Friday, December 16, 2022

 Politics – November 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.


Elections were held in Israel on November 1. They did not yield the results I was yearning for.

Netanyahu is likely to compose a coalition and become prime minister. Likud 32 MKs, Religious Zionism 14 MKs, Shas 11 MKs, and United Torah Judaism 7 MKs will give him a majority of 64 MKs. I think it is unlikely that any other party will join him. I trust Gantz will not repeat past mistakes.

At least 32 MKs support the transformation of Israel to theocracy. This is ALARMING!

Religious Zionism, with Smotrich and Ben-Gvir, is the third largest party in the Knesset. Meir Kahane did not dream of such an achievement for his movement. 

The historic Mafdal that represented moderate Judaism has evaporated. No legacy, just history. Mafdal was totally replaced by religious extremism and “Jewish Power”. Oye vey!

Labour is the smallest ! party in the Knesset with mere 4 seats. Its leader, Merav Michaeli, could have merged Labour with Meretz, but she refused. I think she will now pay for this, and other, mistakes. Labour is on verge of elimination from the Knesset, unless it introduces rapid and significant changes. Ben-Gurion did not dream of such a low point.

The Arab minority also refused to learn the lessons. History showed them clearly that they can have almost fair representation in the Knesset if they run together. But they are unable to settle their differences. Three Arab parties ran in this election. Two had made it, Raam and Hadash-Taal with 5 MKs each. The third, Balad, came close to pass the election threshold and failed.

Meretz, the party that stands for justice, human rights, peace and social responsibility, did not pass the election threshold. It came 4,000 votes short of the election threshold of 3.25 of the total vote.

That means, that the Israeli peace camp lost 7-8 MKs because of their mistakes. The picture would have been then quite different. Now we have to live with the consequences. 

Prospects for peace are now almost nil, and democracy is under a real threat, possibly clear and present danger.

In 2003, I established the Center for Democratic Studies at the University of Haifa as I feared that anti-democratic forces were growing stronger and stronger. Those forces continued to grow and now they may gain governmental power positions that would enable them to thwart democracy, moving Israel in the direction of a theocracy. Israeli liberal legislation, the Supreme Court, minorities, women, basic human rights are all endangered. 

The leader of the Hassidic Vizhnitz sect Rabbi Yisroel Hager, one of the senior spiritual leaders of United Torah Judaism ordered his party not to enter the future government if the Likud fails to commit to passing a law that enable overriding of Supreme Court decisions. The Haredi parties are pushing for the law to ensure that a list of political steps they intend to lead in the next coalition will not be struck down by the courts. At the top of the list is a new Israel Defense Force draft law that defines the special status of yeshiva students, contrary to a previous court demand to promote equality in collective military service.

I wrote about Itamar Ben-Gvir in my last Blog. His success pales the relative success of his rabbi and mentor, Meir Kahane. There are many reasons for his success which I will not discuss now. The bottom line is: Ben-Gvir is in polar position to everything I believe and stand for. He will increase friction and polarization in Israeli society. He will trigger violence and terror. It is just a matter of time until we hear, yet again, the vile idea of Arab transfer.

Smotrich eyes the Ministry of Justice. Two justices of the Supreme Court are up for replacement. He will replace them with his supporters. He will also be active in nominating judges to lower courts. Smotrich will also try to change the composition of the Committee for Selection of Justices to the Supreme Court. And he will be active in amending present legislation and legislating new laws that would be in line with his ideological worldview, which is extreme, Orthodox Judaism. He, and Netanyahu, share an interest to push legislation that would weaken the “anti-democratic” Supreme Court.

One amendment will concern the legislation that is pertinent to Netanyahu’s trials. The legislation can be affected in such a way that would provide scope for lenient interpretation of the cases.

Smotrich also demands that Israeli settlements be governed by the relevant ministries rather than the IDF’s Civil Administration of the West Bank as part of coalition negotiations with Netanyahu. Israeli towns in the occupied territory are under the military government, with the Civil Administration signing orders to apply many of the same laws to them as sovereign Israel.

