Monday, March 07, 2011

Politics – February 2011 In Memory of Sarah Cohen (January 30, 1930 – February 13, 2011)

The chain reaction of evil —  wars producing more wars — must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.

    ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Gilad is still in captivity. Veshavu banim legvulam.

    ~Raphael Cohen-Almagor

Israel is cognizant that a new regime in Egypt might revoke the relationships we have with our great and intimidating neighbour. We watch as the events unfold with great caution. The greatest fear is that Egypt would fall to the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood. This would bring anti-Semitism of the worst kind very close to our borders. Below information about the Muslim Brotherhood.

Mohamed ElBaradei seeks to replace Mubarak. He maintains good relationships with the Muslim Brotherhood.

The other hot topic in Israel this month was Yoav Galant. When Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defence Minister Barak realized that Galant will now withdraw his candidacy, they did it for him. But Galant refused to give up. Using his media contacts, he continued to occupy the headlines: The prime minister should not decide it alone; the special committee on the nomination of senior officials, the Turkel Committee (same former justice of the Supreme Court who headed the Gaza flotilla committee) should decide the issue. There was some hope for him as Justice Turkel, who some months ago approved Galant’s candidacy for the chief of staff despite the land expropriation allegations, said that “a terrible thing was done to a distinguished officer” and blamed the media for it. When his plea was ignored and the government nominated Benny Gantz he appealed to the Supreme Court but then withdrew the appeal.

Reflections on January Blog
Muslim Brotherhood
Benny Gantz
Post Chief of Staff Saga
Katsav, or apples may fall far away from trees
Jonathan Pollard - New website and 2011 Directory
The Herzliya Conference
My New Article
New Books
Movie of the Year
Monthly Poems
Musical Moment
Light Side

Free Gilad Shalit. The government should invest in his release. It should be on its top priorities. Veshavu banim legvulam.

Gilad Shalit

Sarah Cohen (January 30, 1930 – February 13, 2011)

Mum was born in Yambul Bulgaria to a middle class family. She was the youngest of four children: Jacques, Sofka, Clara and herself. Her father, Yoseph, was a Turkish immigrant who arrived in Yambul, worked in odd jobs, met Rosa (Shoshana) and established a family. Later he opened a coffee shop for working people. He worked very long hours, from 5 am till late evening. Shoshana helped him and took care of the children.

Things changed for worse when the Nazis came. Jacques was sent to a labour camp. Jews had to endure many restrictions and growing anti-Semitism. At school, mum was discriminated against and had unpleasant encounters with teachers and peers. The deputy headmaster was a devout Nazi who did not hide her racist views and her dislike for Jews.

In 1946, mum and Clara made aliya and arrived at Palestine. There she was separated from her sister and was sent to kibbutz Ayelet Hashachar. New beginnings tend to be difficult and this one was no exception. Mum spoke only fluent Bulgarian and found it difficult to communicate with the locals. She was assigned to the laundry room, a place that demanded hard, physical work in the company of older women who did not speak her language. She wanted to escape.

After a few months, mum moved to kibbutz Shfaim near Tel Aviv. There she studied Hebrew and worked in all the kibbutz jobs. Clara moved to Tel Aviv and they were able to meet from time to time.

After two years in Shfaim, mum was recruited to the newly established Israeli army. Mum loved the army service. She assumed important responsibilities, made friends and began to date men. Mum always spoke fondly of her IDF days, saying it was the best time of her life.
After two years, mum completed her service and moved to Tel Aviv, where she lived with Clara and her husband Moshe in a small apartment in Raanan Street in south Tel Aviv. During the days mum worked as a cleaner and washed dishes at modest restaurants; during the nights she went to evening schools to study accountancy. Mum spoke with great sadness about that difficult period. The difficulty was not only physical. Mum endured sexual harassment from restaurant owners who fancied her. She never elaborated on what exactly happened behind the kitchen doors. At some point, mum shifted jobs to clean apartment building stairs.

