Politics – July 2012
Curiosity is an engine of success.
When I start behaving my age I know I am getting old.
the past month, former Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir died. My last
communication with him was more than seven years ago, when I directed to
him questions relating to the 1980s Shabac affair. Shamir was not well
enough already then to respond.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was acquitted in two of the four corruption
trials he faced. He was found guilty in one trial, and awaits decision
in the most considerable file, the Holyland Jerusalem affair in which
the allegation is that Olmert received a hefty bribe to authorize the
building of new neighbourhoods in Jerusalem.
movement for social justice is seeking to revamp itself, while Prime
Minister Netanyahu and Minister Mofaz were seeking ways to remain in
coalition. Both wished the same and no one wished to lose face.
Political maneuvering is something that Mr Netanyahu masters very well.
Mofaz has a lesson or two still to learn. Maybe he will better learn
those lessons as a scholar… More about Mofaz infra.
media waste a lot of ink and energy on red herrings, or summer
cucumbers that have not much substance: First, why Kadima joined the
coalition (purely selfish interests, nothing beyond that, and all other
words are hyperbole); then the Plesner Committee and the issue whether
to compel the Haredim to draft into the army (no). The real issue is the
Haredi commitment to Israel, and the resources Israel is willing to
commit to sustain this unproductive, inward-looking, growing community.
summer in Israel: the sun is shining, the beaches are lovely; new high
towers everywhere and the building spree continues; French is less
noticeable compared to the last few years; but one hears so many
languages on the streets of the never-tired, energetic Tel Aviv that one
feels like it's a booming international center. I love Tel Aviv. It is,
as Frank Sinatra sings, just my kind of town.
Reflections on June Newsletter
World In Search of Clear Moral Leadership
Israeli Scientific Innovation
Just and Unjust Wars - A Study of the Israeli Wars
Why Auschwitz Was Not BombedThank You
Shrinking British ArmyMy New Article
Rembrandt Van Rijn
Movie - The Intouchables
Gem of the Month – Tel Aviv
Reflections on June Newsletter
- I'm delighted to see your new website. It looks terrific! You're
making a real difference, my friend. For Israel's sake, and for the
world's sake, we need the solutions you are discussing. Cheers - Art
Art Hobson, Emeritus Professor of Physics, U Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA.
Netanyahu has secured his seat. No one is likely to threaten him in the
foreseeable future. Labour is too weak. It is difficult to perceive
Kadima as a threat under the new leadership that goes in and out of
government in a world-record pace. I hope Mofaz’s sex life is better…
When he entered Mr Netanyahu’s government, Mofaz was perceived as his
poodle rather than a legitimate contender for leadership. And now he
exited the government. What do people think of this? Not much. Why
enter? Didn’t you know that Netanyahu is only deceiving you? If you
didn’t, sit quietly and learn. And if you did, why retire?
thinks primarily about Mofaz. Sometimes he feels uncomfortable about
this feeling and listens to his advisers. The result is horrendous
processes of decision-making; anything but prudent; he is saying the
wrong things, and makes gross mistakes. I find it hard to believe that
he would be able to pose a credible threat to Mr Netanyahu’s regime. He
is not a viable candidate to compete against the prime minister. That’s
the price Mofaz has to pay because of his zigzag from the government’s
comfortable chair and back to the lukewarm seats of the opposition.
Netanyahu is not going to do anything that might play into the hands of
his competitors. He is interested in what I call “constructive
silence”: Don’t do anything too drastic that might give power to the
opposition. Simply stroll to the elections and keep your big decisions,
your big moves (if there are any) until after the elections. Thus, I
suspect, all those who spoke in terms of “now it is time to make big
moves” will be disappointed. There is time for everything. Netanyahu
enjoys a relaxed summer. Please do not disturb his peace.
government is not going to compel the Haredim (ultra-orthodox) to serve
in the army. PM Netanyahu is their greatest ally. I suspect no
government can do this. The government may opt to create a separate army
for Haredim, with no women present, no women singing, no women dressing
or, God forbid, undressing, with ultra kosher food, with shabbat-clocks
installed, and special training to suit the Haredi abilities and
worldview. But I do not think this will happen soon. Maybe in the
future, when they become the majority and won’t have the luxury of
secular people protecting them.
all, just over half of Israelis now do military duty. Israel is no
longer a nation in arms. Last year, about 17 percent of 18-year-old
Haredim joined the Army, compared with about 75 percent of other Jewish
men. These Haredi men, apparently do not excel in the study of Torah
thus waste their time serving in the IDF; an additional 14 percent of
Haredim and 8 percent of Arab citizens signed up for civilian service.