Ben-Gvir eyes the Ministry of the Interior or the Ministry of Internal Security. This will enable him to favour the settlements and to discriminate against the Arab minority. 

If Temple Mount was one of the most sensitive places in the world, now expect it to become the most sensitive place in the world. Ben-Gvir wants to make the place Jewish, open to Jewish prayers, with little or no thinking about the Palestinians. They would not like it.

The religious parties are likely to raise the question “Who is a Jew?” and possibly amend the Law of Return to restrict immigration of third-generation Jews and of those who are not halachically Jewish, e.g. Reform and Conservative Jews. Indeed, the weak Conservative and Reform Movements in Israel will be weakened by the new government. 

Israel has had one of the most liberal abortion policies in the Western world. Expect the abortion debate to enter Israeli arena soon.

The LGBTQ+ Community will be targeted.

Evil triumphs when silence prevails. We cannot afford silence. It is time to act now. If you care about the future of Israel, you need to raise your voice and actively oppose the anti-democratic forces that are getting stronger and stronger. It is not only the Arabs that will be targeted by the Kahanist ideology. Human rights, basic liberties, democracy are all foreign ideas to Kahanism. Kahanism does not believe in all this “liberal nonsense” that opposes “true Judaism”. Time to act now, before it will be too late.


Reflections on Last Newsletter

Uzi Dayan Talk on the Yom Kippur War

MESC Presents Professor Isabell Schierenbeck

Elections in Israel - Meretz


UN to open an international probe into Israel's prolonged occupation of the West Bank. 


Israel, Jordan and UAE Cooperation


Azerbaijan To Open An Embassy in Israel 


PM Sunak


Gov. Ron DeSantis 


Israeli government has approved the construction of an $18 million Albert Einstein Museum 


David Kempinski Hotel Tel Aviv: ‘The best new hotel in the world for 2022’


Nukes, Protests, and Iran With Robert Malley


Criminalizing Online Suicide Assistance 


Woodrow Wilson Global Fellowship 


New article: Raphael Cohen-Almagor, “A Reply to Thomas Sealy’s “Just and Reasonable, but Is It Multiculturalism? A Review of Raphael Cohen-Almagor’s JustReasonable Multiculturalism (2021, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press)”, International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society (published online 14 July 2022).

New Book: Golda Meir: THE ONLY WOMAN IN THE ROOM, by Pnina Lahav (November 2022)


My Favourite Books in Israel Studies


Did you know?

Monthly Poem

Light Side 

Reflections on Last Newsletter

John Berger wrote from Boston:


Hi Rafi,

I enjoy your postings immensely. I always learn something significant, entertaining, and can follow what is happening in your life. This month you touched on several things pertinent to my life - oddly enough Salem and the movie Coda. As you might know I am a sailor - I keep my boat in Salem harbor - actually right next to Nathaniel Hawthorne's House of Seven Gables - and often sail up the coast to Cape Ann. Coda was filmed in two towns there, Manchester and Gloucester. The movie tells a wonderful human story with great performances - I was really pleased it was honored by four Academy Awards.

Salem is an odd place - it is usually reasonably quiet but this time of year close to a million people visit to celebrate Halloween which has been hijacked from a day kids got dressed in funny customs and begged for candy to an adult celebration of witches. warlocks, ghosts, and such. I do not understand it at all.

I hope you and your family are all flourishing. I am pleased to see the interesting conversations your multicultural book has sparked as well as all the varied activities you are involved with.

All the best,



Issa Sarras wrote from Sweden:

If Abbas is disappointed with the US, does that justify that he supported Putin? You did not mention that he supported Putin, which was clearly stated in the Haaretz article. Today Abbas committed another grave sin. Abbas had told Putin: “Russia stands by justice and international law and that is enough for us.” 

We expect honesty from the intellectuals.

best wishes


Source: U.S. ‘Deeply Disappointed’ by Palestinian President’s Praise of Putin, Russia - U.S. News - (

Dr Yoav Javier Tenembaum wrote from Tel Aviv:

Thank you, Rafi!


I have read it with interest.