After completing her studies, mum started working as an accountant at the Water Agency (Mifal Hamaim) and after a while shifted to LaMerchav Newspaper, where she worked until it closed down in 1971. Then she began working at Al Hamishmar Newspaper until that paper closed down in 1995. The family joke was that mum specializes in working for unsustainable business.

In 1956, mum married my father, Yizhar Cohen. In 1959, Yossi was born and two years later I came to the world. Mum and dad lived first in Arlozoroff Street, not far from Dizengoff Street, and in 1959 they moved to Beeri Street, a home they cherished, loved and refused to leave. Both lived in that house until their last days.

Mum loved Israel with all her heart. She always said that there is no other place for Jewish people. She was a true Zionist, very patriotic and steadfast. In Bulgaria, she joined Hashomer Hatzair and until her last days she remained committed to socialist values, believing in the love of people, compassion, in hard work, in equality and in peace. She was very interested in Israeli politics and believed education is the key to success. These are the values she promoted at home, upon which I was raised.

Mum loved theatre. We used to attend shows together, exchanged views about new productions, directors, actors. Until her last days she was always eager to discuss theatre in Israel and abroad. She also enjoyed playing cards, especially Bridge, and used to frequent a Bridge club near Yitzhak Rabin Square in Tel Aviv. Mum enjoyed travelling. Whenever I went, she came for a visit: Oxford, New York, Los Angeles, Beverley and Hull.

Mum stood by me all her life. She was the driving force behind me. She was my anchor, my inspiration, my compass, my guarding angel. I am what I am thanks to her, thanks to her unwavering support, thanks to her big heart and constant love and care.

I love you mum, and miss you so much. I love you until my last day on this planet.

Reflections on January Blog

Professor James Weinstein, from Arizona, wrote:

“Though I am not sure, I think the Holmes poem you provide is by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. not by his son, the Justice whose picture you place beneath it.” I stand corrected. I think James is right.

Professor Robert O’Neill noted from Australia:

Dear Rafi

Thanks for your latest Politics - very interesting to read, and to have the address line for the Yad Vashem collection. I have looked at it already.

I hope these current developments in Egypt and Yemen lead to peaceful transitions and willingness to engage with the region, but it probably won't be that simple. Testing times we live in!

Professor Joyce Appelby, UCLA, commented:

Very interesting, Rafi, and now everything is up in the air again. I feel for everyone at this critical juncture in the history of Middle Eastern states, except those leaders who have brought their people to this point.  Joyce

Prof. Jo Carby-Hall, University of Hull, wrote:

Dear Rafi,

Many thanks for your  January 2011 Newsletter which I enjoyed reading and from which I learnt a great deal. It is varied, amusing, serious and informative. Combining all these features in one text is no easy matter.

As a non-political scientist I found all you say regarding Israeli politics most informative. I also enjoyed reading the critical appreciation made by one of your readers, namely Yoav, who does not always agree with you. I do not feel qualified to comment  and thus contribute to the debate on the political opinions expressed, as my knowledge of political issues - whether they be Israeli or otherwise, - is very limited.

Of course every lawyer has heard of Oliver Wendell Holmes but I did not know that this famous judge also had poetic talents. I enjoyed reading the poem you quote in your Newsletter. As a law student at Aberdeen University I recall my lecturer in Jurisprudence, Professor Peter Stein,  talking of OWH's theory that there is no certainty in the law and illustrating this with the various cab companies in the different States of the US whose laws differ. In one of his publications, OWH once said that any lawyer who seeks for certainty in the law is not an adult jurist, rather he is like a child who clings to his mother's apron strings to attain security.

I was interested to read of General Galant's property and to see the "castle" he built. I have never seen anything like it during my various trips to Israel. Most buildings are very much more modest. Obviously he enjoys the good life!

I am interested to read that Yad Vashem is obtainable on line. When time allows, I shall look at the website.

The Iranian/Syrian threat is explained in a balanced and realistic manner. There is, of course, world concern about Iran and the dangers posed.

