Jewish diplomacy began in biblical times, when Abraham negotiated with King Abimelech over possession of precious wells in an arid land. In order to protect their vulnerable communities and ensure Jewish continuity, generations of Jewish leaders have developed effective negotiation strategies in dealing with powerful kings, emperors, sultans, popes, dictators, prime ministers, and presidents.
In his new book The Star and the Scepter: A Diplomatic History of Israel (Jewish Publication Society), Emmanuel Navon, a lecturer at Tel Aviv University and a fellow of the Israeli Institute for Strategy and Security, begins with the biblical period, including the kingdoms of David and Solomon, and concludes with U.S. President Donald Trump’s 2020 “Deal of the Century,” intended to settle the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
For Navon, a French-born academic who later moved to Israel, “the star” represents the spiritual faith and destiny of the Jewish people, while “the scepter” symbolizes the eternal quest for Jewish national sovereignty in the Land of Israel.
Rabbi James Rudin
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