Although we disagree on some issues, we are in full agreement about Netanyahu's negative role in Israeli politics at present, and the danger that people like Ben Gvir represent. I think Netanyahu is an intelligent and capable individual, who has done some noteworthy things, but his role in the last few years has been negative. A future government headed by him, commanding the support of barely 61 MKs, with the political party headed by Ben Gvir and Smotrich as the second largest party, would either paralyze the government or lead it into a dangerous path.


I think the current government headed by Yair Lapid is pursuing a wise and effective foreign and defence policy. Benny Gantz seems to be doing well as Defence Minister. I will vote, once again, for Yesh Atid.


I look forward to watching the video containing an interview with you about assisted suicide.  



Uzi Dayan Talk on the Yom Kippur War

The MESC Leadership Lecture hosted Maj. Gen. Uzi Dayan who discussed Yom Kippur War - Its Lessons and Impact on the Middle East.

Here is the link to the lecture :

MESC Presents Professor Isabell Schierenbeck

Middle East Study Centre (MESC)

Wednesday, 14 December 2022, at 17:00 LONDON TIME

Isabell Schierenbeck

Professor in Political Science, University of Gothenburg; MESC

Newly arrived Syrian migrants meet street-level bureaucrats: Refugee integration in Jordan, Sweden, and Turkey

Link to register: 

Chair: Dr Rene Brauer (MESC)

Discussant: Professor Simon Smith (MESC)


The paper examines how Syrian migrants experience and navigate the encounters with street-level bureaucrats in three urban settings: Irbid (Jordan), Adana (Turkey) and Gothenburg (Sweden). Encounters between street-level bureaucrats and migrant clients form the basis for integration policies as local state institutions are responsible for facilitating migrants’ establishment into society. These relational integration processes take place in local institutions, such as housing units, employment offices, social services, and various integration initiatives. The paper draws on the findings from approx. 100 interviews with Syrian migrants in the three urban settings. Methodologically, the paper contributes with a novel comparative design of three urban settings, rarely compared, and challenges the Global South and Global North divide in comparative public administration. 


Isabell Schierenbeck is Professor in Political Science at the School of Global Studies (SGS), University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Schierenbeck’s main research interests are global public policy and administration, within the fields of international development cooperation, migration and diaspora, as well as Middle Eastern politics, in particular Israeli politics. Her current research is on migration policies (policy and practice) in a comparative perspective (Jordan, Sweden, and Turkey). She has a long-lasting interest in research ethics and safety. Her most recent publications are Safer Field Research in the Social Sciences. A Guide to Human and Digital in Hostile Environments (Grimm, J. et al. 2020, SAGE) and Migration in the Welfare State (2021, in Swedish).

Schierenbeck is a board member of the Swedish Institute of International Affairs (UI), the Global Portfolio at the Norwegian Research Council (RCN), the Karolinska Institute’s Advisory Group for Global Engagement, and a Visiting Professor at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel. She has previously been a visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley, as well as Stirling University (Scotland). She has been extensively involved in the Sida-funded capacity building program with the University of Rwanda and is a co-founder of the Center on Global Migration (CGM), University of Gothenburg. Schierenbeck is frequently consulted as an expert commentator on Middle Eastern and Israeli politics for radio, TV and the daily press.

Date: Wednesday, 14 December 2022, at 17:00 LONDON TIME

Please register directly with the online platform:  



All are welcome to attend

Elections in Israel - Meretz


On November 1, 2022, Israel held its fifth election in four years. I hoped my party, Meretz, will do well. It did not. 


The Israeli left has become extinct. Meretz paid for all its gross mistakes, and there are many, first and foremost in leadership. Zehava Galon was unable to garner enough support. Meretz came close to reach the election threshold but came short of a few thousand votes. Meretz could have chosen Major General Yair Golan to its leader. Golan is a former Deputy Chief of the General Staff. With him in leadership, it would have been harder to claim that Meretz’s commitment to peace undermines and endangers state security. 

The signing was on the wall in the previous elections. Meretz leaders refused to read it. For the first time since its establishment, Meretz is out of the Knesset. Time will tell whether Meretz will rebuild and be able to return to parliament. I ache its failure. It pains me greatly.


