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Israel

Ben-Gurion Of The Orthodox? A Tolerance-Preaching Rabbi Shakes Up Israeli Politics

Algerian-born, French-bred Haim Amsalem is a member of the Knesset, and now the sworn enemy of the ultra-orthodox Shas party that he helped found.

Rabbi Haim Amsalem
Rabbi Haim Amsalem
Laurent Zecchini

JERUSALEM - It’s easy to see why Haim Amsalem needs a bodyguard, and why his party (Am Shalem) features the motto: “The Choice of the Brave.”

The rabbi uses public appearances to call on Israel's ultra-orthodox to leave their ghettos, study such unholy materials as mathematics, science, English and history, stop avoiding their national military service and free themselves from a life of poverty and ignorance.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Sergey Lavrov, Putin’s Decoy-In-Chief

The Russian Foreign Minister, among the country’s most recognizable figures, embodies both the corruption and confusion of the Putin regime. Not everything is what it seems — and that’s the point.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a diplomatic reception for heads of African diplomatic missions

Anna Akage

From the outside, one might have the impression that the Russian Federation is run through a highly complex and well-coordinated apparatus that ensures that any single cog in Vladimir Putin’s system is by definition both in synch with the other cogs — and utterly replaceable. The Kremlin appears to us through this lens as an impregnable citadel with long arms and peering eyes that are literally everywhere.

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And yet, this is a completely false picture — and there’s no greater proof than in looking more closely at one of Russia's most prominent figures, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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