Thursday, November 23, 2017

Politics – November 2017

Elderly people reach out and hold the hand of people who speak to them. Imagine holding hands while we argue. Our life will be different.

~Raphael Cohen-Almagor

kindness (3)

Reflections on Last Newsletter
Academic Freedom
Wisconsin Becomes 24th State to Adopt Israel Anti- Boycott Law
New poll reveals highest level of warmth towards Israel in 7 years, lowest support for boycotts
A Question on Settlements
The Danger of Incitement
Israeli Democracy at the Crossroads
Election Polls
Disturbing News from Poland
Euthanasia in Belgium
Museum St Jans Hospitaal Brugge
Call for Papers
My New Article
New Books
Gem of the Month – My Wife’s Graduation
Gem of the Month – Our Son’s Merit
Gem of the Month – Leeds Limmud
Gem of the Month – Northern Chagigah
Gem of the Month – RPO Plays Scheherazade
Gem of the Month - Antwerp
Gem of the Month - Brugge
Monthly Poems

Light Side

Reflections on Last Newsletter

Many thanks to all those who took the time to write about my 50 years of occupation article. Most people are appreciative and in agreement that the occupation is unjust to the Palestinian and that it is destructive both to Palestine and Israel. One person asked me whether I am meshuga (crazy). I did not expect to receive wall-to-wall agreement on this delicate question. I do believe that if one believes that one sees evil, one should not stand idly by. It is our responsibility to raise our voice and protest. This is one of the many lessons I learned as a student of history, most notably from the Holocaust.

Professor Moshe Fischer wrote from Tel Aviv:


thanks for your updating mails, which are full of real knowledge and  
fair-play with the media.

What do you think about the UNESCO fake-misleading policy and the US (perhaps als) IL reaction? Shall we go on absorbing 'yerikot' but at the end (when?) being victorious, as Yossi Beilin has put it in an article the last days? As an 'real'(I mean not acting under the political fluctuations) archaeologist I'm just SAD about the last  
UNESCO decisions. It reminds me that at one of my sabbaticals in Oberlin OH I had to debate (tat-rama) with a kind of Afro-American-Muslim etc """"Prof""" who was convinced and trying to convince the audience that the Muslims (represented by....Herod) were those who where in Jerusalem first (even earlier with the Yebus...) and built the Temple...On that occasion I had a full class of my students (non and Jewish) who just have shown their 'tussik' to the eminent prof...Today I'm not sure to have such a class...

Best from us to all of you,

Professor Stephen Newman wrote from Toronto:
Hi Rafi,

I hope all is well with you.  I was struck by the item in your newsletter concerning the women's march for peace.  I didn't recall seeing the march reported in the American press.  (I read the New York Times and Washington Post every day, and while I don't read them cover to cover I do read most of the political news.)  So I Googled the march and discovered a short, four paragraph article in the Post.  The paragraphs consisted of at most one or two sentences each.  There were also links to stories broadcast by CNN and ABC.  No other American newspapers or networks appeared on the first page of the Google search.  I found this disappointing.  You can count on the media here to report acts of violence/terror and, of course, US government pronouncements on the region (which also tend to focus on violence and terrorism).  But sadly there is too little coverage of Israel's domestic politics.  This leaves North American audiences with a distorted view of the situation in Israel, one that favors hardliners and hawks.  Given the increasingly polarized nature of US politics, this does not bode well for peace.  As you point out elsewhere in the newsletter, Israeli and Palestinian leaders genuinely interested in peace will need the assistance of the Americans to pull it off.  The Trump administration hardly gives us cause for optimism.  And the general ignorance of the American public means that we cannot expect it to exert counter-pressure against the well financed, well connected lobbyists who share the worldview of the hardliners and the hawks.  



Abe Silberman wrote from Alberta:

Dear Rafi
You know of course that the price that Israeli leaders would have to pay would lead to the erosion of Israel's security and the price the Palestinian leadership would have to pay is accepting that Israel is the National Home of the Jewish People. And what is the likelihood that will happen. In my opinion O and none. And to suggest that the time is right for an agreement given the upheavals in most Arab and Islamic States is ignoring the facts on the ground. 

And you totally misunderstood my remarks about Orthodox Jews. I understand and in fact do sit with my wife and family in Synagogue and have for years. But that is not to say that many orthodox Jews don't have the same good qualities and a sense of justice that is unique to reform movement. And yes, the Haredi in Israel who are in the minority have too much power. But be encouraged by the fact that most Democracies struggled with the issue of separation of Church and State for 100rds of years. Israel's struggle is less then 70 years. Have faith. This too shall pass. 

