Sunday, June 27, 2021

 Politics – June 2021 in Memory of Aharon Kleiman 


“[w]hoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land - it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one - it is as if he had saved mankind entirely.”
The Quran 5:32 – Saheeh International translation

The main thing that violence successfully does is breed more violence.

Violence is often the refuge of incompetent leaders seeking wrong shortcuts.

People resort to violence when they lose their patience. Often, however, violence proves to be an unsuccessful shortcut for reaching viable solutions.

I was hoping that the ceasefire negotiations would include fair prisoner exchange. Avraham Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed, a Palestinian with Israeli citizenship, crossed into Gaza under bizarre circumstances while reportedly suffering from mental illness. Hamas has referred to both as Israeli soldiers. Israeli also asked for the remains of two soldiers, Hadar Golden and Shaul Aaron, both went missing in the Gaza Strip during the 2014 war. Hamas maintains they are still alive and wants the release of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for freeing them.

I hope that the parties, and mediators, will see it to themselves to resolve this issue soon.


In Memory of Aharon Kleiman 

23 June 2021

I was saddened to receive the news about the death of my beloved teacher Professor Aharon Kleiman. 

I first met Aharon in 1983, in my first year as BA student at the Department of Political Science, Tel Aviv University. Aharon taught International Relations. His qualities came across clearly. A quiet, professional, industrious, knowledgeable and pleasant man who masters his field and who is keen to teach and empower students. Aharon was a model teacher. He would invest many hours of his time to speak to students. I do not recall he ever missed his allocated student hours. His office was at the end of the corridor, away from the crowds. His door was always opened, during student hours and also during regular hours. He would always welcome people with a smile, inviting them to seat and listen to what they have to say. 

I was happy to spend more time with Aharon during my MA studies. For two years, I was a tutor in International Relations and I also wrote an extensive seminar paper in his elective course on balance of powers. Aharon was always attentive, learned, polite and most helpful. The perfect scholar/teacher. 

The topic I chose for my essay was my first war, the Six Day War. I wanted to understand who had an interest in starting the war and concluded that it was a war that no one wanted. My essay was of the size of Master’s dissertation and included interviews with senior decision-makers, among them Israeli foreign minister during the war, Abba Eban, Maj-Gen Aharon Yariv, and Deputy Chief of Staff Ezer Weizman with whom I kept in touch for many years. Aharon did not complain about the volume of my paper. He was impressed with my research, wrote in his clear handwriting constructive comments, gave me a very high mark and encouraged me to pursue doctoral studies. At the same time, he also recommended me to senior people, urging them to hire my services in case I decide not to pursue a doctorate. He did this without me asking, on his own volition. I became aware of his involvement only when I was invited, out of the blue, to a job interview which I did not seek. This was a pleasant surprise which I appreciated. I thanked Aharon for his trust and support.

Aharon loved Washington and had a continued visiting professorship at Georgetown. As I, too, love Washington, we met in the American capital and kept in touch. All his letters were always kind, encouraging and supportive, as this was the man.

Aharon was the author and editor of 22 books on diplomatic history, the role of the major powers in international order, the involvement of the United States and the USSR in the Israeli-Arab conflict, Israel's defense exports, geopolitics and international security. His last book, Statecraft in The Dark: Israel's Practice of Quiet Diplomacy, was published in 2020."Aharon+Klieman"&i=stripbooks&ref=nb_sb_noss

Aharon received his doctorate from Johns Hopkins University. From 1969 until he became Prof. Emeritus in 2007 he taught at Tel Aviv University. Thousands of students were fortunate to benefit from his knowledge and wisdom. Many of his students became important players in Israeli society, assuming significant responsibilities.

In addition to Georgetown, Aharon was a visiting professor at the universities of Chicago, Denver, California, Los Angeles, Brown, and the University of Dublin, Ireland. He was also an activist and in his quiet way tried to promote concerns that were close to his heart: the status of Israel in the international community, diplomacy, Judaism, tolerance, conflict resolution and peace. During his long and distinguished career, Aharon held informal meetings between Israeli representatives and representatives from Arab states and the Palestinian Authority within the parallel channel track two diplomacy.

