14th Amendment comes to Zion: Israel to fund all abortions for women 20-33 starting next year

English: There is a prohibition on the use of ...

English: There is a prohibition on the use of federal government funds for abortion in the United States. However, some states fund abortions out of their own revenues. State funds abortions through legislation State funds abortions under court order (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

CDC chart on the number of abortions in the Un...

CDC chart on the number of abortions in the United States over time through 2005 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Soviet poster circa 1925. Title translation: &...

Soviet poster circa 1925. Title translation: “Abortions performed by either trained or self-taught midwives not only maim the woman, they also often lead to death.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Israel to fund all abortions for women 20-33 starting next year

Another 6,300 women are expected to have a state-funded abortion next year, at a cost of about $4.6 million.

Israel will pay for abortions for women aged 20 to 33 regardless of circumstance starting next year, health officials said Monday, adding that they hope to make eligibility for state funding universal in the future.

Until now, subsidized abortions for women of all ages were available in medical emergencies or in case of rape and sexual abuse. Women under the age of 20 or over 40 were also eligible for abortion funding even when the reason was personal.

Despite the new funding, which was recently approved as part of Israel’s state-subsidized “health basket” for 2014, women will still have to appear before a state committee before terminating a pregnancy.

The new rule opens it up for 6,300 more women to have a state-funded abortion next year, at a cost of about 16 million shekels ($4.6 million). The cost of all state-subsidized abortions is estimated at 24 million shekels a year.

Monday’s news was announced by the committee that determines which medicines and medical technologies will be added to the 2014 health basket. The health-basket committee is headed by the director of Shaare Zedek Medical Center, Prof. Jonathan Halevy.

“It was brought to our attention that there is a large group of women between 20 and 40 who for various reasons – financial or reasons of secrecy – do not terminate pregnancies,” Halevy told a press conference. “In the current basket we’ve approved funding for pregnancy termination for women in the 20-to-33 age group, with the intention of completing the process … and raising the age to 40.”

The committee is keeping contraceptives outside the health basket, but Halevy said this was only due to a lack of funds. “The private expense for birth control pills is low, but when we’re talking about financing for the entire population, that’s a hefty sum,” he said.

The committee’s original list came in 2.5 million shekels short of the 300-million-shekel budget for additions, so the panel tried to add a drug for children’s joint diseases. But that medicine would only apply to around 10 children, and attempts to get the manufacturer to lower the price failed. Instead, the committee expanded its original decision on abortion funding; it increased the age for funding on demand to 33 from 30.

The committee approved 83 new drugs and medical technologies for 2014, items expected to serve some 375,000 Israelis at a total additional cost of 300 million shekels, on top of the 7.8-billion-shekel budget for medicines and technologies already in the health basket. The basket now goes to the Health Ministry for approval; it also needs cabinet approval.

Cancer drugs make up 41 percent of the new additons, some 121 million shekels. In recent years this figure was 35 percent to 38 percent. Other treatments added include vaccinations, tests and support technologies.

For 2013 the committee added 88 new drugs that affected some 300,000 Israelis – an attempt to include as many patients as possible. The committee tried to keep to this philosophy this year; it began its deliberations in early October and whittled its list down from 650 drugs and technologies.

Among new items approved for 2014 are the drugs Stribild and Tivicay for HIV carriers, and six new drugs for asthma and other lung diseases. The budget has also been increased for cystic-fibrosis patients. Five drugs were approved for schizophrenia and the use of current drugs has been expanded.

Patients with severe Parkinson’s disease will be disappointed as the drug Duodopa, considered highly effective, was not added to the list. Its annual cost is estimated at 62 million shekels. The committee declined to commit 21 percent of the additional funding to a single drug. Nine drugs for diabetes were also all left off the list. The committee also did not add hormonal birth control or IUDs to the basket.

All committee decisions are unanimous. Unlike previous years, the panel finished its work in the early evening and did not stay up until the middle of the night or well into the following morning. The add-on list had been whittled down to 380 million shekels by midday Monday.

Year in review || 2013, the year Israel took Hollywood by storm


Israeli film and TV had a stellar year with awards, acquisitions and announcements galore.

Supermodel Bar Refaeli on the set of 'Kidon.'

Aimee Neistat

Natalie Portman Photo by Reuters

Israel may have had its fair share of diplomatic bloopers and blunders in 2013, ranging from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s absence at Nelson Mandela’s funeral to increasing international boycotts of settlement goods and Israeli academia. Despite these misfortunes, Israel did succeed in getting a particularly warm welcome in at least one place this past year: Hollywood.

Sure, recent years have seen Israeli dramas such as “Homeland” and “In Treatment” get adapted for American TV, and more and more Israeli films garner critical acclaim both in Tinseltown and at home, but 2013 seemed like an especially successful year for Israeli entertainment – which generated good news for the country and offered up just what showbiz is supposed to: a healthy dose of escapism from the daily grind. Here’s our rundown of the Israeli film and TV industry’s stellar year (and a look at some of what’s to come in 2014).

Double duty at the Oscars

It all started in January with the announcement that two controversial Israeli documentaries would go head-to-head at the Oscars. “The Gatekeepers” and Israeli-Palestinian co-production “5 Broken Cameras” were both nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. There was some debate as to whether these films, which shed a less-than-positive light on the occupation, best represented the Jewish state – but in the end it didn’t really matter: They both lost out to Swedish-U.K. coproduction “Searching for Sugar Man.”

Despite the dashed Oscar hopes, “The Gatekeepers” and “5 Broken Cameras” raked in other prestigious awards. The former picked up the Ophir Award – commonly referred to as the “Israeli Oscar” – for Best Documentary and the Cinema for Peace Award for Most Valuable Documentary, while “5 Broken Cameras” clinched the International Emmy Award for Best Documentary.

From ‘Bethlehem’ to badass

“Bethlehem,” about the complex relationship between an Israeli Shin Bet agent and a Palestinian teenager who serves as his informant, went home with six Ophir Awards and it was also Israel’s submission for best foreign film at next year’s Oscars. Sadly, it failed to make the shortlist, but don’t feel too bad: It did win Best Film at the Venice Days Film Festival and score a big distribution deal with Adopt Films, which promised to screen “Bethlehem” in at least 35 cities across the United States.

Meanwhile, “Big Bad Wolves,” a thriller about a rogue cop and other colorful characters, also did well at the Ophir Awards, taking home five of them – but some film buffs might think that honor pales in comparison to the killer endorsement it got across the pond: None other than director Quentin Tarantino – who knows a thing or two about successful (and violent) flicks – called it “the best film of the year” during a Q&A session at the 18th Busan International Film Festival in South Korea.

Natalie Portman and Gal Gadot: Trading places?

Awards aside, 2013 also brought some exciting news from Israelis working in Hollywood. The first was about Jerusalem-born Oscar-winning actress Natalie Portman coming to town: She reportedly has already rented an apartment in Tel Aviv and is set to make her directing debut with an adaptation of Amos Oz’s novel “A Tale of Love and Darkness.” (Naturally, she also stars in it.) On her first trip to the Holy Land after the project was announced, the good Jewish girl – who promised to act in Hebrew – kept a low profile, but that hasn’t stopped the Israeli paparazzi from hounding her while she’s here.

