Saturday, May 28, 2022

 Politics – May 2022 

Try to imagine the #abortion debate if both men and women were able to give birth.

Now try to imagine the #abortion debate if only men were able to give birth.

War is, often, the failure of reason.

The old saying “All is fair in love and war” might be true for love but it is patently untrue for war.

I did not think I will witness another war in Europe. As was the case before, it was waged for the wrong, unjustified reasons. We should help the attacked and stand against aggression. Stop the war in #Ukraine NOW!!

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Three bloody months of #Russian aggression. Three months of immense suffering and horror. The main thing that violence successfully does is breed more violence. Stop the war in #Ukraine NOW!! #RussiaUkraineConflict

Coming to Washington may be likened to coming to Rome during the Roman Empire.

  • Raphael Cohen-Almagor

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.


Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Fellowship

Short Visit to Israel

My Peace Project

Unemployment at 50-year Low

A Wheelchair for Hiking

My Testimony before the Canadian Senate

New Book: The Republic, Secularism and Security: France versus the Burqa and the Niqab

Israel Is Among the World’s 8 Nuclear Powers

Israel Weighs Warning Against Travel to Qatar for the Mondeal

Initiative to Bring Jews and Muslims Together

First Muslim Justice Appointed to the Israel Supreme Court

Egypt-Saudi Arabia Relationships


Apology, 800 years on, for laws that expelled Jews from England

Evidence of Jewish Revolt against the Romans

New article: “Bullying, Cyberbullying and Hate Speech”, International Journal of Technoethics (IJT), Volume 13 • Issue 1 (published online first 10 February 2022).

Did you know it only takes six minutes for alcohol to affect your brain?

Monthly Poem

Light Side: 


Dr Art Hobson wrote from Arkansas:

Hi Rafi –


Yes, war is always terrible.  This war should be stopped now by means of peace talks or a cease fire.  Putin launched an immoral and irrational invasion.   But NATO should have done the moral and rational thing long ago, before expanding into East Europe.  The West promised Gorbachev “absolutely no eastward expansion of NATO” and promptly broke that promise by incorporating Poland, Czech Republic, & Hungary into NATO.  Many, including George Kennan for example, warned against this.  The moral and rational decision would have been to instead incorporate Russia into a NATO-related alliance.  This almost happened after collapse of the Soviet Union, but hawkish views prevailed, and have continued to prevail with the expansion of NATO.  Recently, NATO could probably have headed this war off before the invasion by urging Zelensky to declare neutrality.  Now, there is a real danger of nuclear weapons being used—a real danger of destroying peace, justice, happiness and civilization for everybody on the planet.  

Take care my friend - Art

Dr Kiril Keferman wrote from Ariel:

Hi Raphi,


Thank you.


Re "Crimea was part of the Soviet Union until 1954", this should be amended. It was a part of the RSFSR (Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic). In 1954, it was transferred to the Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republic. This was an internal change within one state, the Soviet Union.

Moadim le-simcha,


Dr Allan Jacobs wrote from New York:

A comment about your post. 

Religion is what people live and believe , and can only partially be inferred from canonical texts. If Somali villagers overwhelmingly believe that God wants pubescent girls to be infibulated, then that is Somali village Islam, no matter what the Quran or learned Islamic scholars say. If I avoided naming my kids after living people, that’s part of my Ashkenazi Judaism, and it doesn’t have much operational impact  to say that it’s custom and not Halacha so I can call my kids whatever I like.

So, textual analysis of the gospels, to summarize, 

1. Supports supercessionism;

2. At least to that extent is anti- Jewish, as no form of the Jewish religion is theologically valid on naive, literal reading; and

3. Some passages lend themselves to antisemitism as well. The passage in Matthew about the guilt bein upon us and our children (dramatically sung in Bach’s oratorio; should we cancel Bach) is a case in point.

The ambiguity in the Christian canon is a practical strength. It allows Methodists, but  Mormons, and Copts to be housed under the same roof. It also suggests that Christian antisemitism won’t ever go away.



Dr Bert Keizer wrote from Amsterdam:

Dear Raphi,


I enjoyed the exacting manner in which you started digging for the truth around the idea that 'the jews crucified Christ'.  


I must admit that I was never taken on such a painstaking tour around this issue. 


I was born into a Dutch Roman Catholic family. My generation left the church quite unobtrusively in 1963 at the time of, and caused by, The Beatles' first lp.

Your Hull poet celebrated that year. 


So I've never lived anywhere near the idea that 'the jews (present company included) crucified Christ.' Not consciously anyway. 

Nor do I have the idea that this notion was somehow woven into the fabric of my worldpicture. 


And yet, until you started asking around, I had never thought it through the way you did now. So thank you for this clarifying theological excursion. 