Commendable, but a far cry from the target numbers.
Haredim account at present for less than 10 percent of Israel’s 7.8
million citizens, and Arabs account for 20 percent, their high
birthrates mean that about 46 percent of today’s kindergartners come
from these two groups. Israel surely and slowly returns to the biblical
days of religious Israel, with the Chivy, Yevusy and Pelishti residing
in its territory and around it. Hurray. And the Third Temple? Will it be
destroyed by external enemies or internal rivalries?
World In Search of Clear Moral Leadership
March 1999, the USA led the western world via NATO forces to put a halt
to genocide. It instituted a justified 78-day bombing campaign against
Serbia. This humanitarian involvement, which President Clinton dubbed
“the first ever humanitarian war” was taken after the refusal of the
Serbian leader, Slobodan Milosevic, to sign the Rambouillet Agreement (http://www.state.gov/www/regions/eur/ksvo_rambouillet_text.html)
which aimed to stop the violence against the Albanian minority in the
Serbian region of Kosovo. The air campaign led to Serb government
capitulation and to the entry of NATO forces into Kosovo. For the first
time, a major war was won by air power alone (Dan Halutz tried to
imitate this in 2006 against the Hezbollah and failed miserably). The
war was waged outside any UN remit as Russia would almost certainly have
vetoed the military campaign in the UN Security Council.
a similar situation arises in Syria, yet Obama hesitates. Syrian
genocide is going on day in and day out, and we need moral leadership to
Nuclear weapons and Iran
Obama expressed commitment to reduce the role of nuclear weapons, as
written in Article 6 of the Non-Proliferation Treaty: “Each of the
Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on
effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an
early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a Treaty in general and
complete disarmament under strict and effective international control” (http://www.fas.org/nuke/control/npt/text/npt2.htm).
He has negotiated with Russia to reduce their respective nuclear
arsenals. He has been a driving force behind the sanctions campaign
against Iran which until now yielded limited results. Far more has to be
done to ensure that Iran remains free of nuclear attacking capabilities
and that the region would not enter into a relentless nuclear arms race
which would destabilize the security of the Middle East and the world
are born free and would like to live our lives as free human beings.
Like Old Cato I have been saying time and again that occupation qua
occupation is an appalling phenomenon, an aberration that should
discontinue, the sooner the better.
Israeli occupation is 45-year long. It needs to come to a close at some
point. The present government is striving to make the West Bank Israeli
by enlarging settlements; paving more roads for the use of Israelis,
and only Israelis; taking water and land from the Palestinians.
present, some 300,000 Israelis reside in more than 120 settlements and
dozens “unrecognized” sites in the West Bank excluding East Jerusalem.
They encompass 10% of the territory. All of them are in Area C which
takes 60% of the West Bank and in which 150,000 Palestinians reside. The
total Palestinian population of the West Bank is over 2 million.
Palestinian population in the entire West Bank, Areas A, B and C, is
deprived of basic civic and human rights. They are subject to Israeli
military directives and to continued discrimination in the allocation of
water and energy; their freedom of movement is severely restricted;
their taxes are paid to Israel that is required to return to the
Palestinian Authority (PA); they are required to receive permits to exit
and enter the Bank; their security is in the hands of Israel. In
essence, Israel continues to control Palestinian life in all vital
aspects: civic, economy and security. Israel behaves like a
control-freak motivated primarily by fear as well as feelings of
superiority. Israel should let go.
be clear, I am not suggesting unilateral withdrawal. The Gaza lesson
has been learnt, thank you. I am calling for direct and sincere
negotiations with the PA to bring the conflict to rest. I am calling, as
you all may know, for a two-state solution. Soon. Now.
got rid of the Mubarak authoritarian regime and is now facing two
options: either the Muslim Brotherhood authoritarian theocracy, or
military authoritarian rule. Egypt may elect theocracy by democratic
means or be coerced into military rule to evade theocracy.
marvels and pitfalls of democracy are an illustration of what I termed
in my books “The Democratic Catch”. What form of coercion is better for
the Egyptian people? Will it be an improvement to the Mubarak era?
