Since the founding of the State of Israel, the Ashkenazi elite has suppressed the Mizrahi culture Jews from Arab countries brought with them. But almost without us noticing, those who led the Zionist project also erased whatever was left of the Ashkenazi traditions from Eastern Europe. By Edan Ring Family Day was no different from any other holiday. On this day, too, we received an assignment from our daughter's kindergarten teacher. Only this time, we were slightly embarrassed. As part of the Family Day (formerly known as the Israeli version of Mother's Day) celebrations, the kindergarten hosted a big meal,…Read More... | 20 Comments
Life & Culture
This McDonald's commercial, for a new range of burgers named after American cities, has a one-liner from a fake President Obama that somehow, surprisingly, hits the nail on the head. God bless Israel - for the big America. Now, of course I'm not saying that America exists thanks to Israel. But there's something about the reversal of roles that rings true in an era where the Israeli prime minister feels he can intervene in an American election, or easily push aside new diplomacy efforts by an incoming secretary of state.Read More... | 3 Comments
Adi Koll, a relatively unknown Knesset member from Yair Lapid’s centrist Yesh Atid party, posted this picture along with an uncharacteristically long and emotional status on Facebook, the day after she paid a visit to the home of a Palestinian friend in Ramallah. (Translated in full below) Warning! This post will be long, controversial and without color photos, even though I have plenty of photos. I made sure to take pictures throughout the day with the intention posting them to Facebook so I can show what we would all rather forget. But now it feels pointless. No picture can describe…Read More... | 43 Comments
Although the racism and hatred between Israel and its neighbors seems as entrenched as ever, many Mizrahi artists are connecting to their Arab roots. Does this trend portend a brighter future for the Middle East? By Mati Shemoelof and Ophir Toubul In an interview with Al Arabiya several years ago, popular Israeli singer Zehava Ben stated that she was interested in performing throughout the Arab world, and especially in Beirut and Gaza. Israel's security system forbade her entrance into the Strip, due to the fact that Hamas rules the territory. In a later interview, she said that her dream is…Read More...
For the past few years, I’ve been debating within my head the whole standing during the sirens issue. Both on Holocaust Memorial Day, and today for fallen soldiers. Something about the rituals on both days bother me, and at times it gives me the creeps in a “big brother” kind of way. The way a state can make so many citizens stand still for two minutes seems like a bit too much control for my liking. I guess that’s one of the reasons (among many) I decided to attend the alternative Combatants for Peace Memorial Day ceremony last night. Yet,…Read More... | 5 Comments
Last month the Israeli army pointed to the cancellation of the Gaza marathon as proof of the lack of freedom under Hamas rule. Now the IDF is denying the same runners travel permits to run in the Bethlehem Marathon The first official Palestinian marathon is set to take place this Sunday, April 21, in Bethlehem. There will be races for 10 km, a half Marathon and full Marathon (42.2 km), all within area A. The start and finish lines are at the Church of Nativity. Twenty-five runners – 24 men and a woman - from Gaza were planning to take…Read More... | 7 Comments
In the innocent year of 1909, a new Jewish neighborhood was established on the outskirts of Jaffa. A modest crossing of two streets, it was designed according to distinctly secular Jewish values. At its focal point, just north of the intersection stood not a synagogue but a high school. It was an elaborate, romantic structure. Its facade featured two columns representing Boaz and Yachin, the pillars of Solomon's Temple. Jewish culture had always centered around education, and the Zionist founders of Tel Aviv believed that so would the new Jewish society they were helping to establish. Fast forward 50 years, and…Read More... | 3 Comments
