Friday, March 03, 2023

 Politics – February 2023 Democracy on the Defensive

Humans are given one mouth and two ears for good reasons. We need to listen to ALL people, all ideas and views. Those who threaten democracy, and those who wish to protect it. Presently, democracy is an endanger species in Israel. So is tranquillity. Peace is a mere unrealistic yearning.

Fight for Israeli democracy. Fight for justice. Fight for human rights. Silence serves the evil doers.

You can gauge the viability of a democracy by how it treats its minorities.

§ Raphael Cohen-Almagor

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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

US Law Professors' Statement About the Proposed Law Reforms in Israel

Join the Petition to Support Israeli Democracy

Invitation: Inaugural Lecture of Olof Palme Professorship 

Netanyahu Supports Loyal, Corrupt People




Israeli Rescue Team Saved 19 Lives

Reichman University Raised $30 million to Support Students’ Startups 

New article: Just, Reasonable Multiculturalism?

Raphael Cohen-Almagor

Philosophia Symposium on Just, Reasonable Multiculturalism (CUP, 2021)

My Interview about Social Responsibility on the Internet

My recent LIVE interview: Balloon Buffoonery, Global Politics and The Future of The World 

The best books about the internet, its history, development, and challenges 

Pnina Lahav’s review of Talia Diskin, The Law and the Child, Legal and Social Discourse in Children’s Journalism During Israel’s First Decade 

Gem of the Month: Lund

Gem of the Month: Copenhagen

Monthly Poem

Light Side 

Reflections on Last Newsletter

Ely Rubinstein from Jerusalem sent me a link to a recent lecture he delivered:

Dr Yoav J. Tenembaum wrote from Tel Aviv:

I share your preoccupation about the so-called legal reform advanced by the current Israeli government/coalition. This government/coalition seems to be politically hyperactive, utterly disorganized, disdainful of any critical opinion, and dangerous in its objectives, particularly with regard to the Israeli legal system.  As you well know, I am hardly a “leftist,” but that would be irrelevant with this Orwellian-like government/coalition.

All the best,


Professor Amos Guiora sent me the following:

US Law Professors' Statement About the Proposed Law Reforms in Israel

Initial Posting Date: January 29, 2023

List of Signatories Updated: January 30, 2023

We, law professors in the United States who care deeply about Israel, strongly oppose the effort by the current Israeli government to radically overhaul the country’s legal system. This effort includes proposed reforms that would grant the ruling coalition absolute power to appoint Justices and judges, make it almost impossible for the Supreme Court to invalidate legislation, severely limit judicial review of executive-branch decisions, and curtail the independence of the Attorney General and legal advisers assigned to different government agencies.

Some of us believe that the Israeli Supreme Court has over-reached in important respects and would support a scaling back of its power to review legislation and executive decisions. Others believe that the legal status quo need not be changed. Regardless of the disagreement amongst us, we are all deeply worried that the speed and scale of the reforms will seriously weaken the independence of the judiciary, the separation of powers and the rule of law. These safeguards have contributed to Israel’s flourishing over the last 75 years, helping it weather severe security, political and social challenges. Weakening them would pose a dire risk to freedom of expression, to human and civil rights, and to efforts to reduce corruption, making it harder for Israel to survive such challenges going forward. We hope for Israel’s sake that it chooses a wiser path.


[university name added for identification only and not as a sign of institutional support]

Organizers / Initial Signatories

Oren Bar-Gill (Harvard University)

Jesse Fried (Harvard University)

Amos Guiora (University of Utah)

Additional Signatories

David Abraham (University of Miami)

Matthew Adler (Duke University)

Bill Alford (Harvard University)

Anat Alon-Beck (Case Western Reserve University)

Reuven Avi-Yonah (University of Michigan)

Tom Baker (University of Pennsylvania)

Kenneth A. Bamberger (University of California, Berkeley)

Michal Barzuza (University of Virginia)

Lucian Bebchuk (Harvard University)

Yochai Benkler (Harvard University)

Omri Ben-Shahar (University of Chicago)

Lisa Bernstein (University of Chicago)

Gabriella Blum (Harvard University)

Erwin Chemerinsky (University of California, Berkeley)

Harlan Grant Cohen (University of Georgia)

Alan Dershowitz (Harvard University)

Melvin Eisenberg (University of California, Berkeley)

Eleanor Fox (New York University)

Barry Friedman (New York University)

Clayton P. Gillette (NYU School of Law)

Talia Gillis (Columbia University)

Ronald J. Gilson (Stanford University and Columbia University)

