Lay of the Land Weekly Newsletter- 30 January 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


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What’s happening in Israel today?  See from every Monday – Thursday LotL’s “The Israel Brief” broadcasts and on our Facebook page and  YouTube by seasoned TV & radio broadcaster, 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.

The Israel Brief

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Lay of the Land Co-founder, Rolene Marks was interviewed by i24News about the recent study that found 2021 to be the most antisemitic year in over a decade.



When Jews Thrive, the World Thrives

Surviving the Shoah and its impact on human survival today

By David E. kaplan

Savior from SalonicaSon of Holocaust survivorsGreek-bornPfizer CEO Albert Bourla helped develop the lifesaving COVID vaccine

The announcement shortly before international Holocaust Memorial Day that Pfizer CEO, Dr. Albert Bourla  – the son of Greek Holocaust survivors – was the 2022 recipient of Israel’s prestigious Genesis Prize, was a chilling reminder of what the world has lost by the mass murder of Europe’s six million Jews in the Shoah.

When Jews Thrive, the World Thrives

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Survivor to ex-Nazi camp guard

You’ve lived 100 times longer than baby Erika’

By Dr. Efraim Zuroff

Timeous Testimony. Holocaust survivor Emil Farkas testifies at the trial of former S.S. concentration camp guard Josef Schütz.

What was the 100-year-old Sachsenhausen concentration SS camp guard defendant thinking, when he faced-off in a German courtroom prosecution witness Emil Farkas from Israel, reminding him of the song he was forced to sing in earshot that was poignantly the same name of his 1-year-old murdered niece – ERICA?

Survivor to ex-Nazi camp guard

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The Importance of Memory

By Karen Pollock

Life before the Holocaust. Smiling faces of Jewish children with dreams before murderously turned into living nightmares.

With the “human stories” of the Holocaust too frequently missing from public discourse, the writer reinforces the personal on this Holocaust Memorial Day that the 6 million Jews mass murdered in the Shoah are best honoured if we remember them as PEOPLE before they were VICTIMS.

The Importance of Memory

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Ballad of the Social Justice Warrior

By Tyler Samuels

Jump on the Bandwagon. Driven by media and celebrities, ‘social justice warriors’ are drawn to populist positions.

In an ever-changing societal landscape, we see the rise of the “Social Justice Warrior” – a  faceless warrior operating mostly from behind a keyboard. What concerns this writer, is the selective morality of these ‘moral’ warriors, whose fingers race into a rage against Israel but are mostly silent on the most horrendous atrocities across the world.

Ballad of the Social Justice Warrior

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“What are you doing here?”

By Ilan Ossendryver

“The streets are cruel here, muddy foot-thick strips of slush in the rainy season and suffocating dust in the dry season.”

A Jewish South African photojournalist living in Johannesburg recounts a harrowing “close shave” in his chilling exposé of  life in Soweto while on assignment during the brutal days of Apartheid.

“What are you doing here?”

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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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