More recently, news broke that Hollywood finally found its Wonder Woman – and she is Israeli. Gal Gadot, who has starred in the “Fast and Furious” film franchise in recent years, apparently used her super powers (or super sex appeal), to land the coveted role of the female superhero. She’ll be starring alongside Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill in the tentatively titled “Batman vs. Superman,” scheduled for release in July 2015.

The Israeli film 'The Gatekeepers.'

The Israeli film ‘The Gatekeepers.’Toldot Yisrael

Animated Anne Frank

Moving on to off-screen heroines, director Ari Folman announced he would write and direct an animated feature based on the diary of Anne Frank. (Folman also made other news this year with his latest release, “The Congress,” starring Robin Wright, which was named best animated feature film at the 26th European Film Awards.)

The director, who used the Sabra and Chatila massacres as the starting point for his award-winning “Waltz with Bashir,” said he plans on making the Anne Frank picture a family-oriented film. Whatever his approach to the Holocaust victim’s story, it is sure to be more tasteful than that of pop singer Justin Bieber, who visited the Anne Frank House this year and wrote in its guestbook, “Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a belieber.”

Agent Bar

Clearly no roundup of Israeli showbiz would be complete without a mention of Bar Refaeli, so here is a mention of Bar Refaeli: After much anticipation – and even an attempt to block the film’s distribution – “Kidon,” based on the assassination of a Hamas bigwig in Dubai, premiered this year. In it, Refaeli plays a sexy Mossad agent-honey trap, who seduces a senior Hamas operative. We didn’t see the film, but we’re guessing she didn’t need Method acting lessons to be convincing.

And now to the small screen…

The successes of 2013 were not limited to Israeli film, as international producers picked up several more Israeli television shows, ranging from weighty dramas to a new twist on the “American Idol”-type singing competition.

Timberman-Beverly Productions bought the rights to “Yaldei Rosh Hamemshala” (“The Prime Minister’s Children”), co-created by Noa Rotman, the granddaughter of late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, while NBCUniversal took on a project based in Jerusalem: a six-episode series called “Dig.” Co-written by the man behind “Homeland,” Gideon Raff, “Dig” is about an FBI agent investigating the murder of a female archaeologist. Initial reports said it would be set entirely in the Holy City – included East Jerusalem – but after pressure from Palestinians, NBCUniversal denied it had plans to shoot in the City of David National Park or the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan. Sadly, even entertainment can’t avoid clashing with politics when it comes to Jerusalem.

On the reality front, “Rising Star,” the singing competition, was sold to France’s M6 Group shortly after its local debut, and broadcasters in other countries like ABC in the U.S. and ITV in Britain also snatched it up. Why is it so popular? Well, it lets at-home audiences vote for contestants using their smartphone or tablet during live broadcasts. In other words, the interactive TV we’ve all been waiting for is finally here.

Finally, lest you think this is a one-way street, an American show adapted for Israeli TV has been doing well here this year, too: “The X Factor.” It’s got an all-star panel of judges, high production quality and – you guessed it – Bar Refaeli. She not only hosts the popular show, but promoted it with a steamy clip in which she toys with notoriously grumpy American reality show judge Simon Cowell.


English: The delegates at the First Zionist Co...

English: The delegates at the First Zionist Congress in 1897 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Publicity photo of Zev Vladimir Jabot...

English: Publicity photo of Zev Vladimir Jabotinsky in uniform during World War One (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Zionism - the cancer within

Zionism – the cancer within (Photo credit: fsgm)

Zionism upgraded

Zionism upgraded (Photo credit: Bright Tal (Political))

Publicity photo of Zeev Jabotinsky, founder of...

Publicity photo of Zeev Jabotinsky, founder of the revisionnist party in 1925, a right wing political Zionist party. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The main differences between the 1947 partitio...

The main differences between the 1947 partition proposal and 1949 armistice lines are highlighted in light red and magenta (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Theodor Herzl, a key figure in the development...

Theodor Herzl, a key figure in the development of Zionism (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Flag of Israel with the Mediterranean...

English: Flag of Israel with the Mediterranean sea in the background, in Rishon LeZion. עברית: דגל ישראל בראשון לציון (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Flag of Israel (pleas avoid use it in an abusi...

Flag of Israel (pleas avoid use it in an abusive manner) Author: MathKnight 20px (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Shavit’s Distorted Vision vs. Jabotinsky’s Clarity

…The Zionist leadership did what was necessary to create the state, and despite what anti-Zionist revisionist historians say, did not engage in mass murder (as Arabs did whenever possible)….And we do not “owe them” a state. In fact, because a Palestinian Arab state in Judea and Samaria is simply incompatible with the continued existence of the Jewish state — a result of military realities and Arab and Muslim intentions — we are obligated to oppose such a state.

28 December ’13..

Yesterday Ha’aretz reporter Ari Shavit was interviewed on NPR about his new book. Let me start by saying that Shavit is not a foaming anti-Zionist like his colleagues Gideon Levy, Amira Hass and (formerly) Akiva Eldar. And I have to admit that I haven’t read his book. But the interview reveals a certain mindset that is disturbingly common among the supposedly sane Left in Israel.

For example, Shavit said,

It was part of the Ottoman [Empire] – and the entire region was, like, chaotic and tribal. So one has to remember, they did not conquer a well-established state, but those other people were there. And my great grandfather did not see them. Now, that’s the source of the tragedy, because on the one hand, you have this amazing triumph that is a result of the brilliant insight [of Zionism]. On the other hand, you have this ongoing tragedy of a 100-year war – more than that – that is the result of that basic flaw, that we did not see the Palestinians and the Palestinians would not see us, and…

This isn’t true, at least for those Zionists with decent eyesight. It was clear to Vladimir Jabotinsky as early as 1923, that as much as some of the more tender-minded Zionists believed that it would be possible to share sovereignty over the land with the Arabs, the Arabs would never willingly agree to it. Zionism does not require expulsion or expropriation of the Arabs, he believed, but it does require Jewish sovereignty, a Jewish state, and he was certain that this couldn’t come about through a voluntary agreement.

The collision of Jews and Arabs in the land of Israel was bound to have a winner and a loser, and Jabotinsky was convinced that a Jewish victory was not immoral, any more than an Arab victory — which history has shown us would have been far bloodier — would have been. Zionism was moral because there was no alternative for the Jews, while there were many for Arabs. But that doesn’t mean the Arabs have to be happy about it.

This is where Shavit’s own vision is distorted. For him, the only moral solution is one in which both Jews and Arabs are satisfied. Unfortunately there is no such solution. The choice is between a Jewish state and the survival of the Jewish people, or the opposite of that.

Shavit is full of guilt, as if there were another option which we could have chosen! As a paradigm for Zionist crimes, he discusses the expulsion of the Arabs from Lydda, a very controversial incident. Shavit concludes that Israel “owes” the Palestinians something — a state. He sees this obligation as absolute, just as he believes that they have an obligation to tolerate our state.

He is wrong. What we, as Zionists, are obligated to do is to create and maintain our Jewish state while doing as little harm to the Arabs as possible. Especially compared to other nationalisms — particularly Arab nationalism — we have done so. The Zionist leadership did what was necessary to create the state, and despite what anti-Zionist revisionist historians say, did not engage in mass murder (as Arabs did whenever possible). Certainly some Arabs were expelled from their homes, mostly — as in the case of Lydda — because of the conflict they were engaged in. Shavit’s feelings of guilt are inappropriate.

