The biggest gift we have is our ability to raise questions

My favorite story derives from Isidor Isaac Rabi, the Nobel laureate in physics who once was asked, “Why did you become a scientist, rather than a doctor or lawyer or businessman, like the other immigrant kids in your neighborhood?”
Dr. Rabi’s answer: “My mother made me a scientist without ever intending it. Every other Jewish mother in Brooklyn would ask her child after school: ‘So? Did you learn anything today?’ But not my mother. She always asked me a different question. ‘Izzy,’ she would say, ‘did you ask a good question today?’ That difference—asking good questions—made me become a scientist!”

My belief system, in how I view the surroundings and what is shaping the world, is characterized of my necessity of asking questions, rather than looking for answers. Someone wrote long ago that we believe that to defend a country you need an army, but to defend a civilization you need education.

Judaism is said to be a faith based on asking questions. Jews has put it as an absolute priority with education of one another. Learning and teaching is a lifelong engagement. And I want my I considerations to reflect that I do not possess any certain knowledge, with the exception of asking relevant question in order to understand the reality and work against dogmatic thinking and statism.

In my writings, both previous, current, and future, my purpose is to understand why a certain aspect is viewed or perceived as it is. What are the behind looking aspects that gains momentum into understanding an aspect as prevailing truth? What factors has been given the monopoly of interpretation as the “perceived truth?” Are there other, often hidden aspects of a reasoning, and if so, what are they defined as? And how known are the other parameters that challenge conventional wisdom? Often, a question is politicized through one particular understanding, making that understanding advantageous over others that risks being left untouchable in the shadows

Who am I? My name is Martin. I live in Stockholm. I have written two books on Israeli politics, one of which was an anthology on voices for and against the Two State Solution between Israel and Palestine, and my most recent book took aim at Israeli land politics and settlements. I am allergic to dogmatism and try to envision pragmatism and the gift of lightness when the surroundings is at its darkest hour.

As I live in Western Europe I have witness in firsthand how Israel perceive itself and how Western Europe perceives Israel. While it is true that Israel is enjoying diplomatic relations (official and unofficial) with more countries than ever before, the perception of Israel in Western Europe is a problem.This will also be the main theme in my blog. I will for my readers try to explain the cognitive dissonance that exists between my western Europe and Israel, for the benefit of both.

I am delighted to write for Times for Israel and my future bloggings will be characterized by the need of asking questions and putting things in context.

Martin Blecher

About the Author
In 2016 I released the Swedish book Who Says What? Voices in favor and against a Two-State Solution. The aim for the book was to be an objective and sensible voice by presenting balanced texts from respectable actors who provide different perspectives on the situation and reflect on alternative solutions. I recently released my second book Israeli Settlements: Land Politics beyond the Geneva Convention. The aim with that book is to go deeper to understand the rationale behind Israeli land policies. I am also a diplomatic Corp for the World Jewish Congress.
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