The future for the Egyptian citizens remains bleak; the consequences for Egypt’s neighbours are unclear.
I just returned from the 28th Annual Conference of the Association for Israel Studies that was held at the University of Haifa. I presented two papers: “Separation between State and Religion in Israel”, and “Accommodating
the Palestinians on Both Sides of the Fence”. The Keynote speaker was
the author and human rights activist, Sami Michael.
argued that Israel still has not found the way to address three
fundamental problems: its place in the Middle East; racism; and the
his honest, blunt way, Michael said conclusively, with no make-up:
Israel is the most racist country in the western world. Clearly, Michael
is very troubled by the constant manifestations of racism against
Palestinians, against Middle-Eastern Jews, against guest workers and
refugees. Michael was a victim of racism as an immigrant from Iraq
during the 1950s. He believes that racism of the Ashkenazi against the
Middle Eastern (Sephardi) is very much alive and kicking, cutting across
the entire Israeli society and shared by the right and left political
spectrum. To his mind, much of the Israeli left is false as it does not
truly aspire to achieve equality and justice in Israeli society. Michael
called himself an “immigrant inside my country”.
was and still is eager to settle at the heart of Palestinian
population. The occupation started by the Jewish socialist movement, and
is maintained by Jewish capitalism. The Palestinians are paying a high
price for the occupation, but Israel focuses only on the price that it
is paying in combating Palestinian terrorism, which aspires to freedom
and sovereignty. Michael argued that during the past thirty years for
each and every Israeli who was killed by Palestinian violence, ten
Palestinians were killed by Israeli brutality.
spoke of the spiritual and cultural fascism that is prevalent in
Israeli society. One recent example is the Attorney General’s decision
to close the “King Torah” (Torat Hamelech) case, a fascist book
published by some rabbis that authorizes the killing of non-Jews who
compete with Israel over Eretz Yisrael. This wrong, unjust decision
enables free dissemination of this fascist book across Israel.
argued Michael, turned its back on basic values of humanism and human
rights. Israel cannot be a spiritual country as long as it upholds such
racist sentiments. Michael acknowledged that Israel is a prosperous due
to the hard work and industry of its citizens but it should realize that
the tank and the rifle are meaningless when confronted with a child who
is holding a stone.
2 July 2012
plenary session dealt with the movement for social justice. There were
three speakers: two belonged to the movement, and one represented the
Ministry of Finance. The latter, Dr. Avi Simhon, presented
figures, speaking of “growth”, “inflation control”, “flourishing
industry”, claiming that Prime Minister Netanyahu goes against the
wealthy elite of Israel! How ignorant am I in not seeing that, and
thinking the reverse. When someone commented that it seems that he was
talking of a different country, his answer was that the Israeli public
is misled by Haaretz newspaper, a hostile and biased paper that
does not let the facts sway its editors from their inherent bias against
the just government. Dr. Simhon’s reality is not shared by vast
segments of the Israeli population.
Professor Yossi Zeira,
an economist who serves as a consultant to the social justice movement,
avoided arguments with Dr. Simhon. He simply said that the wealth does
not trickle down. The government focuses on the numbers, not the people.
It is not a bottom up economy but an economy that benefits the elite
and thinks that the elite would push the entire society up. This does
not happen. There is a vast discrepancy between economy of figures and
1979 peace treaty with Egypt brought about a drastic reduction in the
security budget. One would hope that the free money would be diverted to
social services but this did not happen. In real terms, the monthly
income in Israel did not rise since 2000. The growth of the Israeli
economy does not affect the salary people bring home. The inequality in
society is increasing since the 2000s. There is more neglect of
fundamental social services, with the development of gray and black
markets for everything: products, education, health, services. The
privatisation of services increases prices and pushes more people from
the middle classes to struggle against poverty.