And we do not “owe them” a state. In fact, because a Palestinian Arab state in Judea and Samaria is simply incompatible with the continued existence of the Jewish state — a result of military realities and Arab and Muslim intentions — we are obligated to oppose such a state.

Link: http://fresnozionism.org/2013/12/shavit-vs-jabotinsky/

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The Italian – throws the cup against the wall, breaks it and walks away in a fit of rage!

The German – carefully washes the cup, sterilizes it and makes a new cup of coffee.

The Frenchman – takes out the fly and drinks the coffee.

The Chinese – eats the fly and throws away the coffee.

The Russian – drinks the coffee with the fly, since it came with no extra charge.

The Israeli – sells the coffee to the Frenchman, sells the fly to the Chinese, sells the cup to the Italian, drinks a cup of tea and uses the extra money to invent a device that prevents flies from falling into coffee.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian – blames the Israeli for the fly falling into his coffee, protests the act to the UN as an act of aggression, takes a loan from the European Union to buy a new cup of coffee, uses the money to purchase explosives and then blows up the coffee house where the Italian, Frenchman, Chinese, German and Russian are all trying to explain to the Israeli that he should give his cup of tea to the Palestinian!

Pressure builds to set exchange rate floor ( Reblogged)

English: Map of the north Samaria area, west b...

English: Map of the north Samaria area, west bank/Israel. עברית: מפה של צפון השומרון (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Governor of the Bank of Israel Stanley Fischer

Governor of the Bank of Israel Stanley Fischer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pressure builds to set exchange rate floor

A senior financial system source told “Globes” that a shekel-dollar “floor rate” requires a government and Knesset consensus.

25 December 13 13:09, Adrian Filut

“The Bank of Israel’s policy regarding the dollar has been relatively successful until today, but must be considered anew and adapted to the new circumstances,” a senior source in the financial system told “Globes” after the US currency dropped beneath the psychological threshold of NIS 3.5/$. This follows the US Federal Reserve’s announcement that it will start tapering its bond purchasing program.

According to the source, “The Bank of Israel has employed the same policies for five years already, and it seems they have reached the end of their road.”

Last Wednesday, the US Federal Reserve announced that it will taper its bond purchases in the open market, but that, in parallel, interest is expected to remain near zero for a long time. Following the announcement, the dollar strengthened slightly against the shekel, but then began weakening again.

Under former Governor of the Bank of Israel Stanley Fischer, the Central Bank employed a policy of discreet intervention when there was volatility in the nominal effective exchange rate (unadjusted weighted average value of Israel’s currency relative to the currencies of Israel’s primary trade partners) that could not be explained by market forces. Currently, the Bank of Israel is consistently refusing to adhere to this policy, and is ignoring the crisis facing exporters and its possible effects on the economy. The Bank of Israel points out that the dollar’s effective exchange rate has not changed significantly since May.

According to the same senior source, there are several possible ways to act: “One way,” he says, “is to set a floor for the exchange rate. However, this is dangerous process, because it does not allow for its results to be blurred, and it puts the Bank of Israel’s reputation and credibility on the line.”

According to him, in order to take such a measure, wall-to-wall support would be necessary, from all sources related to fiscal policy – the Ministry of Finance, the Prime Minister, and the Knesset. “A strong, unified front is required to implement such a policy,” he says.

However, “Globes” was informed that there are objections to the idea at the Bank of Israel, particularly around Governor of the Bank of Israel Dr. Karnit Flug.

Another means he suggested is to halt intervention and to “allow the rate to reach its level.” But, in such a case, he emphasizes, “We don’t know what the rate will be, or what the consequences will be for the Israeli economy, exporters, and the manufacturing sector.” He also raises the possibility of “thinking outside the box,” and says that “to the extent that the problem is rooted in exports and the competitiveness of Israeli services and products in the world, we must take steps that won’t disrupt the whole macro-economic system, and extend special aid to the export sector,” but, he adds, “This aid must be extended without violating international agreements.”

Regarding the question of what is behind the continued strengthening of the shekel versus the dollar, he says: “There is the effect of the [natural] gas, alongside our success in exports. Fischer always said it is hard to attain a strong economy and a weak currency. Moreover, Israel is attractive for investment. That said, I don’t think the issue here is extensive speculation, as a few market sources have described.”

Inflated rate

The senior source’s statements join the idea that Bank of Israel Monetary Committee member Prof. Alex Cukierman shared with Bloomberg. “Setting a floor for the dollar is a policy that I would not reject out of hand,” Cukierman said, breaking the taboo, and standing up as the first formal source who agreed to address the burning issue “on the record.”

Cukierman qualified his statements and explained that this is a step that should only be considered in “extreme situations,” as a result of sharp shekel appreciation, but did not specify what an “extreme rate” would be.

The Monetary Committee member also said that there are tools that he would prefer to employ first, for example, imposing taxes (what he called fiscal measures), in order to slow the short-term flow of capital.

Cukierman also admitted that the shekel-dollar exchange rate is inflated, and said that a significant part of the shekel’s appreciation over the past year is temporary, and not a direct result of fundamental market forces.

Last week, the Central Bureau of Statistics published a report on the balance of payment current account, according to which a sharp drop was recorded in the third quarter of 2013 – from a surplus of $1.5 billion to a deficit of $300 million in the current account. Such a drop should have caused a sharp depreciation of the shekel, but did not.

Exporters and manufacturers are calling upon the Bank of Israel to set a minimum rate, at least for the short term, until the long-term measures take effect and begin to show real signs that they are working.

The pressure was redirected towards Minister of Finance Yair Lapid, who is very troubled by the goings on in the foreign currency exchange and their impact on exports, and in recent weeks he has held numerous discussions that revolved around the issue of the “dollar floor.” However, the topic has been dropped from the Ministry’s agenda.

The Bank of Israel and the Ministry of Finance declined to comment on the report.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news – www.globes-online.com – on December 25, 2013

Shall we dance? Rabbi-approved salsa


Shall we dance? Rabbi-approved salsa

Ballroom dancing trend taking hold among many religious couples. Teachers dress modestly, classes are given individually, and during Niddah partners join classes with members of their own sex

One tango show knocked Nir Eliyahu’s life off its course. About a decade ago, Eliyahu, a young religious man from Jerusalem, ended his role as a deputy company commander in the Duvdevan elite special forces unit. He went on vacation in South America and planned to start a company commanders’ course upon his return.

“In Buenos Aires I saw a tango performance, and that’s where my mouth opened and failed to close – it was amazing, and I decided that I wanted to bring that into my life,” he says.

Dance Floor
Hit among religious women: Women-only dancing sessions held once a month; women groove to hip hop
Full story

Upon his return toIsrael, Eliyahu decided to give up on his military career and registered for the Eli Mizrahi Ballroom Dance School. Mizrahi took notice of the young religious man’s talent and enthusiasm, and suggested that he specialize in the field.

At the same time, Eliyahu received a job offer at the Defense Ministry but shoes the first option, surprising his acquaintances.

“Even today, when I tell people what I do for a living, they usually raise an eyebrow in wonder – how can a religious guy be a dancing teacher?” he says.

‘I find a religious aspect in dancing.’ Nir and Meital Eliyahu (Photo: Leon Sokoletski)

Since then, Eliyahu and his wife Meital have become the owners of the Jerusalem branch of the Eli Mizrahi Ballroom Dance Schools, and he is one of the only teachers in Israel who can get members of the conservative faction of his sector to dance.