Rebecca Goldstein (University of California, Berkeley)

Ellen Goodman (Rutgers University)

Jeffrey Gordon (Columbia University)

Jonathan Gould (University of California, Berkeley)

Bruce Green (Fordham University)

Ariela J. Gross (University of Southern California)

Daniel Hemel (New York University)

David Hoffman (University of Pennsylvania)

Samuel Issacharoff (New York University)

Debbie Kaminer (City University of New York)

Amalia Kessler (Stanford University)

Christopher Kutz (University of California, Berkeley)

Alexandra D. Lahav (Cornell University)

Pnina Lahav (Boston University) 

Yair Listokin (Yale University)

Omri Marian (University of California, Irvine)

Andrei Marmor (Cornell University)

Florencia Marotta-Wurgler (New York University)

Peter S. Menell (University of California, Berkeley)

Martha Minow (Harvard University)

Robert Mnookin (Harvard University)

Noga Morag-Levine (Michigan State University)

Dotan Oliar (University of Virginia)

Barak Orbach (University of Arizona)

Nizan Geslevich Packin (City University of New York)

Robert Post (Yale University)

Richard Primus (University of Michigan)

Barak Richman (Duke University)

Edward Rock (New York University)

Guy A. Rub (Ohio State University)

Daniel Rubinfeld (New York University)

Samuel Scheffler (New York University)

Richard Schragger (University of Virginia)

Avital Schurr (University of Louisville)

Alan Schwartz (Yale University)

Dan Simon (University of Southern California)

D. Daniel Sokol (University of Southern California)

Michael Stein (Harvard University)

Nomi Stolzenberg (University of Southern California)

Jennifer Taub (Western New England University)

Joseph William Singer (Harvard University)

Matthew Stephenson (Harvard University)

Lior Strahilevitz (University of Chicago)

David Webber (Boston University)

Laura Weinrib (Harvard University)

Mark G. Yudof (University of California, Berkeley)

Jonathan Zasloff (University of California, Los Angeles)

If you want your name added to the list of signatories, please send an email to: or

Someone wrote to me that this is democracy. It is not. Democracy is majority rule while protecting the rights of minorities. Take away the second half of the sentence and there is no democracy. 

The government thinks that the protests will calm down and people will accept undermining their rights. They are wrong. People understand the price society will pay as a result of the flood of new laws which are unjust, violent and corrupt. People will continue to fight against injustice and for their precious democracy. There is no other way.

A Likud member sent me a video clip of quite a long Israeli TV Channel 14 report on the so-called judicial reform. Channel 14 is the mouthpiece of Netanyahu. The reporters were able to find four lawyers who support the judicial destruction. One is a convicted felon. Another is a settler, and two others crossed swords with Aharon Barak. The report contained truths, half-truths, exaggerations, and falsehood, all in a mix. People who are not well-informed about the history and legal aspects of the debate would not be able to distinguish one from the other. The rift between the two camps -- supporters of the government and those who oppose it is -- increasing every day, as the government continues with its destructive, anti-democratic and violent legislation. The two camps do not listen to each other. The hatred is venomous. While I accept that some moderate changes may take place, what the government is doing is radical injustice and destruction. It is a wakeup call for all those who thought that demography can be tamed, that the occupation can be accepted, and that it is possible to reconcile between liberalism and Judaism.

Join the Petition to Support Israeli Democracy

I know many of you share my love and concern for Israel. We want Israel to flourish as a homeland for the Jewish people and a democratic state. We can’t be silent as Israel’s new government seeks to undermine the rule of law; erode religious freedom: harm minorities; and jeopardise a future two state solution.

We have a choice.

We either remain silent or show support for those across Israel fighting for democracy.

Join me in choosing to stand on the side of Israelis resisting an extremist government.

Join me in showing support for democracy in Israel by signing up to this campaign

Thank you for your support.


Invitation: Inaugural Lecture of Olof Palme Professorship by Raphael Cohen-Almagor

Ethics, Justice, Peace and Social Responsibility

The Centre for Advanced Middle Eastern Studies, the Department of Political Science and the Swedish Research Council have the pleasure to invite you to the inaugural lecture by Raphael Cohen-Almagor as holder of the 2023 Olof Palme visiting professorship.