Time to heal, to change, to move forward. Meretz needs NEW leadership and agenda, one that is pertinent to the changing Israeli reality. Meretz needs to appeal to the Israeli secular people, some 40% of the people, who knowingly or unknowingly are close to Meretz’s views and agenda.



UN to open an international probe into Israel's prolonged occupation of the West Bank. 

The United Nations' decolonization committee adopted a draft Palestinian resolution requesting an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on Israel's prolonged occupation.

The resolution approved at U.N. headquarters in New York asks that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) "urgently" weigh in on Israel's "prolonged occupation, settlement and annexation of the Palestinian territory", which it said were violating the Palestinians' right to self-determination.

 Source: Reuters, November 11, 2022,



Israel, Jordan and UAE Cooperation


The three countries signed a memorandum of understanding in Sharm al-Sheikh to accelerate the implementation of a cooperation deal on a water project in exchange for clean electricity signed in Jordan a year ago, known as the Prosperity projects. In the 2021 agreement, Jordan committed to creating a solar facility funded and managed by the Emiratis and providing some of its output to Israel, and Israel committed to providing Jordan with 200 million cubic meters of water a year from its new desalination plant. 


Source: Al Monitor



Azerbaijan To Open An Embassy in Israel 


After 30 years of relations between the two countries and amid tensions with neighboring Iran, Azerbaijan has decided to open an embassy in Israel. Israel and Azerbaijan enjoy close relations, especially in defense matters, as 69% of Azerbaijan's arms imports between 2016 and 2020 came from Israel. President Isaac Herzog had written a letter honoring 30 years of relations between Israel and Azerbaijan earlier this year, in which he invited his Azeri counterpart Ilham Aliyev to visit Israel and open an embassy. “As we mark an important step in our relations, I hope to see us take an additional step with the opening of the Embassy of Azerbaijan in Israel,” he wrote. Azerbaijan has trade and tourist offices in Israel, but it did not open an embassy until now, ​​partly to avoid provoking its neighbor Iran. Nevertheless, the Abraham Accords and the defrosting of Israeli-Turkish relations have tended to diminish the fears of the Central Asian Shia nation. 


Source: Ynet



PM Sunak


I am asked about the new PM in Britain. Sunak won’t salvage the Brexit historic and fatal decision. He is not my cup of tea. His ideas are foreign to me. His conduct is anything but of a respected leader. I wish to see the return of labour to the PM office. Twelve years in government is way too much for any party to remain in power. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. The democratic pendulum should be in motion, returning the country to values which I hold dear: Justice, human rights, social responsibility, fraternity. 


Gov. Ron DeSantis 


I do not often write about American governors. DeStantis is a striking exception. Gov. Ron DeSantis won a second term in the November midterm elections. He did so by a sizable margin marking the first time a Republican has taken that largely urban electorate in two decades. The Washington Post holds that this win have firmly ended the chapter where the state could be seen as a swing state. And DeStantis is perceived as a presidential material, so much so that Trump found him worthy of his threats, aiming to deter him from running against him in 2024.


The Post argues that DeSantis’s résumé is more of a run-of-the-mill Republican civil servant than the bombastic-businessman-turned-political-arsonist Trump.


Despite a relatively humble upbringing, DeSantis went from Jacksonville to Yale, before going on to Harvard Law School. He went on to work as a lawyer for the U.S. Navy, serving at the base in Guantánamo Bay and deploying to Iraq. When he returned, he served as a federal prosecutor before winning two terms in the House.

Most of what DeSantis has said about foreign policy fits well within preexisting norms, rather than Trump’s often ad hoc style. DeSantis has condemned Russia for its invasion of Ukraine and was critical of President Biden’s decision to pull out of Afghanistan. DeSantis sided with Elon Musk over Ukrainian leaders after the U.S. billionaire suggested Kyiv needed to negotiate a peace deal with Russia.


DeSantis is also strongly opposed to traditional U.S. foes like Iran, notably opposing the nuclear deal with that country, as well as newer rivals like China, and has pledged to be “the most pro-Israel governor in America.” As a Florida man, DeSantis is paying extra attention to foreign issues close to many Floridians: Including CubaVenezuelaColombia and Haiti.


