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27 Teves 5763 - January 1, 2003 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Opinion & Comment
A Graphological Analysis of Yasser Arafat

by Yoseph Engel

Our Rabbis teach us that a prerequisite in making peace is to "give [something] up." Marriage counselors know that when the desire to sacrifice is present, peace is truly desired. Let us delve into Yasser Arafat's personality through graphological analysis. His desire for peace -- or lack thereof -- will become apparent.

Mr. Arafat has captivated world leaders, kings and presidents alike. His own people adore him. How can a terrorist charm the masses?

** Figure 1: Signature of Yasser Arafat: oengelA.jpg **

When we see an i dot joined to another letter or, for that matter, any letter that requires a dot or bar with its dot or bar joined to the main letter, as in Figure 1, it shows a clever combination of thoughts -- doing two things in one shot, so to speak. These are the personalities of chess players, and people who can solve abstract and intricate puzzles.

Notice Arafat's capital "A" bar that links into the next letter, "r." His underlined signature discloses pride and self-confidence.

Going a step further, notice the ascending baseline of the writing. This reflects aspiration, an "up" personality, and one with an ardent desire for advancement, a pushing and buoyant spirit, ambition, restlessness and optimism.

In handwriting analysis, the baseline--how straight the subject writes--reflects mood and how straightforward the writer is. In order to ensure that the base line is accurately read by the graphologist it is best that the paper be unlined, for lined paper has a way of guiding the writer in a course which may not be his real self.

** Figure 2: oengel2.jpg **

The writing in Figure 2 is more or less straight. You can see this by taking a ruler and placing it under the middle-zone letters (a, c, e, etc.). They are all basically equidistant from the ruler. Generally speaking, when the baseline is straight (and certain other factors are not present), we find an individual who doesn't go to pieces if something unexpected occurs. He is composed, not easily upset, straight thinking, straightforward, upright, frank and honest.

** Figure 3: oengel3.jpg **

The writing in Figure 3 has what is called an ascending base line, climbing toward the sky. This is the writing of an optimist. People who write like this are not easily discouraged and are a delight to have around, since they usually look on the bright side of life. There is a problem with them, however: often they do not look at facts too closely, because of their optimistic personalities, and this obviously impairs their judgment.

As the base line begins ascending, we see the degree of optimism: the higher the ascent the higher the degree of optimism--along with a higher degree of impracticality. The straightforwardness has succumbed due to the force of the positive, unrealistic optimism.

Yasser Arafat's pushing, buoyant, optimistic, uplifting and stimulating character--in the face of all--clearly has a most persuasive effect.

Both Mr. Arafat's signature and his underline ascend approximately to the same degree. The numbers in the date climb comparably. The first and second "9" ascend proportionately. The only reason the last number, "93," does not rise to the same degree is because -- consciously or otherwise -- the writer detects an oncoming obstruction (the printed text above) and must make the necessary adjustment. The fact that the date was not written somewhat lower from the onset and that an adjustment becomes necessary, reflects poor planning.

Notice the disproportionately large "f" in the lower zone, reflecting materialism. The authoritative Swiss graphologist Max Pulver described these highly inflated lower loops as "money bags," originating in a "money complex." The crass disproportion between this hand's upper (intellectual) zone and the inflated lower zone loop seems to confirm Pulver's view. The need (the greed) for land, etc. would then be an application of such a disparity.

** Figure 4: oengel4.jpg **

In Figure 4 the pointed (or angular) shape is at the bottom of a letter that should ordinarily be round. This shows resentment. In addition, here is a piercing, sharp personality, bent on getting his way. The angular shape reveals hardness and rigidity, especially when it dips into the lower (physical) zone for some strength. The bottom part of Mr. Arafat's "f" should be completely round; in fact it is decisively pointed.

When any form of writing is added to a script, especially when unnecessary, it is highly informative. A pointed form that looks more like a sword (underneath the capital "A" in Arafat's name) pierces downward, which enhances the aforementioned.

Compare the pressure in all the downstrokes, such as the "Y" and "f," with that of the cross strokes: the underline and the bar of the "t."

The muscles that are employed to write the downstrokes are the flexors. The extensor muscles are used more in the cross strokes. Flexor muscles are stronger than extensors and therefore ordinarily produce stronger pressure. Downstrokes are habitually written with heavier pressure than cross strokes for this reason. You will notice that Mr. Arafat's cross strokes are written with heavier pressure than his downstrokes.

When the cross strokes are comparatively heavier than the downstrokes, mother appears to be the actively domineering or aggressive head of the family; the father remains relatively weak and ineffectual, though perhaps he is a man of intellectual stature; or he may be hated, or dead, or absent.

The child feels neglected or overpowered by the mother, depending on whether her love is lacking or overwhelming. The child never really feels secure, is always either slighted or fondled, emotionally starved or smothered; in one word, confused.

It is typical of writers with most of their pressure in the cross strokes that they can neither conceive of their own -- nor, for that matter, of any -- limitations, nor can they stop "making the best of themselves" (overcompensation).

** Figure 5: oengel5.jpg **

Notice that in figure 5 the unizonal letters (a, e, etc.) vary in size. When one varies his unizonal letters it indicates someone who is constantly altering his position.

A signature is the image that one portrays to the outside world. In Arafat's autograph, where he is certainly exceedingly vigilant as to how he will appear, the two small a's vary in size -- and in so short a name. Thus changing his declaration is to be expected. This, combined with the fact that both these oval letters are sealed at the top discloses that the writer is enigmatic.

Yet, perhaps what is most astonishing is that this is a signature on a document of peace, intended for his "friend" the late Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin. In general, a man starts off trying to give the best possible impression of himself and this shows in the beginning stroke.

After a while, he lets his guard down. At the end of the signature he is not so conscious as he was of giving that good first impression. He has asserted himself; he no longer needs to be so conscious of his appearance. Therefore we see his true character emerge.

It is always interesting to compare the beginning strokes with the end ones, a comparison that yields a wealth of information.

With the end stroke, the writer here has a problem similar to that of his beginning stroke: where to end. It is a social decision, since the end of the word represents his relationship to his fellowman. If his end stroke turns back toward the left, this shows his thinking is directed toward the past, his home, mother and childhood, repression. If it is drawn out to the right, it shows him oriented toward other people, the future, goals. If his end strokes go upward, we will see that his thoughts are spiritual ones, religious, even mystical. If they go downward, his thoughts are materialistic, implying that he lives a life of pleasure. If he avoids a commitment and simply fades out, without an end stroke at all, it indicates meanness toward his fellowman.

In his first letter, the capital "A," the A bar is written very low between the legs of the letter. This is a clear gesture of submission--the first impression.

What is Mr. Arafat's final writing--the real Yasser Arafat?

Notice the underline closely, which is the end of the document. It ends with an inflexible hook. This end hook holds on.

One easily receives from the whole signature a first impression that he will yield, and then his true character emerges. Mr. Arafat allows his personality to get in his way. He will not tolerate any concession whatsoever. That necessary ingredient for peace, to give up, has been sacrificed.

Rabbi Yoseph Engel has been a maggid shiur, marriage counselor and graphologist for the past thirty years. He lives in Yerushalayim and recently published Advice for Living with the haskomoh of rabbonim. He can be reached at 972-64 248-154 (064- 248154).

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