Netanyahu is an old-fashioned capitalist who does not understand the
meaning of social justice. The very terminology is foreign to his ears.
He believes in capital, made by capitalists who push the social wagon
forward. Socialism is a four-letter word.
justice means providing adequate health care to every resident of the
State. Note that I said “resident”, not necessarily “citizen”. Israel
should not neglect the needy guest workers and refugees.
justice means maintaining an education system that enables pupils to
learn about the world and to develop their individuality and thinking.
Social justice means fair distribution of wealth.
litmus test is the salaries of what I call the “angel professions”,
those that are based on giving to others: teachers, nurses, social
workers. These professions provide the social underpinning of society
and, to a large extent, secure society’s future. People in these
professions should earn a decent living, enjoying attractive salaries
that would draw the best people into them.
justice means that people who worked and contributed to society for 45
years will be able to retire in dignity, and live on their pension in
the same level of living they are use to.
Social justice means taking care of the needy, the poor, the elderly.
justice means that the banks protect the best interests of the people,
not that the people serve the best interests of the banks.
justice means progressive taxation that maintains a small gap between
the rich and the poor and strives for a wide middle class.
Social justice means equality before the law.
justice requires leadership that leads by example, looking at the
people in the eyes, not looking down at people from the recently-built
most lucrative skyscrapers.
I asked Stav Shafir,
one of the popular leaders of the social justice movement, what are the
plans to bring substantial changes. Many people support the movement
and what it aims to achieve; but on Election Day most of them will vote
Likud. There is no real opposition to Mr Netanyahu. Among the ranks of
the social movement we do not see national-religious people, settlers
and the Haredi population. This is for obvious reasons: Mr Netanyahu is
their greatest supporter. In the social justice movement we do not see
many Israeli-Palestinians who still do not feel that they belong to
Israel, who are alien to its principal values. It is unclear how many
people of the peripheries take active part in the social justice
movement. Shafir said “many”. We do not see or hear them. Shafir
explained that this is because the Israeli media tend to focus on
Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. But she agreed with me that many of these people
in the periphery will continue to vote Netanyahu.
key for change is to lose innocence and enter the muddy political
waters. I asked Stav whether there are any plans to associate the social
justice movement with any political party. She answered in the
negative. I asked whether they plan to establish a party and her answer
was that “we are debating this”. Well, if no concrete steps will be
taken to enter politics, nothing substantive will happen. Netanyahu is a
very capable politician. He will find ways to overcome the challenge
that does not undermine his vast coalition. We saw that he established
the Trajtenberg Committee, made a few changes, none of which is truly
game-changing, and bolstered the coalition by inviting Kadima in.
the Egyptian spring happen in Israel? Probably not. Netanyahu is not
Mubarak, and Israeli democracy is not Egyptian authoritarianism. We see
that the police are more impatient with the protesters, and there is
little doubt in my mind that the instructions come from above. Police
violence only plays into the hands of the social justice movement. I
think the establishment has recognized that and issued new orders to
avoid violence and maintain law and order with utmost respect. The
bottom line, I am afraid to say, lots of blah-blah and little essence.
asked Stav what is her profession. She said she was a journalist. Now
she is a full time activist. The movement receives some sponsorship and
now she earns more or less the same as she did as a journalist: 5000
shekels ($1250) per month. I bet Dr. Simhon earns a bit more. Young,
single people can survive with such a salary but not for long. People
like Stav are the true future of Israel. They deserve more, far more, to
develop themselves and contribute to society to the best of their
abilities. The government should help them pave their way, not exhaust
them and tag them as “anarchists, zealots, leftist, radicals,
anti-social”. Shame. Real shame.
13 July 2012
Israeli periphery is no different than peripheries in other parts of
the world. It is neglected. It is far from the eyes and mind of the
centre that does not invest in it in a just, egalitarian way.