Welcome Address

Karin Aggestam, Director, Centre for Advanced Middle Eastern Studies, Lund University

Per Mickwitz, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Lund University

Stefan Svallfors, Secretary General, Swedish Research Council

Olof Palme Inaugural Lecture

Raphael Cohen-Almagor, Centre for Advanced Middle Eastern Studies and Department of Political Science, Lund University

The Olof Palme professorship is awarded by the Swedish Research Council to an internationally prominent researcher focused on topics important to the pursuit of peace in a broad context within the areas of social sciences, humanities, theology and science of law.

Monday, 6 March, 2023 at 15.15
Venue: Edens hörsal, Eden, Paradisgatan 5, Lund 


Olof Palme

All welcome!!

Netanyahu Supports Loyal, Corrupt People

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government is promoting new legislation that will overcome the Israeli Supreme Court’s decision to bar ultra-Orthodox leader Arye Dery from serving as a government minister. According to the proposed legislation, the Court will have no authority to intervene in ministerial appointments under any circumstances. If it passes, Netanyahu will be able to reappoint loyal ally Dery to his previous positions as Minister of the Interior and Minister of Health. 

Ten of the 11 High Court justices ruled against Dery's appointment to the government. In her decision, Supreme Court President Esther Hayut stated that "this is a person who has been convicted three times of offenses throughout his life, and he violated his duty to serve the public loyally and lawfully while serving in senior public positions." Following the bombshell ruling, Netanyahu vowed: "We'll do everything in our power to return Dery to his rightful place in the government."

Some people never learn. Some people believe they are above the law. No one is above the law. Government that promotes corruption and injustice is destined to fall sooner than later. 


Israel’s West Bank settler population now makes up more than half a million people, a pro-settler group said, crossing a major threshold. Settler leaders predicted even faster population growth under Israel’s new ultranationalist government. The report, by and based on official figures, showed the settler population grew to 502,991, rising more than 2.5% in 12 months and nearly 16% over the last five years. “We’ve reached a huge hallmark,” said Baruch Gordon, the director of the group and a resident of the Beit El settlement. “We’re here to stay.” The milestone comes as Israel’s new government, made up of ultranationalist parties who oppose Palestinian statehood, has placed expanding settlements at the top of its priority list. Already the government has pledged to legalize wildcat outposts that have long enjoyed tacit government support and to ramp up approval and construction of settler homes around the West Bank.

Source: Associated Press


Netanyahu’s office announced the inking of an agreement formally giving Religious Zionism head and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich broad authority over civilian issues in the West Bank. Signed in the presence of Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Galant, and Smotrich – who is also a minister in the Defense Ministry – the deal appeared to enable the far-right official to deepen Israel’s presence in the West Bank, increasing settlement activities and hindering Palestinian development. Confirming the agreement, Netanyahu said it was pursuant to the coalition deals. The authorities being transferred to Smotrich include enforcement powers over illegal construction, authority over planning and construction for settlements, and land allocation matters. 

Israel's Civil Administration's Higher Planning Council approved plans to build 7,287 housing units in the settlements, bringing the total advanced in the past two days alone above those approved in 2022 and 2021 – 4,427 and 3,645, respectively. Plans are also being advanced to retroactively legalize existing outposts. Apart from Mevo’ot Yericho, which was declared a settlement three years ago and is only now being legalized, the other outposts will be legalized as neighborhoods of existing settlements. 

Sources: I24 News, Haaretz


Sudan’s Foreign Ministry announced it will move forward to normalize full diplomatic ties with Israel following a visit by the Israeli foreign minister to the Sudanese capital. During his one-day visit to Khartoum, Eli Cohen met with various Sudanese political figures, including Sudan’s ruling general, Abdel-Fattah Burhan, according to Sudan’s state media outlet, SUNA. This was the first public visit by an Israeli cabinet member ever. In a statement published after Cohen’s departure, Sudan’s Foreign Ministry said: “It was agreed to move forward toward the normalization of relations between the two countries.’’ Upon returning to Israel, Cohen said the two countries would seek to sign a full-fledged peace accord by the year’s end, noting that this would be in the form of “peace for peace.” “The agreement will help the economy, as well as bolster security and tourism in both countries,” Cohen said. “I hope that this year will bring good news; the Sudanese want it, and as soon as they complete their internal process, the accord will be signed. It will be quick,” Cohen added.

Source: Israel HaYom

Israeli Rescue Team Saved 19 Lives

Turkish Ambassador to Israel Shakir Ozkan Torunlar said, “Thank you very much Israel” in an official Israeli ceremony at Ben Gurion Airport with the return of Israel’s rescue teams from saving 19 Turkish lives in Operation Olive Branch from the earthquake disaster.