Warm regards

Academic Freedom

Politics in Britain nowadays is much about Brexit. Britain is struggling with the consequences of that ill-fated and, indeed, tragic, referendum. A referendum that was totally unnecessary, totally avoidable, a dreadful mistake, a cry for generations.

Brexit supporters are pushing for a hard divorce from Europe. Those who think that the referendum was tragic wish to have a minimal Brexit so as to satisfy the democratic decision while still remaining, to a large part, in Europe. Europe does not make it easy. That’s a shame. European leaders should know better and see the many advantages that Britain can bring to Europe. Being short-sighted is a grave limitation.

One Eurosceptic, who happens to be a Tory MP, took the initiative to write the following letter to Vice Chancellors in Britain:
Heaton-Harris’s letter 2017

Professor David Green, vice-chancellor at the University of Worcester, said: "When I read this extraordinary letter on Parliamentary paper from a serving MP, I felt a chill down my spine. Was this the beginnings of a very British McCarthyism?"

Lord Patten, the chancellor of Oxford University, and former chairman of the BBC Trust, described Mr Heaton-Harris's letter as an "extraordinary example of outrageous and foolish behaviour - offensive and idiotic Leninism".

Alistair Jarvis, chief executive of Universities UK, the vice-chancellors’ umbrella group, demanded that Heaton-Harris explain his motives. “This request suggests an alarming attempt to censor or challenge academic freedom,” he said.

Downing Street issued a swift rebuke: “Chris Heaton-Harris wrote to universities in his capacity as an MP, not as a representative of the government… I think what the prime minister has always been very clear on is her respect for the freedom and independence of universities and the role they play in creating open and stimulating debate.”
The universities minister Jo Johnson said: "A letter that could have been misinterpreted should probably not have been sent."
The government whip tweeted: "To be absolutely clear, I believe in free speech in our universities and in having an open and vigorous debate on Brexit."

The University College Union was quick to respond. As a member, I received the following letter:

Dear Professor Cohen-almagor

Many of you have contacted me about the letter sent to universities by Conservative MP and government whip Chris Heaton-Harris. In the letter Mr Heaton-Harris seeks the names of academics involved in teaching European affairs 'with particular reference to Brexit'.

UCU was quick to respond yesterday and I was pleased that our description of the letter as having the 'acrid whiff of McCarthyism' about it was widely featured in the media.
We have called upon universities minister Jo Johnson to disown the letter in the strongest terms. Having heard the minister’s feeble defence of his colleague on the radio this morning I have today renewed that call in a letter.
We must be vigilant to protect academic freedom in our universities and I would like to thank all those members who contacted me, and who made their views clear on social media about this appalling and cack-handed attempt to intimidate staff and influence what they teach.

You can read some of the coverage of the story, including UCU's response, in the links below.

Thanks again
Sally Hunt
UCU general secretary

Wisconsin Becomes 24th State to Adopt Israel Anti- Boycott Law

Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin signed an executive order that prohibits all state agencies from entering into contracts or conducting official state business with companies engaged in a boycott of the State of Israel.

“We stand firmly against discrimination in any form and we wholly support our friends in Israel,” said Walker, adding “I look forward to leading a trade delegation to Israel to foster new trade partnerships between Wisconsin and Israeli businesses.” 

The decision by the governor to sign the executive order makes Wisconsin the 24th state to have either anti-BDS legislation, or an executive order. 

Source: The Israel Project.

New poll reveals highest level of warmth towards Israel in 7 years, lowest support for boycotts

A new opinion poll shows warmth towards Israel is at its highest level since 2010, with 21 per cent saying that they feel warm towards the country. Populus surveyed a nationally representative sample of 2021 GB adults in October 2017 on behalf of BICOM.

The survey recorded the lowest level of support for boycotts since 2014, at 11 per cent. Forty-eight per cent of respondents “do not support boycotts of Israel and find it difficult to understand how others do given everything else that is going on in the world”.

Young people have significantly reduced their level of support for boycotts in the last three years. This year, 45 per cent of 18-24s said they opposed singling out Israel for boycotts, in 2015 just 28 per cent opposed boycotts.