Unemployment is relatively high; infrastructure is lacking; public
transportation is awful; human power is not great. The periphery does
not attract the best of the crop. It does not attract, period. People
with options use the options. People with no or little option go to the
2010, the unemployment rate in Kiryat Gat was 10.4% compared to 3.1% in
Tel Aviv. Salaries are 2/3 compared to salaries of people who work in
similar jobs at the centre; 47% complete high school with matriculation
certificate compared to 66% at the centre; hospital beds are 1.3 for
1000 people compared to 2.5 beds in Tel Aviv; for every 1000 people
there is 1.6 physicians, compared to 5.5 physicians in Tel Aviv.
(Revital Hovel, “Why protest did not succeed in the periphery”, Haaretz, 13 July 2012).
an interview with Danny Cohn-Bendit, known as “Red Danny”, Dany le
Rouge, leader of the student revolution in France 1968 and now leader of
the Green Party at the European parliament. His advice to the leaders
of the social justice movement in Israel is to join forces and move
forward as one party. To succeed, they must enter the muddy political
waters and address troubling questions such as the occupation and peace
with the Palestinians as the occupation and enlarging the settlements
are very costly, at public expense, and because a party needs to relate
to all contentious issues in society, not just a fraction of them.
went a long way from an anti-establishment radical activist to a
successful parliamentarian. If some leaders of the Israeli social
movement wish to have a similar career, they should observe his words
carefully. If they wish to remain anti-establishment, confront the
police whenever the establishment decides to unleash it against them,
and to affect Israeli society as they did until now (in common parlour,
Bibi eats them without salt), they should ignore him completely.
Israeli Scientific Innovation
See new technology designed to enable people confined to wheelchairs to walk:
Just and Unjust Wars - A Study of the Israeli Wars
the conference in Haifa I went to the University of Reading to
participate in the Liberal Wars conference where I presented my research
“Just and Unjust Wars - A Study of the Israeli Wars”. In this research I
apply Michael Walzer's theory and examine the extent to which Israeli wars were justified.
The debate over what constitutes a just war is ancient. Just war theories stem from philosophical, religious and military thinking. Christian religious thinkers, like St. Augustine (354-430), and Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274) spoke of laws of war and peace, reflecting on the reasons that bring about war (jus ad bellum) and the means employed in the conduct of war (jus in bello). A contemporary thinker who has developed a liberal theory on just and unjust wars that accentuates moral considerations is Michael Walzer. He used Clausewitz as a point of departure, aiming to construct an interdisciplinary liberal theory that brings together political theory, ethics and international relations. In this paper, I employ Walzer’s theory to assess the justifications for all Israeli wars from the day of its establishment until nowadays. Section (I) provides historical-philosophical background and context. Section (II) accentuates the underpinning principles of Walzer’s theory. Section (III) explains Israel’s precarious position in the Middle East and its defence policy. Section (IV) employs Walzer’s theory to analyse the wars. I argue that while the 1948 Independence War, the 1956 Suez War, the 1967 Six Day War, and the 1973 Yom Kippur War were justified, the 1982 Lebanon War, the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah War, and the 2008-2009 War on Gaza were not.
Why Auschwitz Was Not Bombed
Overy is an historian of the Second World War. Overy explained in his
lecture on bombing during WWII that the allies would not line up 10,000
people for killing but they bombed German cities which resulted in such a
number of casualties, sometimes in a single air raid.
occurred to me that the Nazis, on the other hand, had no qualms to line
up many thousands of Jews for execution. They stopped doing this not
because morality troubled them but for reasons of expediency and the
psychological effects that the en masse murderous conduct had on the
asked Professor Overy why the allies did not bomb Auschwitz. By 1943,
the allies knew that Auschwitz was a death camp and they had the
capability to bomb the camp. They did bomb the factory that helped the
Germans in their war effort (Buna-Werke, the I.G. Farben industrial
complex located adjacent to the Monowitz forced labor camp located 5
kilometres from the Auschwitz I camp was bombed several times) but they
did not bomb Birkenau. Overy explained that the targets bank included
places that could harm the Germans and bring the war nearer to its end.
