to consider the possibility of turning this belonging to alienation. The intellectual decisions and biographies of Scholem, Arendt, and Weil were a direct result of their way to answer these questions. On October 4, 1960, Hannah Arendt declared in a letter to her friend, the German philosopher Karl Jaspers, that she planned to go to Jerusalem to follow the Eichmann trial and report on it for the important American weekly the New Yorker. Jaspers was skeptical: like other intellectuals, both in Israel and abroad, he believed that only an international tribunal was capable of properly rendering judgment in the Eichmann case. Arendt, however, thought otherwise: for her, there was moral justification in the Israelis being the ones to try Eichmann, since hundreds of thousands of Israeli residents are Holocaust survivors, and in many instances Eichmann was involved in the destruction of their relatives.
Arendt wrote five articles during the course of the trial. Their publication, and that of her book Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil, aroused a fierce debate that continued for three years and agitated the entire Jewish world, as well as various intellectual circles in Europe and the United States. The moderates among Arendt's opponents wanted to believe that when she reported on the Eichmann trial she was not aware of what she was doing, as this was expressed at the time by Prof. Akiba Ernst Simon of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Others, however, were not as forgiving as Simon. These included the students of Rabbi Leo Baeck, who denounced Arendt's terrible "self-hatred" (here is the place to mention that in the first edition of Eichmann in Jerusalem, she called Rabbi Baeck the "Jewish Fuehrer," since he knew that the Nazis' deportation of the Jews would lead to systematic destruction, but he did not see fit to publicly declare this, for fear that this information would result in total despair among the Jewish communities). The Jewish organizations in the United States, led by Bnai Brith, released statements no less unrestrained, and expressed their fear that Arendt's reports would be directed against the Jews, as proof that they themselves were responsible for what happened during the Holocaust, no less so than the Germans.
The Meaning of Belonging
The response by Gershom Scholem, who knew Arendt well, was striking among the tempestuous responses, expressions of support, and vilifications that were published in the press and voiced in the universities and, of course, in synagogues in the Diaspora then. Before relating to the content of the letter, we should return to Scholem's biography and understand how his approach to contemporary history and the Jewish question differed from that of Arendt. Scholem viewed Zionism as a cultural revolt and spiritual renaissance, while for Arendt Zionism was a purely political movement, lacking any Utopian tension, one that was capable, at best, of bringing about a "political solution for the Jewish problem." Beyond his Zionist ideology, we can say that Scholem developed an almost mystical connection to the Jewish people. In a lengthy and famous interview that he gave to Muki Tsur and Avraham Shapira, he stated: "I was among those who accepted the verse 'you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation' [Exodus 19:6] as the definition of Zionism. I already put this idea in writing in an article of mine from 1918. If I could have simply come forth with such a sentence, I clearly was innocent, and not dialectic. [...] The concept of holy nation is one that interested me. Although I have learned much since them, I cannot say that the verse lacks content" (Explications and Implications, vol. 1 [Am Oved, 1975], pp. 42-43 [Hebrew]).
Leibowitz used to relate an impressive anecdote about Scholem's position regarding belief, that relates to what many Christian theologians call the "Mysterium Judaicum" (the mystery of the Jewish existence): "Scholem told me once: 'You believe in the Torah, but you don't believe in God.' I said to him: 'You don't believe in the Torah and you don't believe in God, but for some reason you believe in the special status of the Jewish people'" (When Two Sit Together: Yeshayahu Leibowitz Talks with Michael Shashar [Keter, 1987], p. 47 [Hebrew]). The "religiosity" of Scholem's worldview explains why he focused, already at the beginning of his research, on the nonrational and esoteric aspects of Jewish history: mysticism, the heretical Kabbalah of the Sabbateans and their Frankist successors, Messianism, and apocalyptic revolution, utopia, and visions. Scholem was inclined to believe that strong, underground forces are at work in the depths of the Jewish existence. He thought that these forces are fed by the most subversive contents that Judaism, behind its overt orthodox appearance, secretly fostered, generation after generation - a role filled by special individuals, from the Ari (R. Isaac Luria) to Franz Kafka. This and other conceptions on which Scholem's work is based attest to the unbridgeable distance between him and Arendt, a chasm that found its sharpest expression surrounding the Eichmann trial. For Scholem, beyond her methodological errors and her quite questionable approach, Hannah Arendt, simply put, "doesn't love the Jews." Scholem rejects the exaggerated accusations that Arendt is a "Jewish anti-Semite," "heretic." and "hysterical Jewess." He also refrains from speaking of self-hate. At the same time, however, Scholem is not far from the thought that her attitude to the Eichmann trial, and the very sarcastic nuance that others called "cruel," has only a single source: Arendt's complete lack of any sentiment for her people, the absence of any feeling of responsibility and affiliation to it.
