I just recently had a chance to read Ehud Barak’s speech from earlier this summer in full and I truly consider it to be one of the most important commentaries in years on the challenges Israel faces.

On the State of the Nation—and what is to be done?

A speech at the IDC, Herzliya, June 16, 2016

Greetings,

This year, we mark 120 years since the First Zionist Congress in Basel. Next year, we will mark 70 years since the UN resolution that led to the establishment of the State of Israel and 50 years since the Six-Day War. This is undoubtedly an appropriate time for introspection.

We have had great achievements. Zionism is the most successful national project of the 20th century. It is the shared project of a bold and far-reaching leadership and a nation that stood on the brink of disaster, defied it, and survived.

Three years after the fires in the crematoria were extinguished, the State of Israel, led by David Ben-Gurion, was born into war. Despite the difficulties—seven wars, two (or perhaps three) intifadas, countless operations in between, and quite a bit of other kinds of trouble—Israel could look back at its history with contentment and pride.

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quote of the week

Published under Favorite Quotes Sep 22, 2016

“Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.”

- Henry James

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The sugar industry has a long history of shaping nutrition policy in the United States, working to mask the potential risks of consuming too much of the sweet stuff.

It wasn’t until this year, for instance, that the US Dietary Guidelines finally recommended people keep their consumption of added sugars below 10 percent of their total calorie intake — decades after health advocates began pressing for the measure. The sugar lobby had fended off this recommendation all the while.

New research, published today in JAMA Internal Medicine, shows that Big Sugar  may have done more than just advocate for favorable policies. Going back more than 50 years, the industry has been distorting scientific research by dictating what questions get asked about sugar, particularly questions around sugar’s role in promoting heart disease.

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Interesting article from the Wall Street Journal: Should We Let Toddlers Play With Saws and Knives?

Should we Let Toddlers Play With Saws and Knives?

By shielding children from every possible risk, we may lead them to react with exaggerated fear. New research on how youngsters learn across different cultures

Last week, I stumbled on a beautiful and moving picture of young children learning. It’s a fragment of a silent 1928 film from the Harold E. Jones Child Study Center in Berkeley, Calif., founded by a pioneer in early childhood education. The children would be in their 90s now. But in that long-distant idyll, in their flapper bobs and old-fashioned smocks, they play (cautiously) with a duck and a rabbit, splash through a paddling pool, dig in a sandbox, sing and squabble.

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Published under Introspection Sep 05, 2016

I am taking the unusual step of sharing an internal note I shared with my team because it affords me to share and reflect on how grateful I feel every day for working with such a special team at KIND every day.  I am also sharing pictures of the incredible dishes we had at Mugaritz.

KIND Team, this is a note I meant to write and send a few weeks back!

This summer while on vacation in Spain, my wife and I visited a restaurant called Mugaritz.  Founded by Chef Andoni Luis Aduriz, it is highly decorated.  Many publications rank it among the top restaurants in the world.  Every dish we tried was like a piece of art, with a fun sense of humor (see a couple pictures attached). But what struck me about the restaurant was the unending passion of every single person that I came across.   Everyone in the team seemed to have unbounded creativity, a desire to learn, a desire to please their patrons, and a commitment to excellence. 

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quote of the week

Published under Favorite Quotes Aug 24, 2016

“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward.”
- Amelia Earhart

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A joint poll conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) in Jerusalem and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) in Ramallah and released on August 22, 2016 shed some interesting insights on the state of public opinion on both sides.  The findings include:

A slight majority of Israelis and Palestinians support the two-state solution. However, they do not trust each other, have disparate views on the terms of a permanent settlement, underestimate the level of compromise on the other side, and view its intentions as threatening. Nonetheless, at least a quarter of the opposition to a permanent settlement on both sides is flexible and it is likely that its opinion might be changed with the right incentives.

STATISTICAL HIGHLIGHTS BELOW

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a beautiful ray of hope

Published under Europe, Global, Loss, Religion Aug 22, 2016

In the wake of a heinous murder of an octogenarian priest in France by radical Muslims, Muslims across Europe attended Catholic Mass and spoke out assertively against extremism within.  I hadn’t seen this courageous act of solidarity in the news till my friend Martin Varsavsky pointed it out. What a powerful and strategically effective response to terrorists – achieving precisely the opposite of what extremists would like the reaction and impact to be.

Every time those that want to divide us act, the overwhelming majority should take an active stance to denounce and condemn them. If we all stand up together, the oxygen that turns gross murder into terror would be removed and their goals extinguished. Of course firm force must also be used against all violent extremists and terrorists, but it is not enough. To defeat the ideology of hatred, you need a movement of inclusion and empathy to counteract it.

Full article below:

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This brief piece in the National Review provides very provocative contrast about the way Trump’s new campaign CEO thinks about building the right wing (“turn on the hate”) and how traditional conservatives do (“love of country”).

We shouldn’t give a pass to those in the ‘Establishment’ that flirted with the racism and hatred that over the last eight years allowed many to delegitimize President Obama – not just to question his policies which is more than fair game, but to question his citizenship and allegiance to America. But this is elevating the source of that aggressive hatred to the leadership of the Republican Presidential campaign and threatening the entire party.

This issue is not just going to impact the conservative movement or Republicans. It will impact America and the world.

Any place in the world where extremism and radicalism are celebrated ends up harming the very society that tolerated and encouraged it, ultimately boomeranging against those that unleashed that intolerance against others.  The ruling house of Saud in Saudi Arabia promulgated Wahabbi teachings across the world, spreading a militantly intolerant version of Islam across the world. This more than anything metastasized into Al Qaeda and ISIS, which now also consider the Saudi rulers as apostates and attack them also.

If we teach our children to disdain those different from them as opposed to teaching them empathy and respect for those different from us, they will grow with hatred as a reflex, which is so destructive to them and to our world. The antidote is to teach them empathy, the strength it requires, and the strength it provides. The same goes for adults, only it is so much harder by the time we’ve developed our habits, our instincts and our way of thinking.

Article below:

[Read more →]

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