While DeSantis appears to have accepted the reality of climate change’s likely impact on Florida, he has favored throwing money at climate adaptation rather than working to actually mitigate the problem.


Source: Adam Taylor with Sammy Westfall, Is the world ready for President DeSantis and a Floridian foreign policy?”, Washington Post (November 10, 2022).



Israeli government has approved the construction of an $18 million Albert Einstein Museum 


The Museum will be on the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Safra Campus at Givat Ram. It will include a reconstruction of Einstein’s library and office and be a scientific and technological education center.



David Kempinski Hotel Tel Aviv: ‘The best new hotel in the world for 2022’

The luxury tourism magazine “ULTRATRAVEL” published this week the list of exclusive winners in the competition Ultimate Luxury Travel Related Awards For 2022 – the leading competition in the field of premium tourism in the world. The ranking is based on the ranking of approximately 1.2 million magazine subscribers and affluent travelers in over 100 countries alongside travel agencies and professionals from the industry.


In this year’s competition, which is being held for the 14th time, Israel managed to enter the list of winners with one representative when the David Kempinski Hotel Tel Aviv, which was launched last April, won the title of ‘Best New Hotel in the World for 2022’. From the reasons of the raters: “Kempinski Tel Aviv presents a service and hospitality experience that is far beyond the standard used in the industry.”

The David Kempinski stands tall in an unbeatable location right on the waterfront overlooking Tel Aviv Beach. A newly built, 34-story gleaming glass skyscraper, the hotel features 250 rooms (including 56 suites), most with uninterrupted sea views, an upscale ground-floor restaurant, a dreamy infinity pool and pool bar, a state-of-the-art spa, and a whisky and cigar lounge bar.


Nukes, Protests, and Iran With Robert Malley

Robert Malley, the U.S. special envoy for Iran, discusses with Aaron David Miller for a wide-ranging conversation on the Biden administration’s Iran policy, the ongoing protests in Iran, and the fate of the nuclear deal



Criminalizing Online Suicide Assistance 

A few months ago, Sam Lehman-Wilzig and I published “Digital Promotion of Suicide: A Platform-Level Ethical Analysis”, Journal of Media Ethics (March 2022): 108-127.


American Lawmakers are seeking to make online assistance of suicide a federal crime, pushing to hold accountable both individual users and the tech companies and websites that allow such content on their platforms.


bipartisan bill, H.R.9260 - Stop Online Suicide Assistance Forums Act,  


Rep. Trahan, Lori [D-MA-3]. Introduced 10/31/2022 

in the House of Representatives comes amid rising concern over suicide rates among young people, and mounting evidence of online dangers.

The bill’s primary sponsor cited a NY Times investigation published last December into a website where members share detailed instructions on how to die and encourage one another to follow through with suicide plans. The investigation identified 45 deaths connected to the site and found hundreds of posts suggesting that the true toll was much higher.


Freedom of expression is not limitless. It needs to be balanced against no less important value: Social responsibility.


See Gabriel J.X. Dance and Megan Twohey, Bill Outlawing Online Suicide Assistance Would Open Sites to Liability, NY Times (November 2, 2022),

You may find interest in “Digital Promotion of Suicide: A Platform-Level Ethical Analysis”, Journal of Media Ethics (March 2022): 108-127.



Woodrow Wilson Global Fellowship 



I am pleased to inform that I was awarded the Woodrow Wilson Global Fellowship (2022-2024).

As a Wilson Center Global Fellow, I am invited to be part of a global network of preeminent thought-leaders. This select group of non-resident fellows is an integral part of the Wilson intellectual community and act as ambassadors for the Center as well as for their home institutions, their countries, and beyond. My fellowship is affiliated with the International Security Studies.


New article: Raphael Cohen-Almagor, “A Reply to Thomas Sealy’s “Just and Reasonable, but Is It Multiculturalism? A Review of Raphael Cohen-Almagor’s JustReasonable Multiculturalism (2021, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press)”, International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society (published online 14 July 2022).


