Friday, June 24, 2022


Politics – June 2022 in Memory of A.B. Yehoshua (1936-2022)


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

¬ Raphael Cohen-Almagor


It is hard to fail but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.

¬ Teddy Roosevelt

Order without liberty and liberty without order are equally destructive.

¬ Teddy Roosevelt

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.


A.B. Yehoshua (1936-2022)

Reflections on Last Newsletter

Elections, again


Woodrow Wilson Center

Tales from the Land of the Free

Liberia Will Open an Official Mission in Jerusalem 

New article: “Why Separate State and Religion?”, Israel Studies, Vol. 27(2) (Summer 2022): 76-91.

Did you know there’s a planet that’s shaped like a potato?


Premier League Team 2021-2022

Gem of the Month: Teddy Roosevelt Island

Gem of the Month: The Monuments at night

Gem of the Month: NBA Finals

Gem of the Month: Kennedy Center

Gem of the Month: Watergate Hotel

Gem of the Month: Potomac at Dusk

Monthly Poem

Light Side 

A.B. Yehoshua (1936-2022)

Yehoshua was a literary giant, one of the greatest novelists of modern Israel. I was proud to be his colleague at the University of Haifa. Some of his books are always close to me, on a shelf dedicated to beloved world literature that includes two other Israeli great authors: David Grossman and Amos Oz.

When I chaired Library and Information Studies at the University of Haifa, I invited A.B. to deliver the keynote lecture at our graduate ceremony, when students received their certificates together with their beloved people, families and chosen friends. A.B. delivered a great speech, speaking of the value of literature, learning, libraries and information to world societies. His speech, as always, was full of life and energy. Later, some who attended the evening came to thank me for inviting A.B., making the ceremony unforgettable and memorable. I am certain some of the people who attended that evening now recall it with fondness and appreciation. 


Reflections on Last Newsletter

Dr Bert Keizer wrote from The Netherlands:


Dear Raphi,

In your latest letter you wrote:  

Advance Directives should be the prerogative of ONLY competent patients.

We are in total agreement on this topic. 

In The Netherlands there have been some recent developments around this issue which I find rather worrying.

In the Dutch Euthanasia Law there was always this provision:

The written request for euthanasia may replace the oral request. 

In cases of advanced dementia in which people are no longer capable of voicing a convincing and consistent request for euthanasia, a written statement i.e. an Advance Directive, which was written down at an earlier date, may be interpreted as a request for euthanasia IF:

- the wording of the request is clear.

- the person involved was mentally capable at the time of writing the request.

- the person is suffering unbearably without any prospect of recovery.

- there are no feasible alternatives to alleviate the suffering.

In practical terms this means that the situation may arise in which a doctor administers a lethal dose of barbiturates to a person who doesn't know what is being done to him/her.

To me (and to many other doctors in The Netherlands) this is venturing beyond a boundary we do not wish to cross.  

Most doctors insist on the possibility of straightforward and unambiguous communication right up until the very last moments. 

Still, it only happens once or twice a year and everybody agrees that it should be avoided. But the point is that the possibility exists and is utilized occasionally. 

Dutch doctors, until now, just ignored this possibility which the law offered. 

As I said, I find it worrisome,

kindest greetings from



Abe Silverman wrote from Canada:

The war in Ukraine could have been avoided if the US President and NATO leaders would have learned the lessons of History. As Russia built up its forces on the Ukrainian border to 150,000 plus all the military hardware for war so too should NATO and the US built up its forces on the Ukrainian border in Poland, Czeck Republic and Romanian to 300,000 plus double the military hardware of Russia and that would have created a stalemate and Ukrainians did not need to die. Peace through strength. Modern wars are won with airpower. I am shocked that Russia has not used its overwhelming power in the air. Something is fishy.

Elections, again

The impossible coalition survived one year. While its members tried not to put it to test, the opposition was happy to do it and it successfully created wedges and gaps that could not be bridged. People ask me: Who will win? My answer is: Bibi. I said this in all previous four rounds. I was right three times and wrong once. I hope to be wrong again.


It is great to be back in Washington, a city I love greatly. The city is interesting and gorgeous as ever. I relish walking its streets and meeting wonderful, intelligent people from all over the world.

