Analysis News

The trauma and tragedy of Israel's vocational education system

Across the board, the achievements of vocational school graduates are significantly lower than those of non-vocational high school graduates. What is needed is equality. Nothing more, nothing less.

By Yossi Dahan (Translated from Hebrew by Alan Horowitz)

Before surrendering to the vision of Stef Wertheimer, Benjamin Netanyahu, Minister of Education Shay Piron and the vocational education system, which calls for transforming the educational system into an indentured servant of the labor market and the Manufacturers Association of Israel (MAI), consider first some data on the vocational education system in Israel. The latest research on the topic was conducted by Noam Zussman and Shay Tzur from the Bank of Israel in 2011 [Hebrew]. Here are their conclusions:

Moreover the results of this research point to “a large disparity in favor of academic over vocational education” in regard to education and success in the labor market. For instance, a vocational education student had a 42 percent chance of graduating with full matriculation, compared to 64 percent for an academic student. The rate of baccalaureate and higher graduate degrees stood at 12 percent for the vocational education student, compared to 27 percent for an academic student. The chance of getting a prestigious job was approximately 30 percent for a vocational education student, compared to 42 percent for an academic student. (All data refers to male students only; the rates for female students were lower, but with similar gaps.). These results apply to vocational school graduates of the 1970s; however the assumption is that the situation has not drastically changed since. For example, according to the latest data from the Adva Center, 43.8 percent of Jewish academic graduates enroll in universities, compared to 30.3 percent of vocational education graduates.

Given that the Jewish-Mizrahi student population in Israel’s geographical and sociological periphery was the main target population designated for vocational schools, there is a rational basis for the trauma and protest expressed by the three Mizrahi ministers from the south of Israel (Meir Cohen, Amir Peretz and Silvan Shalom), against expanding the vocational training education system (Hebrew). Data shows that students from countries with no vocational or other types of occupational education, such as Finland and Canada, achieve higher levels of achievement than students from countries with such tracking.

The public debate in Israel may give the impression that there are no vocational training schools here, but 39 percent of secondary school students...

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Seeking freedom for a rape victim who killed his attacker

Criminal sanctions for rape in Israel amount to a few years in prison at best. Yonatan Heilo – an Ethiopian immigrant and rape victim who lives outside the Israeli consensus – will now spend most of his adult life behind bars. He deserves our moral support despite the court’s blind eye.

By Naama Katiee (translated from Hebrew by Osnat Hadar)

Most sexual assaults are perpetrated by men. Most of the victims are women. When the victims are not women, they are usually children or disadvantaged people.

In 2010 Yonatan Heilo, a 23-year-old Israeli man of Ethiopian descent with no criminal record, killed Yaron Ilin – his two-time rapist – in self defense, a minute before he could rape him yet again. Ilin, a felon convicted of raping an underage girl, blackmailed Heilo and threatened him over a long period of time. Although the court acknowledged Heilo as a victim of sexual assault, he was sentenced to 20 years incarceration for murder. He is currently serving his sentence in Shita Prison in the North, awaiting his appeal hearing, which is scheduled for December 1, 2014. A widespread public campaign for Heilo’s release has been taking place ahead of the hearing.

Contrary to common belief, sexual assaults are not about lust – they are all about exploitation, debasement, humiliation, power and control. Sexual assault is about domination, usually by men. The abusers re-establish their control over space and resources – that is how they identify who is worthless and who is equal to them, who is their “resource” and who is a person. Rape relates to sex the way severe beating relates to hand-shaking: there is no connection.

It becomes more and more evident that the justice system doesn’t know how to handle sexual assault. Its awkwardness, the insensitivity toward the victim, the basic misapprehension of the victim’s mental state – all that brings about the shocking manner in which the system conducts itself. Sometimes it seems that the justice system doesn’t help the victims and only enhances their pain, perpetuating the same balance of power that led to this terrible reality in the first place.

The judge that sentenced Yonatan Heilo to 20 years in prison made some serious mistakes.

The first mistake was saying that defending yourself in case of a rape is allowed only up to a certain point. It is true that rapists don’t deserve to be put to death, but...

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Why religious Jews are divided over the Temple Mount

As tensions between Jews and Muslims come to a head in Jerusalem, it is worth remembering that one of Israel’s most prominent rabbis strictly forbade Jews from visiting Judaism’s holiest site in the wake of the Six-Day War.

