The Promised Podcast

Nov 26 2020 66 mins 2.3k

An inside view of how Israel can warm your heart and make your blood boil. It’s a show by a journalist, a professor and an NGO professional who live in and love Israel even though it drives them crazy, and who each week discuss the latest in Israeli politics, culture, and society.











































































































































































The “Assassination, Prevarication & Narration Peroration” Edition
Mar 01 2018 67 mins  
Noah Efron, Charlotte Hallé, and Don Futterman discuss three topics of incomparable importance and end with an anecdote about something in Israel that made them smile this week. Looking for extra segments and other patron-only perks? They're available to our patrons on www.patreon.com/promisedpodcast Kill First! Two thousand and three hundred: That's how many targeted killing operations Israel has carried out over the years, Israeli journalist and author Ronen Bergman estimates in his stunning new book Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel's Targeted Assassinations. The book traces the history of a key strategy in the history of Israel's intelligence and security apparatuses, and raises questions about its ethical and practical aspects. When (if ever) are these assassinations justified, and are they even a smart idea? Legislating Innocence Poland's explosive "Holocaust complicity bill" may or may not be about to become law. After Israel raised concerns about the proposed penalty for anyone accusing Poland of complicity in Nazi crimes, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki's explanation that the Holocaust also had its "Jewish perpetrators" then sparked further outrage. Poles had good reason to be lumped together with Germans as perpetrators of the Holocaust, but Poles also have a lot to answer for. So what is Israel to do? Won’t Anyone Think of the Tour Guides? Israeli Tourism Minister Yariv Levin recently proposed a bill that would allow unaccredited tour guides to lead many (though not all) tours. Currently, a prospective guide needs to take a two-year course, a practice resulting in remarkably well-educated guides. But some ask why Israel can't have architects devising their own tours of cities' buildings, for example. Is liberalizing tour guiding another small step for post-modern freedom, or is it one liberalization too far? Music: Lior Perla, in honor of his newest record, Bein Kotlei ha- Zeman, released just this week! Shoom Davar Bein Kotley HaZman Halev Hazeh Ad Hasof

The “Eyes on the Prize” Edition
Feb 22 2018 66 mins  
Noah Efron, Allison Kaplan Sommer, and Don Futterman discuss three topics of incomparable importance and end with an anecdote about something in Israel that made them smile this week. Looking for extra segments and other patron-only perks? They're available to our patrons on Patreon. Left to Decide Israel's liberal-left Meretz party will hold its first-ever primary to pick its next leader in March, and the candidates have brought to the party new energy, excitement, voters, and vision to an entity whose relevance in contemporary Israeli politics is often called into question. The leadership race has developed into a vital debate into how the Left should present itself to voters and pursue change. What can we learn from this fascinating race? Prize Possession David Grossman the great Israeli writer who just seven months ago won one of literature’s most prestigious awards, the Man Booker Prize, last week learned that he would, on Israel’s 70th Independence Day, receive his homelands most prestigious award, the Israel Prize. But an essay this weekend in Haaretz by Israel’s leading civil rights lawyer Avigdor Feldman argued is that, in these days, to take the prize is an act of collaboration with a government with which people of principle ought no longer collaborate. Should Grossman, for decades one of the clearest voices of conscience on the Left, turn down the Israel Prize as a powerful and percussive expression of that conscience? The (Harsh) Reality of Marriage The most popular new show on Israeli TV is a science-based reality show called “Wedding at First Sight.” The show begins with scientific experts, who designed and administered examination protocols exploring the psycho-social-cognitive and physiological profile of thousands of volunteer singles, scientifically-identifying five heteronormative pairs, if science is to be trusted, are exquisitely compatible with one another. Each of the couples is sent on a luxurious honeymoon, at the end of which they will settle down to live together for 40 days, at the end of which they need to decide whether to continue their lives as married folks or dissolve their union. Does the success of the show, which is so retro, with the role of traditional matchmaker filled by science, reflect a wish for a simpler time when your parents, or your youth movement, pretty much ensured that you’d find a mate? Music: Sputnik Hi-Fi Eretz ha-Rakavot (ארץ הרכבות) Ha-Laila hakhi Tov (הלילה הכי טוב) Hashmal (חשמל) Hol (חול)