“More and more religious couples are coming here, because they want to spend time together,” he says. According to Eliyahu, about 40% of the couples dancing in the studio are religious, and the teachers adapt to the restrictions of Halacha.

In order to create a modest environment, the teachers in the studio adhere to a strict dress code: The men wear suits and ties and the teachers avoid wearing vests.

“Dancing can be linked with immorality, and it’s important for us that the studio is respectable, and perhaps that’s the reason why religious people feel comfortable in it. In addition, due to the ritual purification laws, on weeks when couples can’t dance together they arrive separately for men-only or women-only classes.”

Anything below chest doesn’t exist

One of the religious couples dancing at the studio are Hagai and his wife, who prefer not to reveal their full names. They have been married for 11 years and have four children, but only recently took the courage and decided to try out dances for couples.

The desire to dance was his, and he did not immediately succeed in convincing his wife to join him.

On weeks when couples cannot dance together, they arrive separately for men-only or women-only classes (Photo: Leon Sokoletski)

“As a religious guy I was very embarrassed, but because I have been in the acting field for years, and my body is an instrument for me – it was easier for me than for my wife,” he says.

“Ballroom dancing is not something innocent, it’s dealing with one’s body, and I just informed my wife that we were going – because if not with her, who would I dance with?”

Hagai, 39, first became familiar with the world of dancing as part of acting classes at a religious theater called Aspaklaria.

“I learned dancing only with boys, and it was a bit ridiculous,” he says. “The religious society has an unresolved issue with the body. Even when I studied acting, the secular teachers used to tell us that we’re like news anchors: Everything below the chest doesn’t exist for us.”

Hagai and his wife don’t dance with other couples, but only with each other. “There are parties in the studio in which many couples dance together. It’s not suitable for us,” says Hagai.

Another obstacle faced by religious couples who dance every week is the days of Niddah, when a woman goes through menstruation. “We have days when we are forbidden, and it’s very embarrassing explaining it. But because the teacher is religious, he doesn’t ask unnecessary questions.”

According to Hagai, despite the limitations imposed by religion, he insisted on learning ballroom dancing because of the work accompanying it. “In ballroom dancing there is an issue of listening and accuracy. The work in the studio is basically on a relationship. It’s an opportunity in daily life to look each other in the eyes.”

Rabbi shows enthusiasm

Liat and Roee, who became religious together and define themselves as haredim, dance in the Nir Eliyahu studio as well. According to Liat, they have both always loved to dance, but since drawing closer to religion the number of opportunities has decreased.

When they celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary, Liat looked for a unique way to mark the occasion. They arrived at Nir and Meital’s studio after a long search.

“I called a lot of places in Jerusalem and inquired whether there was a possibility to come in for a personal course, because we can’t dance with other men and women. When Meital answered the phone, she immediately understood what I was looking for,” says Liat.

Since then, Liat and Roee have been taking classes with a private teacher, in order to avoid a situation in which Liat dances in front of a man who is not her husband. She says that the fact the teacher also avoided dancing and dressed modestly made the couple feel comfortable. Although they didn’t take part in the parties held in the studio, the training at home was as fun, they say.

“When we practiced the children would watch us, and then I would grab one child and Roee would grab another child, and we would all dance together.”

Despite the great enjoyment the two experience and despite being strict about Halacha rules, Liat and Roee prefer to remain anonymous. In the haredi society, Liat says, ballroom dancing is completely off limits. She clarifies, however, that they have received the rabbi’s approval.

“We once went to our rabbi’s lesson after a dancing class. When I told him where we had come from, he was really enthusiastic about it.”

Liat notes that during classed they mostly enjoy the fact that they are spending time together actively. “The dancing is like couples therapy,” she says. “For example, you must understand that the man leads the dance, and it took me time to let go and let him lead. The teacher has been working with us on it a lot.”

Man is frame, woman is picture

Eliyahu understands what Liat is talking about very well. “As opposed to other dancing styles, here if you’re not attentive to your partner – it’s worthless,” he says.

“In order to dance together, the couple must learn to listen or lead. These are concepts you meet in any type of relationship in life – even between employee and employer.”

“We have slightly lost femininity and masculinity,” adds Meital. “If I look at women today, they are very independent and leading and have an opinion. In dancing the man is the frame and the woman is the picture. In our studio, the woman learns to be a woman.”

Nir and Meital owe their relationship to dancing too. “Dancing created contact between us,” says Meital. “We were both looking for someone religious but open to the world of dancing, who would agree to mixed dancing. That’s why the connection between us was so right.”

Meital, who studied for a first degree in dancing, criticizes the perception of the body in the sector she belongs to. “The religious society drives girls away from their body,” she says. “Nir and I are religious, but the thought that leads us in life is that there must be a connection between body and soul.”

“The connection to the body and regaining control of it are a very big gift,” Nir adds. “The dance floor simulates life. Many come to us when they realize that they have a problem finding a partner.

“In our generation the man is in a very complicated situation. He has to be tough, but also sensitive, and in addition the woman wants to face someone she can lean on. Through tango, for example, I help many men connect to their charisma, because you can’t dance tango softly.”

Nir says that 10 years after choosing to devote himself to dancing, he has no regrets. “There were many people who raised an eyebrow over the path I took, but today I laugh at all of them.

“We have our own business, in which we also dance and also help people go through internal processes. I don’t know if an accountant, who deals with money all day, is more religious than me. For me, dancing has a religious aspect because it contains tolerance and attentiveness and an ability to help others.”

2013 boom year for Israeli high-tech


Stephen Darori on the Best of 2013

2013 boom year for Israeli high-tech

In the first half of the year, there was a 52% rise in demand for mobile and web developers, and salaries are up as well.

2013 was a positive year for Israeli high-tech and biotech, in almost every respect: total investments rose, salaries rose, and there were some impressive exits. According to human resources and research companyEthosia, the mobile sector is still guiding the industry, and despite some worrisome signs, there is still room for much optimism.

According to the data, in the first half of the year, there was a 52% rise in demand for mobile and web developers. This trend continued for most of the year. Start-ups founded this year succeeded in raising over $380 million, with Internet companies accounting for 25% of the funds raised. “Web and mobile companies have surpassed the fundraising levels of communications and semiconductor companies…

View original post 1,318 more words

The 10 Best Business Decisions of 2013


The 10 Best Business Decisions of 2013



Angela Ahrendts
Apple hired Angela Ahrendts, seen here in London in September 2011, in one of the 10 best business decisions in 2013.

Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

’Tis the season for listicles, and most firms can’t get by with Santa’s timeless business strategy of low-cost, highly scalable elf labor. Instead, enduring success relies on the occasional bold, innovative, or even lucky move—a smart call that positions a company to grow, ideally by better serving its customers’ needs rather than just exploiting them. In no particular order, here are Moneybox’s favorite business moves of 2013.


Matthew Yglesias is Slate‘s business and economics correspondent. He is the author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

J.C. Penney brings back sales. It’s questionable whether this or anything else will save the ailing midmarket department store, or indeed the very concept of the midmarket department store. But it’s clear that the company’seffort to reinvent itself under former Apple retail chief Ron Johnson as a slick, Wi-Fi-enabled, no-discounts shopping experience was a catastrophic flop. This year they brought back an old CEO, brought back discounts, and even though they’re still struggling, sales trends are in the right direction.