The idea was to defeat the Nazis as soon as possible and ipso facto
save the people in the camps. I said that if they were to bomb the gas
chambers and crematoria, the allies could have saved at least half a
million victims including the entire 400, 000 Hungarian Jewry. Overy
answered that the Nazis would have built the gas chambers and crematoria
very quickly and resume operations as they did when the railroads were
bombed. Whenever the allies bombed the railroads, those were fixed
rapidly, sometimes within a day. True, I said, but I do not speak of
railroads but about the destruction of the death factory - the gas
chambers and crematoria. Surely, those could not be fixed so rapidly.
The allies did not include the gas chambers and crematoria in their
considerations simply because they did not care. I asked Overy what
would have happened if there were British in Auschwitz. He said: Well,
this would have been a violation of the Geneva Convention on treatment
of war prisoners. The British would have retaliated and avenge this.
They would not have allowed this to happen. But there was no reason for
the Germans to do this to the British. I wondered: And was there a
reason to do this to the Jews?
Aerial reconnaissance photograph of Auschwitz showing Auschwitz II (Birkenau) taken by the U.S. Air Force between April 4, 1944 and January 15, 1945. The photos were discovered in the Defense Intelligence Archives by two CIA photo analysts in 1978 (USHMM Photo Archives). Source: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/bombau.html
Please see the attached letters. I thank Professor Andy Knapp for sending them to me.
thank Mira and Yizhar Nozick, Gila and Reuven Yagoda, Avi and Karin
Ohri, Mira and Ofer Harel for their kind hospitality in Israel.
I thank Alan Cromartie, and Sarah and Andy Knapp and for their kind hospitality in Reading.
are significant positive developments in Syria. Senior officials and
generals crossed the border to Turkey. The US is said to arm the
insurgents. Of course, far more needs and should be done to bring the
end to the ruthless Assad regime.
Did President Obama know John Rawls? Surely he read him. Maybe someone could send Obama excerpts of Rawls' The Law of Peoples on addressing aggression of outlaw states.
US avoids confrontation with nuclear powers. This fact does not escape
the Iranians and serves as an incentive for them to join the lucrative
Shrinking British Army
British government has decided to substantially decrease it defence
budget. The army is cut to 80,000 people, half of its size during the
congratulate the British government for taking this decision and wish
all world governments to follow suit. It would be nice to live in an
My New Article
Just published an article co-authored with Sharon Haleva-Amir: “Why Monitor Violent Websites? A Justification”, Beijing Law Journal, Vol. 3, No. 2 (June 2012), pp. 64-71: http://www.scirp.org/journal/blr/.
The article is an updated, much shorter version of an article published in 2008.
Jan Van Dijk, The Internet Society, London: Sage, 2012.
This is a brilliant, highly informative book about the Internet. Its
organization is simple and constructive. Chapter 3 is about technology.
Chapter 4 concerns the economy of the Internet. Chapter 5 is about
network politics, E-participation and its democratization powers.
Chapter 6 concerns legal aspects, including E-governance, intellectual
property rights, and the right to privacy. Chapter 7 is about space and
time in the Network society. Chapter 8 relates to Digital Culture.
Chapter 9 is on the psychology of the Internet: perception, cognition
and the New Media.
This is a thought-provoking, intelligent and insightful book. I thank Sage for sending me a copy.
Recently two books were published on the Second World War: All Hell Let Loose by Max Hastings, and The Second World War by Antony Beever. Both books say little on Jewish resistance during the war. Taylor Halpern has recently written to me, asking to highlight the role of Jewish partisans in fighting the Axis powers during the war.
According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum,
the majority of the Jewish partisan struggle took place after 1942,
when it became clear that the Nazi effort was not just about expanding
their powers over Europe, but of wiping out all members of the Jewish
faith. By that time, most of the Jewish partisans had experienced their
all-encompassing persecution first hand, they had seen their own family
members, their friends and neighbors and fellow Jews taken by the Nazis
and sent to concentration camps. In those camps many would be murdered.