As to antisemitism, I recently had this conversation with an elderly couple in Amsterdam. 


She: 'His father was a jew, but his mother wasn't, so they don't consider him to be a jew.' 

To which she added: 'But he's well up to all their tricks.'


Let's call it the latent variety.


love from



Dr Jacques Cory wrote from Haifa:

Dear Rafi,


Please find attached a link to my new book "Cory's CyberCouch Classic Concerts", which began as a Concert at a reveillon Cultural Celebration in a 1900 Parisian salon in my play published a year ago, to a book with YouTube links to 1200 works assembled in 120 Concerts of 3 hours each with all the Categories of music that were composed in the twelfty of 120 years 1820-1939 in European Languages’ Cultures, amounting to 360 hours, or 1 hour a day.

This Collection reflects my personal Choices. I hope that they are not elitist and meet the taste of most Cultural people in the world, who are interested in this most Creative twelfty. And if my book Contributes to easing the tensions of life, in these times of pandemic, war, crime, terror and inequality, by finding a quality Classic alternative accessible to all, I have achieved my goal of Carrying out a Renaissance of a Parisian Cultural salon in your salon, in your life!


You are mentioned in the Inspiration chapter as an inspiration for writing this book. You are invited to include this link as well as the above paragraphs in your monthly report if you wish so. Best regards,



Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Fellowship

I received the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Public Policy Fellowship to carry out full-time independent research on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process in Washington, D.C. While at the Center during June-August 2022, I will be affiliated with the Middle East Program. 


Description automatically generated The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars was chartered by the American Congress in 1968 as the official memorial to President Woodrow Wilson. It is the American key non-partisan policy forum for tackling global issues through independent research and open dialogue to inform actionable ideas for the policy community. As an organ of the Congress, the Wilson Center has special relationships with the Library of Congress, the greatest library in the world. In 2019, the Wilson Center was named the #1 regional studies think tank in the world.

It is the second time that I am invited to this prestigious center. I am delighted to return to the best research center I know that provides superb environment to carry out research. The Wilson Center is a place that attracts academics, politicians and policy makers. Together they bring creative thinking and exceptional expertise to tackle the most pressing policy challenges we face today. The Center had provided me invaluable support as I was writing my book Confronting the Internet’s Dark Side (CUP, 2015). I am sure it will do the same as I will be writing my book on the failed peace process between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organisation.

I look forward to meeting friends and colleagues in DC, and to enjoying this wonderful city. I am always happy to return to Washington. It is my favourite city in the world.

Short Visit to Israel

In my capacity as Vice President of the Association of Israel Studies, I plan to come to Israel for a short visit during the end of June to take part in our annual conference at Bar-Ilan University. I will spend most of my time at the conference. Do let me know if you wish to meet in Ramat Gan.

I hope to return to Israel for another conference in September. Hopefully then I will have more time. 

My Peace Project

Slowly, I continue to work on my peace project. During the past few weeks, I conducted interviews with Ehud Barak, Joel Singer, Rt Hon. Alistair Burt, former Minister for the ME and North America and Francesco Motta, Chief, Asia Pacific and MENA Branch, The United Nations.


Unemployment at 50-year Low

Israel’s underlying unemployment rate dropped to 2.9% in April from 3.7% in March, the lowest in 50 years. There were 120,000 job seekers and 150,000 vacancies. The overall rate, including those affected by the pandemic, dropped to 4.4% in April from 4.8% in March, the lowest since 2020.

A Wheelchair for Hiking

Omer Zur, founder of Israel’s Paratrek has developed the Trekker, so that his wheelchair-bound father can enjoy hiking. The slogan of the Paratrek is “Where there’s a wheel, there’s a way.”

My Testimony before the Canadian Senate

The Canadian Special Joint Committee on Medical Assistance in Dying invited me to appear as part of a panel of witnesses in view of its Statutory Review of the Provisions of the Criminal Code Relating to Medical Assistance in Dying and their Application. This meeting discussed advance requests in the context of medical assistance in dying. In my testimony, I warned against expanding Advance Directives for incompetent patients, including patients with dementia. Advance Directives should be the prerogative of ONLY competent patients. 

This was the second time that I was invited to give testimony before the Canadian Senate.

New Book: The Republic, Secularism and Security: France versus the Burqa and the Niqab (Cham: Springer, 2022). 