Scholem writes: "There is a concept in the Jewish tradition that is difficult to define but nevertheless is quite tangible: love of Israel, of which I don't find a trace in you, Hannah Arendt, as is the case with so many intellectuals that came from the German left. In my opinion, a discussion of this sort that you attempted to conduct in your book demands extra seriousness and carefulness, specifically because of the sensitivity that this arouses in people - the destruction of a third of our people. I see you only as a daughter of the Jewish people, none other. I therefore disagree with the tone - within the flow of thoughtless speaking - that you take so frequently in your book, and that in no way is suitable for the severity of the problem that you discuss. One of the many and most prominent examples that I encountered in your book, to my great sorrow and regret, is the quotation (that you bring from a Nazi source, without any comment!) concerning the wheeling and dealing in yellow star bands in the Warsaw ghetto; or the sentence about Leo Baeck, who, according to you, was considered to be the 'Jewish Fuehrer' by both Jews and Christians [...] the use of the Nazi term in this matter is very revealing. You do not speak, for instance, about a 'Jewish leader' - a term which would suit the man, and which would be free of the nightmarish meaning connected with the German term. Here you voice something extremely false and extremely harmful, for no one besides you aver spoke or wrote about Leo Baeck - whom both of us knew - as a 'Fuehrer,' with the meaning that you attempt to introduce into the reader's consciousness" (Explications and Implications, p. 92).
Personal Experiences from the Courtroom
Before we quote from Arendt's dialectical answer, we should concisely list "her crimes against the Jewish people," as many survivors did not hesitate to call this. First, Arendt focused almost obsessively on the role and functioning of the Judenrat. For many, this was contemptible, and an attempt to mitigate the guilt of the Nazis. Among her supporters, as well, only a few understood that more profound questions stood behind Arendt's interest in the Judenrat, such as: what is the meaning of "belonging," when it serves the murderous intentions of the enemy? What is the connection between responsibility and submissiveness? She also asked what were the personal - and perhaps also egotistical - considerations of the Judenrat members who agreed to place themselves, not always consciously, at the service of the German National Socialist Party and serve as amazingly efficient screws in its deadly enterprise. To a certain degree, Arendt herself investigated - in her unique way - the truthfulness, substance, effectiveness, and boundaries of that "love of Israel" of which Scholem and so many others argued she possessed no trace. Arendt's questions, however, cast the topic in a different light, and the accompanying tone angered not a few people. She even wrote: "The Jewish leaders' collaboration with those who were active in the destruction of their people is undoubtedly the darkest chapter in the dark history of that period."
This assertion led Arendt to an extreme analysis and to promote a sort of relativism that, inter alia, presented the hangman and the victim as the two faces of the same humanity whose values collapsed; thus, she speaks of the moral disintegration of the distinguished European civilization, not only in Germany but in most of the countries of the continent, and not only among the hangmen, but also among the victims.
No one had spoke, or even hinted, of these subjects since the liberation of the camps and the world's awareness of the dimensions of the murder. The Jewish world knew the stories that went about in the ultra-Orthodox society about the spiritual heroism of certain rabbis, and the stories of heroism (albeit of another kind) of the ghetto fighters and partisans. Beyond that, already during the days of the Eichmann trial, Jewish thinkers had begun to contemplate the question of God's absence in Auschwitz, or at least the phenomenon of His silence during the great slaughter. No one, however, dared to conceive of questions that might blur, or even harm, the unequivocal contrast between the absolute purity of the victims and the no less absolute wickedness of the perpetrators of the murder.
