Sex, Drugs & Sustainability

The newest “Promised Podcast” is here, for all your infotainment needs!

This time, discussions of:

(1) The continuing efforts of “the Greens” to enter Israeli politics.  This week saw the celebration of Earth Day here in Israel (as in pretty much everywhere else around the world), as well as the party convention of the “Green Movement,” in which the party voted to join forces with “Green Israel” in an effort to build a green party that will (as party head Alon Tal plausibly prophesizes) become the largest party at the municipal level, and a small party in the Knesset.  We  consider the state of “Green Politics,” focusing especially on the relatively recent decision of environmental activists to establish a beachhead in the Knesset and in City Halls around the country, instead of continuing to seek to advance their aims through civil society and NGOs.

(2) The surprising trend towards legislating feminist ideals.  This week, a new law was proposed to raise the age at which women may opt for breast augmentation surgery from 16.5 (with parental approval) to 22, adding a 30 day waiting period as well.  This surprising bit of legislation is, in its way, of a piece with a new law enacted last month, prohibiting the display in adds of “underweight” fashion models. We ponder the question, why suddenly the concern for women’s body image?  We also discuss (after the fashion of the classic, freshman dorm debate) the advisability of legislating body-image and gender stereotype issues.  

(3) The use of psychiatric drugs in the Haredi community, to enforce social norms.    Ha’aretz reported this week that psychotherapeutic drugs are increasingly being prescribed in the ultra-Orthodox community, as a way of increasing compliance with socio-religious norms.  (And, initially, here.)  SSRIs are prescribed, with the blessing of Rabbis, to men who masturbate or women dissatisfied with their marriages, etc. (giving rise to the moniker, “Rabbis little helpers.)  We examine the complicated meeting of Haredi culture with modern, liberal culture, and the surprising, sometimes paradoxical results that this meeting may produce.  For instance, is there anything untoward about the expectation on the part of ultra-Orthodox worthies that the drugs used in secular society to promote individual happiness are, in Haredi hands, looked to with the hope that they will promote collective values (perhaps even at the expense of individual happiness or expression)?

All this and finding lost relatives in the Palmach Museum, remembering lost soldiers, and the father-daughter time, watching the Knesset’s charming “Bible circle” study group on the tube!

You can subscribe on ITunes or ICast, or download your own MP3 here.  All this, brought to you by Shaharit: The Think Tank for New Israeli Politics.