ISBN 978-3030946685 


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In France, secularism is celebrated in the public sphere. The manuscript makes general arguments about France’s changing identity and specific arguments about the burqa and niqab ban. It explains how French history shaped the ideology of secularism and of public civil religion, and how colonial legacy, immigration, fear of terrorism and security needs have led France to adopt the trinity of indivisibilité, sécurité, laïcité while paying homage to the traditional trinity of liberté, égalité, fraternité. While the motto of the French Revolution is still symbolically and politically important, its practical significance as it has been translated to policy implementation has been eroded. The emergence of the new trinity at the expense of the old one is evident when analyzing the debates concerning cultural policies in France in the face of the Islamic garb, the burqa and the niqab, which are perceived as a challenge to France’s national secular raison d'être. The French Republic has attempted to keep public space secular. Is the burqa and niqab ban socially just? Does it reasonably balance the preservation of societal values and freedom of conscience? What are the true motives behind the ban? Has the discourse changed in the age of COVID-19, when all people are required to wear a mask in the public space?

It is argued that the burqa and niqab ban is neither just nor reasonable in the eyes of the women and girls who wish to wear the Muslim garb, their families and community, and that paternalism that holds that the ban is for the women’s own good is a poor, coercive excuse. Claims for paternalistic coercion to protect adult women from their own culture when they do not ask for protection are not sufficiently reasonable to receive vindication. 

I hope to see the book published in France, in French, too. 

Israel Is Among the World’s 8 Nuclear Powers


Israel is the world's eighth nuclear power, according to a report published by the American Federation of Scientists "Status of the World's Nuclear Forces." The ranking is dominated by Russia and the United States, who possess in 2022 respectively 5,428 and 5,977 nuclear warheads, out of 13,000 units in the world. China follows with 350 nuclear warheads, France (290), the United Kingdom (225), Pakistan (165), India (160), Israel (90) and North Korea (20). In 1987, at the end of the Cold War, the world had more than 70,000 nuclear warheads, or 5.5 times more than today. According to the report, "The United States continues to slowly reduce its nuclear stockpile. France and Israel have relatively stable inventories. But China, India, North Korea, Pakistan and the United Kingdom, as well as possibly Russia, are all suspected of increasing their stocks."

Source: Ynet News


Israel Weighs Warning Against Travel to Qatar for the Mondeal

Israel’s counter-terror bureau may warn Israelis against traveling to Qatar for the World Cup in November. Israel already recommends against all non-essential travel to Qatar. Israel has no formal diplomatic relations with Qatar, a country where Iran continues to wield considerable influence. Almost 15,000 Israelis have already purchased tickets for the 2022 World Cup. It is predicted that some 25,000 to 30,000 Israelis may travel to Qatar for the soccer tourney. They could become easy targets for Iran or its proxies. Qatar has promised to allow entry to visitors from every country during the World Cup, on the condition that they have tickets to at least one match, which also applies to Israelis. 

Source: Times of Israel

Initiative to Bring Jews and Muslims Together 

Jewish and Muslim community leaders from across the globe started a new initiative to strengthen Jewish-Muslim relations. The Mukhayriq Initiative, named after the Medina-born rabbi who fought alongside Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Battle of Uhud in 625 CE, aims to promote Jewish-Muslim cooperation. The initiative's opening event was held on the eve of Ramadan. Muslim and Jewish leaders spoke on the importance of strengthening relations between Jewish and Muslim communities all over the world. Among those who spoke at the event were former Albanian labour and social affairs minister Valentina Leskaj and Prof. Ephraim Isaac, the director of Princeton University’s Institute for Semitic Studies. The initiative was founded by former US deputy special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism Ellie Cohanim, co-founder of the American Muslim and Multifaith Women’s Empowerment Council (AMMWEC) Anila Ali, executive-producer of the American Sephardi Federation Jason Guberman, Mimouna Association president El Mehdi Boudra, Jewish Council of the Emirates senior rabbi Elie Abadi and other Muslim and Jewish figures.

Source: The Jerusalem Post

First Muslim Justice Appointed to the Israel Supreme Court

Judge Khaled Kabub became the first Muslim appointed to Israel’s Supreme Court. All previous Arab Israeli justices on the 15-member court have been Christians. Kabub entered the post alongside some 81 other judges who were sworn in to various court positions at a special ceremony at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem, attended by President Isaac Herzog, Supreme Court President Esther Hayut, and Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar. The 64-year-old Kabub, who until now served as vice president of the Tel Aviv District Court, will take the place of retiring justice Neal Hendel. 


In September 1997, Kabub was appointed as a judge to the Netanya Magistrate’s Court. In June 2003, he was appointed a judge of the Tel Aviv District Court, and in September 2017 he was appointed as vice president. His most significant ruling was the 2016 conviction of former billionaire Nochi Dankner for manipulating shares in his company.

Source: Times of Israel

Egypt-Saudi Arabia Relationships


The Biden administration has been mediating among Saudi Arabia, Israel and Egypt on negotiations that, if successful, could be a first step on the road to the normalization of relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel. It involves finalizing the transfer of two strategic islands in the Red Sea from Egyptian to Saudi sovereignty. If an arrangement is reached, it would be a significant foreign policy achievement for the Biden administration in the Middle East. Sources said the agreement is not complete and the sensitive negotiations are ongoing. 