Arendt was not bothered by the readers' outrage. "Even if I had anticipated all this, I would have acted as I did," she wrote in August 1964 in a letter to Jaspers. As regards Arendt's main thesis, it should be noted that it, too, was not received very sympathetically by the public at large. This thesis is encapsuled in the subtitle of her book on Eichmann: "A Report on the Banality of Evil." With these words, that ever since have became a sort of slogan in certain intellectual circles, Arendt sought to concisely summarize her experience as a spectator in the courtroom, that is, as an observer of Eichmann himself and in his presence. Arendt thought she would discover a monster, but found a "clown": "while reading the three thousand six hundred pages of testimony I was convulsed with laughter," she admits. She was especially impressed by the disproportionality between the dimensions of the murder and what she called "Eichmann's mediocrity." She describes him as a pathetic creature, a person incapable of thinking independently and of expressing an opinion about his actions; for her, Eichmann was the embodiment of the total deficiency of value judgment. This gave birth to the term "the banality of evil," for which many did not forgive Arendt, since they saw it as a step to the banalization of Nazism itself. And finally, Arendt did not forget to indicate the "exploitation" of the trial by the State of Israel, that "engaged in realpolitik," but nevertheless "presented moral demands," as she wrote to Jaspers in 1965. According to Arendt, Ben-Gurion promised Adenauer, the first Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, not to reveal certain information about the Nazi past of some members of his government, in exchange for receiving arms or monetary loans. And what about Robert Servatius, Eichmann's lawyer, Arendt asks. Who paid his fee, the State of Israel or German public figures, who "bought him so that he would not mention their names during the trial?"
And so Hannah Arendt became a negative, or even loathsome, figure in the eyes of a part of the Jewish public, but also for many German intellectuals. The latter included Golo Mann (Thomas Man's brother), who had no qualms about writing that Arendt had "desecrated" the memory of the victims of the German opposition to the Nazi regime.
Today, after the scandal has been forgotten and Arendt has found her place among the important thinkers of the twentieth century, many culture critics try to understand why her positions during the Eichmann trial were perceived as evidence of an "identity disorder" or "self-hate," instead of being accepted as arguments to be discussed soberly, without emotions or preconceptions. Arendt, who thought that as a Jew it was her duty to be present in the courtroom where Eichmann was being tried, was attacked and perceived as a traitor, and not as an intellectual who raised questions that no one had previously dared to articulate, specifically because they were painful and definitely contained something emotionally threatening.
But what is the nature of the connection between emotion and affiliation? For Arendt, who believed in the fact of affiliation only as a matter of consciousness, emotion - the "love" of which Scholem spoke - distorts judgment, disturbs ideational analysis, and, in short, weakens affiliation to the Jewish people, falsifies it, and turns it into the self-worship that is viewed with suspicion by Judaism itself, that is so exceedingly monotheistic. Consequently, Arendt confesses in her answering letter to Scholem, written in New York in July 1963, that she possesses not a speck of "love of Israel," just because she is a Jewess. She opens in a somewhat mocking tone: "I will begin with what you call 'love of the Jewish people' or 'love of Israel' (I will be very grateful to you if you would be so kind as to reveal to me when did this concept begin to fill any role in Judaism, when was it first used in Hebrew language and literature, and the like). You are absolutely correct: I don't have any love of this sort, for two reasons: I never 'loved' any people or group - not the German people, not the French people, not the American people, not the working class, none of these. I only love my friends. The only type of love that I know and believe in is love for human beings. Moreover, 'love of Israel' is quite suspect in my eyes, since I myself am a Jewess. I cannot love myself, love what I know is physically part of my personality. To clarify my intent, permit me to tell you about a conversation I had in Israel with a senior-level political figure, who defended the - terrible in my eyes - the lack of separation between religion and state in Israel. The person told me things in this spirit (I am not certain of the precise formulation): 'Understand, I myself, as a socialist, I, of course, do not believe in God; I believe in the Jewish people.' This declaration seems scandalous to me, and this emotion of scandal prevented me from finding an immediate response. But I would have answered what he said as follows: 'This people's greatness became known to it when, one day, it began to believe in God, and believed in Him with a belief whose trust in and love for God surpassed the degree of its fear of Him, and now the Jewish people believes only in itself?' What good can come of this? And so, in this sense I do not love Jews, nor do I believe in them. I simply belong to this people. This is above any discussion or debate. We could conduct our discussion in political terms; then we would come to think about patriotism. Patriotism is inconceivable without opposition and without constant criticism, and this is undoubtedly a view we both share. But I can tell you that the evil that my people commits naturally saddens me more than the evil committed by other peoples. [...] You know, just as I do, how great is the tendency to accuse those who merely report certain unpleasant facts of having no soul, of being heartless, as it were; to claim that they lack what you define as 'the tact of the heart.' In other words, both of us know how much use is made of these emotions to hide, blur, and camouflage the factual truth."