Aharon Kleiman: Scholar, teacher, a model to follow. May his soul rest in peace. 


Reflections on Last Newsletter

2 June 2021 – A Historic Day

13 June 2021 – Prime Minister Naftali Bennett 



Honduras Embassy in Jerusalem


On the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement

Government Evacuates Outpost Settlement



Best Healthcare in The World 2021

New Article: Raphael Cohen-Almagor and Natalina Stamile, “Freedom of Expression v. Social Responsibility on the Internet: Vivi Down Association v. Google”, Seattle Journal of Technology, Environmental, & Innovation Law, Vol. 11: Iss. 2, Article 5 (2021). Available at:

Guest Article: Joel Singer: My First Encounter With Yasser Arafat

Interview to LetsClarifyIt

My interviews about the Internet 

My Lecture: "Arafat, Barak and Clinton at Camp David"

Did You Know? 

Peace Process – Conflict in Culture: The Middle East, Northern Island, India-Pakistan & the U.N

Premier League Team 2020-2021

Player of the Year


Monthly Poem

TV Series: Mare of Easttown 

Light Side: The Two Smiths

Reflections on Last Newsletter

Dear Rafi


Any group that uses Islam as a pretext for violence against civilians or the innocent people are not really speaking in the name of Islam.


The Khalifa Abu Bakr instructs not to kill women and children even in war time:

"Stop, O people, that I may give you ten rules for your guidance in the battlefield. Do not commit treachery or deviate from the right path. You must not mutilate dead bodies. Neither kill a child, nor a woman. nor an aged man. Bring no harm to the trees, nor burn them with fire, especially those which are fruitful. Slay not any of the enemy's flock. save for your food. You are likely to pass by people who have devoted their lives to monastic services; leave them alone".


Sermon of Abu Bakr (Muhammad's successor and close companion), from H. Y. Aboul-Enein and Sherifa Zuhur, Islamic Rulings on Warfare, p. 22


Best regards, 



Dear Raphael 


Hope you happy and peaceful.


Always read you blog and get useful information.


I shall be grateful if you will in your next blog inform readers about my monthly blog. 



Warm regards,

Jai Sharma




Hello my friend - 


I am distressed and angered by Israeli provocations, Hamas rockets, and Israeli airstrikes in the recent renewal of war in Israel/Palestine.  I joined a dozen fellow peaceniks here in Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA for a small demonstration for peace last week, holding a sign proclaiming “Free Palestine” (of course, the conflict is much more complicated than this).  I hear that many Americans are holding similar demonstrations.  In my view, the primary immediate causes of the present troubles were Israeli police actions at the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Settlers’ march through Jerusalem neighborhoods.  The Settlements are a huge part of the problem.  I certainly support Israel (as well as Palestine) and want it to succeed, but Israel’s current actions will not lead to success.  In my view the US should end its military aid to Israel, demand that Israel end its current pro-settlements policy, and press Israel toward a two-state solution. 






2 June 2021 – A Historic Day


2nd of June was an unforgettable day: First, Isaac Herzog was elected president in a landslide voting in which he received the support of 87 MKs. Herzog is a well-liked and appreciated man also by his political rivals. And politicians prefer to elect politicians fort his role. Miriam Peretz lacked the political fastidiousness that Herzog has cultivated for dozens of years. 


Isaac served in many public roles, including leader of the Labour Party and, most recently, chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel. Isaac’s father, Chaim Herzog, a general in the Israel Defense Forces, served as Israel’s sixth president. His grandfather, Yitzhak HaLevi Herzog, served as the chief rabbi of Ireland, and subsequently as the Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Israel.


Then came the announcement that Yair Lapid is able to receive the signatures of the majority of Knesset members to comprise a government after signing agreements with Yamina, New Hope, Blue and White, Israeli Beitenu, Labour, Meretz and Raam. 


Netanyahu has been in power for 15 years, first from 1996 to 1999, and then 2009–2021, will now have the time to deal with the three corruption cases – on fraud, bribery and breach of trust charges, which he denies. 