Although I did not know Arthur, I should be pleased in joining you if you to convey to his wife and family by deepest sympathy for their loss. From what you say, he was a scholar and a great man in many other respects

As for the  humeours inscription on the loo, well  "it is a bit of alright" as they say in Yorkshire!

Thank you for pumping some light and humour  in my, otherwise busy day

Yours aye


Muslim Brotherhood

Text Box: Muslim Brotherhood emblem: Qur'an and Swords The Muslim Brotherhood (Arabic: Hizb al Ikhwan al Muslimeen - The party of the Muslim Brothers or Jamaat al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun - Society of the Muslim brotherhood )  is a fundamentalist international organization or organizations originating in Egypt, whose goals are the conversion of Muslim countries into states ruled by Sha'aria law, the re-establishment of the Caliphate and ultimately, world dominion. The Muslim Brotherhood's ideology, which insists that Islam is a prescription for governance as well as religion, is the prototypical example of Islamism. Their slogan is self-explanatory: "God is our purpose, the Prophet our leader, the Qur'an our constitution, Jihad our way and dying for God's cause our supreme objective."

Different factions of the Muslim Brotherhood believe that an Islamic society can be achieved by violent means in the near term, or by education and "preparation" of society and "democratic" takeover.  The Muslim Brotherhood was founded formally in March 1928 in Egypt by Hassan al-Banna,  but it may have existed before in a less formal framework.

Muslim Brotherhood Ideology

Al-Banna developed the ideology and the methods of organization and recruitment that were to characterize most radical Islamist groups which may or may not have been inspired by the Brotherhood. The ideology includes the following points:

Islam must dominate and not be dominated.

Restoration of the lost caliphate - i'adat al Khalifa al Mafqudah -  is the chief immediate political goal of the Islamist movement.

Islam is currently inferior to the West because it deserted its roots. It will triumph by returning to its pristine form.

Social revolution and anti-colonial struggle are an integral and major part of the mission of the Islamic revival.

Violent Jihad is a central tenet of Islam and martyrdom in the cause of Allah is highly valued.  Violent Jihad is the greater Jihad, while inner struggle for moral purity is the lesser Jihad.

Islam must aim to take over the entire world and assert its superiority through violent Jihad,

Western civilization is doomed by its decadence and Jewish influence.

Ideas such as democracy and human rights are products of Jewish influence and Western decadence. Society must be ruled by God and not men.

The Jews are particularly vile enemies of Islam. Israel is to be opposed because it is a foreign western implant.

Muslim Brotherhood ideology is virulently anti-Semitic, anti-Western and anti-democratic in principle.  It is important to emphasize this last point, in view of the optimistic theories of certain academics who insist that the Muslim Brotherhood and similar groups would evolve toward democracy because of democratic traditions in Islam. The original Muslim Brotherhood ideology views all such democratic traditions as heresy, though it might use democratic means to gain power. Al-Banna was succeeded by Sayyid Qutb. The reasoning behind this opposition is explained in Chapter 6 of Sayyid Qutb's book, Milestones: just government is government by God, and not by men. Qutb believed that the best sort of government was a dictatorship based on Sha'aria Muslim law.

Muslim Brotherhood under Sayyid Qutb

Following his return from the United States in 1951, Sayyid Qutb gradually assumed ideological leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood. Qutb developed and refined al-Banna's ideology. While the idea that Muslim rule had to be extended to the west may have been implicit in Banna's beliefs, Qutb made it far more explicit. He was also more strident in his calls to abrogate all Muslim jurisprudence and return to a somewhat hypothetical pristine state of Islam that existed in the very first years. Qutb's struggle was no longer against colonial oppression, but against the rule of man. He decreed that all governments that did not follow his ideology were in a state of Jahiliya, the darkness and ignorance that according to Islam, pervaded the Arabian peninsula before the advent of Islam. He systematized opposition to current Muslim regimes by proclaiming that all rule of man is oppression. Man can only be free, according to Qutb, by returning to a society where laws are extracted directly from the word of God as explained in the Quran.

