Wednesday, 25 June 2014

A letter from an Israeli Chief Rabbi arguing that the closeness of Islam to Judaism could help the cause of Middle East peace is to go on sale tomorrow.
It was written by Israel’s first Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi, Isaac Herzog, in 1954 to Professor Abraham Katsh, who had published a book on “Judaism in Islam”,
Rabbi Herzog, who died in 1959, wrote: “It is my fervent hope that the learned men of the Arab peoples may… be helped to realize how near Islam is to Judaism historically and that this connection may help to promote the cause… of peace between Ishmael and Israel.”
Source: Jewish Chronicle


  1. Several copies available at Hard to say from the publishers' description if the book deals mainly with Islamic and Talmudic law and with the manner in which the Koran and Talmud treat historical personages regarded as prophets by both ideologies or if it encompasses and addresses such shared precepts/mandates as death for apostasy, 'hate speech'/'blasphemy', paedophilia, slavery, concept of truth and deceit, the lower status or non-humanity (legally and 'theologically') of those not belonging to either Islam or Judaism. Whether this book deals with these topics would be interesting and instructive.

  2. commentarymagazine*com/article/judaism-in-islam-by-abraham-i-katsh/

    Mr. Katsh has chosen to comment only on two suras—the second and third—out of a hundred and fourteen. And even in these two selections he has omitted many verses that are quite apposite to his inquiry. He would have done well at least to print the text of the passages he omitted and to summarize each chapter. As the book stands, all but experts will be obliged to keep a Koran handy to know what Mr. Katsh is discussing.

  3. @Anonymous 28.06, 20:13: Reading the review of Katsh's book (by a Jew), it seems that Katsh does not deal with the obvious links in Judaic and Islamic teachings; one can easily understand why Jews are loathe to have this Pandora's box opened: for years, online sites dealing with the issue of Islam and Islamisation of the West have deliberately avoided the obvious, early origins of Islamic teaching from Talmudic Judaism, probably, in part, because so many of these sites are Jewish administered and because the concept that even questioning/inquiring into Judaism's own teachings is somehow "anti-semitic." For example, re usury, the Old Testament refers to it as a sin but Judaic teachings, noting the admonition not to undertake practices of usury against one's 'neighbour' defined that very tightly to apply only to not using usury against fellow Jews and to be careful not to commit it too assiduously against non-Jews because this might impact negatively upon the Jews overall. Thus, the moral teaching, of not committing a sin (usury), is greatly watered down by 'permitting' it upon those not of one's own ideology. It is no longer a moral system, at least, not a universal one, as Christianity does attempt to be.

  4. @Anonymous29 June 2014 11:07

    Why does it say in the quran that the Jews call Ezra the son of God?
    Because Ezra the Scribe is the one who is venerated the most by Talmudic Scribes.
    Traditionally Judaism credits Ezra with establishing the Great Assembly of scholars and prophets, the forerunner of the Sanhedrin, as the authority on matters of religious law.