And late at night, my team Maccabi Tel Aviv won the football Israel Cup after defeating its main city rival, Hapoel Tel Aviv 2:1 in extra time, in one of the most dramatic cup finals in Israel’s history. It was a tense and heated game, full of drama and many tears; tears of joy of the yellow Maccabi camp, and tears of agony of the red Hapoel camp.


13 June 2021 – Prime Minister Naftali Bennett 

Naftali Bennett became Israeli's new Prime Minister ending Benjamin Netanyahu's 12 years rein.

The first cracks have already appeared during the Knesset voting. One member of the Arab party Raam abstained in response to controversial government policies that concerned his constituents. He initially threatened to vote against the new government but at the end decided to abstain. The narrow voting - 60-59 in favour of the new coalition government, was sufficient to install Naftali Bennett as the new prime minister. Bennett will try to navigate with the help of Yair Lapid over a diverse and fragile coalition comprised of eight ideologically different parties. He is said to be prime minister until September 2023 before handing the power over to Lapid, the leader of centrist Yesh Atid party, for a further two years as part of a power-sharing deal. Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to 'topple' the new coalition. Apparently, he does not intend to devote all of his time to handle his trial.

My appreciation of Yair Lapid is steadily growing. He was the driver behind this coalition and made it happened. Not for the first time, he showed that his ego is smaller than the best interests of the State of Israel. We are so used to world leaders whose ego is their prime concern that Lapid strikes out. He reminds me of the selfless leaders that Israel used to have during the last century.



Good Luck to the new Israeli government! A new dawn has come, with hope for better days and for a just, tolerant and peaceful administration. Resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I suspect, won’t be high on its agenda, but there are plenty other things that this government can do. For the past two years, the government was stagnant. COVID-19 did not help.

Honduras Embassy in Jerusalem

I am happy that Honduras opened its embassy in Jerusalem, becoming the fourth country after the USA, Guatemala, and Kosovo to open an embassy in the Israeli capital. 

To mark the occasion, Honduran President Hernandez and Prime Minister Bennett signed several bilateral cooperation agreements. 

On the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement

In a recent talk, former British Ambassador to Israel, Sir Tom Phillips gave his view on why the movement had been so controversial. Tom noted that during his tenure as Ambassador to Israel, a major issue had been whether European countries would label products that were made specifically in the OPTs, while Israel sought to label everything as a product of Israel. Tom noted that while it was right that consumers should know where the products they bought came from, it had been distressing at the time to note how quickly the labelling issue was seized on by those with a more general anti-Israel, and even anti-Semitic agenda, with calls for a boycott of Israeli products as a whole. This had made him extremely wary of the BDS movement. He also noted the importance of bearing in mind that there was perhaps some justice in the Israeli view that they were somehow ‘singled out’ for international criticism, while the international community did not give the same focus to other occupation situations such as the Western Sahara or Northern Cyprus.

Government Evacuates Outpost Settlement

Israeli police officers were deployed to the Oz Tzion settlement in the Binyamin district of Samaria (West Bank) to demolish several unauthorized structures. The operation is the first settlement evacuation to be carried out since the new government was sworn in. Residents of Oz Tzion received orders instructing them to leave during the operation. Otzma Yehudit party chairman MK Itamar Ben-Gvir, a member of the Religious Zionist Party faction, blasted the Bennett government over the demolition, saying “the person who was once the director of the Yesha Council is now leading the demolition and destruction of the settlements.” 


On June 5, 2021, Israel registered zero new local COVID-19 infections for the first time in more than a year. There are now only some 200 coronavirus infected patients in the whole country and inoculation of children aged 12-15 has begun. Go and learn.

Best Healthcare in The World 2021

The British are very impressed with the NHS. It is one of the darlings of the British people. They love it because it is free. But is it good? How does it compare with other healthcare systems in the world?

According to the World Health Organization, a well-functioning healthcare system requires a steady financing mechanism, a properly-trained and adequately-paid workforce, well-maintained facilities, and access to reliable information to base decisions on.

