Saturday, October 29, 2022


Politics – October 2022 


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

MESC Annual Lecture 2022  - Yossi Beilin

MESC with Maj. Gen. Uzi Dayan 

MESC Ambassador Forum with Sir John Jenkins

Netanyahu Has No Qualms

Putin-Abu Mazen


Interview: Assisted Suicide, should it be legal? 

Nanotech to deliver precision chemotherapy

New article: Raphael Cohen-Almagor, “Just, Reasonable Multiculturalism: Reply to Levey, Newman and Cohen”, Philosophia (published online 20 June 2022).

Did you know?


Theatre: The Crucible


Movie of the Month - Coda

Monthly Poem

Light Side: 

Reflections on Last Newsletter

I would like to weigh in on 3 issues that you cover in your post.

The links to the articles that cover the decision by Israel's Supreme Court to overturn the order to evacuate a settlement built on land whose title is held by Palestinians. I believe that order included a requirement that those who held titles must be compensated. It's typical of the press to tell part of the story to satisfy a political bent.

Unless the US and NATO are prepared to send troops to Ukraine to defeat the Russians and drive them from Ukrainian land Zelensky has no choice but to call for a cease fire and accept that Russia will have won the territory that separates have been fighting for for the last 8 years. Without Military intervention the war will drag on and many lives will be lost.

A 2 State Solution is the only option to end the conflict as it has existed for 100 years. However the Palestinians must first accept that Israel is the Democratic Nation State of the Jewish people and that Jews can and will continue to live anywhere that they legally own land or can purchase land as can Arab Israeli citizens. Israeli citizenship and Palestinian residency is a practical and doable solution.

Shanah Tova

Abraham Silverman


MESC Annual Lecture 2022  - Yossi Beilin

A fascinating lecture and discussion. I certainly enjoyed, benefited and learned from it.

Here is the link to the lecture


Middle East Study Centre (MESC)

Wednesday, 9 November 2022, at 17:00 LONDON TIME

Maj. Gen. Uzi Dayan



Yom Kippur War - ITs Lessons and Impact on the Middle East


Link to register: 

Chair and Discussant: Chair: Dr Raymond Swaray (MESC)

Discussant: Professor Raphael Cohen-Almagor (MESC)




In this talk, I will discuss the Yom Kippur War from my personal perspective as a company commander in the southern arena (Egypt) and in the northern arena (Syria). The lecture is about surprises and doctrines, who paid the price, and how one may define "victory".


Furthermore, what were the lessons for the participants and how did they implement these lessons? The influence of this momentous war on Israel's grand strategy, its strategic assets as well as on the peace processes from 1977 onward, first between Israel and Egypt until the present day - the Abraham Accords.


50 years later - the talk will reflect on past, present and future of the Middle East: uncertainties, players' intentions and capabilities, inter alia vis a vis Iran nuclearization and the Russia-Ukraine war.


Maj. Gen. Dayan was born in 1948 and grew up on Moshav Hayogev in Israel.

He was inducted into the Israel Defence Force (IDF) in 1966, volunteering for an elite combat unit and subsequently fought in the Six-Day War, in the War of Attrition (1969-l971), in the 1973 Yom Kippur War (where he was a company commander) and in the Lebanon War (1982) .

In May 1993 Maj. Gen. Dayan was appointed Head of the IDF General Staff `s Planning Branch. Within the framework of this post, he headed the Israeli Security Committee representing Israel at the peace negotiations with the Jordanians, Palestinians and Syrians. In early 1996, Dayan was appointed Commander of the Central Command, and thereafter Deputy Chief of the General Staff until 2000.

From 2000-2002, Dayan was both Chairman of Israel`s National Security Council and 

National Security Adviser to Prime Ministers Barak and Sharon. 

Eighteen years ago he founded the Israel`s Sderot Conference on Socio- Economic Issues and a year later became Chairman of Green Horizons, a leading youth organization. From 2011-2018 Dayan served as Chairman of Mifal Ha'pais –Israel`s National Lottery. Thereafter he served as a Knesset (the Israeli Parliament) Member.

Dayan holds a B.Sc. degree in mathematics and physics from the Hebrew University, Jerusalem and a M.Sc. degree in operations research from Stanford University, California.

Maj. Gen. Dayan is married to Prof. Tamar Dayan, a faculty member at Tel Aviv University's Department of Zoology. They have three children. 

Date: Wednesday, 9 November 2022, at 17:00 LONDON TIME

Please register directly with the online platform:  



All are welcome to attend

Middle East Study Centre (MESC)

Ambassador Forum

Wednesday 23 November 2022, 5:00-7:00pm LONDON TIME

Sir John Jenkins

Senior Fellow at Policy Exchange and Former British Diplomat

The Gulf and its Islamists

Link to register: 

Chair: Professor Niaz Shah, MESC

Discussant: Sir Richard Dalton, MESC


The Gulf - and Saudi Arabia in particular - is the birthplace of Islam, and all the Gulf regimes depend to a greater or lesser degree on Islam for their 'legitimacy'. This relationship has been a particularly intense factor in all three al-Saud kingdoms, and the session will explore the lines of force between the Saudi state and its religious scholars, the contested role of Riyadh in the emergence of politically organised Islamism, the consequences for the smaller Gulf states and the tensions arising from competing forms of sacralised legitimacy. This will include reflections on the clash between often insurgent social movements and authoritarian regimes, the distinctive role of Iran and an examination of possible future trends: is a post-Islamist future or indeed a quasi post-Enlightenment privatisation of Islam conceivable?