Apple hires Angela Ahrendts. The Ron Johnson Catastrophe at J.C. Penney also managed to leave Apple’s retail operation adrift and listless. Tim Cook brought in John Browett, CEO of British mass-market superstore Tesco, who promptly alienated loyalists with a misguided cost-cutting drive before getting fired. Ahrendts, CEO of the far more upmarket British company Burberry, is a much better choice.* Apple’s retail stores are already insanely successful. They don’t need a retail chief who can squeeze extra dollars out of them; they need one who can build a lot more—especially in Asia—where Burberry has opened many more shops than Apple without compromising the brand’s value. Adding a woman to the executive team can’t hurt, either.

Yahoo buys Tumblr. The success of Yahoo shares under Marissa Mayer’s leadership is mostly a question of financial engineering—the company has restructured its Asian holdings and done share buybacks—which is really what Dan Loeb, the activist investor who put her in charge, was interested in. But Mayer’s had the strength and vision to sell the board on a strategy that isn’t just financial engineering, and throwing $1.1 billion in cash into buying Tumblr—rather than handing it to shareholders—is key to that deal. Tumblr brought tangible assets in terms of audience and social presence to the table, but it also served as a crucial signal to current and possibly future Yahoo employees that the company is serious about investing in its own long-term future. It might not work, but making the visionary play is an appealing contrast to an American corporate culture that tends to excessively focus on quarterly fluctuations in share prices.

Google makes dirt-cheap hardware. Google’s Chromecast television add-onisn’t revolutionary technology, but the $35 price point is beyond aggressive.Chromebook laptops starting at $199 aren’t quite as cheap but are in some ways even more aggressive. The culture of pursuing aggressive growth for the long term at the expense of short-term profits is common in Google’s online-services homeland, but it’s bracing to see Mountain View bringing the same spirit to consumer hardware. In a world where the global average income is still just $10,000 a year and all the population growth is happening in poorer places, making things cheaper still counts for a lot.

Starbucks hires veterans. The coffee giant has a perennial need for reliable people to do not especially glamorous work, and the Defense Department faces a constant challenge in finding gainful civilian employment for discharged veterans. Forging a partnership between the Pentagon and Starbucks is a natural solution to a concrete labor market issue. It’s also great brand extension. Starbucks is associated with a certain kind of upscale, effete lifestyle, but it’s already become ubiquitous in those markets and faces pressure for even more upscale joints with pour-over coffee and more complex flavors. A partnership with the military is a great way to give the company more of an all-American image and convince a broader swath of the population that they want to make room in their budget for pricey takeout coffee.

Uber offers affordable car loans. Though it continues to face regulatory roadblocks in many cities, at this point the biggest barrier to the growth of Uber’s ride-hiring service is on the supply side: You can’t sell a ride unless you’ve got a driver. With the national labor market still weak and Uber’s per-vehicle revenue high, demand for driving jobs is also high. But you still need a car to drive. By reaching a bit outside its core competences of software and customer service and partnering with Toyota and General Motors to get discount car loans for Uber drivers, Uber has taken a big step to solving the bottleneck. The car-loan program should also start turning Uber into a jobs machine, both on city streets and in the factories where the cars are built.   

Beyoncé drops a secret album. The Internet has basically crushed the music industry’s traditional revenue model. Beyoncé’s unorthodox decision to release an iTunes exclusive album in the dead of night with no promotion was a brilliant (if hard to replicate) countermove by a superstar. In a social media world, free publicity is the best kind of publicity, and the combination of surprise and artificial scarcity was a great way to get people to actually open their wallets for content.

Netflix gets into content. It’s easy to forget now, but it’s not so long ago that Netflix looked like a doomed company, having bungled the transition from discs in the mail to streaming video with the Quickster fiasco. But they reversed course, apologized, and plunged boldly ahead into producing and purchasing original television series on a mission to become the next decade’s HBO. After a little bit of stumbling, it seems to be working. Their streaming back end gives them a unique level of insight into what kinds of things viewers might want to watch (their adaptation of House of Cards waspartially cast by algorithmic analysis), and Orange Is The New Black has definitively established the nonnetwork as a potential destination for genuinely innovative programming.

Amazon pre-announces an illegal product. One big problem with Amazon’s plan for same-day delivery of small items via quadrotor drone is that they don’t have the technology working yet. Another problem is that it’s currently illegal. Announcing the nonexistent product on 60 Minutes is a smart way to make some lemonade. Get people talking about the potential benefits of this kind of delivery and you’re doing some prelobbying on behalf of commercial drone legalization.   

T-Mobile becomes the uncarrier. Blocked by the Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department from selling its T-Mobile unit to AT&T, Deutsche Telekom had to do something with the perennial laggard of the U.S. mobile phone industry. And in 2013, they did—breaking with the faux-subsidy model in which carriers offer you a high-interest loan to lock you into overpriced mobile service. Now T-Mobile has the best phone plans around and amazing free data deals for tablets. The “uncarrier” strategy has been so successful that Sprint now wants to buy them, posing a tough question for regulators—would a merger help scale up T-Mobile’s business innovations or throttle them in the crib?

Jean Henri Dunant- A Christian Zionist


Herzlinpalestine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Herzltravel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Israel (Photo credit: tamar_levine)


Israel (Photo credit: zeevveez)

Theodor Herzl (transferred to Jerusalem in 1949)

Theodor Herzl (transferred to Jerusalem in 1949) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Statue of Theodor Herzl, the visionary of the ...

Statue of Theodor Herzl, the visionary of the Jewish state, placed the President’s Residence, the State of Israel Deutsch: Statue von Theodor Herzl, dem Visionär des jüdischen Staates, stellte der Präsident der Residenz, dem Staat Israel Français : Statue de Theodor Herzl, le visionnaire de l’Etat juif, placé la résidence du président, l’Etat d’Israël (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Theodor Herzl\'s childhood with his f...

English: Theodor Herzl\’s childhood with his family at home in Budapest. עברית: ילדותו של תיאודור הרצל בחיק המשפחה בביתם בבודפשט., Original Image Name:משפחת הרצל, Location:בודפשט, הונגריה (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jews in Jerusalem 1895. From the 1901-1906 Jew...

Jews in Jerusalem 1895. From the 1901-1906 Jewish Encyclopedia, now in the public domain.http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com%5D Category:Jewish Encyclopedia images (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Zionist leader Theodor Herzl Source: http://ww...

Zionist leader Theodor Herzl Source: http://www.swr.de/swr2/israel/popups/herzl.html – PD because of age (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

David Ben-Gurion (First Prime Minister of Isra...

David Ben-Gurion (First Prime Minister of Israel) publicly pronouncing the Declaration of the State of Israel, May 14 1948, Tel Aviv, Israel, beneath a large portrait of Theodor Herzl, founder of modern political Zionism, in the old Tel Aviv Museum of Art building on Rothshild St. The exhibit hall and the scroll, which was not yet finished, were prepared by Otte Wallish. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Theodor Herzl: Der Judenstaat Deutsch: Theodor...

Theodor Herzl: Der Judenstaat Deutsch: Theodor Herzls Der Judenstaat – Titel der Erstausgabe von 1896 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Theodor Herzl leaning over the balcony of the ...

