Meron – Where Lifestyle Demands Risk Taking – and Soul-Searching is not an Option

Just as the oblivious are oblivious to being oblivious, fanatics are oblivious to their fanaticism. People who live within subcultures where extreme zeal is the norm view mainstream society as abnormal. Excessive and unreasonable religiosity appears ordinary if you swim in a subculture unmoored from enlightenment and reason.   Where is the boundary between the religiousContinue reading “Meron – Where Lifestyle Demands Risk Taking – and Soul-Searching is not an Option”

Why are Arabs rioting in Jerusalem? And why now?

There are at least 10 reasons that I can think of (in random order) to explain the recent uptick in Jerusalem violence: Palestinian-Arab Jerusalem youths have few facilities for sports or supervised recreation, as one Arab community organizer explained on Reshet Bet Sunday. The youngsters are bored. Social media lionizes terrible behavior. Part of whatContinue reading “Why are Arabs rioting in Jerusalem? And why now?”

Israel at 73 by the numbers Independence Day

73 years of Independence (Third Commonwealth) 23,928 fallen fighters 9,140,500 total population (end 2020) 21.0% Arab (within Green Line) 73.9% of Israel’s population on both sides of Green Lin is Jewish (***) 27.9% of the total budget expenditure (how much spent on social welfare) NIS 21,063 (average monthly income before taxes) NIS 8,115 (Households ofContinue reading “Israel at 73 by the numbers Independence Day”

Election Results Memo – March 24 Israel – Knesset

So, here’s my quick take on yesterday’s Elections for the 120-seat Knesset. The unvarnished truth is that Israeli voters’ solid plurality stands for Bibi-ism, Kahane-ism, and Haredism. Why do I say this? With nearly 90 per cent of the vote in (meaning small changes will still have a big impact), the Bibi-ist Likud got 30Continue reading “Election Results Memo – March 24 Israel – Knesset”

Israel Knesset Elections 2021: Blog 2 | Netanyahu on N12

With 30-odd days to go, do you still think Netanyahu the most competent, gifted, and able of the candidates? Binyamin Netanyahu has no equal. Watch his performance as anchor Yonit Levy interviews him on Israel’s Channel 12. Swave, informed, articulate, sincere, and doggedly on message. There is even a touch of self-depracation and genuine modesty. Netanyahu is like sugar. You crave more evenContinue reading “Israel Knesset Elections 2021: Blog 2 | Netanyahu on N12”


So, 39 parties will be competing in the March 23rd Knesset election. Do you know which one you are voting for? Too early to tell. But only a dozen of the 39 stand a chance of crossing the electoral threshold. Who are you not voting for? That’s easier. I won’t vote for a party thatContinue reading “Israel Knesset Elections 2021 THE PROCESS OF ELIMINATION BEGINS”

Was it Really Worth it?

It was dinner time in Jerusalem when Donald Trump addressed his supporters waiting for him on the Ellipse just south of the White House. Over supper, we watched live as he spewed his lies, Big and small. I listened to his unsettling stream of consciousness interspersed with a few sentences that he read verbatim, which had subjectsContinue reading “Was it Really Worth it?”

Far From Baghdad: Two Sephardi Families and their Influence on China’s Development

The Last Kings of Shanghai The Rival Jewish Dynasties That Helped Create Modern China By Jonathan Kaufman The Jewish-Chinese relationship has long beguiled me. My one visit to Shanghai made me want to know more about the city. So naturally, I was drawn to Jonathan Kaufman’s The Last Kings of Shanghai. My reward was a narrative that skillfullyContinue reading “Far From Baghdad: Two Sephardi Families and their Influence on China’s Development”

The London Jewish Chronicle previews ‘Lone Voice: The Wars of Isi Leibler’ By Suzanne Rutland

From today’s (London) Jewish Chronicle: “He might easily be described as the Marmite of the Jewish world: a communal gadfly who has garnered love and hate in almost equal parts…” It is the part of the Jewish world that disdains the corruption that will want to read this book.

The end of WII was not ‘the end’ for Jewish survivors

The Last Million: Europe’s Displaced Persons from World War to Cold War By David Nasaw “Is this – is this necessary?” That was the question a harried Vito Corleone asked consigliere Tom Hagen in Godfather I when prevailed upon to grant Luca Brasi an audience and it’s what I ask myself whenever another Holocaust bookContinue reading “The end of WII was not ‘the end’ for Jewish survivors”