Yaacov Lozowick was born under Eisenhower and was moved to Israel as LBJ was sinking. He wrote a doctorate about Nazism (Hitler's Bureaucrats: the Nazi Security Police and the Banality of Evil) and a second book about Israel (Right to Exist: A Moral Defence of Israel's Wars). His first 15-year career was in education; his second as Director of Archives at Yad Vashem; his third, launched in 2008, is as a high-tech entrepreneur. Yaacov lives in Jerusalem with his wife, and they have three (more or less) adult children. He blogs at Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations.
Why do you blog? > To pit my small voice against the reigning Zeitgeist.
What has been your best blogging experience? > Learning from far-flung and diverse readers.
What are your favourite blogs? > Fluid. At the moment, Jeffrey Goldberg (we're similar); Dan @ All That Comes With It (we're very different); Mondoweiss (their opinions drive me bonkers but I'm trying to figure out what makes them tick).
Who are your intellectual heroes? > Maimonides. The whole gang of Enlightenment thinkers. My best teacher ever was Martin van Creveld.
What are you reading at the moment? > Drew Gilpin Faust, This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War; Paula Fredriksen, Augustine and the Jews: A Christian Defence of Jews and Judaism; next on the list is Linda Himelstein, The King of Vodka: The Story of Pyotr Smirnov and the Upheaval of an Empire.
Who are your cultural heroes? > Beethoven going deaf; Rabbi Yehuda Halevi publicly recognizing the hypocrisy of his generation and abandoning Spain. Solzhenitsyn.
What is the best novel you've ever read? > The Grapes of Wrath.
What is your favourite poem? > Ecclesiastes 3, A Time for Everything.
Who is your favourite composer? > Beethoven, but also Arvo Pärt.
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > Numerous issues. Re-examining and changing one's mind is a painful but exhilarating process. Two major changes: (1) accepting Hannah Arendt's 'banality of evil' thesis until reading the documentary trail proved how wrong she'd been; (2) belonging to the Israeli peace camp for decades until living the reality that proved how misguided it had been all along.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to disseminate? > Rational inquiry as the method of seeking truth. Ah – and that there are objective truths that can be sought.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > Postmodernism. And anti-Semitism, but that's not an important philosophical thesis, is it?
Can you name a work of non-fiction which has had a major and lasting influence on how you think about the world? > Ecclesiastes. For its profound scepticism and life-affirming subtext.
Who are your political heroes? > Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, David Ben-Gurion (in chronological order).
What is your favourite piece of political wisdom? > 'I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves' – Thomas Jefferson.
If you could effect one major policy change in the governing of your country, what would it be? > Move out of most of the West Bank, recognizing this would not bring peace. Probably the opposite, at least for a while.
If you could choose anyone, from any walk of life, to be Prime Minister, who would you choose? > Tzipi Livni. (I'm practical.)
What would you do with the UN? > Spin off the few positive parts, then shut down the rest. (Seriously).
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > Human nature; the eagerness of some to tread on others; the inability of nice people to believe the eagerness exists.
Do you think the world (human civilization) has already passed its best point, or is that yet to come? > Yet to come. Eventually. Sort of. Rather.
What would be your most important piece of advice about life? > 'Repent one day before your death' – Rabbi Eliezer.
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > Television. We've thrown out our set.
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do)? > Nowhere.
What would your ideal holiday be? > A month on a distant Norwegian lake.
What do you like doing in your spare time? > Family. Read. Walk.
What is your most treasured possession? > Great-grandmother's cheap candlesticks from Warsaw. Actually, they're my daughter's.
What talent would you most like to have? > Piano playing; full command of Arabic. Two things I have only myself to blame for not having.
Who is your favourite comedian or humorist? > Groucho Marx.
If you could have one (more or less realistic) wish come true, what would you wish for? > Meaningful lives for our children.
If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner who would they be? > Shlomo Aumann (killed in 1982), my father (died in 1985) and father-in-law (died in 1991). Ah what a discussion they'd have!
What animal would you most like to be? > Eagle.
[The normblog profile is a weekly Friday morning feature. A list of all the profiles to date, and the links to them, can be found here.]