Qutb also originated or expanded upon the idea and practice of Takfir, branding other Muslims, and particularly state regimes, as infidels, and thus legitimizing Jihad against the Muslim states. The popularity of this idea may have been encouraged by the suffering of the group at the hands of the Nasserist regime.

In August of 1965, Nasser charged that the Brotherhood had set up an armed organisation to seize power by force and another wave of arrests followed. Hundreds of members were rounded up.

In 1966 three Brotherhood leaders - Sayed Qotb, Youssef Hawwash and Abdel-Fattah Ismail - were sentenced to death and executed for plotting against Nasser. More than 100 others were condemned to various prison terms.

Muslim Brotherhood Since Qutb

Following Nasser's death in 1970 and Anwar As-Sadat's rise to power, jailed Brotherhood members were released. Groups began to splinter off from the Muslim Brotherhood. The Al-Takfir Wal Hijra - a group that views society as infidel and advocates withdrawal from it announced its appearance by kidnapping and killing a cabinet minister and launching an attack on the Technical Military Academy.

The mainstream Muslim Brotherhood reached a modus vivendi by renouncing violence. It remained illegal, it was tolerated by the government and, in some cases, even encouraged as a counter-balance to leftist forces whom Sadat considered the main threat to his regime.

In 1976, the group was allowed to publish a monthly magazine, Al-Dawa, which continued to appear until it was shut down by Sadat shortly before his assassination in October 1981.

In 1981, members of another offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Egyptian Islamic Jihad assassinated Egyptian President Anwar as Sadat. The assassination was followed by widespread suppression of the group.

The Brotherhood turned away from violence at least officially. It is unclear whether this renunciation refers only to a commitment to use democratic methods in Egypt, or whether the Muslim Brotherhood renounced violence in general. The Muslim Brotherhood became more active in civil society, winning control of several student unions and professional syndicates, and contesting parliamentary elections under stand-in party names. It is now the single largest opposition group in the Egyptian parliament.

Muslim Brotherhood and Jihad

A basic tenet of the movement is holy war, Jihad in the sense of Jihad bis Seif, struggle by the sword. Jihad means "struggle" literally, and refers to a holy struggle or holy war.  Some Muslims believe that it refers primarily to an inner spiritual struggle. Others believe that Jihad in the sense of war should be waged only against idolators or only against those who threaten Islam. Al-Banna however, was quite explicit in stating that Jihad was to be waged as a holy duty ("fard") to subdue any society that did not submit to Islam. (For al-Banna's definition of Jihad, see the article on Jihad). Likewise Sayyed Qutb was explicit that Jihad was not a defensive war, but a staged struggle to "liberate" all mankind.

The Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwan) is in one way or another responsible for most of the Sunni terrorist fundamentalist groups. "New" groups formed either when the original group was suppressed and it was necessary to take another name, or because of personal difference or minor or major differences in tactics or theology, or by merger with other similar groups. The most famous such group today is probably Al-Qaeda, which resulted from a merger of Osama Bin Laden's followers with those of Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood activist Ayman Zawahiri and other groups.

Goals of the Muslim Brotherhood

The goals of the Muslim brotherhood are set forth in the "home page" of the group:

Main objectives

A huge tree of "sub-goals" branches from these main objectives which are derived from the Quran and the tradition of the prophet (pbuh) [3,4]:

    1- Building the Muslim individual: brother or sister with a strong body, high manners, cultured thought, ability to earn, strong faith, correct worship, conscious of time, of benefit to others, organized, and self-struggling character [3].

    2- Building the Muslim family: choosing a good wife (husband), educating children Islamically, and inviting other families.

    3- Building the Muslim society (thru building individuals and families) and addressing the problems of the society realistically.

    4- Building the Muslim state.

    5- Building the Khilafa (basically a shape of unity between the Islamic states).

    6- Mastering the world with Islam.



In its February 25, 2001 Report, the U.N. atomic watchdog has received new information regarding allegations that Iran may be seeking to develop a nuclear-armed missile.

