Lay of the Land Weekly Newsletter- 28 February 2021

Unveiling the contours and contrasts of an ever-changing Middle East landscape

Reliable reportage and insightful commentary on the Middle East by seasoned journalists from the region and beyond


New Developments in Social Media

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No mask has ever been more important than this year’s mask” – celebrate wisely.

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What’s happening in Israel today?  See this week’s daily ‘The Israel Brief’ broadcasts on LOTL  YouTube   by seasoned TV & radio broadcaster, every Monday to Thursday and on our Facebook page. Rolene Marks familiar to Chai FM listeners in South Africa and millions of American listeners to the News/Talk/Sports radio station WINA broadcasting out of Charlottesville, Virginia. You can subscribe to LOTL news from Israel and enjoy at a time of your convenience.

The Israel Brief

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A Tale of Two Judokas – the Israeli and the Iranian

It took bravery, grit and defiance – not against a single competitor but an autocratic regime!

By David E. Kaplan

Message from the Mat. Friends Israeli Sagi Muki (left) and Iranian Saeid Mollaei (right)  cross borders and boundaries.

Defying orders  to withdraw from  the 2019 World Championship in Japan because he might likely face an Israeli in the final, Iranian Judoka Saed Mollaei went into exile instead. Emerging “Friends for life” with that Israeli – Sagii Muki, the two competitors reunited this February in a competition in Tel Aviv.

A Tale of Two Judokas – the Israeli and the Iranian

(Click on the blue title)


And Then They Came for Us

Big Tech censorship is hurting the freedom of speech

By Rolene Marks

Facebook v Australia. This isn’t cricket! Corporate tech giant Facebook facing off sovereign state of Australia.     

Social media is becoming increasingly antisocial with tech giants like Facebook, Twitter and others restricting  online exposure of what an algorithm may determine as  “political”. With “Zionism” not being immune from censorship and behemoth Facebook ‘unfriending’ a sovereign state like Australia, who is safe today? Are our rights to free access of information as news consumers in serious danger?

And Then They Came for Us

(Click on the blue title)


Tel Aviv is Alive, Well and Pedaling

By Stephen Schulman

Peddling for Pleasure. On and off-road bicycles, social cycling around the Sea of Galilee with the writer ( far left) . 

With its flat topography, large parks, seaside promenade, multitude of cycling lanes and many hire bike stations, Tel Aviv has become a Mecca for cyclists. Even in this difficult pandemic period, the writer, a seasoned social cyclist, explores Israel’s two-wheeled renaissance as many Israelis have discovered and rediscovered the joys of cycling.

Tel Aviv is Alive, Well and Pedaling

(Click on the blue title)

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LOTL Cofounders David E. Kaplan (Editor), Rolene Marks and Yair Chelouche

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While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs (0&EO)

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