Theodor Herzl leaning over the balcony of the Hotel Les Trois Rois (Three King’s hotel / Hotel drei Könige) in Basel, Switzerland, possibly during the Sixth Zionist conference there (see here) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Flag of Israel (pleas avoid use it in an abusi...

Flag of Israel (pleas avoid use it in an abusive manner) Author: MathKnight 20px (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Christians United for Israel logo

Christians United for Israel logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

n a new book, Emory professor Shalom Goldman explores American Christians and their ‘Zeal for Zion’.

Prof. Shalom Goldman (Ariel Jerozolimski)

Prof. Shalom Goldman (Ariel Jerozolimski) Photo: Ariel Jerozolimski

For those who think Christians are either far right, pro-Israel/anti-Arab Evangelicals or far left, pro-Arab/anti-Israel “mainline” Protestants and Catholics, Shalom Goldman’s Zeal for Zion – Christians, Jews and the Idea of the Promised Landshould come as good news. The radical Right is a small minority among American Evangelicals, he writes, and the Christian world at large, for all the streams of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism it’s produced, has also nurtured broad, deep strains of Zionism that predate Theodor Herzl’s ideological epiphany in the mid-1890s. Since then, the term Christian Zionist “has been used to describe Catholics and Protestants, liberals and conservatives, reformers and traditionalists,” writes Goldman, a New York-born professor of Hebrew and Middle Eastern studies at Atlanta’s Emory University.

The history of Christianity’s encounter with Zionism is older and far more nuanced and pluralistic than commonly understood, and this encounter has, by and large, been a sympathetic one, Goldman says during an interview in Jerusalem. Today, despite the political convictions and associations that often turn Christians vehemently pro or con on Israel’s relations with Arabs, there is basic support on the part of most Christians, especially Americans, for the Zionist enterprise, he says.

“America’s engagement with Israel is undergirded by its biblical understanding, and the Book of Genesis is more important to American Christians than the Book of Revelation [in which the Jews’ return to the Promised Land precedes the apocalypse and final redemption through Christ],” he says. “For Christians in America, Israel is proof that God works in history. Even among American Evangelicals, support for Israel is not primarily about Armageddon and ‘end times.’ It’s about making sense of a world that seems out of control. With the earthquakes, starvation, catastrophes, [Christians ask] where is God? Well, they see that God has taken His people and brought them back to the land He promised them. That means that God is still here.”

Covering the 1880s to the present, Zeal for Zion personalizes this Christian-Jewish encounter over Zion by telling of the deep heart-felt and ideological connection between, for instance, “Hatikva” composer Naphtali Herz Imber and the British diplomat/adventurer Laurence Oliphant, and between Herzl and Anglican cleric Rev. William Hechler. The book also tells of the tortured duality of early 20th-century Catholicism’s attitude toward Jews and Zionism, and how the Holocaust changed it.

Goldman also recounts the attachment to Israel felt by the great modern authors Jorge Luis Borges, Robert Graves and Vladimir Nabokov, reminding readers that there was a time when gentile intellectuals and cultural heroes saw this country as a symbol of justice.

There are all sorts of fascinating historical details here. Christian Zionist Lord Arthur Balfour, whose 1917 declaration is considered by Israel as the world’s first official recognition of the Jews’ right to a state, “was not an admirer of Jews in general or of the British Jewish community in particular. As one of his biographers noted, ‘In common with many Zionists of his time, both Jew and gentile, he accepted many of the allegations made against Jews by anti-Semites.’”

The book also notes that among Herzl’s Christian guests at the First Zionist Congress in Basel was Jean Henri Dunant, founder of the International Red Cross, whose long-time refusal on technical grounds to recognize Israel’s Magen David Adom was seen here as a sign of anti-Semitism. And Goldman notes that one of the most influential Christian Zionists of the mid-19th century, whose book Mohammed the Imposter was the first important American work on Islam, was a New York University professor named George Bush.

BUT IT is the book’s concluding chapter, “Jewish Settlers and Christian Zionists (1967-2007),” that is, of course, most relevant today. Goldman traces the alliance between American Evangelical leaders such as Jerry Falwell and John Hagee with the settler movement and the Likud leadership. “Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Likud politicians continued to cultivate the support of the American Christian Right. The most effective and forceful of these political figures is Binyamin Netanyahu.”

As if to illustrate the chapter, on the eve of Vice President Joe Biden’s recent visit to Israel, Hagee’s Christians United for Israel organization held a giant “Night to Honor Israel” in Jerusalem. Among those present were veteran settler leaders Ron Nachman, mayor of Ariel, and Efrat Chief Rabbi Shlomo Riskin. The guest of honor was Netanyahu.

“Christian Zionism preceded modern Jewish Zionism, and I think enabled it,” the prime minister told the crowd. “But [Jewish Zionism] received a tremendous impetus several decades ago when leading American clergymen, among them, most notedly, Pastor John Hagee… began to say to their congregations and to anyone who would listen, ‘It’s time to take a stand with Israel!’ Today, Christians by the… tens of millions have heard the call and they stand with Israel.”

According to the stereotype, all American Evangelical Christians think like Hagee’s followers: that the Jews must return to Israel and that Israel must hold onto all of the Promised Land because this is God’s plan for Jesus’s return, a return that will occur, as Revelation says, with apocalyptic death and destruction. This stereotype leads many liberal Jews to conclude that the Evangelicals’ embrace of Israel is cynical in the extreme, because ultimately the Jews they claim to love have to either accept Jesus or die horribly.

Followers of this strain of Christianity, writes Goldman, are called “dispensationalists.” “[T]hese biblical literalists asserted that history was divided into eras or ‘dispensations,’ the last of which would soon begin. ‘Israel’ of the Bible was understood by dispensationalists as the actual Jewish people of present times, and the return of ‘Israel’ to their land was a prerequisite of Redemption.”

But he stresses that of the estimated 80 million American Evangelical Christians, only nine million to 10 million carry this belief that Jesus’s return depends on Israel retaining all of its biblical land.

“This is the kind of thing you hear from Hagee, who comes from a classical Pentecostal background and is very heavily influenced by dispensationalism,” Goldman said in the interview. “When he told the [2007] AIPAC convention that ‘50 million Christians are marching behind you,’ that really was not accurate. He actually represents a small sector of Christian fundamentalists. My claim is that for the great majority of American Christians who support Israel, it’s more about the idea of God acting in history, of God fulfilling His promise, than about what’s supposed to happen in end times.”

I asked him what he thought it would do to American Evangelicals such as those at a “Night to Honor Israel” if Israel traded Judea and Samaria for peace. “If there was a deal,” he replied, “my reading of right-wing Christian engagement with Israel is that they would make their peace with it. Some of them are so strident as to think of peace as the enemy, but I think that if Israel were to make such a deal, they would see it as part of God’s plan.”

Goldman, 62, came to Israel in 1968 and stayed for five years, spending much of his time on kibbutzim. “I was one of the post-Six Day War generation of Jews who came to Israel, but I never really intended to stay. It was more like my great adventure.”

With the publication of Zeal for Zion,  he has been speaking to American Jewish groups about Christian attitudes toward Israel, especially among the high-profile dispensationalist types.

“A lot of the questions I get asked come down to: ‘Is this good for the Jews or bad for the Jews?’ I say I’m not going to answer that question for you. I’m a professor, I’m trying to look at the situation in all its complexity. As Jews, this is our responsibility, to try to figure out the people and events going on around us, not to rush to judgment about them.”