Other key findings from the survey include:
  • Half (49 per cent) agreed Israel is an important British ally in the fight against terror, more than for every other Middle Eastern country in the survey.
  • Of all the Middle Eastern countries polled, Israel is considered to be the fourth most important trading partner after Brexit, with Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey considered more important.
  • 46 per cent of respondents believe that “hating Israel and questioning its right to exist” is antisemitic. Seventeen per cent of people disagree with this statement.
Respondents were given the full text of the 1917 Balfour Declaration, in which the British Government expressed support for establishing a Jewish national home in Palestine, and asked if it was the right policy for the Government to have adopted. Thirty-eight per cent agreed it was the right policy and 17 per cent disagreed.

We asked the British public if they felt warm, cold or neutral towards Israel.
Warm: 21%
Neutral/don't know: 30%
Cold: 50%

We asked the British public if they consider Israel to be “an important ally of Britain in the fight against terror."
Agree: 49%
Not an ally: 18%
Don’t know: 34%

We asked the British public who they consider “an important trading partner of Britain post-Brexit”.
Saudi Arabia: 54%
Qatar 39%
Turkey: 38%
Israel: 37%
Egypt: 33%
Iran: 22%

We asked the British public if they agree with the statement “I don’t boycott good or produce from Israel and find it difficult to understand why others would single out Israel to boycott given everything else that’s going on in the world.”
Agree: 48%
Neither agree nor disagree: 41%

A Question on Settlements

Minister of Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan who is responsible for combatting international boycott efforts against Israel said he sees no difference between the targeting of Jewish West Bank settlements and the country as a whole.

What do you think?

The Danger of Incitement


The name Elor Azaria is familiar to most Israelis. This young soldier has been polarizing the country for more than a year. It all started in March 2016, when a young Palestinian named Abdel Fattah al-Sharif attacked soldiers in Hebron. He was shot down by the soldiers and while lying on the ground, wounded but alive, the then 19-year-old Azaria approached him and shot him to death.

Azaria stood trial in a military court and was sentenced to 18 months in jail, a sentence which was reduced to 14 months following an intervention in September by Israel Defence Forces chief of staff Gadi Eisenkot. The trial received heavy coverage by the media, a daily talking point by the press, radio and television that filled hours with discussions as to whether Azaria is a cold murderer, or a hero. For many Israelis, Azaria did what is required to do. Terrorists should be killed as a deterrent. If someone wishes to attack an Israeli, s/he should know that s/he won’t be alive following the attack. For some, Azaria is a hero.

Azaria and his family are supported by people from the right. Now he appealed to the State president, Reuven Rivlin, for pardon. Rivlin refused to pardon him and an incitement campaign began to rage in Israel against him, depicting him with a kafia, calling him fifth column, state enemy, Nazi etc. Similar incitement campaigns were launched against Yitzhak Rabin after he signed the Oslo Accords, and against Ariel Sharon when he decided to evacuate Gaza. The campaign against Rabin brought about his assassination on that faithful evening of 4th November 1995, a day I will never forget.


Israeli Democracy at the Crossroads

Israeli democracy withstood many challenges and tests. Presently, it is under attack by the government and segments of the Knesset who work tirelessly to undermine democracy. This is done under the directive and influence of Prime Minister Netanyahu.

It has been a long process and now we witness the culmination of synchronized attempts to limit human and civic rights of whoever is tagged as the “enemy”. The list of enemies is long. Essentially, whoever criticizes the Israeli government under the so-called leadership of Netanyahu belongs to the “other” camp and is essentially an enemy of the State of Israel. Like Napoleon, Netanyahu believes that “the State is me” and therefore any criticisms of Mr Netanyahu amounts to being anti-Israeli, anti-Zionist, and anti-Semitic.

During this battle to ensure his continued and, from his perspective, indefinite rule, Mr Netanyahu made considerable efforts to control the media and to subject as many organs of the media to his influence;

Curtail the authority, legitimacy and powers of the Supreme Court;

Undermine the work of the police because the policy pursues investigations against the Netanyahu family;

Maligned the SHABAC as cowardly and delusional because it disagreed with some governmental decisions, most notably the hasty actions on Temple Mount. The SHABAC was not consulted prior making game-changing decisions that concern Israel’s security;

Delegitimize the hard work of human rights organisations and other NGOs that work to promote peace, tolerance, pluralism and liberal values in society;

Delegitimize 21% of the population;

Thwart corruption allegations against Mrs and Mr Netanyahu;

And most recently, attempting to pass a law according to which a sitting prime minister will be immune to corruption investigations. That legislation failed as Netanyahu’s coalition partners drew a red line and voiced strong objection.