The confidential document signalled the U.N. body's growing frustration at what it sees as Iran's lack of cooperation with a long-running investigation into its disputed nuclear program. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report noted the following:

    * Contrary to Security Council resolutions, Iran has not suspended its uranium enrichment activities at several facilities, which are under IAEA safeguards. Enrichment activities have been expanded at both a pilot plant and the main plant at Natanz, and at an enrichment plant called Fordow, near the holy city of Qom. Tehran admitted the existence of the latter facility in 2009, days before it was revealed by U.S. and European surveillance. Indeed, Iran is enriching with more than 5,000 centrifuges, 1,000 more than three months ago. (A rare optimistic note is that Iran's total of 8,000 centrifuges is slightly less than the total at the time of the last report, suggesting breakdowns remain a problem.)

    * Iran has now produced more than 3,600 kilograms of low-enriched uranium; if processed into higher proportions of the fissile isotope U-235, this amount could theoretically be enough for several atomic bombs. In addition, Iran continues to enrich some of this to a higher (20 percent) proportion of U-235, a cause for concern because anything beyond is defined as highly enriched uranium (HEU). Iran is also working on two new centrifuge designs that might be more efficient than its problematic IR-1 centrifuge.

    * Iran is not responding to information requests about the Fordow plant and has yet to tell the IAEA anything about ten new centrifuge plants. Sites for five of these plants have already been chosen, and construction will begin on one of them before the Iranian new year (March 20) or shortly afterward.

    * Iran has provided no further information regarding its claim last year that it possessed laser enrichment technology, nor on its later announcement that it was developing a new type of centrifuge. The regime has also ignored IAEA requests about additional locations related to the manufacture of centrifuges and research and development on enrichment.

    * Although Iran has stated that it is not working on reprocessing -- which the IAEA confirmed, but only in the facilities it was permitted to inspect --the regime continues to work on heavy-water projects in violation of Security Council resolutions.

    * Some activities at the Isfahan uranium conversion and fuel manufacturing facilities contravene Iran's international obligations.
    * There is new information as well as concerns "about the possible existence in Iran...of activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile." This disturbing conclusion reinforces previous evidence that Iran is working hard to design a nuclear weapon small enough to fit on top of a missile less than three feet in diameter. It also suggests that Iran intends to design an implosion-type device, which is more challenging than the gun-type design used in the Hiroshima bomb and later developed by apartheid-era South Africa. Nuclear devices for missiles must also be more durable than those dropped from aircraft because they need to cope with the huge acceleration and high re-entry temperatures associated with rocket launches.

The Report is available at

Source: Simon Henderson, “New Evidence of Iran's Nuclear Ambitions”, PolicyWatch #1767, The Washington Institute (March 2, 2011).

Further information:


It is quite predictable to assume that the next stone in this Arab domino unrest is Yemen. In another reverberation of the popular anger rocking the region, on February 2, 2011, the longtime president Ali Abdullah Saleh announced concessions that included suspending his campaign for constitutional changes that would allow him to remain president for life and pledging that his son would not seek to be his successor. The news came one day after Jordan's king dismissed his cabinet. "No extension, no inheritance, no resetting the clock," Saleh told Parliament the day before protesters planned a rally in Sana that they're calling a "day of rage." Saleh has ruled Yemen for 32 years and, despite the country being a haven for al Qaeda, has been considered a close American ally in the region.



Yoav Galant will not be the next Chief of Staff. For the first time in Israel’s history, a nomination to this position was cancelled after it was approved by the government. After the negative opinion of the State Comptroller, the Legal Advisor to the Government announced that he will not be able to defend Galant at the Supreme Court of Justice. Following this, Prime Minister Netanyahu and Minister of Defence Barak cancelled Galant’s nomination.

Galant said first he would appeal to the Supreme Court for assistance but after further reflection withdrew the appeal. I presume his legal advisors convinced him that he had little chance of winning.