A person sitting in a chair in front of a statue

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Sir John is currently a Senior Fellow at Policy Exchange, the London-based think tank, for whom he has written extensively on Islamism and extremism more generally. Between 1980 and 2015 he served as a British diplomat, initially in Abu Dhabi (1983-86), Malaysia (1989-92) and Kuwait (1995-98) before being appointed Ambassador to Burma (1999-2002). He was subsequently HM Consul-General, Jerusalem (2003-06), Ambassador to Syria (2006-07), FCO Director for the Middle East and North Africa (2007-09), Ambassador to Iraq (2009-11), Special Representative to the National Transitional Council and subsequently Ambassador to Libya (2011) and Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (2012-2015). He took an active part in Sir John Chilcott’s Iraq Inquiry and in March 2014 was asked by the then Prime Minister, David Cameron, to lead a Policy Review into the Muslim Brotherhood and Political Islamism. Until his departure from the FCO he was the government’s senior diplomatic Arabist. After leaving the FCO, he was Executive Director of The Institute for Strategic Studies – Middle East (2015-2017) and a Senior Fellow at the Yale Jackson Institute for Global Affairs (2017), teaching courses on Middle Eastern Politics. Sir John holds a BA (Double First Class Honours), MA and PhD from Jesus College, Cambridge. He also studied at The School of Oriental and African Studies in London (Arabic and Burmese) and through the FCO with the London and Ashridge Business Schools. He is an alumnus of the Salzburg Seminar.  He has written for The Guardian, The Times, The Spectator, The New Statesman, Al Arabiya and Arab News. 


Chair and Discussant: Sir Richard Dalton (MESC)

Date: Wednesday 23 November 2022, 5:00-7:00pm LONDON TIME

Please register directly with the online platform:  

All are welcome to attend

Netanyahu Has No Qualms

Netanyahu proves, yet again, that he will do all that is in his power to return to the PM office. He will strike deals with zealots, smear opponents, undermine Israel’s best interests if these measures will pave his way to victory. He is a ruthless politician.

I have devoted a large part of my research to study political extremism, Fascism and Nazism. At Oxford I wrote my DPhil dissertation on The Boundaries of Liberty and Tolerance: The Struggle Against Kahanism in Israel that was later published in English (Gainesville, FL: The University Press of Florida, 1994) and in Hebrew (Nevo, 1994). I surveyed the measures that the Israeli establishment, including Likud members, utilized in the fight against Meir Kahane who was perceived as a Jewish fascist. 

One of Kahane’s closet followers was a teenager by the name Itamar Ben-Gvir. Ben-Gvir excelled over his rabbi. He is now member of the Knesset. He uses his immunity to promote the Kahanist agenda with no qualms, creating havoc in Arab neighborhoods. Ben-Gvir is expected to enjoy the support of many dozens of thousand voters. His party is likely to be a key party in the post-election negotiations. The agenda is the trinity of Am Israel, Torat Israel, Erez Israel. The Arabs do not belong. 

Recently Netanyahu held a meeting with Ben-Gvir, where they agreed to coordinate until the November 1 elections. The two discussed how to focus their campaigns, as well as media coordination. According to an unsourced report, Netanyahu's goal is that Ben-Gvir would focus on the "traditional" audience and those who did not vote in previous elections instead of attracting Likud voters. Ben-Gvir reportedly feels similarly and is not interested in Netanyahu running a campaign to attract voters from within his party's camp. Ben-Gvir and his faction now belong to Bezalel Smotrich’s Religious Zionism since the two parties agreed to merge at the urging of Netanyahu. The report noted that the two are meeting weekly, yet no photos or communications have been released from any of these meetings.

The Likud today is very different from the Likud of Menachem Begin, Benny Begin, Dan Meridor, Michael Eytan and others. Netanyahu pushed the agenda to the far right and saw that his loyal colleagues are elected to leadership positions. Very sad indeed.

Source: I24 News

Putin-Abu Mazen

PA President Abbas met with Russian President Putin in Kazakhstan, where he expressed dismay at the notion that the United States can serve as an impartial mediator between Palestinians and Israel. The meeting took place as part of the conference of Asian countries, with Abbas stating that the Palestinians "have no trust in the US" and that they do not want the US alone to assist in efforts to resolve the conflict with Israel. Turkish President Recep Erdogan and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi are also participating in the conference held in the Kazakh capital Astana. 

Source: Ha’aretz

Interview: Assisted Suicide, should it be legal? 

Listen to my interview on the subject.

