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  • 'Land isn't enough; the army takes olives, too'

    I teach writing at a Palestinian university in the West Bank. Several of my students have been gracious enough to share their experiences with +972, albeit anonymously. This is the second of four short essays. Read part one here. I went with my family to our olive groves in order to pick  olives. We went there full of happiness. When we arrived each one of us took his pail and stared to pick olives. We raced to see who could pick the most olives as quickly as possible. When we finished in the afternoon, the Israeli soldiers came and forced…

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  • 'Dad's in prison': A young Palestinian woman speaks

    I teach writing at a Palestinian university in the West Bank. Several of my students have been gracious enough to share their experiences with +972, albeit anonymously. This is the first of four short essays. It was a sunny day. I woke up at six o'clock to get ready for my new life because it day was a big day; it was my first day of college, so I was super excited and nervous at the same time. I wore my new clothes and asked mom for her blessing. When I arrived at the college I took some lectures and…

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  • LISTEN: Classic Lebanese sounds, from jazz to Fairouz

    Jeries Murkus Ballan is a 25-year-old musician and performer who lives between Nazareth and Haifa. Ballan, who teaches music, plays the bouzouki and works in dance and theater, brings us a mixtape of classic Lebanese songs, including everything from classical to jazz.  By Khen Elmaleh Tell us a bit about the mixtape The mixtape is made up of Lebanese music, from folklore to the contemporary. What was your first encounter with music? I don't exactly remember when I started becoming interested in music. Since I was young I was interested in everything from theater and acting to playing music. I…

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  • Looking closely at Israeli eyes, to see if they know

    Lately I’ve been looking at Israelis closely. I’ve been looking them straight in the eye, to see if they know. If they have a clue. Any clue. About what’s in their future. The not too distant future. Most probably in the lifetimes of many of them. I look at them closely. And in particular places. Places that are theirs, and theirs alone. At least, what they think are theirs. What they believe are theirs. And I wonder to myself: do they know that soon they will have to share all this? All this wealth, this land, these resources? These rights?…

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  • Neither Russian nor Israeli: Lessons from a journey to the homeland

    After years of denying her Russian identity, Osnat Ita Skoblinski finally made peace with the cultural world of her friends and family. However, she never expected her first trip back 'home' to bring out feelings of hate and revulsion. By Osnat Ita Skoblinski My parents, who immigrated to Israel in the 70s, refused to have a decorated Christmas tree in our home. "We're Jews," they said, as they set out for a Novy God party on December 31st with Santa hats on their heads. Born in Israel to parents from the Soviet Union, I found New Year’s Eve celebrations especially confusing.…

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  • Welcome to the era of the single-ethnic party

    Inspired by the Israeli Arab parties of Knesset, who will likely be forced to join forces in order to remain politically relevant, Jewish Australian parliamentarians from the left and the right form their own joint party. Just cause they can. [SATIRE] By Sol Salbe In a move that has stunned observers, Australia's three Jewish MPs have announced that they will be running in a joint electoral formation in the next elections. The move by the Opposition Australian Labor Party's Michael Danby and Mark Dreyfus, along with the conservative Josh Frydenberg of Tony Abbott's ruling Liberal Party, has been endorsed by…

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  • When will Israelis start speaking Arabic in public?

    A disturbing encounter at a Jerusalem mall reminds Mya Guarnieri that speaking a second or third language does not mean you have to give up your own. Living in Bethlehem, working at a Palestinian university, studying Arabic; writing about the occupation and Israel’s treatment of migrants; standing by my partner, who is under intense pressure from his family to leave me because I’m Jewish. All of this could be considered “political work.” But maybe this isn’t the type of work that affects change. Maybe change happens on a smaller scale? With smaller seeds? I was in Jerusalem's Talpiyot neighborhood running…

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  • Film review: The unending Nakba - Three generations of stateless Palestinians search for home

    Tens of thousands of Palestinians have languished for over 65 years in the Ein el-Hilweh refugee camp, waiting to return home. Now, through his documentary, Mahdi Fleifel reveals an essential side of Palestinian exile that is often forgotten: the human side. It was heartening that the Academy bestowed its highest honors this year to “Twelve Years a Slave,” a story about injustice and liberation, and recognizing America’s historic cruelty towards its people. Maybe it is the curse of the oppressed to achieve their greatest recognition only when the primary injury of oppression is long over, after it can really help. Palestinians…

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  • Outside the jukebox: Female sounds of the Middle East

    To mark International Women's Day, Café Gibraltar is proud to present 'Bat HaMakom/Bint al-Balad,' (Local Woman), a compilation of songs - some of them debuted here for the very first time - by the most innovative female artists making music in Israel today. You can download the album for free, courtesy of the artists. Click here to download the full album ---- Ester Rada - Nano Ney One can recognize the melody of "Nano Ney" from Rada's rather marginal role in Idan Reichel's song "Mima'amakim." In her version, Ester Rada gives the song its proper dues, with lots of energy,…

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  • Meet the man who won't let Israel's musical past die

    At first glance, 26-year-old Dudi Petimer may seem like just another guy with a penchant for oldies and a throwback Elvis hairdo. Equipped with an 18,000-strong vinyl collection and endless knowledge of Israeli musical history, Petimer has taken responsibility for preserving the remnants of a culture that never quite made it into the mainstream. By Khen Elmaleh It's difficult for me to remember the first time I encountered the name Dudi Petimer during my wanderings on YouTube. What is certain is that since then, I've seen the name many times, to the point that it has become an inseparable part of my search…

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