By Nissim Leon

Recent news reflects a surge in conflict between Muslims and Jews in Israel surrounding the question of control of the site known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as Haram Al-Sharif (the “Noble Sanctuary”). Against this background, some of the country’s leading Mizrahi-Sephardic rabbis are voicing a strident position forbidding Jews from visiting the site. Thus, alongside the Jewish-Muslim conflict in this regard, there is also an internal debate going on within religious Jewish society in Israel. On one side are mainly ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) rabbis calling, in the name of Jewish law, for Jews to be prevented from visiting the Temple Mount. On the other side are mainly Religious-Zionist rabbis and activists demanding, in the name of Jewish sovereignty, recognition of their civic and religious right to visit and pray on the Temple Mount.

Palestinian youth hold a Palestinian flag outside the Aqsa Mosque in the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount compound, East Jerusalem. (Photo: Oren Ziv/

Palestinian youth hold a Palestinian flag outside the Aqsa Mosque in the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount compound, East Jerusalem. (Photo: Oren Ziv/

The position of religiously-observant and traditional Sephardic Jews is based on a clear and unequivocal ruling by Rabbi Ovadia Yosef (1920-2013), the former Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel and one of the most prominent 20th century scholars of Jewish law, as well as the spiritual leader of the Mizrahi religious political party Shas. Behind recent headlines lies an ongoing ideological conflict between him and the more outspoken nationalist approaches among some (primarily Ashkenazi) Religious-Zionist circles in Israel.

During the Six-Day War in 1967, Israel seized control of East Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount. Thus the site returned to Jewish hands for the first time since the destruction of the Temple in the year 70 C.E. The latter event marked the beginning of a long exile of Jews which, in the eyes of many secular and religious Jews alike, ended with the establishment of the State of Israel.

Many Israelis perceived the conquest of the Temple Mount as the climax of the Six-Day War and one of the defining...

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Israel's 'backyards': First south Tel Aviv, then Holot

So long as the fight for asylum seekers’ rights — which I have taken part in — remains blind to the fact that Mizrahi slums are the only places carrying the burden of supporting and integrating asylum seekers, any celebration of the High Court to shut down Holot is premature.

By Shula Keshet (Translated from Hebrew by Michal Wertheimer Shimoni)

A south Tel Aviv apartment building that unwillingly became a way station for bus exhaust and pollution. (Photo by Roi Boshi/CC)

A south Tel Aviv apartment building that unwillingly became a way station for bus exhaust and pollution. (Photo by Roi Boshi/CC)

My neighborhood in south Tel Aviv, Neve Sha’anan, has been given many odd names over the years. Countless times, I’ve been told: “Ah, you live in the central bus station” — and for good reason. After all, two central stations – one of them, the second biggest in the world, called “the new station” — were imposed on this poor neighborhood, suffocating its miserable inhabitants with impossible air pollution. But hell, this is my home, which against my will was turned into a polluted transit hub.

My neighborhood has another name: foreigner land. Countless times, I’ve heard: “There are no residents there, only foreigners.” And I try with all my might to show that I was born there and still live there, and there are thousands like me. Why can’t you see us?! Our existence there as residents and old-timers there is wiped out in one fell swoop, and the migrant workers and asylum seekers have “gained” notoriety as foreigners.

I founded the action committee together with other local activists in 1989. We organized and were chosen by the residents to lead the struggle against the catastrophe called the central bus station. The long and arduous struggle included a drawn-out court case. After a precedent-setting win in 2000 awarded to us by Judge Telgam (RIP), which included tens of millions of shekels in compensation, we had to face an appeal in the Supreme Court. The court bullied us into a compromise with the defendants — the developer, the Tel Aviv municipality, the local committee, the Egged and Dan public transportation companies and others. Judge Dalia Dorner told us very clearly that we must reach a compromise – or else… And that’s what we did. We reached a compromise against...

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Small gods with big sticks at the unemployment office

How is it that a civil servant’s whim, impression or impulse can shatter an entire family’s lives? Some people, pushed and pushed into the corner, can’t take it anymore.

