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Israel

Is The Israeli Army Becoming Too Religious?

A new study shows ever more devout Jews are joining the Israeli military, and some wonder if the situation has reached a tipping point that could further push an already edgy region toward a religion-fueled showdown.

Israeli soldiers pray at the Wailing Wall (Flickmor)
Israeli soldiers pray at the Wailing Wall (Flickmor)
Laurent Zecchini

JERUSALEM - It's a cultural revolution, an insidious mutation that may soon become irreversible. It revolves around a central question about the Israeli army, a cornerstone of the creation of the Jewish state. Is this melting-pot of the world's diaspora still the "army of the people?" Or has it instead become a religious army?

It's a crucial question, because if a significant number of Zahal unit commanders and soldiers are wearing yarmulkes, they aren't going to be in any hurry the day they're ordered to evacuate religious settlers established on territory that will be part of a future Palestinian state. Their loyalties could well be torn between military discipline and the commandments of a militaristic rabbinate.

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Future

Robot Artists And Us: Who Decides The Aesthetics Of AI?

Ai-Da is touted as the first bonafide robot artist. But should we consider her paintings and poetry original or creative? Is this even art at all?

Ai-Da at work

Leah Henrickson and Simone Natale

Ai-Da sits behind a desk, paintbrush in hand. She looks up at the person posing for her, and then back down as she dabs another blob of paint onto the canvas. A lifelike portrait is taking shape. If you didn’t know a robot produced it, this portrait could pass as the work of a human artist.

Ai-Da is touted as the “first robot to paint like an artist”, and an exhibition of her work called Leaping into the Metaverse opened at the Venice Biennale.

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