Indeed, many partisans watched their loved ones killed firsthand.
resistance units operated in France, Belgium, the Ukraine, Belorussia,
Lithuania, and Poland. Jews also fought in general French, Italian,
Yugoslav, Greek, and Soviet resistance organizations.
Europe, thousands of surviving Jews waged a battle against the Axis
forces in ghettos and in forests. They did this even though
anti-Semitism of the local populace was often wide-spread. Their efforts
paid off. In 1943, with the tide turning, public sentiment in Eastern
Europe was on their side and their efforts garnered more support.
Meanwhile, in Western Europe, Jewish partisan groups joined with the
French underground, supporting the uprisings in Paris, Toulouse, and
Lyon, as well as smuggling fleeing Jews through to Switzerland.
Underground Jewish partisan groups also operated in Belgium and Italy.
argues that the impact of the Jewish partisans is not as well known as
it should be. Indeed, there is always a scope for further research to
understand the Jewish contribution to the partisan movement in Europe
and the relationships between the Jewish partisans and partisans of
other religions and denominations. It is up to future generations to
spread awareness of their bravery and sacrifice.
Very few artists are able to capture light and the depth of colours as Rembrandt did.
Movie - The Intouchables
This is a beautiful, magical film about an aristocratic quadriplegic
who hires a young man from a different life to be his caretaker.
Together they discover the meaning of life. This is a charming gem, a
make-you-feel-good film, in the best French tradition of a comic-drama
that takes you to acknowledge the inner beauty of human relationships.
We are intrigued by one another when we concede that to be different can
be interesting and inspiring, when we find a chemistry that enriches
us, when relationships make us better, rounder people.
This is the best film I have seen this year.
Of all the streets that blur in to the sunset,
There must be one (which, I am not sure)
That I by now have walked for the last time
Without guessing it, the pawn of that Someone
Gem of the Month – Tel Aviv
Aviv continues to dazzle me. It is full of life, movement, colours,
culture, people, music, beauty. Always something to see, always
something to do. A marvellous city to enjoy.
spare moment was spent on the beach, or near the beach. The Tel Aviv
beach is my favourite place on this planet. I love water; I love sun.
The golden beach is simply stunning.
Who fixes in advance omnipotent laws,
Sets up a secret and unwavering scale
for all the shadows, dreams, and forms
Woven into the texture of this life.
If there is a limit to all things and a measure
And a last time and nothing more and forgetfulness,
Who will tell us to whom in this house
We without knowing it have said farewell?
Through the dawning window night withdraws
And among the stacked books which throw
Irregular shadows on the dim table,
There must be one which I will never read.
There is in the South more than one worn gate,
With its cement urns and planted cactus,
Which is already forbidden to my entry,
Inaccessible, as in a lithograph.
There is a door you have closed forever
And some mirror is expecting you in vain;
To you the crossroads seem wide open,
Yet watching you, four-faced, is a Janus.
There is among all your memories one
Which has now been lost beyond recall.
You will not be seen going down to that fountain
Neither by white sun nor by yellow moon.
You will never recapture what the Persian
Said in his language woven with birds and roses,
When, in the sunset, before the light disperses,
You wish to give words to unforgettable things.
And the steadily flowing Rhone and the lake,
All that vast yesterday over which today I bend?
They will be as lost as Carthage,
Scourged by the Romans with fire and salt.
At dawn I seem to hear the turbulent
Murmur of crowds milling and fading away;
They are all I have been loved by, forgotten by;
Space, time, and Borges now are leaving me.
Jorge Luis Borges
and love. Enjoy the summer as long as it lasts; I am told in some
countries summer is a real summer, worthy of the term, not merely a mild
British, who love to perceive themselves in special terms, somehow
insist to be like the rest when it comes to the weather. For some
obscure reason, they follow global convention and speak of four seasons
while the brute reality shows a stark contrast between the terms and
what they aim to describe. In Britain, we need to acknowledge, there are
two seasons: Winter, and a mild winter. Every other term is either a
testimony to the famous British sense of humor, or wishful thinking.
Yours as ever,