The "Tragic Flaws" Edition
Feb 15 2018 67 mins  
Noah Efron, Allison Kaplan Sommer, and Don Futterman discuss three topics of incomparable importance and end with an anecdote about something in Israel that made them smile this week. Looking for extra segments and other patron-only perks? They're available to our patrons on Patreon. Bribes, Fraud and Breach of Trust Israel's police have recommended indictments against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying "a sufficient evidentiary foundation has been established" for suspicions of soliciting and accepting bribes, fraud, and breach of trust. Netanyahu's party is standing by its man, while coalition partners are cautiously maintaining support. Opposition leaders are calling for him to resign. Should he? Regardless of personal opinion, what response befits the situation? The Lie Yaakov Perry, former head of the Shin Bet secret service, has resigned from his post as a Member of Knesset for the centrist Yesh Atid party, after it was learned that he lied about his military record. Should such a lie disqualify someone from serving in politics today? What is so distressing about learning that he lied about this issue specifically? Tile and Error Studio Ceramics, a premier boutique purveyor of high quality wall and floor tiles, is the first company ever sued under a new Israeli law banning "discrimination according to place of residence" after telling a journalist who lives in a settlements that it "does not deliver to the territories." Should Studio Ceramics ought to be forced to deliver their tiles and toilets to the territories, even if doing so is (a) more dangerous, (b) more expensive, and (c) a contravention of their political beliefs? Music: Ariel Horowitz Yalla Bye Hakol Katuv Renee Sloan Kettering

The “Federation Delegation Visitation Conversation” Edition
Feb 08 2018 71 mins  
Before a live audience including a delegation from UJA-Federation of New York, the largest local philanthropy in the history of the world, Noah Efron, Allison Kaplan Sommer, and Don Futterman discuss three topics of incomparable importance and end with an anecdote about something in Israel that made them smile this week. Looking for extra segments and other patron-only perks? They're available to our patrons on Patreon. Israel’s Urban Poorgeoisie Amia Leiblich, professor emerita at the Hebrew University, hasturned her gaze and attention to a group she calls “The New Poor.” “The new poverty,” she writes writes: “is poverty that is unexpected, given the place that those who suffer from it started. The new poor are people who stood on their own two feet, or who were supposed to stand on their own two feet economically, but for some reason the ground withdrew from beneath them.” Who are these folks? Do they represent a social problem and challenge that needs to be addressed on its own terms? The Promised Podcast Guide to Purse-String Power American Jews continue to be astonishingly generous in their contributions to Israel, but some voices are calling for them to use their cash as leverage to strong-arm some changes in Israeli attitudes. What ought donors want to change in Israeli society? What is the best way to help bring about this change? Is it a good idea to use philanthropy as a cudgel? Still and All, Israel Around Rosh ha-Shannah, Rogel Alpher published a column in Haaretz called “Why I am Leaving the Country” in which he explained that “Israel is not worth the price it extracts from us, that is the truth.” A few years ago, a Facebook page called “Olim Le-Berlin” -- we are moving (or “ascending”) to Berlin -- gained thousands of followers. The hosts of the podcast have their criticisms of Israel, and their worries about the future of the country and, therefore, their own futures. Yet they are here. How do we harmonize between our criticisms of Israel, and our worries, and the fact that we made this place our home by choice and, effectively, we each day make this choice anew? Music: Vocatikva Ensemble – Social Music! Eliad Nahum Mashup Kulam Rokdim Achshav Idan Reichel Mashup Hahkam ba-Shemesh

The "Democrats, Diplomats & Habitats” Edition
Feb 01 2018 63 mins  
Noah Efron, Allison Kaplan Sommer, and Don Futterman discuss three topics of incomparable importance and end with an anecdote about something in Israel that made them smile this week. Looking for extra segments and other patron-only perks? They're available to our patrons on Patreon. Mind the Gap! In America in the age of Trump and Netanyahu, Israel has seemingly become a partisan issue. According to a new poll of Americans, 74 percent of Republicans sympathize more with Israel than with the Palestinians, while 43 percent of Democrats do. There are various theories about why there is such a partisan gap. Is this partisanization of Israel in America a danger to us and if so why and, most crucial of all, what the hell ought to be done about it? Putting the “Low” in Diplomat Numerous mutually conflicting explanations have been offered for why Israel's Diplomatic Corps is disintegrating. Why it has become so difficult to find young people making a career of diplomacy. More important, does the decline of the diplomatic corps really matter in the age of Twitter diplomacy and rapid and direct communications between leaders? Venting on Rent, Dissent and Discontent When the country’s leading expert on and advocate of social housing and, especially, affordable rent policy attacks the government’s first serious attempt in more than a generation to legislate an affordable rent policy, you know that on the way to doing something right, someone went desperately wrong. What should be done with the present bill under consideration? What should be done more generally about affordable rent in Israel? What vision of the neighborhoods and cities we want ought to guide us in setting housing policy? Music: Soul J. (Alon Bloom): Lo ha-Ben Shel Rothschild Journey Called Life Kach et zeh be-Eezy Al Tivku

