Coffee with Golda Meir

For more than ten years, the Atlas Coffee Shop in Tel Aviv has sold a special blend named “Golda,” after Israel’s fourth prime minister. The Raffaeli family, who have owned and operated Atlas for decades, inherited the recipe from Aaron and Mura Cohen when they retired and closed their own shop—where, once upon a time, Golda Meir had been a regular customer. To accommodate her preferences, the Cohens  had begun roasting a new blend of coffee, as Karen Chernick writes:

“It’s a very strong coffee,” says Uri Rafaelli. “Bitter, and it has a bit of a special aroma.” He hesitates to add that the blend’s acidity recalls the blunt personality of its famous drinker, as well as her reputation as an Iron Lady, [a nickname applied to her before Margaret Thatcher moved in to 10 Downing Street].

From the time Meir served as a cabinet minister in the 1950s and throughout her tenure as prime minister from 1969 to 1974, an inner circle often huddled in her green Formica kitchen to talk policy—likely over a cup of black coffee. Meir’s favorite brew was sipped by heads of state, decision makers, and foreign dignitaries.

As prime minister, when Meir was frustrated that her cabinet couldn’t accomplish anything during meetings on Sundays (the first day of the Israeli work week), she started her own weekly tradition. A select group dubbed Golda’s “Kitchen Cabinet” gathered around the countertops of her Tel Aviv home at 8 HaBaron Hirsch Street on Saturday evenings to make important decisions in advance. “It was a mark of honor to be invited to meetings in Golda’s kitchen,” [said] the veteran politician Lova Eliav. “It showed that you were important.”

Read more at Atlas Obscura

More about: Golda Meir, Israeli history, Tel Aviv


American Aid to Lebanon Is a Gift to Iran

For many years, Lebanon has been a de-facto satellite of Tehran, which exerts control via its local proxy militia, Hizballah. The problem with the U.S. policy toward the country, according to Tony Badran, is that it pretends this is not the case, and continues to support the government in Beirut as if it were a bulwark against, rather than a pawn of, the Islamic Republic:

So obsessed is the Biden administration with the dubious art of using taxpayer dollars to underwrite the Lebanese pseudo-state run by the terrorist group Hizballah that it has spent its two years in office coming up with legally questionable schemes to pay the salaries of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), setting new precedents in the abuse of U.S. foreign security-assistance programs. In January, the administration rolled out its program to provide direct salary payments, in cash, to both the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and the Internal Security Forces (ISF).

The scale of U.S. financing of Lebanon’s Hizballah-dominated military apparatus cannot be understated: around 100,000 Lebanese are now getting cash stipends courtesy of the American taxpayer to spend in Hizballah-land. . . . This is hardly an accident. For U.S. policymakers, synergy between the LAF/ISF and Hizballah is baked into their policy, which is predicated on fostering and building up a common anti-Israel posture that joins Lebanon’s so-called “state institutions” with the country’s dominant terror group.

The implicit meaning of the U.S. bureaucratic mantra that U.S. assistance aims to “undermine Hizballah’s narrative that its weapons are necessary to defend Lebanon” is precisely that the LAF/ISF and the Lebanese terror group are jointly competing to achieve the same goals—namely, defending Lebanon from Israel.

Read more at Tablet

More about: Hizballah, Iran, Israeli Security, Lebanon, U.S. Foreign policy