The Nobel Peace Prize 1901
Henry Dunant, Frédéric Passy

Henry Dunant – Biographical

Jean Henry Dunant‘s life (May 8, 1828-October 30, 1910) is a study in contrasts. He was born into a wealthy home but died in a hospice; in middle age he juxtaposed great fame with total obscurity, and success in business with bankruptcy; in old age he was virtually exiled from the Genevan society of which he had once been an ornament and died in a lonely room, leaving a bitter testament. His passionate humanitarianism was the one constant in his life, and the Red Cross his living monument.

The Geneva household into which Henry Dunant was born was religious, humanitarian, and civic-minded. In the first part of his life Dunant engaged quite seriously in religious activities and for a while in full-time work as a representative of the Young Men’s Christian Association, traveling in France, Belgium, and Holland.

When he was twenty-six, Dunant entered the business world as a representative of the Compagnie genevoise des Colonies de Sétif in North Africa and Sicily. In 1858 he published his first book, Notice sur la Régence de Tunis [An Account of the Regency in Tunis], made up for the most part of travel observations but containing a remarkable chapter, a long one, which he published separately in 1863, entitled L’Esclavage chez les musulmans et aux États-Unis d’Amérique [Slavery among the Mohammedans and in the United States of America].

Having served his commercial apprenticeship, Dunant devised a daring financial scheme, making himself president of the Financial and Industrial Company of Mons-Gémila Mills in Algeria (eventually capitalized at 100,000,000 francs) to exploit a large tract of land. Needing water rights, he resolved to take his plea directly to Emperor Napoleon III. Undeterred by the fact that Napoleon was in the field directing the French armies who, with the Italians, were striving to drive the Austrians out of Italy, Dunant made his way to Napoleon’s headquarters near the northern Italian town of Solferino. He arrived there in time to witness, and to participate in the aftermath of, one of the bloodiest battles of the nineteenth century. His awareness and conscience honed, he published in 1862 a small book Un Souvenir de Solférino [A Memory of Solferino], destined to make him famous.

A Memory has three themes. The first is that of the battle itself. The second depicts the battlefield after the fighting – its «chaotic disorder, despair unspeakable, and misery of every kind» – and tells the main story of the effort to care for the wounded in the small town of Castiglione. The third theme is a plan. The nations of the world should form relief societies to provide care for the wartime wounded; each society should be sponsored by a governing board composed of the nation’s leading figures, should appeal to everyone to volunteer, should train these volunteers to aid the wounded on the battlefield and to care for them later until they recovered. On February 7, 1863, the Société genevoise d’utilité publique [Geneva Society for Public Welfare] appointed a committee of five, including Dunant, to examine the possibility of putting this plan into action. With its call for an international conference, this committee, in effect, founded the Red Cross. Dunant, pouring his money and time into the cause, traveled over most of Europe obtaining promises from governments to send representatives. The conference, held from October 26 to 29, with thirty-nine delegates from sixteen nations attending, approved some sweeping resolutions and laid the groundwork for a gathering of plenipotentiaries. On August 22, 1864, twelve nations signed an international treaty, commonly known as the Geneva Convention, agreeing to guarantee neutrality to sanitary personnel, to expedite supplies for their use, and to adopt a special identifying emblem – in virtually all instances a red cross on a field of white1.

Dunant had transformed a personal idea into an international treaty. But his work was not finished. He approved the efforts to extend the scope of the Red Cross to cover naval personnel in wartime, and in peacetime to alleviate the hardships caused by natural catastrophes. In 1866 he wrote a brochure called the Universal and International Society for the Revival of the Orient, setting forth a plan to create a neutral colony in Palestine. In 1867 he produced a plan for a publishing venture called an «International and Universal Library» to be composed of the great masterpieces of all time. In 1872 he convened a conference to establish the «Alliance universelle de l’ordre et de la civilisation» which was to consider the need for an international convention on the handling of prisoners of war and for the settling of international disputes by courts of arbitration rather than by war.

The eight years from 1867 to 1875 proved to be a sharp contrast to those of 1859-1867. In 1867 Dunant was bankrupt. The water rights had not been granted, the company had been mismanaged in North Africa, and Dunant himself had been concentrating his attention on humanitarian pursuits, not on business ventures. After the disaster, which involved many of his Geneva friends, Dunant was no longer welcome in Genevan society. Within a few years he was literally living at the level of the beggar. There were times, he says2, when he dined on a crust of bread, blackened his coat with ink, whitened his collar with chalk, slept out of doors.

For the next twenty years, from 1875 to 1895, Dunant disappeared into solitude. After brief stays in various places, he settled down in Heiden, a small Swiss village. Here a village teacher named Wilhelm Sonderegger found him in 1890 and informed the world that Dunant was alive, but the world took little note. Because he was ill, Dunant was moved in 1892 to the hospice at Heiden. And here, in Room 12, he spent the remaining eighteen years of his life. Not, however, as an unknown. After 1895 when he was once more rediscovered, the world heaped prizes and awards upon him.

Despite the prizes and the honors, Dunant did not move from Room 12. Upon his death, there was no funeral ceremony, no mourners, no cortege. In accordance with his wishes he was carried to his grave «like a dog»3.

Dunant had not spent any of the prize monies he had received. He bequeathed some legacies to those who had cared for him in the village hospital, endowed a «free bed» that was to be available to the sick among the poorest people in the village, and left the remainder to philanthropic enterprises in Norway and Switzerland.


Selected Bibliography
Les Débuts de la Croix-Rouge en France. Paris, Librairie Fischbacher, 1918.
Dunant, J. Henri. His manuscripts are held by the Bibliothèque publique et universitaire de Genève.
Dunant, J. Henry, A Memory of Solferino. London, Cassell, 1947. A translation from the French of the first edition of Un Souvenir de Solférino, published in 1862. The author published the original as «J. Henry Dunant», although he is usually referred to as «Henri Dunant».
Gagnebin, Bernard, «Le Rôle d’Henry Dunant pendant la guerre de 1870 et le siège de Paris», bound separately but originally published in Revue internationale de la Croix-Rouge (avril, 1953).
Gigon, Fernand, The Epic of the Red Cross or the Knight Errant of Charity, translated from the French by Gerald Griffin. London, Jarrolds, 1946.
Gumpert, Martin, Dunant: The Story of the Red Cross. New York, Oxford University Press, 1938.
Hart, Ellen, Man Born to Live: Life and Work of Henry Dunant, Founder of the Red Cross. London, Gollancz, 1953.
Hendtlass, Willy, «Henry Dunant: Leben und Werk», in Solferino, pp. 37-84. Essen Cityban, Schiller, 1959.
Hommage à Henry Dunant. Genève, 1963.
Huber, Max, «Henry Dunant», in Revue internationale de la Croix-Rouge, 484 (avril, 1959) 167-173. A translation of a brief sketch originally published in German in 1928.

1. The emblem in Muslim countries is the red crescent and in Iran is the red lion and sun. (For a brief history of the Red Cross see history of the Red Cross.)

2. «Extraits des mémoires» in Les Débuts de la Croix-Rouge en France, p. 72.

3. Taken from a letter written by Dunant and published by René Sonderegger; quoted by Gigon in The Epic of the Red Cross, p. 147.