By Yudit Ilany

Illustrative photo of an impoverished family (

Illustrative photo. (

When the Israeli Employment Service (the unemployment office) registers somebody as “uncooperative,” all social security payments are automatically suspended for two months. This procedure is commonly known as “refusal.” Refusal snowballs single-parent families straight into an avalanche of poverty and distress, from which there is no salvation but death.

September the 22nd was a tough day, during which many women from Jaffa encountered refusals.

The 28th of each month is something of a minor festivity for many Jaffa families. If you have no real need to, it’s better not to visit your local post office on the 28th; it’s the day the National Insurance Institute (social security) transfers money into citizens’ postal accounts. The postal bank has no credit cards or ATMs, so people stand in line waiting quietly for their turn:

In a few minutes I’ll finally have some money in my pocket.

Today I’ll do the ‘Big Shopping’.

A day for paying off debts.

A day to pay utility bills.

A day for finally buying schoolbooks for the kids.

A day to paying the rent.

A day on which I can finally buy something nice for the kids — a treat, or perhaps a chicken for dinner.

It’s also a day of dilemmas:

Should I repair the washing machine or perhaps buy the shoes my son has been dreaming about for months, or maybe visit the dentist?

That toothache has been driving me nuts for several days now. Or perhaps I should postpone going to the dentist for yet another month. With a little Tylenol I can handle that annoying pain for a few more days after all.

And it is a day of buying diapers, baby formula and medicine.

A day also to pay back the small loan I took from my neighbor, or God forbid, from the black market goons who have been pestering me for some days now.

Money runs out quickly and once more I start running a debt at the local grocer and at Rafi’s, the small produce guy with the big heart. I should remember to set some...

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Going rogue: How the Ministry of Finance plays by its own rules

When it comes to getting its way, the Finance Ministry will go to no end to force other governmental bodies to bend to its will. 

By Hagai Kalai

Like public authorities in Israel, the Ministry of Finance aims to promote public interest to the best of its understanding. However, like all public authorities, the ministry suffers from a narrow perspective: it gives higher value to its own policies, while undervaluing the importance of proper administrative process. Yet, while most public authorities try and promote their agenda through the standard legitimate government mechanisms, the Ministry of Finance has developed a long line of sophisticated mechanisms that enable it to avoid the “burden” of proper administrative process. For example, the mechanism of budgetary adjustments during a budget year has been used for many years order to promote a hidden budget – one that is not truly supervised by the Knesset.

Similarly, the Ministry of Finance does not hesitate to allocate public funds for campaigns against other governmental offices, such as the Ministry of Environmental Protection, when it dares to hold opinions that are not aligned with the Ministry of Finance’s perspective (or even worse: when those opinions are preferred by policymakers to those offered by the Ministry).

Among this wide variety of mechanisms used by the Ministry of Finance to force its opinions on other public bodies, is one used to reduce the power of the courts.

Finance Minister Yair Lapid in the Knesset, July 29, 2013 (Photo: Tali Mayer/

Finance Minister Yair Lapid in the Knesset, July 29, 2013 (Photo: Tali Mayer/

As a general matter, the court will not intervene in decisions based on economic analysis, even if said analysis is deeply flawed. The court will intervene only in one of three situations: if the decision leads to non-proportional violation of human rights, contradicts the law or if the decision is extremely unreasonable.

Even this limited court supervision, it seems, is too much for the Ministry of Finance. Thus, a solution was found. Instead of arguing in favor of its policies before the court, the ministry prefers to force its policies upon the court by enacting them while the legal process is still standing, often in direct violation of the court’s order.

This took place surrounding the discussions surrounding the budget for public medical...

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Truth is the first casualty when war is declared

The recurring elements in the manipulation of public opinion and discourse in wartime also appeared during ‘Protective Edge.’ Shaked Spier brings you the Ten Truths, Ten Commandments and Ten Lies of war.