Torunlar said, “southern turkey was hit with two major earthquakes on February 6…the largest national disaster of the past 100 years. 13.5 million people were affected, there were over 31,000 casualties and close to 100,000 wounded. But thanks to the friends of Turkey, many were saved by search and rescue teams in the field.” “The government of Israel was among the first to provide its team. I salute all who were among those who landed in the disaster zone and immediately started their task. You saved 19 Turks…followed by a field hospital being erected in less than 24 hours and becoming operational.”

Source: Jerusalem Post

Reichman University Raised $30 million to Support Students’ Startups 

One of Israel’s most successful colleges is the Interdisciplinary College in Herzliya. Recently it was renamed Reichman University, honouring its visionary founder. I have been supporting this institution in various ways during the past twenty years.

Reichman University has raised $30 million in just five months to help its students and graduates with promising startups.

The newly-established venture capital fund, RUNI Ventures, will offer around $500,000 to each promising startup in the pre-seed stage.

Successful candidates will also be provided with workspace in Herzliya, guidance from academics and industry experts, and access to students from the university as interns or employees.

And they’ll be connected to the global ecosystem of the fund’s managers, partners, and thousands of Reichman University graduates who serve in senior positions in Israel and around the world.


New article: Just, Reasonable Multiculturalism?

Raphael Cohen-Almagor

Philosophia Symposium on Just, Reasonable Multiculturalism (CUP, 2021)


This article explains why I decided to write the book Just, Reasonable Multiculturalism (CUP, 2021), my appreciation of multiculturalism, and my puzzlement when I heard growing attacks on multiculturalism, describing it as one of the causes of extremist ideology and radicalization. Those attacks brought me to write this book.

I discuss some of the main themes of my book: male circumcision, which was the most difficult chapter for me to write; Amish education that brought to my attention a new concern, child abuse, of which I was not aware at first; legal precedents concerning women and minorities and, finally, the two countries I examined in which security considerations underlie and trigger discrimination against minorities: France and Israel.

Key words: circumcision, culture, France, Israel, liberalism, multiculturalism, racism, religion, tolerance

My Interview about Social Responsibility on the Internet

Watch my recent interview about social responsibility on the Internet, at Otherweb – a forum aimed to discuss the internet, the media, and the information ecosystem in all its flawed glory.

My recent LIVE interview: Balloon Buffoonery, Global Politics and The Future of The World 

with Professor Raphael Cohen-Almagor, Political Analyst, Researcher, human rights and peace activist

The best books about the internet, its history, development, and challenges,

Raphael Cohen-Almagor Author Of Confronting the Internet's Dark Side: Moral and Social Responsibility on the Free Highway

By Raphael Cohen-Almagor

Who am I?

Raphael Cohen-Almagor, DPhil, St. Catherine’s College, University of Oxford, is Professor of Politics, Olof Palme Visiting Professor, Lund University, Founding Director of the Middle East Study Centre, University of Hull, and Global Fellow, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Raphael taught, inter alia, at Oxford (UK), Jerusalem, Haifa (Israel), UCLA, Johns Hopkins (USA), and Nirma University (India). With more than 300 publications, Raphael has published extensively in the field of political philosophy, including Liberal Democracy and the Limits of Tolerance; Challenges to Democracy; The Right to Die with Dignity; The Scope of Tolerance; Confronting the Internet's Dark Side; Just, Reasonable Multiculturalism, and The Republic, Secularism and Security: France versus the Burqa and the Niqab.

I wrote...

Confronting the Internet's Dark Side: Moral and Social Responsibility on the Free Highway

By Raphael Cohen-Almagor

Book cover of Confronting the Internet's Dark Side: Moral and Social Responsibility on the Free Highway

What is my book about?

This is the product of ten years of research. I wrote a large part of it when I was a Fellow at Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, which is the best research center I know. Confronting the Internet’s Dark Side is the first book on social responsibility on the internet. It aims to strike a balance between the free speech principle and the responsibilities of the individual, corporation, state, and international community. It urges internet users, ISPs, and liberal democracies to weigh freedom and security, finding the golden mean between unlimited license and moral responsibility. This judgment is necessary to uphold the very liberal democratic values that gave rise to the internet and that are threatened by an unbridled use of technology.

The books I picked & why

Shepherd is reader supported. We may earn an affiliate commission when you buy through links on our website. This is how we fund this project for readers and authors (learn more).

Technologies of Freedom

By Ithiel de Sola Pool

Book cover of Technologies of Freedom

Why this book?