State President Reuven Rivlin warned that “statesmanship has come to an end” and said Israel was “witnessing the winds of a second revolution or coup.”
Former Head of SHABAC Yuval Diskin said: “We have good reason to be terrified by the ethical and moral rot that leads us… If we permit corruption to take hold in the Knesset,” he wrote, “to damage the separation of powers in the country and, worst of all, to infiltrate the most sensitive process in a democratic country — which is the process by which our elected officials are investigated — this incredible Zionist enterprise will expire.”

Election Polls

According to recent polls, the two blocs – center-right and center-left, are almost equal at this point. If elections were to take place today, Likud would receive between 26 and 24 seats, compared to the 30 seats it has in the current Knesset.

Yesh Atid, will jump from with 11 seats in the Knesset to 20-22 seats.

The Zionist Union (former Labour) drops from 24 seats to 19-21.

Jewish Home (Habayit Hayehudi) would gain strength, going from its current eight seats to 11-12 seats.

The Joint Arab List loses one seat in the polls, dropping to 12.

Kulanu, with 10 seats today, drops to 7-8 seats. Its leader, Moshe Kachlon, may strike a deal with Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid and Avi Gabay of The Zionist Union.

United Torah Judaism would either stay at six seats or gain two more seats, up to eight.

Shas would drop from seven to four seats, while Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel Our Home) would either keep its six seats or drop to five.

Meretz would receive between 5 (present strength) and 8 seats.

To remain in power, Netanyahu needs to have no criminal record and 61 seats. The polls suggest that his camp enjoys the support of at least 55 MKs (Likud, Jewish Home, United Torah Judaism, Shas and Yisrael Beiteinu). Kachlon may decide the elections. If he would decide to change side, we can assume that at least one of the religious parties will switch sides to remain in power.


Disturbing News from Poland

A friend of Israel, and member of the anti-racist ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association, Anna Tatar, will have to defend herself in court because of critical statements she made about an extreme-right music festival. 

The organizers of the Eagle’s Nest festival allege a criminal offence of defamation. The maximum possible punishment for the offence is a one-year prison sentence.

The case arose out of an interview which Dr Tatar gave on in 2016. She stated that ‘during The Eagle’s Nest festival fascist ideas are promoted and such events must not take place in Poland.’

The Eagle’s Nest festival has taken place in Poland annually since 2013. The participants include both Polish and foreign bands. The common thread between their repertoires is racial hatred. Some of the groups have been affiliated to the international neo-nazi network Blood and Honour. They have included All Bandits, Nordica, Stalag and Obled (previously known as Konkwista 88).

News from the NEVER AGAIN Association

Dr Tatar is the co-editor of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ magazine. She authored a PhD thesis at Warsaw University in the field of Holocaust literature on the subject of ‘The Polish-Jewish relations in the works of Hanna Krall.’

Leszek Scioch, an active member of ‘NEVER AGAIN’, has been accused of breaking the law. On 15 August 2017 he took part in a peaceful protest against the march organized by the extremist groups, All-Polish Youth (Mlodziez Wszechpolska, MW) and the National-Radical Camp (Oboz Narodowo-Radykalny, ONR). Mr Scioch was in a group of people who sat in the middle of Nowy Swiat Street in Warsaw along which the march was proceeding. The police forcibly removed them and a few weeks later he was called to the police station and charged with the offence of ‘preventing a lawful demonstration celebrating the victory of the Polish soldiers over the Red Army.’ He pleaded ‘not-guilty’ and is now awaiting trial. 


The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association is an independent organization established in Warsaw in 1996. The mission of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ is to promote multicultural understanding and to contribute to the development of a democratic civil society in Poland and in the broader region of Central and Eastern Europe.

* If you would like to support ‘NEVER AGAIN’ please contact .
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Euthanasia in Belgium

I was invited to deliver a lecture in Antwerp about euthanasia in Belgium and in The Netherlands.

I asked four physicians if they would change something for the better in the euthanasia policy. One speaker is happy with the situation as is. The other three made constructive propositions.

In Belgium, Chair of University Ethics Committee has no training in ethics. Make sense? NO!

In Belgium, President of the Euthanasia Control Committee is the greatest advocate of euthanasia. Conflict of interest? Sure. Clearly.

Experts call for data on end of life in Brussels and French part of Belgium. Why there is no data? they rightly ask. Go and get it!

One physician spoke about his experience. He has practiced four cases of dementia in early stage. In some cases, he carried euthanasia although the second consultant disagreed with his decision. He reported to the Control Committee about this and was not required to provide any clarifications.

