Did you know that the Crimean War changed the face of Jerusalem, adding complexity which will impact on the future of the city even in the 21st century? No? Well it did. Here's a new book about the war, sounds interesting, though I'd be much surprised if it included the Jerusalem angle: The Crimean War: A History, by Orlando Figes.
Yossie Yuval is doing a series in which he gets in his car of a morning in Tel Aviv and drives off to an Arab town chosen at random. (Israeli Arab, not West Bank). He's done 14 chapters so far, and the latest installment is rather comic. He visited Magdel Krum, and found it populated by "the most Ashkenazi Arabs in Israel". Shrinking families, youth drifting towards at least partial preference for Hebrew over Arabic, "ashkenzi food" at weddings, green (environmental) houses. Alas, the series is in Hebrew, but it shouldn't surprise anyone that if you wish to understand Israel, English simply won't do.
Meanwhile back in Europe, the place that ejected the Ashkenzi Jews, the Dutch are running a political trial against freedom of speech. The Dutch! Not the Popish French, the Imperial English, the whatever-they-are Germans. The Dutch. Baruch Spinoza must be spinning in his grave. Robin Shepherd has the sordid story.