The Tiran and Sanafir islands control the Straits of Tiran — a strategic sea passage to the ports of Aqaba in Jordan and Eilat in Israel. Saudi and Egyptian officials say Saudi Arabia gave Egypt control of the islands in 1950. They were later demilitarized as part of the 1979 Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty. The Biden administration believes finalizing an arrangement could build trust between the parties and create an opening to warm relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia, which do not have official diplomatic relations. 


Source: Axios



Apology, 800 years on, for laws that expelled Jews from England


The Church of England is to apologise for its “shameful actions” in passing anti-Jewish laws 800 years ago that paved the way for the expulsion of Jews from England.


The synod passed laws forbidding social interactions between Jews and Christians, forcing Jews to wear identifying badges, imposing church tithes on them and banning them from certain professions. They were also forbidden from building new synagogues.

By the late 13th century, further measures forbade Jews from owning land and passing on inheritance to their children. Hundreds were arrested, hanged or imprisoned.

Eventually, all the Jews in England – 3,000 or so – were expelled under an edict in 1290 by King Edward I. They were not permitted to return for more than 360 years.

The Church of England was not created until the 1530s, when Henry VIII split from the pope. Nevertheless, it was now right for Christians to repent of their “shameful actions” and to “reframe positively” relations with the Jewish community, said Jonathan Chaffey, archdeacon of Oxford. The Roman Catholic church was “fully in accord” with the apology, he added.


Evidence of Jewish Revolt against the Romans

Israeli archaeologists have discovered caves in the Tekoa valley that were refuge to Jewish rebels during the Bar Kochba revolt against the Romans in the 2nd century CE. They found pottery and a silver coin showing the Temple and Bar Kochba’s initials.

New article: “Bullying, Cyberbullying and Hate Speech”, International Journal of Technoethics (IJT), Volume 13 • Issue 1 (published online first 10 February 2022).


A close up of a keyboard

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This paper applies the concepts of moral and social responsibility to the Internet in considering bullying and cyberbullying that result in loss of life. Specifically, I probe the moral and social responsibilities of Internet users (agents), of their immediate surroundings, and of the education system in fighting cyberbullying. Balance needs to be struck between two most important principles: freedom of expression and social responsibility. Illustrative examples in which this disturbing and harmful phenomenon of cyberbullying had cost young life are mentioned. It is argued that cyberbullying has some of the characteristics of hate speech and that many of the tools used to fight against hate may be utilised to fight against cyberbullying. It is further argued that all relevant stakeholders need to think of the consequences of their conduct, that Internet abusers should be accountable for their wrongdoing and be penalized, and that people who have the ability to stop or at least reduce the risk of cyberbullying should take proactive steps, exhibiting zero tolerance to cyberbullying. The article calls for a responsible concerted effort by responsible users of the Internet, parents, schools, governments, NGOs, and administrators of social networking sites to raise awareness of the problem, address it, and fight together to lessen and possibly eliminate it from the online information highway. Disregard for the consequences of both cyberbullying and hate speech and inactivity facing them are immoral. 

Key words: bullying; cyberbullying; education; Internet; moral and social responsibility; parental responsibility; school responsibility; suicide

Available at

Did you know it only takes six minutes for alcohol to affect your brain?

Give yourself 6 minutes and you’ll see your favorite alcoholic beverage can go to your head a lot quicker than you think. Researchers at Heidelberg University Hospital found that just six minutes after consuming alcohol, changes are already taking place in the brain!

Monthly Poem


A picture containing floor, indoor, furniture, seat

Description automatically generated Come we to the summer, to the summer we will come, 
For the woods are full of bluebells and the hedges full of bloom, 
And the crow is on the oak a-building of her nest, 
And love is burning diamonds in my true lover's breast; 
She sits beneath the whitethorn a-plaiting of her hair, 
And I will to my true lover with a fond request repair; 
I will look upon her face, I will in her beauty rest, 
And lay my aching weariness upon her lovely breast. 

The clock-a-clay is creeping on the open bloom of May, 
The merry bee is trampling the pinky threads all day, 
And the chaffinch it is brooding on its grey mossy nest 
In the whitethorn bush where I will lean upon my lover's breast; 
I'll lean upon her breast and I'll whisper in her ear 
That I cannot get a wink o'sleep for thinking of my dear; 
I hunger at my meat and I daily fade away 
Like the hedge rose that is broken in the heat of the day. 

John Clare 

Light Side: 

Peace and Good Health to you all


My last communications with all the photos and illustrations are available on Israel: Democracy, Human Rights, Politics and Society,

People wishing to subscribe to this Monthly Newsletter are welcome to e-mail me at

Twitter at @almagor35