The “This is Not Wonderland” Edition

Photo: Nati Shohat/Flash90

Allison Kaplan Sommer, Don Futterman and Noah Efron discuss three topics of incomparable importance and end with an anecdote about something in Israel that made them smile this week.

Leading the Witness
Police investigators strong-arm Benjamin Netanyahu’s one-time spokesman and media consultant to testify against his former boss, saying that if he doesn’t they’ll destroy his family and his life. Is the whole trial tainted?

We Beat the Syrian Army, Surely We can Beat Climate Change
The IDF gears up to take the lead in Israel’s response to climate change. Is that a good thing?

Holding the Line
By changing regulations, the government plans to make it harder for ultra-Orthodox leaders to make sure their followers use only “kosher phones.” Are Haredi rabbis and politicians right to be upset?

Be Best, Israeli Style?
For our most unreasonably generous Patreon supporters, in our extra-special, special extra discussion, we try to understand President Yitzhak Herzog’s new campaign to be nice on the internet, so as to “shine our inner light” on others. Is this anything more than presidential pablum?

All that and Ella Shik Blum!


  • Yam Ba-Lailah
  • Lama ve-Eikh
  • Maraa
  • Sappa Ba-Salon

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4 comments on “The “This is Not Wonderland” Edition

  1. Susanne says:

    Dear Noah, as a long-term fan of your podcast, I want to play devil’s advocate and dare you to see the excellent new documentary, “The Last Lap Dance”, by veteran Tel Avivi filmmaker Israel (Isri) Halpern. Much of it was shot at the Pussycat Club, now called “Social Space” as you mentioned in this week’s episode, a focal point of the feminist struggle for the closure of Tel Aviv’s strip clubs. The film gives a voice to the women who were not heard by those who presumed to fight their battle: the club’s dancers.

    1. Noah Efron says:

      Thanks for this dare, Susanne. I would love to see the film (though I cannot figure out how, having missed it when it passed through the Cinemateque here). I saw one of the women who worked in the Pussycat Club on TV last week, explaining that the way the club is described in the tours they give of it these days, and by people like me on their dumb podcasts, is all wrong, and it seemed like she must be right, at least to one degree or another. I think there might be a way in which the club was exploitive of women, without being exploitive of the individual women who worked there, though that might be too fancy a thought. Bottom line, the minute I have an opportunity, I’ll take up your dare, and see the film with an open mind, eager to see how my earlier understanding was wrong, in part or whole. Thanks for writing (and sorry to take so long to reply)!

  2. Alan Peres says:


    How would you react if the Moslem authorities came to the government and demanded the right to “guide” the phone use of their co-religionists? How about the Greek Orthodox, the Catholics, the Baha’i?

    1. Noah J Efron says:

      Alan, if they asked to be allowed to provide a sort of phone service that fits with their communities beliefs, I would say, the government ought to make that possible. Is your point that I am more indulgent of Haredim than other groups? I guess no one is the best judge of their own prejudices, but I don’t think so.

      As for the phones, my view is that we should not assume that the “logic of the free market” should determine how we use which technologies when. Individuals and communities ought to have a voice in how we use which technologies. (And, it’s worth repeating, in the case of the phones, no one is forcing any individual to use kosher phones; haredim can sign up for any plan they want. The rabbis are just asking for a plan to exist that is verifiable. I see why some people find that potentially repressive, and the question is, how do you strike the right balance.)

      Thanks for writing!

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