Thursday, September 09, 2021

 Politics – September 2021 Happy New Year – Shana Tova


The military campaign in Afghanistan was a mistake. It was doomed to failure. Biden is right to withdraw his forces, although the exit could have done quietly, over a longer period of time, and far more efficiently.

Shana Tova!! We are looking for the New Year to open new pages, not only in the health front, but also in world leadership, relationships between majorities and minorities, human rights, civil liberties, police enforcement, tolerance and the economy.


תפילה לשנה החדשה

מאת נתן אלתרמן


תן לנו שנה של שקט אמיתי

שנה של לובן הפריחות וירק הדשאים,

שנה של להט אהבות וחום תנור ביתי

ושנדע רק פעם מהו טוב ומה נעים.

שנה ללא קולות שנאה וזעקות השכול,

ללא מראות הדם,ללא הלמות תופי המלחמה,

ללא הפחד המשתק של הנורא מכל,

ללא צחוקו של העתיד אשר נטמן באדמה.

הן לא ביקשנו לנו אוצרות של ממלכות,

לא עושר עילאי ומכוניות פאר,

קורטוב אחד של שקט אמיתי ולובן של פריחות

אשר נוכל בהם בלאט להתהדר.

להתרגש כפעם מריחות הסתיו,

לדהור אל האושר כשריקת רכבת,

לבנות לנו סוכת שלום עכשיו

ולהיות בה ראויים לשבת.

New Year Prayer

By Nathan Alterman

Give us a year of true silence

A year of whiteness of blooms and greenery,

A year of passion and love of home warmth

And let us know only once what is good and what is pleasant.

A year without voices of hatred and cries of bereavement,

Without the sights of blood, without the pounding of war drums,

Without the crippling fear of the worst of all,

Without the laughter of the future which was buried in the ground.

We did not ask for treasures of kingdoms,

Not supreme wealth and luxury cars,

All we ask is for one hint of true silence and whiteness of blossoms

Which we can slowly boast about.

To be excited as we once did from the smells of autumn,

Gallop to happiness like a train whistle,

Build us a peace (sukkah) hut now

And be worthy to sit in it.

Israel should do whatever it can to bring home Avraham Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed as well as the remains of Hadar Golden and Shaul Aaron. 

It is no less than state duty and, of course, the just and decent thing to do.



Reflections on Last Newsletter

Israeli Success at the Paralympics

New Article: “Genuine, Principled and Tactical Compromise”, Studia Iuridica Lublinensia, Vol. 30(2) (2021): 11-31.

Did You Know? 

Monthly Poem

Light Side 

Reflections on Last Newsletter

Thank you, Rafi!


First and foremost, congratulations on your son’s (Gilad’s) wedding!! Mazal Tov!!


Once again, congratulations on your new book!!


I have found your Newsletter particularly interesting.


China offering to be a mediator to solve the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs is a non-starter. The United States is Israel’s most important and closest ally. China is perceived by the United States to be a singularly menacing rival. Accepting Chinese mediation would have all the adverse effects without any positive ones.


Lapid’s words are poetically appealing, though I must stress that I do not like the use of the word “war” in any other context except as regards a violent confrontation between at least two sides. The same objection of mine applies in Hebrew as well. One can use other terms when referring to economic, social and cultural matters. It belittles the singular significance of the word “war”.


I agree with you that the Euro games were fascinating. I thought the lack of serious restrictions concerning Covid 19 were most unwise, to say the least. As we know now, many people contracted the coronavirus in the UK as a result of those games. The football was excellent; the measures to limit the negative effects of Covid 19 were not.


Incidentally, although I think that, so far, the Israeli government has fared fairly well in foreign policy, its handling of the current coronavirus crisis is singularly bad. The term “too little, too late” would be an understatement. The former government made a serious mistake in removing all restrictions, believing the coronavirus was over, even though it was far from over all over the world and the new Delta variant was already known to be affecting countries outside Israel. The current government made a mistake in not adopting serious measures from the very beginning of the new wave. Empty slogans about leading a normal life alongside the coronavirus and pompous declarations about leaving everything open no matter what looked to me utterly ridiculous then, and certainly now with the benefit of hindsight.


A propos the use of the term “war”, I find its use in reference to the coronavirus objectionable and dangerous. In war there are at least two sides with intentions and objectives. The coronavirus has neither. There is a sense as though the coronavirus is a person with whom one can negotiate or fight. It’s not war. It’s biology.


Anyway, Rafi, once again, mazal tov on your son’s wedding and on your new book!!



Israeli Success at the Paralympics

Israeli swimmers won 6 golds at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games. Mark Malyar broke 2 world records, winning 2 golds and a bronze. Ami Dadaon won 2 golds and a silver. Iyad Shalabi is the first Arab Israeli medal winner (2 golds). And Moran Samuel won silver at rowing.

New Article: “Genuine, Principled and Tactical Compromise”, Studia Iuridica Lublinensia, Vol. 30(2) (2021): 11-31.