Woodrow Wilson Center

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Description automatically generated So good to return to Wilson. The Center is slowly returning to normal life after COVID. It is great to see old friends and to make acquaintance with new ones. I have met some of the scholars and plan to meet more. I delivered my first lecture about the Roots of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and welcome the opportunities to me to deliver more lectures and learn from colleagues.

I am working on my peace book. Between security and peace, most Israelis choose security, not realizing that without peace their security will be challenged time and again.


Tales from the Land of the Free

Standing in a shop. Suddenly, a loud continuous sound erupts. I look at the two shop keepers with surprise. They explain this is a weather alert, notifying people that a storm is approaching. “When?” I asked. “In 40 minutes”.

The shop manager J recalled that in Texas, the wind and rain are so heavy that the wind push cars from lanes while drivers cannot see anything due to the heavy rain. I asked him whether he is from Texas and J affirmed this is the case. Some time ago he relocated to Virginia, but he grew up in Texas. We continued the conversation and discussed the recent shootings. I asked them why no substantial changes are introduced to improve reality for better and save life. J responded it is a matter of self-defence. People are entitled to defend themselves. J said that deranged and crazy people kill. I asked why they are given permit to buy guns. J answered: “For self-defence”.

I asked: “Defence against whom?”

J: “If the Chinese will attempt to take our land, I swear I will take my gun and go to fight them”.

RCA: “So people have guns to fight the Chinese?”

J: “Yes. But not only them. To fight anybody and everybody”.

RCA: “But the system is abused time and again. Why not change if it is not working?”.

J: “It is our right. See what is happening in Canada. Trudeau is reflecting on us and changing Canadian gun laws. He is nothing but a tyrant”.

RCA: “You say that deranged people kill. Why not limit the ability of people to buy guns? Why not have better screening?”

J: “They are also entitled to defend themselves”.

J left Texas. Texas did not leave him.

In Alexandria, the mayor held a D-Day Memorial in collaboration with Alexandria’s sister city in France, Caan. The drumming was beautiful.


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Liberia Will Open an Official Mission in Jerusalem 

The office will serve as a precursor to a full-fledged embassy in the future. Although Liberia is a small country of five million people, it is an important ally of Israel on the international stage, having regularly sided with Israel, both at the UN and at the African Union in recent years.

This makes the West African nation the fifth country to open a mission in the Israeli capital after the U.S, Guatemala, Kosovo, and Honduras.

New article: “Why Separate State and Religion?”, Israel Studies, Vol. 27(2) (Summer 2022): 76-91.

The article opens with a discussion of my premises in relation to the separation of state and religion. Section II elucidates the goal of creating a decent and just society in Israel. Section III explains the manner in which liberal democratic values, based on the above presmises, enable Israel to fulfill this goal. These values include liberty, tolerance, human rights, equality, truth, and justice. The Respect for Others Argument and the Harm Principle safeguard the rights of women, ethnic, religious, national and cultural minorities, homosexuals and others who might otherwise find themselves at a disadvantage in society. Section IV delineates how and why justice is the all-encompassing value Israel must adopt. The Conclusion focuses on the means of compromise and deliberation used in the decision-making processes.

Keywords: Equality, Democracy, Israel, Judaism, Justice, Liberalism, Religion, Women's rights

Available at

Did you know there’s a planet that’s shaped like a potato?


About the same size as Pluto, the dwarf planet Haumea orbits the sun beyond Neptune and has rings that are similar to Jupiter. But what makes this object even more interesting is that it’s shaped like a potato.

Premier League Team 2021-2022

Here is my team:

Ederson (Manchester City and Brazil)

Reece James (Chelsea and England)

Ruben Dias (Manchester City and Portugal)

Romero (Spurs and Argentina)

Joao Cancelo (Manchester City and Portugal)

Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City and Belgium)

Sadio Mane (Liverpool and Senegal)

Declan Rice (West Ham and England)

Ronaldo (Manchester United and Portugal)

Muhammed Salah (Liverpool and Egypt)

Son Heung-Min (Spurs and South Korea)

Player of the 2021-2022 Season

Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City and Belgium)

Gem of the Month: Teddy Roosevelt Island

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I enjoyed the walking trails and the memorial, monument in honour of Roosevelt.

