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Life & Culture

  • The Long Road to Bethlehem: Epilogue

    Read the full series: The Long Road to Bethlehem I began writing this series in December 2014, just a few months after I arrived in the United States, and finished in September of 2015. Much has changed since then. Shortly after I finished the last essay, the current escalation in violence began. I also returned to Israel-Palestine for October and November of 2015 (read about that trip here) to update my research for a forthcoming book about migrant workers and African asylum seekers in the Jewish state, a project I’ve been working on in one form or another since 2007.…

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  • At Peace Holiday, normalcy is the best act of resistance

    A new holiday was established by the binational, bilingual school kids at Neve Shalom Wahat al-Salam. We painted, cooked, built puppets and celebrated. Only the roar of aircraft on their way to Gaza brought a small reminder of reality. Please mark down May 7, 2016 as the first “Peace Holiday” - a new addition to the already crowded calendar of the binational, bilingual school of Wahat al-Salam – Neve Shalom. It is in the proximity of Holocaust Remembrance Day, Nakba Day, Independence Day, Land Day, Passover, Easter, Mimouna, Asraia and al-Miarg'. With grief and bereavement rituals, religious celebrations and festivals…

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  • WATCH: Overdue recognition for Mizrahi poets

    For decades, the poetry, literature and culture of Mizrahi Jews, those who came from Arab and Middle Eastern countries, was excluded from and marginalized in the Israeli mainstream and educational curriculum. That is beginning to change, and there exists a unique opportunity to correct the course. Read more: The roots of anti-Mizrahi racism in Israel Riches to rags to virtual riches: When Mizrahi artists said 'no' to Israel's pioneer culture It is time to rebuild ties between Mizrahim and the Arab world

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  • '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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+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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