This essay addresses the concept of compromise. When compromise takes place between two or more parties, reciprocity must be present; that is, the concessions are mutual. Genuine compromise is based on mutual respect and on genuine concessions between the parties. First, the concept of compromise is explained. Next, a relevant distinction is made between principled and tactical compromise. A principled compromise refers to a mutual recognition by each side of the other’s rights, which leads them to make concessions to enable them to meet on a middle ground. It is genuinely made in good faith and both sides reconcile themselves to the results. To illustrate I consider the need for compromise regarding praying area for women at the Western (Wailing) Wall, considered the holiest site in Judaism. The article proceeds by considering the notion of tactical compromise that reflects temporary arrangement reached as a result of constraints related to time. Here, in fact, agents do not give up any of their aims. They do not act in good faith and do not intend to meet their counterpart on a middle ground. Instead, they simply realize that the end could not be achieved at a given point of time, and they aim to reach it stage by stage. The essential component of compromise, namely mutuality, is lacking.

Did You Know? 

Carole Cadwalladr, “Facebook’s role in Brexit – and the threat to democracy”, TED Talk (April 2019)

In an unmissable talk, journalist Carole Cadwalladr digs into one of the most perplexing events in recent times: the UK's super-close 2016 vote to leave the European Union. Tracking the result to a barrage of misleading Facebook ads targeted at vulnerable Brexit swing voters -- and linking the same players and tactics to the 2016 US presidential election -- Cadwalladr calls out the "gods of Silicon Valley" for being on the wrong side of history and asks: Are free and fair elections a thing of the past?

Monthly Poem


The morning breaks upon the shore, 
    The day from slumber doth awake, 
     Bestir, ye ships of life, and shake
The drowsy anchor for the oar.

Let Indolence with night retire,
    Spread out Industry’s swelling sail,
    Let Commerce catch the morning gale,
And cheer her hearth and trim her fire.

Let Journalism ope the strife,
    And wield her unembarrassed pen,
    And paint the daring deeds of men, 
With all the tints and taints of life.

Let Science with her aspect bold
    Resume her firm, unflinching march,
    In undiscovered fields to search,
The hidden treasures to unfold.

Philosophy of mind profound,
    With doubting step now take the field,
    And strive to break the mystic shield,
The deeper depths of truth to sound.

Let Art uprear her stately head,
  Employ her brush and dye at ease,
  And fling her colors to the breeze,
And round her shaded influence shed.

Let Agriculture’s lowly train,
  With willing heart and nimble hand,
  Sweep onward like a learned band,
And spread profusion o’er the plain.

Let Justice spread her gilded wing
  O’er each oppressed race of man,
  Bid slavery lose her deadly ban,
While all the bells of freedom ring.

Let Knowledge with her myriad plumes
    Bespangle all her prosperous land,
    Let Love and Truth go hand in hand, 
And lay the tracks with sweet perfumes.

Let pompous Pride with tuneful ear,
    And wanton Wealth with piercing eye, 
    Search o’er the vale of Poverty,
Where dwell the creatures of Despair.

Let Charity with liberal hand
    Spread far and wide her ample store,
    Possess the rich, anoint the poor,
And heal the sufferings of the land.

Let sweet Religion lift her voice,
  And bid melodious anthems swell, 
   Jehovah’s praises forth to tell, 
Till all the world His name rejoice.

Let Music with bewitching sound
    Her full-grown symphonies employ,
    Proclaim the genial burst of joy,
And charm the toiling host around.

Let Poesy from sleep awake,
    And touch her strings and rouse her lyre,
    And roll celestial balls of fire,
Till all shall act for Duty's sake.

Let dove-eyed Peace with balmy breath
    Exhale and waft her influence far, 
    And lull the brazen notes of war,
And soothe the bitter pangs of death.

Let each act well his chosen art, 
    In perfect concord with the whole,
    Let streams of progress onward roll, 
Back to the Source that gave them start.

Light Side: 

A gorilla dies of old age at a zoo right before the zoo opens. It is the only gorilla at the zoo since they are not very profitable.

However, the gorilla is their most popular attraction by far, and they cannot afford to go a day without it. So the zoo owner asks one of his workers to wear a gorilla suit they have in storage for an extra $100 a day if he will go in the gorilla cage and pretend to be the gorilla until the zoo can afford a new one.

Quickly, the new "gorilla" becomes the most popular craze at the zoo. People from all over are coming to see the "Human-like" gorilla.

About a month in, the craze has started to wear off. So, to get peoples' attention back, he decides to climb over his enclosure and hang from the net ceiling above the lions den next to him. A large crowd of people gather watching the spectacle in awe and terror. Suddenly the man loses his grip and falls to the floor of the lion's den. The man starts screaming "HELP!! HELP!!!" Suddenly a lion pounces him from behind and whispers in his ear, "Shut the fuck up right now or you're going to get us both fired."



Shana Tova Umeusheret, Gmar Chatima Tova


shana tova shofar


Peace and Good Health to you all


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

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