Wishing everyone a year of love and peace

Published under Music Oct 03, 2016

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Shimon Peres was the last of his kind

By Ari Shavit

Unlike other Jews who succeeded him in power, Peres always knew that to be a Jew also meant to be universal and moral; to be on the correct, enlightened side of history.

True, he founded Israel Aircraft Industries (1953), made the decision about the Entebbe Operation (1976), saved Israel from hyperinflation (1985) and got the army out of most of Lebanon (1985). He tried the London agreement (1987) led the Oslo process (1993), and succeeded in turning himself from a controversial politician into a beloved president (2007).

But the real contribution Shimon Peres made to the Jewish state was the amazing work he did in Paris in the mid-1950s that led to the construction of the nuclear reactor in Dimona.

Against powerful counterforces, David Ben-Gurion’s sorcerer’s apprentice succeeded in spreading the strategic security net that assured Israel’s existence. Against all odds, the 34-year-old kibbutznik erected above us that invisible glass dome that allows us to lead almost sane lives in this crazy place.

But Peres was never really a kibbutznik. He was a child of the Jewish Diaspora who arrived from Europe before the disaster to the Ben Shemen Youth Village and tried all his life to become an Israeli. He was the beloved grandson of the grandfather killed in the Holocaust, and all his life he tried to flee the past into the future.

[Read more →]

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John Oliver is hilarious, but the issue he explores is very serious. Not only are hundreds of millions of dollars being wasted because of the perverse incentives to sensationalize scientific findings, but also these “findings” end up harming humans’ health and progress in untold ways.   Perhaps we need to start funding a Fact Checking Award or some form of incentive to discourage abuse and to encourage investment in true science.

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Mount Herzl

Jerusalem, Israel

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Zvia, Yoni, Chemi and generations of the Peres family; President Rivlin; Prime Minister Netanyahu; members of the Israeli government and the Knesset; heads of state and the government and guests from around the world, including President Abbas, whose presence here is a gesture and a reminder of the unfinished business of peace; to the people of Israel:  I could not be more honored to be in Jerusalem to say farewell to my friend Shimon Peres, who showed us that justice and hope are at the heart of the Zionist idea.

[Read more →]

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Quote of the week

Published under Favorite Quotes Sep 28, 2016

“Be silly, be honest, be kind.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

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I am really saddened to lose Shimon Peres, a leader that was among the greatest statesmen of the 21st century, an inspiring voice of reason and wisdom not just for the Jewish people and for the Israeli people, but for humanity. Shimon Peres was one of the last living pioneers who established, built, secured, and strengthened the State of Israel. He was also a visionary, philosopher and diplomat with extraordinary insight into the human spirit. I was scheduled to meet him on my last trip to Israel on the afternoon when he suffered a stroke. My thoughts are with his wonderful family, including my dear friend Mika Almog, his amazing granddaughter, and his son Chemi and daughter Tzvia, all cut from the same cloth of wisdom and warmth. May Shimon’s incredible contributions to the Jewish people, to Israel, and to the world be a source of strength to you and to all of us during these difficult times, and may his words of wisdom guide all of us for years to come. Below you will find a beautiful statement from President Obama:

[Read more →]

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This season’s crop

Published under Introspection Sep 26, 2016

Cucumbers came very late – but when they decided to show up, they really did it. About 40 collected this weekend. 

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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.

[Read more →]

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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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