This is a classic. The book provides an early assessment of the impact of new communications tools on freedom of expression. Pool observed how electronic networks were emerging and transforming the nature of print, arguing that we need to learn how to live with technology and make the most of it. Electronic technologies, Pool envisaged, will become the dominant mode of communication. Pool further envisaged that electronic technology would allow a great degree of diversity, more knowledge, easier access, and freer speech. He provided a lucid and perceptive analysis of the relation of American law to technology and its regulation. Pool was concerned with the negative consequences of new technology and feared its excessive regulation. It is not computers but policy that threatens freedom, he warned. This seminal work encapsulates many of the questions we face today. The challenges Pool described came to life as the pressures on government to control the internet grow, not without justification. 

Explore this book 

Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins of the Internet

By Katie Hafner, Matthew Lyon

Book cover of Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins of the Internet

Why this book?

This book tells the fascinating story of the visionary pioneers who created the internet. The wizards are the internet’s forefathers. They were determined visionaries and doers. In the 1960s, when computers where regarded as mere giant calculators, J.C.R. Licklider, the first director of the American Information Processing Techniques Office, saw them as the ultimate communications devices. The early internet was devised and implemented in American research units, universities, and telecommunication companies that had vision and interest in cutting-edge research. Licklider, Vint Cerf, Steve Crocker, Len Kleinrock, Larry Roberts, Robert Kahn, and David Clark articulated the vision of a "galactic" computer network—a globally interconnected set of processing nodes through which anyone anywhere can access data and programs.

This captivating book enables a better understanding of the internet. It captures the hard work, genius, fortunate experiences, and early successes of the visionary wizards and their daring, stunningly successful venture that has changed, and is changing, the world. Undoubtedly, the field of internet studies will continue to grow and develop for generations to come by other computer wizards in a dazzling pace, the same pace that human zeal for innovation is developing.

Explore this book 

The Internet Galaxy: Reflections on the Internet, Business, and Society

By Manuel Castells

Book cover of The Internet Galaxy: Reflections on the Internet, Business, and Society

Why this book?

This book analyzes the impact of new technology on society. Castells shows that the internet has become the backbone of modern economy and business, creating a global network society. Imagination is instigating and enabling tremendous changes in every aspect of life. But many of us do not fully grasp the potential of new technology. To make the most of this modern galaxy, we need to understand how it operates, its logic, its benefits, and constraints, and how to manage it effectively. Castells argues that modern communication enables control but it also enables freedom. It is the role of government and organisations to see that the internet is developed and used in ways that are consistent with a social order in which people are enabled to become responsible human beings. In this edifying and quite accessible book, Castells explains the galaxy of networks, how it began, how it shapes new and old businesses, and how it affects political participation, modern communication, and life in general. Optimistically, Castells argues that the internet enables power that would sustain a culture of hope in the future.

Explore this book 

Who Controls the Internet? Illusions of a Borderless World

By Jack Goldsmith, Tim Wu

Book cover of Who Controls the Internet? Illusions of a Borderless World

Why this book?

Due to its global nature and reach, some people think that because the internet knows no borders, it also does not have limits. This concept is wrong. Goldsmith and Wu tell the fascinating story of the internet's challenges to governmental rule. They ask: who is really in control of the internet? And does the internet liberate us from government, borders, and even our physical selves? In a lively prose, the authors peppered their arguments with real-life examples concerning disagreements between giants of the internet and democratic and authoritarian governments. They show that governments have been asserting their power to direct the future of the internet.

Internet intermediaries have to filter content geographically to comply with local law for a small fraction of their communications. This imposes costs on them, and forces them to adjust to this cost of business. But in light of the internet’s many advantages, the authors argue that this cost will be trivial in the long run. This interdisciplinary book is well-written and engaging, full of fascinating sociological and legal insights as well as colorful portraits of key players in internet history.

Explore this book 

Media Ethics and Global Justice in the Digital Age

By Clifford G. Christians

Book cover of Media Ethics and Global Justice in the Digital Age

Why this book?

For me, every book by Clifford (Cliff) Christians is always a celebration. I met Cliff in 1996 and we kept in touch ever since then. Christians has contributed to the field of media ethics more than any other scholar I know. In this book, Christians explores the fundamentals of ethics and justice in moral theory. In addition to “the usual suspects,” i.e., Aristotle, Immanuel Kant, Rene Descartes, John Stuart Mill, Auguste Comte, and Max Weber, Christians explores modern liberal philosophy, feminist philosophy, African philosophy, Latin American liberation theology, Confucianism, and Islam. He does this in his usual dazzling and most comprehensive style, exhibiting wide knowledge of the literature and brilliant analysis that adds layers upon layers of sharp insights. As in his previous books, Christians invokes an ethics of care and humanity in order to alleviate poverty, homelessness, and unemployment, issues that trouble Western and non-Western societies, albeit in different degrees. The media and modern technology have an important role to play in setting the agenda, in bringing these concerns to public awareness, and in helping redressing historical and societal injustices.