The "Abbas Unbound" Edition
Jan 25 2018 66 mins  
Noah Efron, Allison Kaplan Sommer, and Don Futterman discuss three topics of incomparable importance and end with an anecdote about something in Israel that made them smile this week. Looking for extra segments and other patron-only perks? They're available to our patrons on Patreon. In furorem, veritas?, or Abbas Unbound Palestinian Authority President let loose twice last week in long angry speeches, claiming that Israel is the result of Western colonialist machinations and is "unconnected to Jews." What do we learn, if anything, from these remarks? What impact ought they have on how we go forward to see peaceful and secure relations between Israelis and Palestinians? Speaking frankly As Israel announces a plan to deport most of the (estimated) 42,000 refugees (mostly) from Eritrea, an NGO decides to found the "Anne Frank Home Sanctuary Movement," aiming to persuade Israelis to open their homes to refugees hiding from police. When (if ever) is it right to use Anne Frank (and all she stands for) as a moral exemplar and object lesson in contemporary political debates. Amazon and the Jewish Question Amid news that retail leviathan Amazon.com may build a "logistics center" in Israel, there were those who responded with fear and worry. Does Amazon's incipient presence in Israel signal the sad destruction of our local economy or the happy enthronement of low, low prices? Music: Gil Ron Shama (in honor of his new record, Café Jalal): Dream Leyla (feat. Mosh Ben Ari) Asmar (feat. Lubna Salama) Prophet (feat. Hayra Arby & Amir Shahsar)








































































































The "Four Sons for a New Generation" Edition
Apr 21 2016 60 mins  
In this Passover potpourri of propitious, panegyric perspicacity, Don, Allison, and Noah update the old story in the Midrash about the four sons. Then they serve up a primo pastiche of past "Vatacountry!" pieces, in which the panel (and guests) describe stuff that delights, enchants, surprises, and amuses them about this crazy country we live in and love. Four Sons for a New Generation We update the old story in the Midrash about the four sons - one wise, one evil, one simple, and one who does not know how to ask - by discussing who would be the modern versions of these ancient archetypes. The Joys of Family The Promised Podcast panel and guests discuss some of their most touching family moments in Israel, including birthdays, graduations, and anniversaries. The Unbearable Lightness of Being Israeli The Promised Podcast panel and guests recall some of their more poignant moments in special places in Israel, whether it be the Hula Valley, the Jerusalem Hills, on the street or around the dinner table. Sometimes Israel Inspires The Promised Podcast panel members tell stories about inspiring things they've witnessed in Israel: The kindness of strangers to a blind man; thought-provoking teaching in the army; and political activism among the younger generation. Songs of slavery and freedom by some of Israel’s greatest: Yehudah Poliker – Hatchalah ChadashaAviv Geffen – OnotBerry Sakharov – AvadimShlomo Artzi - Shir Baboker Baboker



































"The State of the Spirit (and the Spirit of the State)" Edition
Sep 17 2015 60 mins  
To mark the Days of Awe, Allison, Don and Noah discuss a trinity of topics aimed to divine the state of the spirit and the spirit of the state here in Israel. We ponder the state of religion & irreligion, spirituality & superstition, creed & cult in the Jewish State, even as God looks down upon us and ponders whether or not to inscribe The Promised Podcast in the Book of Many Downloads, or instead, in the Book of Too Few Facebook Likes, heaven forefend! The religiouser we get, the happier we feel? A poll commissioned by Haaretz has found that ultra-Orthodox Jews are happier than Orthodox Jews, who are in turn happier than traditional Jews, who are in turn happier than secular Jews. What's the explanation? Gimme that ol’ time irreligion! That same poll has found that 70 percent of Israeli Jews believe in God, and 98 percent of Israeli Arabs, meaning – among other things – that lots of ostensibly secular Jews have begun to believe in God. Are atheist Zionists becoming an endangered species? Taming theists with technology? Research indicates that ultra-Orthodox Jews are using the internet in rapidly growing numbers. Can frumkeit and Facebook really mix? Or will the wiring of the ultra-Orthodox lead to their assimilation into the great unwashed mass of instagramming idiots? Songs by Tuna, one of Israel’s great rappers, in honor of his new album, "Gam Zeh Ya’avor"! Lama Lo AchshavGam Zeh Ya’avorOlam Meshuga (with Nechi Nech)Rock Shloshim

















































































































5 • 1 Ratings

issoy Apr 17 2020
This is the podcast that got me back into podcasts after never being able to recapture the joy of listening to Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington. I'm not comparing but there is something magical about the chemistry between Noah, Allison and Don (and more recently Ohad). That this podcast manages to retain some optimism and hope in this day and age is Herculean. If you want to keep up with what's going on in Israel from a left of center perspective then this is the way to do it