Nanotech to deliver precision chemotherapy

Scientists at Israel’s Technion Institute have developed a nano-material that can deliver different toxic cancer therapies directly to tumors, without harming healthy cells. Robot chemistry was used to test different materials. The breakthrough can vastly reduce chemo side effects.

New article: Raphael Cohen-Almagor, “Just, Reasonable Multiculturalism: Reply to Levey, Newman and Cohen”, Philosophia (published online 20 June 2022).


This is my reply to the symposium articles, written by Levey, Newman and Cohen

Theatre: The Crucible


A person and person dancing

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Arthur Miller is my favourite playwriter. He has this ability to write stories and convey messages in a way that audience understand and appreciate. I love the majority of his plays, and this one is no exception.


The National Theatre is my favourite place in the United Kingdom. The high standards it maintains is a light unto nations. For me, each production is a celebration. The aim to perfection. He National Theatre is one of the major British gems, a model to imitate and proliferate. 


The Crucible concerns witch hunting. I visited Salem some years ago to learn about the vile history of the city. Miller also visited Salem in 1952. In the gloomy courthouse there Miller read the transcripts of the witchcraft trials of 1692, as taken down in a primitive shorthand by ministers. One of the reports was written by the Reverend Samuel Parris, who was one of the chief instigators of the witch-hunt. “During the examination of Elizabeth Procter, Abigail Williams and Ann Putnam”—the two were “afflicted” teen-age accusers, and Abigail was Parris’s niece—“both made offer to strike at said Procter; but when Abigail’s hand came near, it opened, whereas it was made up into a fist before, and came down exceeding lightly as it drew near to said Procter, and at length, with open and extended fingers, touched Procter’s hood very lightly. Immediately Abigail cried out her fingers, her fingers, her fingers burned. . . .”

In this remarkably observed gesture of a troubled young girl, Miller  believed, a play became possible. Elizabeth Proctor had been the orphaned Abigail’s mistress, and they had lived together in the same small house until Elizabeth fired the girl. By this time, Miller was sure, John Proctor had bedded Abigail, who had to be dismissed most likely to appease Elizabeth. There was bad blood between the two women now. Miller writes: “That Abigail started, in effect, to condemn Elizabeth to death with her touch, then stopped her hand, then went through with it, was quite suddenly the human center of all this turmoil”.


All this Miller understood. He had not approached the witchcraft out of nowhere, or from purely social and political considerations. His  own marriage of twelve years was teetering and he knew more than he wished to know about where the blame lay. Miller writes: “That John Proctor the sinner might overturn his paralyzing personal guilt and become the most forthright voice against the madness around him was a reassurance to me, and, I suppose, an inspiration: it demonstrated that a clear moral outcry could still spring even from an ambiguously unblemished soul. Moving crabwise across the profusion of evidence, I sensed that I had at last found something of myself in it, and a play began to accumulate around this man”.

The Crucible is a wonderful theatre play.


**** on Rafi’s scale.


Source: Arthur Miller, “Why I Wrote “The Crucible””, The New Yorker (October 13, 1996),



Did you know?


The National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom is free. Most people do not pay for health services. The downside of this health system is that it is inefficient. People wait weeks to see their General Practitioner (GP) and months, sometimes years, to see a consultant. The queues are long and post-Covid, longer. Those who can afford having private health insurance have it.

I am surprised how many health specialists outside the UK are unaware of the British health system. 

Movie of the Month


This is a story of a closely knit fisherman family. Parents and two children. They wake up at 3am and go to the sea. They are dependent on each other. The daughter has an extraordinary talent. She sings. Her teacher and close friends support her. She is torn between her family obligations and pursuing her dream. Not an easy decision. She is the only family member who hears and talks.

This is the best film I saw this year. It is sensitive and well acted by all. It touched my heart.

Emilia Jones can surely sing. She holds the film. And oh, if you have never heard of Joni Mitchell, now you will.


4.5 on Rafi's scale

Monthly Poem

Both Sides Now

Rows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
Looked at clouds that way

But now they only block the sun
They rain and they snow on everyone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way

I've looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down and still somehow
It's cloud illusions I recall
I really don't know clouds at all

Moons and Junes and Ferris wheels
The dizzy dancing way that you feel
As every fairy tale comes real
I've looked at love that way

But now it's just another show
And you leave 'em laughing when you go
And if you care, don't let them know
Don't give yourself away

I've looked at love from both sides now
From give and take and still somehow
It's love's illusions that I recall
I really don't know love
Really don't know love at all

Tears and fears and feeling proud
To say, "I love you" right out loud
Dreams and schemes and circus crowds
I've looked at life that way

Oh, but now old friends they're acting strange
And they shake their heads and they tell me that I've changed
Well something's lost, but something's gained
In living every day

I've looked at life from both sides now
From win and lose and still somehow
It's life's illusions I recall
I really don't know life at all

It's life's illusions that I recall
I really don't know life
I really don't know life at all

Joni Mitchell

From Coda

Light Side: 

Identity crisis

“Your mother has been with us for 20 years,” said John. “Isn’t it time she got a place of her own?”

“My mother?” replied Helen. “I thought she was your mother.”

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