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Boxing Bibi

25 Jan

There’s this one similarity between Israel and South Korea – and I will go no further than this: neither younger Israelis nor South Korean care about the putative threats to their existence, Iran and the Palestinians, and the North Koreans, respectively. Like South Koreans, Israelis voted with their stomachs, as it were, in their respective elections.

This Israeli campaign, including that by Lapid, was notable mostly for what it did not emphasize. For the first time in decades, the question of Israel’s relations with its Arab neighbors was not at the fore and the battle was not primarily between dovish leftists and hardline rightists. Instead, the fighting was done within the right-wing and center-left camps. To the end, Netanyahu mistakenly focused his efforts on competing with Jewish Home, not paying enough attention to Lapid’s ability to rally middle-class Israelis dismayed about issues such as the high cost of living, inadequate education, inability to buy affordable housing and resentful over longstanding draft exemptions for the ultra-Orthodox, something the premier perpetuated out of deference to his ultra-Orthodox coalition partners.

It was these issues, and not Netanyahu’s hawkish policies such as rejecting Abbas’s demands for a settlement freeze, that catapulted Lapid to primacy. Had voters wanted to punish Netanyahu for his lack of a peace policy, it would have been translated into a strong showing for the former foreign minister Tzipi Livni, who made renewing talks the only issue of her campaign. But her Hatnua party received only six Knesset seats.

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Today’s Kindle Sample #2

25 Jan

Puritan stocksBestiality was punished by death, and that sentence was sometimes executed in circumstances so bizarre as to tell us much about the sex ways of New England. One such case in New Haven involved a one-eyed servant named George Spencer, who had often been on the wrong side of the law, and was suspected of many depravities by his neighbors. When a sow gave birth to a deformed pig which also had only one eye, the unfortunate man was accused of bestiality…George Spencer was hanged for bestiality.


When a second pig was born in that troubled town, another unfortunate eccentric was accused of bestiality by his neighbors…When yet a third piglet was born with one red eye and what appeared to be a penis growing out of his head…When a dog belonging to Nicolas Bayly was observed trying to copulate with a sow, neighbors urged that it be killed. Mrs. Bayly refused and incautiously made a joke of it, saying of her dog, “If he had not a bitch, he must have something.”…Merely for making light of bestiality, the Baylys were banished from the town.

via Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America by David Hackett Fischer

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