According to this physician, less than 10 percent of those requesting euthanasia experience physical suffering. The majority of requests come from people who like to have control on the dying process. They suffer from lack of control, from their dependency on others.

The physician thinks that in oncology one consultation is enough. Physicians need to consider whether depression that is always present impairs capacity for decision making.

Two other physicians would like to see more checks and balances. One of them would like to see a longer waiting period between the euthanasia request and the act of euthanasia, half a year or a year.

I felt drained after a full day of discussions about euthanasia. Wish I could have been fascinated by cultural rites in Hawaii.

I wish someone will translate Chabot's book to English. The person who became infamous by killing his patient seems to change his views quite dramatically. He is genuinely worried about the euthanasia practice in his country, The Netherlands.
I was surprised by the extent that it was important for him to be liked. Chabot was first reluctant to meet with me because he thought I do not like him. I told him I do not like, or dislike, people I do not know. I may not like what they are doing, but this is not personal.

I thank Wim Lemmens, Ellen Decraene and Vivian Liska for their kind hospitality.

Museum St Jans Hospitaal Brugge

In the oldest museum in Brugge, there is a picture depicting a ward in the hospital some hundreds of years ago. According to this picture, dogs were allowed into the ward.

Maybe in the future, some hundreds of years from now, a picture will be hanged in a museum depicting today's ward, and people will look at it and criticize the conditions: hard to believe, but in the 21st Century, food was allowed into the ward, patients were dressed in normal clothes, or there was a profession called nursing. 

Call for Papers

The journal Ethics, Medicine and Public Health (EMPH) is assembling an issue on the topic of Religious Pluralism. Its editors are interested in papers in all areas of medical ethics and public health related to religious pluralism. They welcome submissions from all fields relevant to the subject in question.

Proposals should include a preliminary title and abstract, and are due December 15, 2017. Please contact if you would like to contribute an article or if you have any enquiries.    

My New Article - “Euthanizing People Who Are ‘Tired of Life’ in Belgium”

“Euthanizing People Who Are ‘Tired of Life’ in Belgium”, in David Albert Jones, Chris Gastmans and Calum MacKellar (eds.), Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide: Lessons from Belgium (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017).

In Belgium and in The Netherlands, a debate is developing about people who express a desire to end their lives although they do not suffer from an incurable, life-threatening disease. In 2000, a court in Haarlem in The Netherlands considered the case of 86-year-old Edward Brongersma who had expressed his wish to die to his general practitioner, Dr Philip Sutorius, claiming that death had ‘forgotten’ him, his friends and relatives were dead, and he experienced ‘a pointless and empty existence’ (Sheldon 2000). After repeated requests, Dr Sutorius euthanized his insisting patient and was then put on trial. The public prosecution recognized that Dr Sutorius fulfilled all the legal criteria but one: ‘hopeless and unbearable suffering.’ Therefore, the patient’s request should have been refused. The court did not discipline Dr Sutorius, saying that the patient was obsessed with his ‘physical decline’ and ‘hopeless existence’ and therefore was suffering ‘hopelessly and unbearably’. A spokesman for the Royal Dutch Medical Association reacted to the court judgment by saying that the definition of ‘unbearable suffering’ had been stretched too far and that ‘what is new is that it goes beyond physical or psychiatric illness to include social decline’ (Cohen-Almagor 2004). The then Justice Minister Benk Korthals said that being ‘tired of life’ is not sufficient reason for euthanasia (Sheldon 2000). Since then, the debate as to whether physicians should comply with euthanasia requests of people who are ‘tired of life’ has been widened and many people in Belgium and in The Netherlands are calling for the law to be expanded in order to include similar patients (Van Wijngaarden et al. 2014).
The methodology of this research is based on a critical review of the literature supplemented by communications with leading scholars and practitioners. First, concerns are raised about euthanizing people who say that they are ‘tired of life’. Some suggestions designed to improve the situation are offered. The Belgian legislators and medical establishment are invited to reflect and ponder so as to prevent potential abuse.

New Books

David Albert Jones, Chris Gastmans and Calum MacKellar (eds.), Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide: Lessons from Belgium (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017).

Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide - Lessons from Belgium

Examining the evidence from Belgium – one of only five countries where euthanasia is practised legally – an international panel of experts considers the implications of legalised euthanasia and assisted suicide. Looking at the issue from an international perspective, the authors have written an invaluable in-depth analysis of the ethical aspects of this complex area. The discussion forms a solid foundation for informed debate about assisted dying. With contributors from a broad range of disciplines, this book is ideal for students, academics, legislators and anyone interested in legal, medical, social and philosophical ethics. A vital and timely examination of a growing phenomenon and one of the most challenging ethical questions of our time.

