The Settler State

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THE OTHER day, the almighty General Security Service (Shabak, formerly Shin Bet) needed a new boss. It is a hugely important job, because no minister ever dares to contradict the advice of the Shabak chief in cabinet meetings. There was an obvious candidate, known only as J. But at the last moment, the settlers’ lobby […]

Ship of Fools 2

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THE EXPRESSION “Ship of Fools” was used by a Swiss theologian 515 years ago as the title of a book harshly criticizing the Catholic church of his day. Its licentiousness, he foresaw, would lead to disaster. And indeed, shortly afterwards a monk named Martin Luther split the church and set in motion the great Reformation.

The Nobleman and the Horse

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“HALF AND HALF,” the late Prime Minister, Levi Eshkol, is said to have answered, when asked whether he wanted tea or coffee. This joke was intended to parody his hesitation on the eve of the Six-day War. (Though secret documents published this week show Eshkol in a very different light.)

All Quiet on the Eastern Front

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PEOPLE ENDOWED with sensitive political ears were startled this week by two words, which, so it seemed, escaped from the mouth of Binyamin Netanyahu by accident: “Eastern front”. Once upon a time these words were part of the everyday vocabulary of the occupation. In recent years they have been gathering dust in the political junkyard.