Galant who served the country for 34 years will go home. I presume he will go to business. In the future, do not be surprised if Galant will seek a political or another public position.

Benny Gantz

On February 14, 2011, Major General Benny Gantz was appointed the 20th IDF Chief of Staff and received the rank of Lieutenant General. He was a compromise nomination after the Galant fiasco, one that both Netanyahu and Barak could agree upon quickly.

Gantz was born in 1959, recruited to the IDF in 1977 and joined the Paratroopers Brigade. In 1979, he graduated from the IDF Officer School and was positioned as a Platoon Commander and later as a deputy Company Commander in the Paratrooper Brigade. In the 1982 Lebanon War he replaced an injured company commander, fighting alongside his soldiers in western Beirut.

Between 1989-1992 he served as Commander of the Shaldag Unit in the Israel Air force. During the same period, was a commander of the forces securing operation Shlomo, bringing Ethiopian Jews to Israel.

Between 1994-1995 he served as Commander of the Judea Brigade in the Judea and Samaria Division.

Between 1998-1999 received the rank of Brig. Gen. and served as commander of a reserve division in the Northern Command.

Between 1999-2000 he served as Commander of the Liaison Unit with Lebanon. He was the last IDF commander to leave the gates of Lebanon.

In 2001 was appointed Commander of the Northern Command Reserve Core and received the rank of Maj. Gen.

Between 2000-2002, during the start of the second Intifada he served as Commander of the Judea and Samaria Division.

Between 2002-2005 he served as Commander of the IDF Northern Command.

Between 2005-2007 he served as Commander of the IDF Ground Forces Command.

Between 2007-2009 he served as the IDF Military Attaché in the United States.

Benny Gantz is a military man who identifies with the system. He is a hard working officer, a dedicated technocrat who will do the job quietly and skillfully. Gantz is a humble person, certainly far more humble than Barak and Galant. He is not a peacock and his leadership style is anything but uh aha charm. Gantz is very mamlachti and knows what is expected of him. He will not confront the political elite of Israel and will dedicate his energies to maintain a strong army. In many respects, Gantz reminds me of the 12th Chief of Staff, Moshe Levy (Moishe Vachetzi): Quiet, industrious, very focused, aware of his strengths and limitations, seeking harmonious working relationships with his generals and politicians. Gantz will not seek unnecessary adventures but he will have no hesitation to put to good use the might of the Israeli army if ordered by the government.


Post Chief of Staff Saga

Anyone who wishes to change the plan of her apartment in Israel knows how difficult and how bureaucratic it is to pass the via dolorosa of building permits, municipality registration, taxes and crazy requirements. Thus, if you wish to extend your home by adding 10 square meters, you need to take a long breath and ask yourself: Do I really want to do this? Many answer in the negative, preserving their health.

Think of the following: A person (A) plants trees. When someone wakes up and says: Wait a moment, this is public land, A’s answer is: But these trees are mine. I planted them. What will happen to my trees? You cannot simply uproot them. And trees are important in our tradition. One of our national songs is about not uprooting trees.

Nice scheme. I wonder how prevalent this scheme is in Israel, especially in Moshavim and kibbutzim. I presume the wheel was not invented recently. According to the State Comptroller and the Legal Advisor to the Government, Galant used his position for his land schemes, and he did it big.

I miss the modest public officials we had: Berl Katznelson, A.D. Gordon, David Ben-Gurion, Yitzhak Ben-Zvi and the last modest giant, Menachem Begin. These people led by example. They were true leaders who understood what example they should set for their people. Our present leaders entered public life to do first and foremost for themselves. Do people who serve in senior public positions really believe that the way they conduct their public life has nothing to do with the way they conducts their personal life? Business people can do for themselves, but for public officials the private and the public spheres are hard to separate. Lack of awareness to these small details shows anything but leadership.