These words superbly summarize Arendt's position. Affiliation to the Jewish people is neither an emotional experience nor "psychological argumentation," as she writes elsewhere, but a demand for an alert conscience and continual criticism as regards the people to which you belong. As far as Arendt is concerned, "love of Israel" is not a "concept," as defined by Scholem, but at most a magic formula, an excuse used by anyone too lazy to think with courage and integrity, without subjective restraints. Now we can understand why Arendt always defined herself as an "internal dissident," that is, as one of the critical voices that "grow inward" that were heard on the background of national crises, already in the time of the Bible. Her very complex ties to the Zionist movement, and later with the State of Israel, attest to her denial of toeing the party line or intellectual surrender of any sort, while, at the same time, show that, already in an early stage in her life, the Jewish question was an essential issue that could not be evaded. Thus, from the early 1930s she was active in German Zionist circles and was deeply influenced by the character of Kurt Blumenfeld, who was one of the leaders of the Zionist movement in Berlin. The correspondence between Arendt and Blumenfeld is a singular document and a model of intellectual dialogue. This correspondence was published in Germany in 1995, and was translated into many European languages. Thanks to Blumenfeld, Arendt discovered Zionism as a movement of tremendous evolutionary potential. In 1933 she participated in the preparations for the Eighteenth Zionist Congress in Prague. Upon arriving in Paris, Arendt initiated a Youth Aliyah project. In France she worked with most of the Zionist organizations, but her first visit to the Land of Israel aroused contradictory responses within her: on the one hand, the "political and social experience of the kibbutzim" seemed successful to her, and was in tune with Zionism's most subversive aspirations; while, on the other, she was shocked by the shallowness of the bureaucratic, institutionalized, and "Palestinocentric" Zionism. Despite her closeness to Judah Leon Magnes and the leftist circles of the time in the Land of Israel, she was active for the establishment of a Jewish army in whose ranks European and Palestinian Jews would fight together against Hitler, and she even wrote about this in 1941. Arendt visited Israel a few times before the Eichmann trial, and between one visit and the next her criticism grew more extreme.
At times her criticism bordered on angry outbursts that were expressed, among other venues, in her correspondence, between 1936 and 1968, with Heinrich Blucher, her second husband, that was published in 1996 in Germany and in other countries. On October 18, 1955, for example, she wrote to Blucher from Tel Aviv: "In general, one can say that everything is wasted. On Saturday we traveled to the kibbutzim. I talked with old acquaintances. The decline, the disintegration, are evident everywhere, from the filthy dining rooms to the relations between people. Everyone who speaks shows signs of fierce nationalism: 'We had to expel the Arabs who are still here,' and the like."
In her letters from Jerusalem she describes the Middle East as a "pigpen," and complains that the "galut [exile/Diaspora; here, in a disparaging sense] and ghetto mentality" reigns in every corner of the land, and the opposition to Ben-Gurion seems horribly old-fashioned and retarded. Furthermore, Arendt believed that the Israelis' attitude to the Arabs is so bad that the entire world is permitted to mobilize against them.
Among the public figures who never consented to change, or at least moderate, their judgment regarding Hannah Arendt, in this article we should mention Wladimir Rabi, an author and journalist who was active in the progressive circles in France (inter alia, he dedicated a book to his friend, the Jewish anarchist Pierre Goldman, L'Homme qui est entre dans la loi [The Man Who Entered the Law]). Rabi missed no opportunity to relate to Arendt's "negative" character. Thus, at the end of 1980, some time before his death, in an article that is frequently cited in the literature occupied with Arendt, he still referred to her "inhuman" tone. He asked: "What meaning should we attribute to all her behavior, except the desire to ascend to the level of supreme apathy, while, for us, Auschwitz is 'the inexpressible'?" He added a comment referring to the "laughter" that Eichmann's statements aroused in Arendt during his examination: "She laughed, the idiot, like Simone Weil who laughed in the camp in Casablanca in May 1942, when she waited for the ship that was about to set sail for New York; she laughed because she saw old Jews who waited like she did, and prayed wrapped in talitot [prayer shawls]. Another idiot." At the end of his article Rabi claimed once again that what Arendt lacked was "a heart," and cited the prophet Ezekiel (36:26): "And I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit into you: I will remove the heart of stone from your body and give you a heart of flesh."
The real question might be concealed behind Rabi's blunt style, namely: are Arendt's "laughter" and that of Simone Weil the same laughter? To put this differently, isn't the claim that the Jewish question was perceived in a similar manner, by both Arendt and Weil, an insult to the intelligence?
