Born and educated in America, I came to Israel following my American military service in my early 20’s – arriving one day before the 6 Day War. I became a Zionist not because of ideological conviction, but because I fell in love with Israel and the potential of its people. I believe there is something exceptional about Jewish peoplehood; that we betray our ancestors, ourselves and human history when we turn our backs on that exceptionality. I believe that the modern State of Israel is not only a framework to guarantee the physical survival of the Jewish people; it is also a vessel by which we can give modern expression to the energy, idealism and creativity that has characterized so much of Jewish history. I also believe that unless we strive to achieve this second aspect of Israel’s mission we will not succeed in sustaining the first and thus will not survive: that: If Israel will not be a light unto the nations it will not be a light unto the Jews and thus will have no reason to survive. This was a view also held by David Ben Gurion, and in that sense, in addition to his defense policies (territorial minimalist/security activist), I could justifiably be called a Ben Gurionist.
Soon after coming to Israel I met Mordechai Nessyahu, the man who molded my thinking about Jewish peoplehood and the place we should play in the all-human drama. He made me his partner in the central intellectual project of his life, which quickly also became my own – namely Cosmodeism (initially called Cosmotheism). He was Director of the Research Department of the Israeli Labor Party and hired me as his assistant. This introduced me to sophisticated practical (rather than academic) political thinking.
Soon after I met and married my first wife Ziona, the first child born in Israel to immigrants from Yemen. We were married 35 years and had four children. During this time we lived for several years on her predominately Yemenite Moshav, and thus my non-workplace social life was in a predominately Middle Eastern Jewish milieu. This enabled me to not only witness firsthand how the "Mizrahim" viewed the governing Eastern European Labor establishment, but also to perceive the strengths and weaknesses of both Eastern European and Middle Eastern cultures. Having experienced the resentment many Middle Eastern Jews had to the cultural condescension of the Labor elite, I was not at all surprised by the aggressive antipathy that emerged in the 1977 and 1981 elections. Indeed, I was surprised the Labor leaders were surprised and even resentful. It just demonstrated how much the party that had founded Israel had become estranged from large swathes of New Israel's population. To this day, Labor has not come to terms with "the browning" of Israel and electoral defeat after electoral defeat serves to demonstrate this.
Much of what I have written about politics and policy over the course of my life has evolved out of the great successes and catastrophic failures of the Israeli Labor Movement. Even more has evolved out of my business and consulting experience in the private sector when I left the Research Department and struck out on my own. The essential weaknesses of apparently coherent, internally logical ideologies – whether socialist, Marxist or capitalist – when dealing with the sloppy realities of real human experience became evident to me from this private sector experience.
This led me to become enthralled with the concept of constitutionalism – an idea treated with disdain by Marxists as a bourgeois construct to justify and defend their own class interests. But the fact that this 'ism' had defeated all the other 'isms' of the 19th and 20th centuries and was effectively used by non-bourgeois minorities and labor movements to gain their rights led me to suspect that despite being unfashionable with the academic left, there was something to it. I enriched my thinking about constitutionalism while teaching history for ten years after I closed my consulting business, and proceeded to make my living by translating, lecturing and teaching.
In the course of my working experience I had become involved with a way of thinking about human society variously called Futurology, Futures Studies or Futurism. I have preferred Futurism as best reflecting what this activity is about. I will explain why in the overview to Global Issues.
In 2001, my best living friend, Micaela Ziv, who was to become my second wife, encouraged me to begin writing books in order to get my thinking down in a more comprehensive and coherent form. Over a 12-year period I have written four books:
Futurizing the Jews (Praeger Press, 2003) – With the late Rabbi Dr. Moshe Dror
The Optimistic Jew (Maxanna Press, 2007) – (English, Russian and Spanish)
It's Not the Electoral System, Stupid (Teffer Press, 2013) – with former MK Dr. Einat Wilf (Hebrew and English)
The Suicide of the Jews – A Cautionary Tale (ContentoNow Press, 2015)
I have also written and published well over 100 articles and essays in Hebrew and English including the Encyclopedia of the Future, the International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, and the American Sociological Association. But in fact I am most proud of my non-academic writing – I believe it is richer, more informative and certainly more useful.
Writing my books caused me to develop diverse ways of thinking strategically about the future. I quickly came to the realization that it is not enough to have great ideas about the way things should be, or to act morally superior to others because you have such great ideas. I believe you must lay out a reasonable strategy that shows how you might achieve your visions over time and that if you cannot do that your ideas are suspect and should be reexamined.
I have produced a series of lectures, seminars, workshops and courses dedicated to cultivating futurist and strategic habits of thought for businesses, NGOs as well as Jewish and non-Jewish audiences and this is how I am presently making my living. You may see a partial list of the subjects I lecture on in the lectures rubric of this website.