Katsav, or apples may fall far away from trees

In my free speech seminars I used to show my students a film called Not A Love Story. This film is about the porn industry and I thought it was interesting because it gave voice to all relevant constituencies: The pornographers, the producers, those who enjoy porn, those working in the industry, feminists, religious people. Many years ago, while I was teaching at the University of Haifa, I was scheduled to be away during the week of our pornography studies. I rearranged the class for the following week, and while away I asked my research assistant to show my class the film. I did not make the showing obligatory, only for those students who were interested.

A few days after my return from abroad, during my office hours, there was a knock on my door. One of my free speech seminar students came to see me. He came to complain about the film. He found it too graphic and offensive. I said that its showing was not obligatory. The student’s answer was that he participated in the class, he wanted to be like all students, therefore he saw it necessary for himself to watch the movie. He thought that I should have warned them that the film’s content might be offensive.

The student was one of the few observant students in my classes. There were not many. I thought about what he said and concluded he was right. The following class I apologized before my students for failing to warn them about its content, that it might be offensive to some. I also asked to see the student in private, and apologized to him in person, pledging that for now on I will always provide future students with such warning prior to showing the film. I have been abiding by my promise since then.

That student was Moshe Katsav’s son. Apples may fall far from trees.

Jonathan Pollard

There are renewed voices in Israel, urging the Israeli government to appeal to the Obama administration to release from American jail the spy who worked for Israel. A few distinguished columnists were quick to write that what Pollard did was not so serious, he did not produce truly important information, and that the Americans also understand that it is time for Pollard to be freed.

It was a gross mistake to recruit Pollard to spy on Israel’s most important ally. During the decision-making process, the Hegelian Owl of Minerva went to sleep. Israel needs the US far more than US needs Israel. Betraying its trust showed little thinking not to mention prudence.

In 2008, I had meeting with senior FBI officials. The meetings concerned the fighting of terrorism and child pornography on the Internet. During one of my meetings, I cautiously raised the issue, whether Pollard paid the price and now can be released from jail. The FBI senior official, who was in a good mood up until that point, deleted his smile. In the coldest possible manner he answered: We do not like spies. Israel betrayed our trust. Pollard will rot in jail. There is nothing to discuss.

I never raised the issue again. - New website and 2011 Directory

The Directory of UK-Israel Business Services was published for the first time last year to an enthusiastic welcome by business people and professionals in both countries. An extended and completely bi-lingual 2011 print edition is due on May 2011. It is preceded by a new dedicated website- , already on air with the last (Hebrew only) edition materials.

To be included in the new edition, to offer editorial contributions and for further information please contact the publisher Ms. Inbal Peleg

The Herzliya Conference

has become one of the most important annual forums in Israel. I was asked to post two videos to promote internationally and I do this with pleasure.

My New Article

“Physician-Assisted Suicide – A Qualified Endorsement”, Amsterdam Law Forum, Vol. 3, No. 1 (2011),

Most people would like to continue living. Empirical research, done time and again, shows this very clearly. I have visited more than thirty hospitals in Israel, England, Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands and Belgium. Most patients, even in the most dreadful conditions, opt to life. This is more so when patients are Catholic, Jews and Muslims. This is less so in the Netherlands and Flemish-Belgium. But the general picture is clear: We all possess a zeal for life. Therefore, whenever we are unclear about the patients’ wishes, the default position we should take is that the patients opt to life. Only a small minority of patients expressly wish to die. In this article, I first discuss who the patients who wish to die are. Then I speak of the role of the medical profession and whether they should help all who wish to die. I further emphasize the importance of comprehensive palliative care and voice my objection to euthanasia, insisting on a comprehensive system of checks and balances when we wish to come to the patient’s aid. My plea is confined to physician-assisted suicide, where the last act is done by the patient and where the control lies with the patient.

New Books

Alexander Yakobson and Amnon Rubinstein, Israel and the Family of Nations (London: Routledge, 2009).

Can Israel be both Jewish and truly democratic? How can a nation–state, which incorporates a large national minority with a distinct identity of its own be a state of all its citizens?