From Nobel Lectures, Peace 1901-1925, Editor Frederick W. Haberman, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1972

This autobiography/biography was written at the time of the award and first published in the book series Les Prix Nobel. It was later edited and republished in Nobel Lectures. To cite this document, always state the source as shown above.


JEWISH MAFIA “But He Was Good To His Mother”

Members of the SA in front of a Jewish shop du...

Members of the SA in front of a Jewish shop during the boycot of Jews in nazi-Germany on april 1, 1933. The sign says: “Germans, Attention! This shop is owned by Jews. Jews damage the German economy and pay their German employees starvation wages. The main owner is the Jew Nathan Schmidt.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: World War I enlistment poster from Ca...

English: World War I enlistment poster from Canada. Poster shows a soldier cutting the bonds from a Jewish man, who strains to join a group of soldiers running in the distance and says, “You have cut my bonds and set me free – now let me help you set others free!” Above are portraits of Rt. Hon. Herbert Samuel, Viscount Reading, and Rt. Hon. Edwin S. Montagu, all Jewish members of the British parliament. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In this Rosh Hashana greeting card from the ea...

In this Rosh Hashana greeting card from the early 1900s, Russian Jews, packs in hand, gaze at the American relatives beckoning them to the United States. Over two million Jews fled the pogroms of the Russian Empire to the safety of the U.S. from 1881-1924. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Center for Jewish History is located on 15...

The Center for Jewish History is located on 15 West 16th Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues, in New York, NY 10011. It is home of five preeminent Jewish institutions dedicated to history, culture, and art: The American Jewish Historical Society, The American Sephardi Federation, The Leo Baeck Institute, Yeshiva University Museum, and The YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Bird's eye panorama of Manhattan & Ne...

English: Bird’s eye panorama of Manhattan & New York City in 1873 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: A jew.

English: A jew. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1941 Nazi propaganda poster in the Lithuanian ...

1941 Nazi propaganda poster in the Lithuanian language, equating Stalinism with the Jews. The text reads “The Jew is our enemy forever”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Meyer Lansky being led by detective for bookin...

Meyer Lansky being led by detective for booking on vagrancy charge at 54th Street police station, New York City (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The wanted poster issued for Pelley in 1939.

The wanted poster issued for Pelley in 1939. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The St. Paul Minneapolis & Manitoba Railway (1880)

The St. Paul Minneapolis & Manitoba Railway (1880) (Photo credit: Manitoba Historical Maps)

English: Mugshot of Jewish-American mobster Be...

English: Mugshot of Jewish-American mobster Benjamin “Bigsy” Siegel in the 1920s. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


“But He Was Good To His Mother”

A short and very interesting little article about why Jewish gangsters fascinate him and how Jewish gangsters differed from their Italian counterparts. In a nutshell, Jewish mobsters were a product of their times (1920s and 1930s) and did not continue their legacy after that one period, while Italian gangsters handed their “profession” to each succeeding generation.

What follows is a side of Jewish history you may have missed.

There are few excuses for the behavior of Jewish gangsters in the 1920s and 1930s. The best known Jewish gangsters – Meyer Lansky, Bugsy Siegel, Longy Zwillman, Moe Dalitz, David Berman were involved in the numbers rackets, illegal drugdealing, prostitution, gambling and loan sharking. They were not nice men.

During the rise of American Nazism in the 1930s and when Israel was being founded between 1945 and 1948, however, they proved staunch defenders of the Jewish people.

The roots of Jewish gangsterism lay in the ethnic neighborhoods of the Lower East Side; Brownsville, Brooklyn; Maxwell Street in Chicago; and Boyle Heights in Los Angeles. Like other newly arrived groups in American history, a few Jews who considered themselves blocked from respectable professions used crime as a means to “make good” economically. The market for vice flourished during Prohibition and Jews joined with others to exploit the artificial market created by the legal bans on alcohol, gambling, paid sex and narcotics.

Few of these men were religiously observant. They rarely attended services, although they did support congregations financially. They did not keep kosher or send their children to day schools. However, at crucial moments they protected other Jews, in America and around the world.

The 1930s were a period of rampant anti-Semitism in America , particularly in the Midwest . Father Charles Coughlin, the Radio Priest in Detroit , and William Pelley of Minneapolis , among others, openly called for Jews to be driven from positions of responsibility, if not from the country itself.

Organized Brown Shirts in New York and Silver Shirts in Minneapolis outraged and terrorized American Jewry. While the older and more respectable Jewish organizations pondered a response that would not alienate non-Jewish supporters, others–including a few rabbis–asked the gangsters to break up American Nazi rallies.

Historian Robert Rockaway writing in the journal of the American Jewish Historical Society, notes that German-American Bund rallies in the New York City area posed a dilemma for mainstream Jewish leaders. They wanted the rallies stopped, but had no legal grounds on which to do so. New York State Judge Nathan Perlman personally contacted Meyer Lansky to ask him to disrupt the Bund rallies, with the proviso that Lansky’s henchmen stop short of killing any Bundists.

Enthusiastic for the assignment, if disappointed by the restraints, Lansky accepted all of Perlman’s terms except one: he would take no money for the work. Lansky later observed, “I was a Jew and felt for those Jews in Europe who were suffering. They were my brothers.”

For months, Lansky’s workmen effectively broke up one Nazi rally after another. As Rockaway notes, “Nazi arms, legs and ribs were broken and skulls were cracked, but no one died.”

Lansky recalled breaking up a Brown Shirt rally in the Yorkville section of Manhattan : “The stage was decorated with a swastika and a picture of Hitler. The speakers started ranting. There were only fifteen of us, but we went into action. We threw some of them out the windows…. Most of the Nazis panicked and ran out. We chased them and beat them up…. We wanted to show them that Jews would not always sit back and accept insults.”

In Minneapolis , William Dudley Pelley organized a Silver Shirt Legion to “rescue” America from an imaginary Jewish-Communist conspiracy. In Pelle’s own words, just as “Mussolini and his Black Shirts saved Italy and as Hitler and his Brown Shirts saved Germany ,” he would save America from Jewish communists. Minneapolis gambling czar David Berman confronted Pelley’s Silver Shirts on behalf of the Minneapolis Jewish community.

Berman learned that Silver Shirts were mounting a rally at Lodge. When the Nazi leader called for all the “Jew bastards” in the city to be expelled, or worse, Berman and his associates burst into the room and started cracking heads. After ten minutes, they had emptied the hall. His suit covered in blood, Berman took the microphone and announced, “This is a warning. Anybody who says anything against Jews gets the same treatment. Only next time it will be worse.” After Berman broke up two more rallies, there were no more public Silver Shirt meetings in Minneapolis .

Jewish gangsters also helped establish Israel after the war. One famous example is a meeting between Bugsy Siegel and Reuven Dafne, a Haganah emissary, in 1945. Dafne was seeking funds and guns to help liberate Palestine from British rule. A mutual friend arranged for the two men to meet.

“You mean to tell me Jews are fighting?” Siegel asked, “You mean fighting as in killing?” Dafne answered in the affirmative. Siegel replied, “I’m with you.”

For weeks, Dafne received suitcases filled with $5 and $10 bills – $50,000 in all – from Siegel.

No one should paint gangsters as heroes. They committed acts of great evil. But historian Rockaway has presented a textured version of Jewish gangster history in a book ironically titled But He Was Good to His Mother.

Some have observed that, despite their disreputable behavior, they could be good to their people, too. A little interesting bit of Jewish history.