This is a reply to Thomas Sealy’s “Just and Reasonable, but Is It Multiculturalism? A Review of Raphael Cohen-Almagor’s Just, Reasonable Multiculturalism”. I frst clarify the context of my theory on just, reasonable multiculturalism and its underpinning premises and concepts. The discussion proceeds by explaining the concept of multiculturalism and my view on state neutrality. I then consider the practice of suttee and refect on practices that infict non-physical harm. With the help of Levey, I provide a summary of my stand on various practices, whether they should be tolerated or restricted and, fnally, explain the role of religion in the theory and discussion of Just, Reasonable Multiculturalism. 

Keywords: Culture · Justice · Multiculturalism · Neutrality · Perfectionism · Reasonableness · Religion · Toleranc

New Book: Golda Meir: THE ONLY WOMAN IN THE ROOM, by Pnina Lahav (November 2022)

A monumental biography, written with authority and empathy, depicting Israel’s fourth prime minister, Golda Meir, as a woman always surrounded by men, a leader who deflected misogynist attitudes with determination and humor while resolutely ascending to the top of the political pyramid.  

Israeli scholar and Boston University Law Professor (Emerita) Pnina Lahav provides the first feminist biography of Golda Meir. Her book highlights Golda’s epic role in establishing Israel as a welfare state where social security, workers’ rights and maternity leave were enacted into law. She follows Golda’s tenure as the first female prime minister, during a period overshadowed by the revolt of Mizrahi Jews (the ‘Black Panthers’) and the calamity of the Yom Kippur War.

Americans adored her; Israelis were less enthusiastic. Lahav mines a vast array of archival and cultural sources to explain the tension between these perceptions. She examines Golda’s bitter duel with feminist and civil rights leader Shulamit Aloni and situates both women in the identity politics in Israel of the 1970s.  This book is the first to evaluate Golda’s complex relationship with the Israeli and American feminist movements and the politics that led her to distance herself from feminism altogether. 

No woman since Golda has ever reached the high position of prime minister of Israel. This timely biography joins the wave of recent explorations of women and political power, providing a groundbreaking interpretation of Golda’s persona and legacy.



I thank Pnina for a copy of her book.



My Favourite Books in Israel Studies


I was asked to recommend my five favourite books in Israel Studies and to note my own book which I love most. I was instructed that the choice should be personal, somehow relating to me and to my career. Here is my preference:




Israeli Institutions at the Crossroads (London: Routledge, 2005), 204 pp.; Kindle Edition, 2007.

By Raphael Cohen-Almagor

Why I am proud of this book?

I love this book. This is a truly fascinating collection of essays about Israeli society and its institutions. It is written by practitioners who have experience and understanding, who are equipped with the insight and knowledge, and who bore responsibility while serving the public in the various institutions. Among the authors are former State President Yitzhak Navon, former cabinet minister Gad Yaakobi, former Deputy Speaker of the Knesset Naomi Chazan, former Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein, Former Supreme Court President Meir Shamgar, the State Comptroller Eliezer Goldberg, and former member of the Press Council Raphael Cohen-Almagor. The decision-makers provide fresh, practical observations and personal, valuable accounts of their respective roles.

  • Buy at: Amazon


The books I picked & why


Israel: A History (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2012) 

By Anita Shapira


Why this book?


I have been teaching from this book for many years. Books about Israel are fraught with bias. Many are post or anti-Zionist. They do not represent Israeli mainstream and the Israeli perception of history. Anita Shapira is Israel’s foremost historian of Zionism who received the Israel Prize, the highest prize Israel confers on its leaders. She describes and explains the emergence of Zionism in Europe against the backdrop of relations among Jews, Arabs and Turks. Shapira describes the challenges that Zionists had to face in Palestine and from 1948 onwards in the newly established state. Much of her research is based on primary sources: archival sources, including diaries, memoirs and other documents. This book does an excellent work in explaining Israeli history, politics and society.


  • Buy at: Amazon


To the End of the Land (New York: Vintage, 2011).

By David Grossman


Why this book?