Written by two eminent Israeli scholars, a professor of constitutional law and a historian, Alexander Yakobson and Amnon Rubinstein are the first to treat Zionism and Israeli experience in light of other states’ experiences and in particular of newly established states that have undergone constitutional changes and wrestled with issues of minorities. Citing various European, constitutions and laws, the authors explore concept of a Jewish State and its various meanings in the light of international law, and the current norms of Human Rights as applied to other democratic societies compatible with liberal democratic norms and conclude that international reality does not accord with the concept which regards a modern, liberal democracy as a culturally "neutral" and a nationally colourless entity.


In light of the new political map in Israel and the prospect of future disengagement from the West Bank,Israel and the Family of Nations is essential reading for all those who wish to understand Israel’s future challenges.

I thank Routledge for sending me a copy.

Movie of the Year

The King’s Speech

This photo captures the film: It is about a man who has to overcome his deep-seated fears, not so much because he wants to, but because he has to. He is helped by his devoted wife, and by a shadow; a person behind the scenes who prepares him for the task of being a king – the speech therapist.

Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush play the leading roles. Both are superb as the king and his therapist. Helena Bonham-Carter is magnificent, as always. It is hard to think of a good British film in the last decade without her presence, and in the rare occasions that she is missing I always wonder why. The score is captivating. Tom Hooper did an excellent job at directing this drama, providing quite a few moving moments. David Siedler wrote a terrific screenplay with some memorable one-liners, “Because I have a Voice!!”.

This is the best film I have seen this year. You will enjoy every moment. And you will be sad when it is over. The best 118 min that you can spend in the cinema nowadays.

The film just won the Oscar for Best Film of the Year. Deservedly so.

Monthly Poems

A Farewell

Flow down, cold rivulet, to the sea,
Thy tribute wave deliver:
No more by thee my steps shall be,
For ever and for ever.

Flow, softly flow, by lawn and lea,
A rivulet then a river;
No where by thee my steps shall be,
For ever and for ever.

But here will sigh thine alder tree,
And here thine aspen shiver;
And here by thee will hum the bee,
For ever and for ever.

A thousand suns will stream on thee,
A thousand moons will quiver;
But not by thee my steps shall be,
For ever and for ever.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

More poems from Alfred, Lord Tennyson

אמא אמא
מילים: עמוס אטינגר
לחן: משה וילנסקי
קיימים 2 ביצועים לשיר זה

אמא, אמא,
הירח שר לך, אמא,
לאורו אומר לך, אמא:
את איתי,
את איתי.
אם הרחקתי לכת, אמא,
הן תדעי, ארמונות מלכות אבנה לך,

במרום כל כוכב
לך שולח מיכתב
ומצרף תו אל תו
ושושן של זהב פורח,
כדי שאת ליבך שוב ישמח.
ולכן, אם תשמעי קול מיתרים,
אז תדעי - בנייך, אמא, לך שרים

אמא, אמא...

מול פריחות בירוק,
מן הים העמוק
ובין דמע לצחוק
לך אשלח מרחוק איגרת,
כדי שתשמריה למזכרת.
ואם יום שוב תשמעי קול מיתרים
אז תדעי - בנייך, אמא, שוב חוזרים.

אמא, אמא...

Musical Moment

Jean Sibelius: Valse Triste

Light Side

Father Jackson, Rabbi Nachshon and Imam Muchamad are playing poker. They enjoy many hours of the game. A lot of money is on the table when the police burst into the room.

“Have you been gambling, Father?” asks the chief of police.

Father Jackson looks up to the ceiling and mumbles to himself: “Forgive me, Almighty, for what I am about to say”, then looks at the chief of police and answers: “No, Sir”.

“Have you been gambling, Rabbi?” asks the chief of police.

Rabbi Nachshon looks up to the ceiling and mumbles to himself: “Forgive me, Almighty, for what I am about to say”, then looks at the chief of police and answers: “No, Sir”.

“Have you been gambling, Imam?” asks the chief of police.

Imam Muhammad answers: “With whom?”

Peace and love.

Yours as ever,


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