Although Mizrahi artists have become household names that can sell out amphitheaters, their music is still missing from the Israeli musical canon. The culture that Mizrahi Jews never forgot, along with the attachment to their roots and faith, are excellent tools for creating new Mizrahi classics. By Avi H. Muthada Classics, like good wine, must be preserved in wooden barrels in dark basements for years upon years. Only every so often do we open the treasure, have a taste and fondly remember the memories of the past. When it comes to Israeli classics, the association is clear and one-dimensional: the…Read More... | 9 Comments
Watching an Arabic movie every Friday throughout my childhood. Nearly 30 years would pass before I discover that my grandmother and Farid al-Atrash were friends. I have no idea, it goes under my radar. And yet they are there, the words. By Tamar Kaplansky (Translated from Hebrew by Orna Meir-Stacey) I don’t know Arabic. My mother grew up in Alexandria, my father still has a Palestinian identity card. Both my grandmothers spoke Arabic – one with a K’ of Egypt, which is A’ (and this is why ba’lawa is called ba’lawa and nothing else), and one local, Galilean, Arabic. But…Read More... | 15 Comments
New York City is at its spiffiest these days, so much so that sometimes when visiting, especially during these fresh days of spring, I have flashes of being in Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. A hopeless nostalgic, the Technicolor contrast to the lurking, brooding grime of the city I grew up in sometimes tugs at me. But such nostalgia is so last decade and cliché to boot. Now I look behind the illusory romanticism of the New York left behind. I recall the fear that reigned in public spaces, the desperation to avoid eye contact in the vain hope that this would…Read More... | 1 Comment
Jewish liturgical poetry dates back to the Bible and the rabbinical sages that came after. In honor of Passover, Café Gibraltar presents a primer to traditional Jewish religious singing for the holiday and the Jewish month of Nisan. By Patia Hana The holiday of Passover summons a plethora of piyutim (Jewish liturgical poetry usually sung, chanted or recited during religious services). Not just on the night of the seder, but also throughout the Jewish month of Nisan, on the last night of Passover. Of course, piyyutim are designated for the Shalosh Regalim (the three Jewish Pilgrimage festivals), the Hallel (a prayer used for…Read More... | 4 Comments
'New York Times' reporter and columnist Anthony Lewis died today at the age of 85. Although we never met, he changed my life. Well, that may be an exaggeration, but still... If there’s one thing I hate, it’s a long blog post. I just have no patience for them. So, bearing that in mind, I’ll totally understand if you skip this one. New York Times reporter and columnist Anthony Lewis died today, at the age of 85. I didn’t know his writings very well. The only few op-eds I did read were all Israel/Palestine related. Despite this very superficial “relationship”…Read More... | 8 Comments
What does it say about Israeli society when 13 years after her death, Ofra Haza is best remembered for succumbing to AIDS and for a Mizrahi accent that Israelis just can't help but mock? By Adi Keissar Some time in the 1980s, the world became divided into two camps. Either you loved Yardena Arazi or you loved Ofra Haza. In 1983, Haza defeated Arazi in a competition to represent Israel in the Eurovision competition by just one point - an outcome that further inflamed both camps. As a member of the Yemenite community, I am embarrassed to say that I…Read More... | 3 Comments
SUBSCRIBE TO OUR WEEKLY NEWSLETTERSubmit
Last Metro to Taksim
Yuval Ben-Ami reports from Istanbul.
Reports, maps, infographics and other documents on human rights and democracy.
Children under occupation
The effects of occupation on minors.
On the challenges facing a growing population of asylum seekers and refugees in Israel.
A series of striking infographics.
- MOST READMOST COMMENTED24 HOURS|WEEK|MONTH
Is a binational identity possible in Israel? http://t.co/yFmq5vBPGV
The unwitting common ground in the debate over binationalism in Israel http://t.co/qDoWMqR8fO by Jeremiah Haber
VID: Former female Israeli soldiers break their silence http://t.co/2H7V47Cj9I by @MairavZ
Israeli MK's 'sexy' pose goes viral on Facebook http://t.co/vktM2Rk4OH by @AmiKaufman
The soldiers' stories that Israel lacks the courage to hear http://t.co/rlleFPDVVq By Larry Derfner, cc @ShovrimShtika