Hatred as Rectification and as Inner Purification
For Simone Weil, the Jewish people is a band of sinners. "Everything is stained and terrible since the time of Abraham," Weil writes in the "Israel" chapter in her book La pesanteur et la grace (Gravity and Grace, trans. A. Wills [Putnam, 1952]), that, despite its clearly anti-Semitic tone, is thought to be a classic, and modern mystical literature at its best. Arendt rejected "love of Israel" in the name of Judaism itself, and because she was a Jew with no desire to assimilate; while Weil believed that it was impossible to "love" Israel because the people is evil, and all that it possesses - its laws, its God, its beliefs, its goals - originates in impurity. The key idea in Weil's religious thought is that the Jewish people, by its very existence, opposes the triumph of love among the human race. In this respect, the Jews are the anti-messianic element, the player in the spiritual plane who acts to the detriment of humans who innocently await salvation. The Jewish people denied the "law of love" that, according to Weil, was characteristic, inter alia, of Egyptian civilization and "its sacred writings." She therefore argues that the Jews invented for themselves a jealous, inflexible, punishing, insane, and macho God, who could promise His people only worldly, material promises, that are embodied in the "flesh." "As for the Jews," she wrote to the philosopher Jean Wahl in 1942, "I think that Moses knew the (true) wisdom and denied it, since, like the theoretician of French ant-Semitism Charles Maurras, he perceived religion solely as a tool to obtain national greatness." Weil sets in opposition to the "omnipotent" god of the Jews who are arrogant in a manner almost ontological, the "humiliated God," the "losing God," that is, "the truly human God," who could not even save himself from the agonies of the cross. Judaism is a religion of "masters," she continues. The secret of its survival lies in its blind refusal to acknowledge the fact that man is a slave by his very essential nature. On the question of who are the Jews, Weil answers: "The people chosen for blindness, the people chosen to be the hangman of Christ."
In Letter to a Priest (end of 1942; citations from Penguin 2003 English edition), an important document for understanding Simone Weil's "personal theology," we learn of her "theory of religions" and the concept of the "total church," that she formulated as a general term for all the spiritual treasures of the past and the present, with the exception of Judaism. For Weil, the embodiment of God in the figure of Jesus is "only" the decisive moment in a lengthy series of revelations. There is no place, role, or part for the Hebrews in this "history of revelations." Thus, each in accordance with its wisdom, the most varied civilizations (India, Egypt, Greece, China, Persia, etc.) "prepared" all humankind for the great tidings by means of more partial ones, that nevertheless were no less true in their own right. In contrast, "the Hebrews, who for four centuries were in contact with Egyptian civilization, refused to adopt this sweet spirit. They wanted power ..." (p. 14). Weil explains, "what we call idolatry is to a large extent an invention of Jewish fanaticism" (p. 14). Consequently, not only did the Hebrews refuse to see the light, they even presented the light of their time as darkness, claiming that its propagators were "idolaters": "If some Hebrews of classical Jewry were to return to life and were to be presented with arms, they would exterminate the lot of us - men, women, and children, for the crime of idolatry. They would reproach us for worshiping Baal and Astarte, taking Christ for Baal and the Virgin for Astarte" (p. 15).
the only relationship that a Jew wishing to sever himself from his disgrace is capable of conducting with his people is that of hatred and negation. In this case, it is even possible to speak of "sacred hatred," hatred as rectification and as inner purification. The Jew, Simone Weil states, is not capable of any act of "charity for its own sake," since its God acts only in accordance with the law of "give and take"; this is a "sensual God, who never spoke to the soul of anyone." She adds: Christianity became "totalitarian, conquering, and destructive," since it did not eradicate its Jewish roots and because it insisted on preserving the Old Testament as part of its heritage.
Accordingly, Simone Weil's conclusion could be formulated as follows: "hatred of Israel" will eventually lead the Jew to "love of humanity," just as "love of Israel" attests to the negation of humanity inherent in him.
Finally, we should perhaps note that, for new thinkers active at present in Europe such as Bernard Sichere and Etienne Balibar, who fall under the category of "neo-Paulines," and who see themselves as the modern followers of Paul, Simone Weil marks the transition from Jewish "sectarian particularism" to panhuman "universalism," to which Paul gave expression and theological reasoning in the New Testament. To state this bluntly, this approach declares that the Jew is the rough draft of the perfect man. The Jew was loyal to a "tribal" and "nationalistic" law, while the Christian - that is, the true human being - speaks of the redemption of the entire human race by Jesus' crucifixion. According to this worldview, the Jew must put his Jewishness to death in order to be reborn as a human being.
Some thinkers even regard spiritual suicide and Christian rebirth of this type as a perfect Jewish act.
Laurent Cohen is an author and journalist. The article was published originally published in Hebrew in Eretz Acheret 37
translated by Ed Levin