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Life & Culture

  • 'Literature's task is to pose alternatives to political reality'

    “Art and War: Poetry, Pulp and Politics in Israeli Fiction”, by Lavie Tidhar and Shimon Adaf; Repeater, 300 pages, $14.95 Have you ever eavesdropped on the conversations of the brilliant people at the table next to you, and wanted to jump in and interrupt, to ask your own questions? Art and War: Poetry, Pulp and Politics in Israeli Fiction, a new book of conversations between two writers, is sure to make readers feel that way. Art and War consists of conversations between Sapir Prize winning Tel Aviv resident Shimon Adaf and World Fantasy Award winning London resident Lavie Tidhar about the…

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  • Israel's forgotten heroes of the Red Army

    This Holocaust Memorial Day, a group of young Russian-speaking Israelis is calling attention to the stories of their grandparents —  Soviet heroes who defeated the Nazis, living on the margins of Israeli society. By Edi Zhensker and Berry Rosenberg A lot of us stare at them and wonder: who are these elderly people who speak Russian? What are they wearing on their chest? Who gets so many medals? Many wonder whether it is some weird 90s fashion trend that these immigrants brought with them, and which they refuse to let go of. Others have a hard time pronouncing the word…

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  • Mimouna, a Jewish-Muslim festival everywhere except Israel

    Moroccan Jews have always celebrated Mimouna with their Muslim neighbors – and still do in Belgium, Italy and France. But in Israel, this charming custom fell prey to Zionism's primeval instinct to divide and rule.  Mimouna, the Jewish-Moroccan post-Passover festival, always offers an interesting glimpse into Ashkenazi-Mizrahi relations in Israel, by virtue of being the only Mizrahi custom that successfully acceded into the Israeli mainstream. Fewer and fewer Ashkenazis come out of it unscathed: Those who look down on Moroccan customs as primitive and uncivilized get their share of abuse, as well as those who pay lip service to multiculturalism…

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  • The Long Road to Bethlehem: Part six

    Read the previous chapters of The Long Road to Bethlehem here. We live with Mohammad’s brother for the first two months as I look for an apartment—a difficult thing to find in America when you’re both living off of your meager savings, your ex-husband has successfully wrecked your credit (long story), your foreign partner doesn’t have a social security number, and neither of you have proof of current employment. In early October I see an advertisement on Craigslist for a house with three small bedrooms and hardwood floors. The pictures show a tidy, clapboard, whitewashed home, edged with mango and…

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  • The diaspora is an integral part of Hebrew literature

    There is a ceaseless movement of Israeli culture — and the diaspora experience is just waking up and testing its global limits. By Mati Shemoelof BERLIN — There is no such thing as “Hebrew literature written outside Israel” because the definition of “outside Israel” cannot address art in general or literature in particular. Literature is created in a space that is not a state or a country. The categorization of literature that is written outside or inside a country is problematic. As such, we should understand that Hebrew literature from the get-go belongs to every country in which there are writers…

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  • COMIC: The Haggadah's evolution from generation to generation

    Haggadot have historically evolved to reflect the needs and aspirations of their respective communities. Eli Valley envisions an American Jewish Haggadah for presidential primary season. Eli Valley is a writer and artist whose work has appeared in The New Republic, The Nation, The Daily Beast, Gawker and elsewhere. A collection of his comics will be released later this year by OR Books. His website is www.elivalley.com and he tweets @elivalley.

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  • A different kind of café in East Jerusalem

    The Tahhan brothers refuse to give up on their neighborhood, or their city. By Laura Selz Opening a café is a risky endeavor anywhere. Doing so in East Jerusalem is even riskier. Just as Café Sarwa opened its doors for the first time in October 2015 the current wave of violence was starting on the streets of East Jerusalem, not that there was a shortage of political and economic challenges development in the occupied part of the city before that. The story of Café Sarwa is the story of a couple of young entrepreneurs fighting the cultural and economic abandonment…

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  • 100 percent human: Five years without Juliano Mer-Khamis

    In a small cafe in Berlin, I found myself surrounded by Palestinian refugees from Yarmouk who knew and loved my friend Juliano — a man who was 100 percent Palestinian and 100 percent Jewish. By Udi Aloni When I landed in Berlin on April 4th, I realized that it was the first time since the murder of Juliano Mer Khamis that I wouldn't be holding a memorial service for him. I thought that I would buy a bottle of Black Label on the plane, Jul's favorite whiskey, and down it that same night with Mariam Abu Khaled, his wonderful student…

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  • Before Zionism: The shared life of Jews and Palestinians

    Before the advent of Zionism and Arab nationalism, Jews and Palestinians lived in peace in the holy land. Menachem Klein's new book maps out an oft-forgotten history of Israel/Palestine, and offers some guidance on how we may go back to that time. By Noam Rotem Menachem Klein's book, Lives in Common: Arabs and Jews in Jerusalem, Jaffa and Hebron, is a depressing one. Originally released in English, the book — which is being published in Hebrew  — paints a picture of a shared life between Palestinians and Jews at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th…

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  • Blurring the lines between Palestine and Baltimore

    A new play tells the story of Aseel Asleh, one of the 13 Palestinians killed by police inside Israel at the start of the Second Intifada. Playwright Jen Marlowe is bringing it to black colleges in the U.S. in the hopes of connecting two struggles. Before his death, Palestinian teenager Aseel Asleh dedicated himself to his Jewish Israeli friends. As a loyal alumnus of Seeds of Peace, a coexistence summer camp, he was convinced that the promise of peace lay in forgiveness and reconciliation. [tmwinpost] More than 15 years after he was killed at the age of 17 by Israeli…

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  • How Palestinian women are enlisting traditional dresses into the struggle

    The keffiyeh has long been the dominant symbol of the Palestinian struggle. In honor of International Women’s Day, we brought together women to give the traditional embroidered Palestinian dress the respect it deserves. Photos by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org A woman is prettier, more feminine and more attractive when wearing a dress. That’s what they taught us, and I won’t get into the question of who is behind this theory and whom or what it serves. What is certain is that women have always held in special regard this specific article of clothing, which in some cultures represents hiding the beautiful body…

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  • From Haifa to Beirut: '48 Palestinians challenge regional isolation

    For Palestinian citizens of Israel, especially those from the Haifa area, Beirut holds near mythical stature. The two cities share near-identical Arabic dialects, cuisine and the cultural elements, and just a few decades ago traveling between them would have been a mere two-hour drive. Today that is almost unimaginable That disconnection between the Arab Palestinian citizens of Israel, or “’48 Palestinians” as they are sometimes called, and the wider Arab world has been a source of pain and resentment ever since the borders slammed shut in 1948. The majority of Palestinians were locked outside, but over 1 million live in…

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  • Classified: Politicizing the Nakba in Israel's state archives

    Documents that have already been cited in history books are being re-classified in the State Archives. Israeli state archive documents that were de-classified in the 1980s have been re-classified in recent years, according to a recently hired assistant professor at the University of Maryland's Center for Jewish Studies. Shay Hazkani, who was Israel Channel 10's military correspondent from 2004-8 and will soon complete his doctorate at New York University, discusses the background and politics of the state's decision to re-classify various documents in an interview for the Ottoman History Podcast. In the interview, which was recorded in July 2014 (I…

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+972 is an independent, blog-based web magazine. It was launched in August 2010, resulting from a merger of a number of popular English-language blogs dealing with life and politics in Israel and Palestine.

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