Having access to healthcare is seen as a fundamental human right by many people. Lack of quality healthcare can result in a poor quality of life and lower life expectancy than countries with a stable and accessible healthcare system. Countries with efficient and effective health care systems have overall better health outcomes.

Israelis are quite happy with their healthcare systems. In the USA, if you are rich you can buy the best healthcare that money can buy, but I do not envy the poor. You need a very good health insurance in the USA, otherwise…

A recent study that surveyed the best health systems in the world provided the following ranking:

  1. France

  2. Italy

7.   Spain

10. Japan

18. United Kingdom

23. Sweden

28. Israel

30. Canada

32. Australia

37. USA

41. New Zealand

Where is your country ranked?

New Article: Raphael Cohen-Almagor and Natalina Stamile, “Freedom of Expression v. Social Responsibility on the Internet: Vivi Down Association v. Google”, Seattle Journal of Technology, Environmental, & Innovation Law, Vol. 11: Iss. 2, Article 5 (2021). Available at:

The aim of the article is to reflect on Google’s social responsibility by analyzing a milestone court decision, Vivi Down Association v. Google, that took place in Italy, involving the posting of an offensive video clip on Google Video. It was a landmark decision because it refuted the assertion that the Internet knows no boundaries, that the Internet transcends national laws due to its international nature, and that Internet intermediaries, such as Google, are above the law. This case shows that when the legal authorities of a given country decide to assert their jurisdiction, Internet companies need to abide by national laws if and when they wish to operate in that country.

Section II discusses the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), which formulates ethical guidelines for companies, arguing that the principles of social responsibility area model for responsible and professional business. Section III presents the concepts of the dignity of the person and privacy in Italian law. Section IV explains the law of defamation. Section V explains the court cases that were brought against Google in Italy, while Section VI discusses and analyses the court judgments in light of pertinent considerations, including CSR, the dignity of the person, privacy, and defamation.

Key words: Bullying, Corporate Social Responsibility, Defamation, Dignity, Google, Italy, Privacy, Vivi Down Association.

Guest Article: Joel Singer: My First Encounter With Yasser Arafat

Singer recalls his first encounter with PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, back in 1974 – nearly twenty years before we met on the White House South Lawn during the signing ceremony of the Oslo Agreement. In the three years that followed that ceremony, Singer spent so many days and nights negotiating the details of the Oslo Accords with him that some came to consider Singer an expert on Arafat – one of the most controversial and enigmatic figures of the 20th century.

Interview to LetsClarifyIt

My former student at the University of Haifa asked me for an interview in service of her business and I gladly complied. Dafna Gold-Malchior is one of my most capable and nicest students. She later became my research assistant. I continue supporting my students in whatever way I can. This is one of my duties and pleasures. 

Scholarly Clarity with Prof. Raphael Cohen-Almagor: How addressing an audience from an entirely different set of geopolitical circumstances requires sensitivity to implicit assumptions about motivation and root causes; Why the success of public committees’ work is contingent upon compromise among its members; And why one of his favorite public speaking role models carried a yellow legal pad to every lecture yet it always remained blank…

My interviews about the Internet 

Discussion about the Internet and future technologies. Part 1.

Discussion about the Internet and future technologies. Part 2.

My Lecture: "Arafat, Barak and Clinton at Camp David"

Centre for Leadership, Ethics and Organisation and Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice. June 2, 2021. Meeting Recording:


Access Passcode: kjZ2x#=s

Peace Process – Conflict in Culture: The Middle East, Northern Island, India-Pakistan & the U.N

Our special Panel discussion on the Peace Process around the world. We examine how peace processes are designed, and different cultural challenges, perceptions and domestic politics influence certain outcomes. We are grateful to be joined by several experts on different peace processes across the globe. Bhumrita Chakma - Pakistan and India's conflict, Joanne Murphy - Northern Ireland and Ireland, conflict between two communities Roberto Ricci: UN's contemporary approach to conflict reconciliation and peacekeeping Raphael Cohen-ALMAGOR - will be sharing his expertise on conflicts in the Middle East

Premier League Team 2020-2021

It was a difficult year for football, playing in empty stadiums for most of the season. Manchester City dominated the league. Pep Guardiola has built a very strong team and showed everyone that he knows his job better than most managers in the world. If you give him the budget he needs, Pep will bring trophies. He has done it in Spain, Germany and England. As long as he is The Man, Manchester City will be in the front seat for every trophy for which it is competing.