By Shaked Spier

Illustrative photo of IDF Spokesperson Lt.-Col. Peter Lerner speaking to Wolf Blitzer on CNN during the 2014 Gaza war, Operation Protective Edge. (Screenshot)

Illustrative photo of IDF Spokesperson Lt.-Col. Peter Lerner speaking to Wolf Blitzer on CNN during the 2014 Gaza war, Operation Protective Edge. (Screenshot)

The truth

Several truths dominated the hegemonic discourse in Israel during and since “Protective Edge”:

1. Israel doesn’t want war, we only defend ourselves
2. Hamas was solely responsible for this war
3. The Hamas leadership is evil and looks evil
4. Israel is defending a noble cause, not special interests
5. Hamas carries out intentional atrocities; we only make mistakes (“collateral damage”)
6. Hamas uses unlawful weapons
7. Israel suffers few losses, the Palestinians in Gaza suffer many losses
8. Intellectuals and artists support our cause
9. Our cause is sacred
10. Those who doubt our cause and official statements are traitors

Many of these truths accompany us in times of cease-fire as well. However, as the past few months have shown, the public demand to “fall into line” in times of violent escalations strengthens the information and knowledge elite’s control over what is allowed to be said; and consequently – what is allowed to be thought. Such argumentative alignments (at least concerning some of the above-mentioned points) can be observed in places usually considered strongholds of criticism, but which actually constitute part of the Israeli mainstream discourse and media, such as the Haaretz newspaper, and the left-wing Labor and Meretz political parties.

Due to language barriers, my ability to follow and analyze the mainstream discourse and official reporting within the Palestinian society is quite limited. Interviews and reporting in the international press, combined with testimonies of Arabic-speaking friends and activists, allow me to assume similar argumentative lines can be observed among the leadership and institutional press in Gaza (while truth number 7 constitutes an exception, as explained below).

An infographic published on the IDF Spokesperson's Facebook page.

An infographic published on the IDF Spokesperson’s Facebook...

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Kitsch, death and god at Israel's Education Ministry

The Israeli education minister’s letter to the graduating class of 2014 is evidence of the fact that Israeli education is little more than an ongoing IDF preparatory course.

By Avner Ben-Amos (translated from Hebrew by Miriam Erez)

A letter to the high school class of 2014 published by Israeli Education Minister Shai Piron in the July 24, 2014 issue of Israel Hayom is a worrying wakeup call. A wakeup call because the education minister presents a worldview that rests on distorted, revisionist history. Worrying because this minister determines, directly or indirectly, how our schoolchildren perceive their reality. Even if only a few of them end up reading the letter, written as a farewell to last year’s graduates, it is quite instructive regarding the minister and his positions, and is therefore worth analyzing.

Let’s begin with the headline. “Only our wars are wars of no choice”, states the minister with undisguised glee. It’s a statement reminiscent of the arbitrary one by Elazar Stern, former chief IDF education officer, that, the IDF is “the world’s most moral army,” after obviously studying, measuring, and comparing all of the world’s armies and determining our ethical ranking among them.

Education Minister Shai Piron (Source: Yesh Atid/Wikimedia Commons) December 2, 2012

Education Minister Shai Piron (Source: Yesh Atid/Wikimedia Commons) December 2, 2012

But beyond that, Minister Piron ignores the fact that all of our wars since 1967 – including the most recent one in Gaza – were intended to clinch our control over the occupied territories, all of which make them wars of choice, including the first Lebanon War, whose architect, Menachem Begin, declared it as such. And if we work backward we even find that the 1956 Sinai Campaign was a war of choice that Israel joined together with the declining imperialist powers of France and Britain.

Another wild statement in Piron’s letter is, “We’re the only country that on the day of its founding, did not rejoice in the defeat of its enemies, but rather extended its hand in peace.” Considering that hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees expelled by the IDF in 1948 were left on the other side of the border and not permitted to return home, it’s not clear how we extended our hand in peace. This statement also elucidates Piron’s ongoing refusal to allow Arab schools to mention the...

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Fight Israeli poverty, not poverty statistics

Poverty in Israel is not the result of low social security transfers, it’s the result of low income. And the truth of the matter is that the issue of poverty is not high on the Israeli government’s list of priorities.

By Dr. Shlomo Swirski and Attorney Noga Dagan-Buzaglo (translated from Hebrew by Noam Benishei)

The Alaluf Committee to Fight Poverty was appointed by a government that does everything in its power to reduce labor costs in Israel for the benefit of corporate business, as well as the government itself, because it, too, is a big employer. In doing so the government that appointed the committee is complicit in the generation of poverty: it privatizes public services, it fails to enforce existing labor laws, it delays renewal of collective agreements for as long as it can and goes out of its way to oppose the raising of the minimum wage.

