Archive | Sharkansky_Ira

Netanyahu probe, Fatah- Hamas accord back on agenda

By Ira Sharkansky JERUSALEM — Alas, we’re beyond the holidays. This week marks the effective beginning of the new year. Americans might think of the period between pre-Christmas and the post-New Year return from too many parties, too much food and alcohol. In our case, however, the pre- to post- holiday bash lasts for more […]

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Talmud as seen by a political scientist

By Ira Sharkansky JERUSALEM — For something like 15 years, I’ve been studying Talmud Shabbat mornings for an hour or so with a religious (i.e., Orthodox) neighbor. We’ve been friends for more than 40 years, since we were both at the University of Wisconsin. I’ve commented several times, perhaps not to his delight, and to other […]

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Evaluating the U.S. through comparison

By Ira Sharkansky JERUSALEM — Several of my Internet friends have not reacted well to recent columnscritical of American government and society. It’s been charged that I don’t understand that country, and certainly do not appreciate its virtues. It rankles that I note social statistics falling below those of other democracies, and especially of Western […]

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How Israel’s health care outperforms U.S.’s

By Ira Sharkansky JERUSALEM — With all the fuss about Obamacare and the Trump frustration at trying to end or limit it, a recent adventure at Hadassah Hospital has led me to think about things here and there. Public policy is one of the things that have concerned me in an academic career that began […]

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OpEd: Trump reflects some dark American tendencies

By Ira Sharkansky JERUSALEM–The puzzle of Donald Trump is parallel to the puzzle of the United States. An Israeli psychiatrist, interviewed on a prime time discussion program, presented an analysis of the United States which–to her–explained the ascendance and behavior of Donald Trump as an archetype of the American experience. The themes she noted in […]

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Uncertainty — a theme for this year’s Yom Kippur

By Ira Sharkansky JERUSALEM — Uncertainty.  This is an appropriate theme in this season of Yom Kippur. While the conventional emphasis that day is personal atonement, we might also see its implication for thinking about our communities’ sins, accomplishments, and problems. Nothing is certain. The possibility of disease and accidents are close to all of […]

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Posted in International, Middle East, Sharkansky_Ira, USA0 Comments

Donald, Bibi embarrass their two nations

By Ira Sharkansky JERUSALEM — He seemed to be getting better. But now we’re seeing the same old Donald, dueling with a man who may even be crazier. The good signs were that he might be able to deal with Democrats in Congress. And his speech to the UN was professional in the sense that […]

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Posted in International, Middle East, Sharkansky_Ira, USA

The Knesset vs. Israel’s Supreme Court

  By Ira Sharkansky JERUSALEM–Among the matters being argued by the Jews of Israel is their Supreme Court. Somewhere in the noise are the classic questions about democracy. What is it? What’s enough? What’s too much? and Who is the best guardian? Commentators are describing a series of instances that have upset, altered or challenged […]

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Bizarre politics in U.S., Israel

By Ira Sharkansky JERUSALEM — We should avoid predicting what’s gonna happen or international affairs. There are too many actors and systemic variables (e.g., economics, the choices made by greater powers) to allow any certainty beyond the next few minutes. However, that doesn’t mean that we should avoid consideration of prominent issues, capable of developing […]

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Sara, Bibi may both face criminal trials

  By Ira Sharkansky JERUSALEM — The Legal Adviser to the Government, often called the Attorney General, has announced an indictment against Sara Netanyahu. We’ve known for some time the numerous accusations against the woman that some would label the country’s First Haridan. She’s been described by media and those who claim to know as […]

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Monitoring U.S. Jewish opinion about Israel

By Ira Sharkansky JERUSALEM — The Internet provides insight into the range of opinions expressed by overseas Jews about Israel. It also raises the question about the nature of Israel’s relations with the Jewish Diaspora. Do overseas Irish, Germans, Italians, Indians, Sri Lankans et al demonstrate the same concern for a “homeland” as do Jews […]

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Confronting the past in a German village

By Ira Sharkansky BERNKASTEL, Germany — My wife Varda’s deep German roots brought us once again to the streets that her family knew, and to look for the graves of those who passed on before there were no graves for Jews killed by other Germans. This trip is to the village of Bernkastel alongside the […]

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Posted in International, Jewish History, Sharkansky_Ira

Trump and the Crowned Heads

By Ira Sharkansky JERUSALEM — Victoria and The Crown (about Elizabeth II) are television dramas that portray the experiences of two young women who find themselves with the imperfectly defined power of the Monarch in a serious country having enough weight to affect the world. Both dramas appear reasonably true to prominent details of history, […]

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Posted in International, Sharkansky_Ira, USA

For Israeli policy makers, wiggling has its benefits

By Ira Sharkansky JERUSALEM — Wiggling may not be a central concept in the professional literature of scholars who seek to explain international relations. “Wiggle” is often used with respect to the rapid movement of ears or fingers, but it is also used to describe the act of avoiding something perhaps by devious means. Its […]

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