Here is my team:

Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester and Denmark)

Kyle Walker (Manchester City and England)

Michael Keane (Everton and England)

Ruben Dias (Manchester City and Portugal)

Luke Shaw (Manchester United and England)

Mason Mount (Chelsea and England)

Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City and Belgium)

Bruno Fernandez (Manchester United and Portugal)

Jesse Ellis Lingard (West Ham and England)

Muhammed Salah (Liverpool and Egypt)

Harry Kane (Spurs and England)

Player of the Year

Harry Kane. 

Kane won the Golden Boot for the third time with 23 goals in 35 appearances. Not only that. He has 14 assists to his credit. He is relentless, always giving his best. He shows leadership and is never tired to help his defence. Kane is a world class player whose impact on his team is special. Spurs without him is a different team. With him, Spurs is always likely to score goals. Kane is a brilliant sportsman who deserves to win many trophies because he is one of the very best footballers in the world, and a striker that every team would like to have. I wish him good luck and success wherever he goes. Kane’s name is written on the history pages of the club as one of Spurs all-time greatest.


This was yet another trophy-free year for Spurs. Jose Mourinho arrived. Hopes were built especially when Spurs led the league for a short while and played some very good games. But then it lost to Liverpool and started the free fall that ended in the 7th place in the league with 62 points, 24 points less than Man City. Not exactly what Spurs fans are hoping for.

Spurs reached the Carabao Cup final. The team needed to be on top form and energy to match Man City quality. Mourinho was sacked a few days earlier and City prevailed with a little but significant 1:0. The Spurs trophy cabinet only gathers dust.

Spurs need to rebuilt. It needs a world class manager. My choice would be Marcelo Alberto Bielsa who has done this before with other teams, most recently with Leeds. Harry Kane is likely to leave. His large shoes won’t be filled easily. It is time to bid farewell to many players and step up and refresh the squad with quality and hungry players. Half of the team needs to be replaced.

Monthly Poem

A Morning Exercise

FANCY, who leads the pastimes of the glad,
Full oft is pleased a wayward dart to throw;
Sending sad shadows after things not sad,
Peopling the harmless fields with signs of woe:
Beneath her sway, a simple forest cry
Becomes an echo of man's misery.
Blithe ravens croak of death; and when the owl
Tries his two voices for a favourite strain--
'Tu-whit--Tu-whoo!' the unsuspecting fowl
Forebodes mishap or seems but to complain; 
Fancy, intent to harass and annoy,
Can thus pervert the evidence of joy.

Through border wilds where naked Indians stray,
Myriads of notes attest her subtle skill;
A feathered task-master cries, 'WORK AWAY!'
And, in thy iteration, 'WHIP POOR WILL!'
Is heard the spirit of a toil-worn slave,
Lashed out of life, not quiet in the grave.

What wonder? at her bidding, ancient lays
Steeped in dire grief the voice of Philomel; 
And that fleet messenger of summer days,
The Swallow, twittered subject to like spell;
But ne'er could Fancy bend the buoyant Lark
To melancholy service--hark! O hark!

The daisy sleeps upon the dewy lawn,
Not lifting yet the head that evening bowed;
But 'He' is risen, a later star of dawn,
Glittering and twinkling near yon rosy cloud;
Bright gem instinct with music, vocal spark;
The happiest bird that sprang out of the Ark! 

Hail, blest above all kinds!--Supremely skilled
Restless with fixed to balance, high with low,
Thou leav'st the halcyon free her hopes to build
On such forbearance as the deep may show;
Perpetual flight, unchecked by earthly ties,
Leav'st to the wandering bird of paradise.