When the labor market offers a large section of its workers a salary that places their families below the poverty line, what is required is a change in the labor market and the wage system. Raising social security benefits, though a welcome step in itself, provides no real answer: If a 7,000 NIS ($1,950 income places a family of four below the poverty line, that indicates that the problem lies not in the size of this or that social security benefit but rather in the fact that most employees in Israel earn less than 7,000 NIS.

Eli Alaluf, head of the Alaluf Committee. (photo: Israel Prize website)

Eli Alaluf, head of the Alaluf Committee to Fight Poverty. (photo: Israel Prize website)

What is really needed, then, is a committee to examine the assumption that labor costs must always be reduced if economic growth is to be achieved; a committee to examine the fact that once growth is achieved, its fruits trickle up, rather than down, as so often promised. A committee to examine why so many Israelis are denied the tools that may help them cope in the labor market. A committee to examine the working assumptions of so many leaders, for instance Manuel Trajtenberg, chair of the Planning and Budgeting Committee of the Council for Higher Education in Israel, who, when asked what about the roughly 50 percent of youth who never...

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What to expect from the Israeli Right after Protective Edge

Progressive forces in Israel need to be prepared: The Israeli Right has yet to exhaust all of its options for dealing with the Palestinians. The alternatives to Netanyahu’s status quo involve moves toward a Greater Israel and full segregation based on extreme nationalism and hatred.

By Mati Shemoelof (translated by Rotem Nir)

If there is one thing we should have learned from the past couple of months, it’s an appreciation of just how high the stakes are in Israel.

The Israeli Zionist Left is not capable of leading this country to serious change; change will only come when the Right betrays its own voters. The real political choice at our disposal, to an extent that one even exists, is between two similarly destructive right-wing ideologies.

One doesn’t need a time machine to look a few steps into the future and realize that the Israeli Right has yet to exhaust all of its options for dealing with the Palestinians. Operation Protective Edge was as much about revenge as it was an attempt to force a military solution, but the Right has options and plans that go far beyond the preservation of the status quo, which is what Netanyahu is all about.

One of the political factors that led to this war-that-wasn’t-really-a-war was a continued internal power struggle among the ruling elites, who constantly seek ways to take advantage of Netanyahu’s weakness and the fragility of his coalition. In other words, the war was not only a geo-political military action but also a continuation of an ongoing domestic political battle to unseat the Israeli prime minister.

What the Right has to offer

In this context we can point to two major ideologies emanating from the current leaders of the Right – ones that could potentially be adopted on a government level following Netanyahu’s downfall. Both ideologies are based on the old right-wing idea that Zionism can exist solely in a state of war and not in a peaceful reality; proper Jewish nationalism and its historical ideals can only be realized in the radical revolutionary blaze of a sword. The sentiment is encapsulated in a famous Jabotinsky line, found in a song of the Beitar movement: “Because silence is filth / Give up blood and soul / For the sake of the hidden beauty / To die or conquer the mount.” (full translation here)

The first of these right-wing ideologies is...

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Why Israel must help the Kurds in Iraq

The Yezidis are presented in mainstream accounts as mere props in a play entitled, ‘Militant Islam and its horrors in the Middle East.’ But the story of the Kurdish people is much more than just a scene — or cannon fodder — in an IS exhibition of horror. A Kurdish Jew in Israel calls on his government to save his brethren. 

By Idan Pink-Avidani

Kurds have no friends but the mountains..

Dear friends and whoever is reading this. Please stop posting negative news and instead pray for #Peshmarga and have faith in God. We Kurds never harmed any nation and never asked for something which was not our right. We only struggle for our own rights, we only fought to protect our children and women. We never had support from anyone. Not any nation. Let’s all pray and ask God to protect us and our Peshmarga. Let’s stop acting like we know what’s going on coz we simply don’t. Let’s stop acting like politicians and analyze and post things on Facebook. Instead let’s stay humans and pray. Let’s stay humans and help our families in Shangal who fled away from their home. Let’s simply look up there to the sky and ask HIM for peace. He never rejects a request.

We are a peaceful nation, who opened it’s arms to protect those who never made a small effort to support us, because KURDS are humans. Let’s stay humans.

You are not helping by making people terrified.

#pray #for #peshmarga”

The text above is what my friend Huda from Irbil-Hawler, the capital of the autonomous Kurdistan region, wrote on her Facebook page a few weeks ago following another deadly attack by Islamic State (IS) forces. The attack caused hundreds of thousands of Yezidis to flee to the mountains where many of them died of hunger and thirst while praying to be rescued.

