My favorite things Israel

1. Film: A rich and rapidly improving genre.  My favorites are Lebanon or Waltz with Bashir, with a sentimental nod to Yana’s Friends, which isn’t great but I saw it on my second date with Natasha.

2. Movie, set in (non-Israeli): I don’t like Exodus, so can I cite the Mel Gibson movie?  Are we totally sure that it is indeed set in Israel?  What else am I missing?  “Painting, set in” would be a fun category, but too hard to choose.

3. Actress: Natalie Portman is excellent in Closer.

4. Classical musician: Daniel Barenboim, Yefim Bronfman, Ivry Gitlis, and Eliahu Inbal would be at the top of a pretty long list.  Perlman has a style too aggressive for my taste, at least as it comes across on disc.

5. Fiction author: I very much admire and enjoy David Grossman’s To The End of the Land.

6. Philosopher: Joseph Raz, especially his The Morality of Freedom.

7. Non-fiction author: Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow is splendid.  Tom Segev could be a runner-up.

8. Co-author: Amihai Glazer, from UC Irvine.

9. Other economists: Donald Patinkin, Ariel Rubinstein, Ehud Kalai, Jacob Frenkel, Dan Ariely, Robert Aumann, Sergiu Hart, Elhanan Helpman, Reuven Brenner, Zvi Hercowitz, Oded Galor, Michael Bruno, and Stanley Fischer would be a few others.  Overall the country is strong in game theory and monetary economics, as well as economics more generally.

I strike a zero when it comes to popular music.  I don’t like Kiss/Gene Simmons, and Israeli popular music I don’t know well but from a distance I do not expect to like it much.  The visual arts are also not obviously strong, though perhaps you can enlighten me in the comments.


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