Explore this book 

Pnina Lahav’s review of Talia Diskin, The Law and the Child, Legal and Social Discourse in Children’s Journalism During Israel’s First Decade 

This book is a most important contribution to Israel Studies and highly recommended to anyone interested in the phenomenon of the rule of law as well as in the Israeli polity.

Diskin’s book is an original.  She takes upon herself the task of mining Israeli magazines developed for and distributed especially to children and young adults and shows how their content of reveal attitudes towards the law and the rule of law. Her inquiry takes her to both the inquiry concerning the attitudes emerging from the texts written by children in these magazines and to the attitudes developed by the editors of these magazines as they, consciously and subconsciously, influence and shape the consciousness of their readers.

Diskin’s work is the first to explore the presence of legal discourse in children’s magazines.  The book is made of four parts, each presenting a different topic that together form the mosaic of Israeli legal culture. Following an introduction (chapter 1) the second chapter explores how children were invited to confront the economic aspects of law during the period of austerity in israel in the early 1950s  (“tsena”). Next, Diskin discusses the project of mandatory elementary education in Israel, a project introduced by the Knesset as early as 1949. The fourth chapter analyzes the discourse on Israel’s borders and includes an especially fascinating section about the justifications or lack thereof of the retaliatory actions (Peulot Tagmoul)  taken by Israel at the time on ruptures in the concept of borders.  What did the editors think about these actions and how did they guide their young readers to think about them?

Each of these chapters deserve close attention and much can be learned about Israeli history, law, and culture from their findings. Diskin shows how in subtle and not so subtle ways the Magazines’ editors attempted to encourage the readers to value the idea of legality and its significance in the new Israeli culture. As an example, Diskin presents the discourse on Israel’s borders and the phenomenon of “infiltrators” (mistanenim” ) – mainly Palestinian refugees seeking to recapture their lost land and property -  in the context of the United Nations and the legal and judicial institutions established to promote and defend principles of international law.  

Gem of the Month: Lund

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Lund is a nice, comfortable little medieval city. It was established in the 17 Century after the territory was taken from Denmark. As part of the Swedishization of the area, the government established Lund University in 1666. The centre is small in size. You can walk from one side to another in less than 20 minutes. It is full of excellent coffeeshops that remain open late in the evening. We explore them one after the other. It is a city university, heavily influenced by my place of work. Lund University has some 40,000 students from all over the world. They come to enjoy excellent education and facilities. My colleagues at the Middle East Center are nice and pleasant, and so are colleagues at the political science and history departments.

Gem of the Month: Copenhagen

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Copenhagen is 50-minutes train ride from Lund. It is quite small for a European capitol. It was once a Viking fishing settlement. The canals add beauty and tranquility to the city. We visited it once until now, and we expect to revisit. 

Monthly Poems

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.

Three in one boat

31 August 2019


Three in one boat

Playing and singing

At dusk

Nice weather for a change

Life for passers-by.

Some remain

Enjoy the serene melodies 

of the two singers

Melodies of a peaceful Norwegian evening

Under a lighted bridge.

Love and hope

Peace and Shawarma.

Raphael Almagor

A Glimpse

A GLIMPSE, through an interstice caught,
Of a crowd of workmen and drivers in a bar-room, around the stove,
late of a winter night--And I unremark'd seated in a corner;
Of a youth who loves me, and whom I love, silently approaching, and
seating himself near, that he may hold me by the hand;
A long while, amid the noises of coming and going--of drinking and
oath and smutty jest,
There we two, content, happy in being together, speaking little,
perhaps not a word.

Walt Whitman

Light Side

Boyfriend trouble

A teenager brings her new boyfriend home to meet her parents. They’re appalled by his behaviour.

Later, the girl’s mom says, “Dear, he doesn’t seem to be a very nice boy.”

“Oh, please, Mom!” says the daughter. “If he wasn’t nice, would he be doing 500 hours of community service?”

Memorable piece of music: two of all-time greatest, together:

Elvis & Celine Dion - If I Can Dream (A remastered version of the duet),

Peace, Democracy 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