I also visited the new Dwight Eisenhower memorial. I expected more. Eisenhower had such a rich career and so many achievements. The Memorial encapsultes very little of what that great man did.

Gem of the Month: The Monuments at night

One of the things I love to do is visit the monuments at night, when they are illuminated. I visited WWII, MLK, FDR, Korea, Washington and Lincoln. Next will be WWI, among others. 

Gem of the Month: NBA Finals

It has been a while since I watched NBA games live. I thoroughly enjoyed the Golden State-Boston series. The best team won. Stephen Curry is such a joy to watch. One of the greatest I have ever seen. I was happy for GS that there was no need for game 7, and a bit sad for myself that there was no game 7. It would have been a thriller.

The third quarter proved to be decisive. No way one could tell who would win the game after the first quarter. The shifts and turns in games were astonishing. 

Gem of the Month: Kennedy Center

I love the Kennedy Center. I was fortunate to see Emanuel Ax playing the piano, yet again. It is always a pleasure to listen to him.

For the first time, I saw Maestro Kazuki Yamada in action, and what a joy it was! Yamada is full of life, gestures and artistic moves. Sometimes he is dancing on his little conductor platform and I wished for him to have a larger podium. Sometimes he makes direct gestures to specific musicians. Sometimes he exaggerates the points he wishes to make, and sometimes he is absorbed by the music. At the same time, clearly a perfectionist, Yamada knows what the orchestra is playing at every single moment. I was sorry not to see his face throughout the concert. From the little that I saw of his face (Most of the time I saw his back), Yamada is full of expressions.

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Which made me think that cameras should be installed directed at the face of the conductor, with screens of both sides of the stage showing the conductor’s expressions. This is especially important with conductors such as Yamada. I’d love to see him again.


Gem of the Month: Watergate Hotel

During the past month, two issues dominated Washington news: The Capitol riots of January 6, 2021, and the Watergate affair of June 1972. Many commentators compared between Nixon and Trump. Most of the time, Trump prevailed as the worse leader.

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Description automatically generated Thanks to my friend, Maria-Stella, I was invited to the Watergate Hotel and visited the room where the “plumbers” listened-in to the Democratic Party convention. A guide told us the story of what the private detectives, hired by the Nixon administration did, how did they organized, and how they were discovered. I witnessed a piece of history. This was followed by a cocktail party overlooking the beautiful Potomac River at sunset. 

Gem of the Month: Potomac at Dusk

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Monthly Poem

Like a fly

For my son Roei when he was 9-year-old and needed a poem for school

I saw a guy

Who wanted to fly

I asked him “Why?”

He was kind of shy

Until he said “Oh my!”,

“I might fall down and cry, iiei

If I attempt to fly”.

He thanked me with a sigh

Then smiled

And disappeared like a fly

Bye bye.

Raphael Almagor

Light Side 

A woman was out golfing one day when she hit her ball into the woods. She went into the woods to look for it and found a frog in a trap. The frog said to her, "If you release me from this trap, I will grant you 3 wishes."
The woman freed the frog.
The frog said, "Thank you, but I failed to mention that there was a condition to your wishes that whatever you wish for, your husband will get 10 times more or better!"
The woman said, "That would be okay."
For her first wish, she wanted to be the most beautiful woman in the world.
The frog warned her, "You do realize that this wish will also make your husband the most handsome man in the world, an Adonis, that women will flock to."
The woman replied, "That will be okay because I will be the most beautiful woman and he will only have eyes for me." So, KAZAM she's the most beautiful woman in the world!
For her second wish, she wanted to be the richest woman in the world. The frog said, "That will make your husband the richest man in the world and he will be ten times richer than you."
The woman said, "That will be okay because what's mine is his and what's his is mine."
So, KAZAM she's the richest woman in the world!
The frog then inquired about her third wish, and she answered. "I'd like a mild heart attack."
Attention female readers: This is the end of the joke for you. Stop here and continue feeling good!
Male readers: Please scroll down.
The man had a heart attack ten times milder than his wife.

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,

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Twitter at @almagor35