Faithful, though swift as lightning, the meek dove;
Yet more hath Nature reconciled in thee;
So constant with thy downward eye of love,
Yet, in aerial singleness, so free; 
So humble, yet so ready to rejoice
In power of wing and never-wearied voice.

To the last point of vision, and beyond,
Mount, daring warbler!--that love-prompted strain,
('Twixt thee and thine a never-failing bond)
Thrills not the less the bosom of the plain:
Yet might'st thou seem, proud privilege! to sing
All independent of the leafy spring.

How would it please old Ocean to partake,
With sailors longing for a breeze in vain, 
The harmony thy notes most gladly make
Where earth resembles most his own domain!
Urania's self might welcome with pleased ear
These matins mounting towards her native sphere.

Chanter by heaven attracted, whom no bars
To day-light known deter from that pursuit,
'Tis well that some sage instinct, when the stars
Come forth at evening, keeps Thee still and mute;
For not an eyelid could to sleep incline
Wert thou among them, singing as they shine! 

William Wordsworth



TV Series: Mare of Easttown 

Mare of Easttown is a detective story, and so much more.

Kate Winslet is a detective in a small town. She knows everyone, and everyone knows her. She is the kind of detective you would like to have where you live: She is good in what she does, and she CARES. Her humanity and compassion are distinct. This is why when a young girl, the daughter of a close friend, disappears for more than a year, and Mare cannot resolve the case, the disappointment is overwhelming. Mare thinks the girl died long time ago. Mare’s chief calls for assistance to the dislike of Mare.

And then a young girl is found murdered. Somehow, many people around Mare are connected to this young girl, and Mare has to follow the leads carefully. Struggling with her own demons, Mare is all-heartedly invested in the case. She will not fail the many people who want closure. She will bring the murderer to justice. On the way, she will also solve the mystery of the disappearance of her friend’s daughter. 

Mare of Easttown is a story about a little town that is shaken by terrible events. It is about families and the power of family love. It is about friendship. It is about the love of mothers to their children. It is about human and social relations that are tested time and again. It is about coping with grief. It is about lies, secrets and the search for truth.

But more than anything else, Mare of Easttown is about Mare. Winslet is the centrepiece that keeps everything together. Some of the scenes, when she talks to her family, friends and her therapist are so intimate and sensitive that you could hardly remain idle.

Mare of Easttown is one of the best TV series I have ever watched, and the best I have seen for a while. Winslet deserves all the accolades. She is the best among equals and there are many excellent actors in this series. Jean Smart is wonderful as Helen, Mare’s mother. Julianne Nicholson is convincing as the complex and tragic Lori Ross. Angourie Rice lights the screen as Mare’s daughter Siobhan. Evan Peters masters a complex role as Detective Colin Zabel. Eisa Davis sensitively and persuasively portrays Gayle Graham, Mare's grief therapist.

I remember Kate Winslet as a young girl in Titanic. Now she plays grandmother. She became one of the iconic figures of the movie industry for very good reasons. She is a superb actress and in Mare of Easttown she is beautiful inside out. This is one of her best performance in her rich and successful career.

Mare of Easttown. A rare ***** on Rafi’s scale


Light Side: The Two Smiths

Joel Singer provided the following:

A young, inexperienced Israeli Mossad agent sent to Europe to make a contact with a local “asset” named Smith. The asset was in hiding at a specified address, and thus, the young agent was instructed not to identify himself by name and instead use a secret code: a line from a William Blake poem.

When the young agent arrived at his destination, he realized that two Smiths were listed on the building’s intercom doorbell system. He, therefore, did a quick eenie meenie miny moe and pressed the button for one of the Smiths.

He then heard the voice of an old lady on the intercom speaker:

                 The old lady (very cheerfully): “Yeeeeees? Who is it?”

                The young agent: “Tyger, Tyger, burning bright, In the forests of the night…”

                The old lady (even more cheerfully): “Ah! You are looking for the spy! You need to press the button for the other Smith.”

Peace and Good Health to you all


My last communications are available on Israel: Democracy, Human Rights, Politics and Society,

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Twitter at @almagor35