Gem of the Month – My Wife’s Graduation


At the age of 50, my wife Zaavit embarked on her second career, studying therapeutic counselling. Four years later, she completed her studies and is now opening a clinic in Hull. Zaavit’s parents were here to celebrate her graduation, conducted in a beautiful church in Bridlington. We had a festive and celebratory weekend.

Gem of the Month – Our Son’s Merit


Beverley Grammar is the oldest grammar school in Britain, founded in 700 AD. One of its many traditions is Speech Night, when the best students receive an annual prize for merit at the Beverley Minster. This is a special evening for some 100 students and their parents. Zaavit and I have been attending this special event for a number of years, proud in our children’s achievements. Each and every year we are invited to what has become an annual event in our lives.

Gem of the Month – Leeds Limmud

I was invited to talk on the roots of the Arab-Israeli conflict. More than 300 people arrived from different parts of the country to listen to lectures about Israel, Judaism, the Holocaust and other pertinent topics. Always good to be among people who share my concerns. We may disagree, but we all care about Israel and about Jewish values.

Gem of the Month – Northern Chagigah

Every two years, the Reform Movement in Britain holds an annual study weekend celebration for the communities in the north of the country. This time the Chagigah was held near York. I was invited to speak about “Israel at 69 – Key Considerations and Challenges”. As was the case in Leeds, the audience was engaged and interested. We could have easily talked for another hour. Indeed, after the session some people followed me to continue the conversation for almost one hour.

The Chagigah was lovely. It was great to meet the first and only woman cantor in Britain. Cantor Zoe Jacobs is blessed with a lovely voice. Great leadership. Wonderful service


Sad to listen to stories of Reform Jews been rejected by Orthodox Jews because the former are not considered Jewish enough. Religion should be inclusive rather than divisive.

Gem of the Month – RPO Plays Scheherazade

Each visit of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to Hull is a celebration. RPO signed a new six-year contract with Hull to see them keep coming, and this is great news for the city. Prior the concert, we had an opportunity to converse with Conductor Alexander Shelley who spoke openly about his vast experience and just how privileged he feels to be the conductor of such a marvelous orchestra, working with some eighty masters of music whom he “cannot teach”. All he needs is to communicate, direct and make the most of their extraordinary abilities.

And then the concert. Two pieces of Tchaikovsky were the prelude for the main course, Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, a great piece of music that requires precision and vision. What a delight this was! Celebration of colours, of coordinated movement, of perfect unison. Pure joy.

Gem of the Month - Antwerp

Antwerp is a city I grew to like. The more I visit, the more I appreciate its multi-dimensions. This time I visited its Sunday market and had a stroll in the Stadspark. The train station continues to impress. I am not usually taken by train stations but this one is a beauty.

Gem of the Month - Brugge

Brugge is one of my favourite cities. It is beautiful and charming, picturesque and enchanting. It provides inspiration and makes me appreciate opportunities presented to me to spend even little time in such a pretty and aesthetic place.

Monthly Poems

Our Life and Four Seasons

Birth years and spring days
how it all begins to liven up
we see the light of day
and spring begins to lighten our days

Summer days and younger years
days are longer and we are stronger
summer blooms with the warmth of the sun
we bloom with knowledge and love

The fall and mid age
Fall arrives and tries to hold on to the warmth
of the summer
we try to hold on, to our youth and knowledge
fall felt the heat of summer
and then starts to feel, the cold freeze of winter
Mid life seen the joy of youth and hopes
to see the old age of wisdom

Old age and winter
our steps are shorter
and so are the days
winter will end and so will we
to a new beginning and in time
to the holy land
forever and ever amen

Vasco M. Resendes

Hope and Anchor

Hope and Anchor
So it is called
Stands tall on the bank of the river
Lighthouse to those seeking companion
Beer and women
Before returning to the cold and forgetful waves.

Hope and Anchor
Those lasting moments
Those lusting hours
Of carefree joy where
Past does not matter
Future does but is it a matter

Booze a dubious anchor
Of false hopes
For lonely souls
Who come from the sea
To the sea they return
They see through the glass to burn.

Raphael Cohen-Almagor

Light Side

Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.

Did you know that dolphins are so smart that within a few weeks of captivity, they can train people to stand on the very edge of the pool and throw them fish?

Peace and love. I wish us a tranquil, peaceful and enjoyable winter.

Yours as ever,


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