Grossman has a way with words. There are not many people who master Hebrew as he does. His ability to express ideas, thoughts, sentiments, characters, the inner human streams that run in our hearts and minds is admirable. Grossman takes you by the hand, slowly makes you immerse in the story, your soul intertwined with the pictures he paints, you become part of all that is happening to the heroes, all the twists and turns, the emotions, the turmoil, the storms, the fears, the hopes, the love. 

This book is about the love for the land of Israel and about the love of a mother to her child. There are similarities and differences between the two that Grossman delicately deciphers. I have never read such a characterization of a relationship between parents and children. It is deep. It is penetrating. It is true. It sweeps you off your feet. 

A Woman Run Away from News is a masterpiece of the kind that wins a Nobel Prize. I was proud to be invited by the BBC to discuss the book with Grossman when it was launched in Britain.

  • Buy at: Amazon 


Origins of Israeli Policy (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979)

By Dan Horowitz and Moshe Lissak


Why this book?


This is a classic book. It explains Jewish life in Palestine that grew and developed as antisemitism grew in Europe to unprecedent heights. The pre- Israel state is called the Yishuv. Lissak, an Israel prize Laureate, and Horowitz who studied at my Oxford College, do a brilliant job in weaving together history, sociology and political science to explain and narrate the challenges and achievements of Zionists in transforming the Yishuv into a functional state. 


I have taught from this book. Moshe Lissak was a dear colleague and friend. We met at Oxford in 1991 and kept in touch almost up until his death. He kindly supported my career.


  • Buy at: Amazon


1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009), pp. 273-319. 

By Benny Morris 


Why this book?


History is often in the eye of the beholder. There are many histories, not just one. This is true in general and this statement is particularly apt when we discuss the first Arab-Israeli war. When I teach about the conflict, students ask me for an objective account of the war. My answer is that none is in existence but the closest to the truth, in my opinion, is Morris’ account. It is the best book about the war, based on maticulate survey of documents. It provides a thorough explanation of the war in each and every stage.


Morris paid a price for his honesty. I was happy to pave his way into Israeli academia.


  • Buy at: Amazon


The Oxford Handbook of Israeli Politics and Society (New York: Oxford University Press, 2021).

 By Reuven Y. Hazan, Alan Dowty, Menachem Hofnung and Gideon Rahat (eds.).


Why this book?

This is an important collection of essays. It provides state-of-the-art understanding of Israeli society, its history, politics and sociology. The book is wide-ranging and comprehensive. Its chapters were written by well-known authorities. The book includes important chapters on the Israeli electoral system, the Israeli Arab citizens, state and religion, gender in Israel, the Jewish ethnic divide and ethnic politics in Israel, the political economy of Israeli neoliberalism, Israel’s national security, the military in Israeli politics, political culture and Israeli politics, Israeli institutions and Israel’s position in the world.

I was invited to contribute to this volume but had to decline due to previous commitments.

Buy at: Amazon





Did you know?


Israel to pilot self-driving buses. Israel’s Innovation Authority has announced the launch of a NIS 61 million, two-year pilot program to study the viability of using autonomous public buses. In Stage 1, four groups of bus companies will test the technology before (in Stage 2) operating self-driving buses on public roads.

Monthly Poem

Simultaneously, I have been writing two books of poetry: one in Hebrew; the other in English. The book in Hebrew is titled Old News and now has 60 pages. The book in English is titled Between Love and Death and is now 92 pages long. I wish to publish both books and would very much appreciate pertinent constructive ideas.

Here is my weekly poem.

Another Country



Staffed people

Long strong legs

Tiring long faces

Glasses of mild cherry

Red they are hiding in

Impossible words

Leninist nonsense

Hoovering as a cloud

Another country paid with blood

Dreary ambiance

Hollow giggle holding his statute as an icon

Do not disturb the party.

Artificial tan

Mixed in a blurred crowd 

Want to be nice having no doubt

Fancy stripe black dress

Excluded purple fun

Senseless without being drunk.

Raphael Almagor

Light Side: 


A pair of cows were talking in the field. One says, “Have you heard about the mad cow disease that’s going around?”

“Yeah,” the other cow says. “Makes me glad I’m a penguin.”

Peace and Good Health to you all, Shabbat Shalom VeShalva


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