To me, this moving text represents the essence of the Kurdish people and their struggle for independence: solidarity in a shared destiny that transcends internal political disputes, a strong desire for faith and utter distrust in anyone but themselves.

Since IS entered our consciousness and lives in the Middle East, most people found themselves following and viewing the atrocities this horrific organization is committing through the eyes and explanations of professional media commentators who analyze the situation in Iraq from a distant security...

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Every war, I lose more and more friends

Sometimes I fantasize about what would happen if I were to be declared a traitor by the authorities. How would those women with whom I’ve worked for so long react. Now I’m beginning to understand.

By Ruti Lavie (translated from Hebrew by Michal Wertheimer Shimoni)

This week I unfriended another friend who reacted to my posts on Facebook with so much anger and rage I just couldn’t take it anymore. How can one compare unfriending friends to losing lives, which has become so ubiquitous here? But life isn’t a balanced affair. Technically it was very simple – a click on the mouse and I was done. In reality, she is a friend whose life had been intertwined with mine for half of my life. A friend with whom I shared so much happiness, pain and love. Someone who became a part of me has disappeared, along with all the suffering, pain and happiness that were a part of my own life.

And as so often happens, her anger did not stem from me calling for an end to this damned war. As always, what enraged her was seeing those horrible photos, the pain expressed over the suffering of the people of Gaza and their children. Every war I lose friends. In 2002 I cut ties with a woman who was like a mother to me, after she said that it was a good thing that a Palestinian girl died from lack of access to medication, because “had she grown up she would have turned into a suicide terrorist.” And so it goes, war after war. It happens not because I call for an end to end the war, but because I feel the pain of those who have become the Other in this land – those who have lost their humanity in the eyes of the state.

Palestinian retrieves what belongings he can carry from their homes in Beit Hanoun, North Gaza Strip, August 12, 2014. (Basel Yazouri/

A Palestinian family retrieves what belongings it can carry from their home in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza Strip, August 12, 2014. (Basel Yazouri/

I am trying to understand what is so scary about feeling someone else’s pain? You don’t have to agree with me in order to be able to admit that “yes, this is painful.” Why...

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POEMS: After a night full of missiles in Gaza

Gaza-based poet Manal Miqdad wrote the following poem after a particularly violent and sleepless night in Gaza during Israel’s Operation Protective Edge. Israeli poet Almog Behar penned a response, dedicated to Miqdad.

Burned books from the collection of Gaza poet Othman Hussein (photo: Maysoon Hussein)

Burned books from the collection of Gaza poet Othman Hussein (photo: Maysoon Hussein)

After a night full of missiles, crying and fear, the sheet of the sky opens its heart to the light

By Manal Miqdad (translated from Arabic by Sam Carlshamre and Chana Morgenstern)

I speak my words unto God, O Gaza!

After a night full of missiles, crying and fear, the sheet of the sky opens its heart to the light. But how can we wish you good morning, O Gaza? Bursting with hope, I say: maybe it is a good morning, my Gaza, after the wounds have adorned your face, and weariness has overtaken your legs. Perhaps it so, though the killing has robbed you of the right to your life and livelihood, perhaps it is so.

Paint your evening sky with the faces of the children and the holy dead; fill your throat with prayer and your spirit with tranquility.

As the reconnaissance airplanes eat your head, a shell flies by that could fell you, though your spirit has already fallen. You shatter, screaming, sobbing like mad, but a revolutionary song interrupts your cries, filling you with fervor and commitment, comforting you. Oh Gaza, will you eradicate your fears with songs? Will you infuse us, the half-dead, with life?

The shell that scared you, or didn’t scare you, that killed one of your friends or your neighbors or relatives, and injured many, deposited in you scenes of blood, scattered bodies, the wretchedness of families, their choked spirits, their weeping, and a hopelessness that made us turn to God and Medina to hasten our salvation.

O God, the girl who turned into a butterfly and fluttered to the sky, how long must she wait to be concealed in her mother’s embrace? How will the boy bear it, he who kissed his family and saw them disappear into the edges of the clouds?

My breast is crammed full, choking, while I fill my friends’ spirits with life. From their worries I weave tapestries to infuse their pallid skin...

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