Analysis News

To fight police violence, address their racism

The killing of a young Bedouin man from Rahat and the death of another during the funeral have deepened the city’s lack of faith in the authorities. Only anti-racism education for police and young people alike can stop the landslide.

By Kher Albaz

Hundreds hold a funeral for Sami Ja'ar in the streets of Rahat. Ja'ar was shot by police officers last week during an operation in the city. (photo: Oren Ziv/

Hundreds hold a funeral for Sami Ja’ar in the streets of Rahat. Ja’ar was shot to death by police officers two weeks ago during an operation in the city. (photo: Oren Ziv/

The Or Commission, which investigated the shooting deaths of 13 Arab demonstrators in October 2000, found serious flaws in the Israeli police’s actions against Arab citizens. The atmosphere within the Israeli police, then and apparently now, can be summed up by one sentence from the committee’s recommendations: “The police must implemented an approach that views Israeli Arabs as Israeli citizens with equal rights.”

The violent events that took place in Rahat two weeks ago, which led to the police killing two residents and wounding of dozens of others, demonstrated that the Or Committee’s recommendations have clearly not been adopted by the police. This should be a red warning light for all of us; the degree of force and violence used against the residents, along with a trigger-happy policy generates a sense of discrimination against the Arab public. And, as if we have not learned anything from the past, we once again find ourselves calling upon law enforcement agencies to launch an investigation into events with such dire consequences.

The protesters have repeatedly voiced complaints about the police’s conduct, and specifically their “trigger fingers,” which has resulted in their loss of faith in law enforcement. If the violent behavior that led to the death of Sami Al-J’aar wasn’t enough, the attempt by the police to besmirch Sami’s name under the false pretext of drug dealing made it clear to the residents of the city that the police have no real intention of seriously investigating the events. The appearance of a police car at the funeral – which violated an agreement signed with the mayor of the city according to which there would be no police presence at the procession – generated...

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Why Mizrahim don't vote for the Left

It is no wonder that Mizrahim vote for right-wing parties when the Ashkenazi-dominated Left has done everything in its power to exclude them. Want things to change? Start talking about Ashkenazi privilege.

By Tom Mehager

Those who have, historically, voted for Israel’s left-wing camp are often nicknamed “the white tribe.” On the other hand, the right wing enjoys a high percentage of Mizrahi voters. Why? In the run-up to the elections, it might be worth taking a look at this question.

Tzipi Livni and Isaac Herzog announce a joint slate for the upcoming elections, December 10, 2014. (Photo by

Tzipi Livni and Isaac Herzog. Will they speak about Mizrahi issues this time around? (Photo by

First of all, the social categories “Mizrahim” and “Asheknazis” are nowhere to be found in the platforms of Israel’s leftist parties. While the platforms of Labor (the “Zionist Camp”), Meretz and Hadash include, among other things, social issues relevant to both central Israel and the periphery, these parties base themselves on a colorblind worldview that believes that “there is no such thing as Mizrahim and Ashkenazim anymore.” But that’s just it – there is such a thing. When it comes to many issues, Mizrahim were and still are a group that faces discrimination, when compared to Ashkenazim. And yet, left-wing parties choose to totally ignore this fact.

1. Representation

Amir Peretz stood at the helm of the Labor Party during the 2006 elections, while Ehud Barak headed the party during the 2009 elections. A comparison between the percentage of people who voted for Peretz and Barak reveals a clear-cut picture: Peretz, a Mizrahi leader from the periphery, significantly raised the percentage of Labor voters among the Mizrahi public.

For example, in Sderot (Peretz’s hometown) 24.57 percent of voters gave their vote to Labor, as opposed to 5.31 percent who voted for Barak. In Dimona 17.49 percent voted for Peretz, while only 5.31 percent voted for Barak. In Shlomi 20.74 percent for Peretz, and 5.99 percent for Barak. In Yeruham 14.9 percent for Peretz, as opposed to 4.21 percent for Barak. Labor won 19 Knesset seats under Peretz, winning only 13 under Barak.

Amir Peretz (photo: Yotam Ronen /

Amir Peretz. (photo: Yotam Ronen /


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Yemenite Children Affair: Families of the kidnapped speak out

Between the years 1948 and 1952, thousands of babies, children of mostly Yemenite immigrants to the newly-founded State of Israel, were allegedly taken away from their parents and given up for adoption to Ashkenazi families. Now a group of activists is telling the stories of the traumatized families who vow never to forget.

(Translated from Hebrew by Maayan Goldman)

Yemenite children's affair.

The baby in the photo is younger than my Abigail. His name is Rafael – a tiny baby, seen here in his mother’s arms. She wandered from Damascus to Beirut and onto the shores of the promised land, before being placed in a tent in the Beit Lyd transit camp. Rafael is my mother’s younger brother. She traveled this long route along with him in a sailboat when she was one-and-a-half years old. Grandfather Mordecai wrote in his diary about what had happened to them when they arrived at the immigrant camp:

“One of the nights a horrible wind was blowing, and rain came pouring from the sky. The small children who slept with us in the tents became sick with colds, diarrhea and fever. The smallest one, five-month-old Rafael, got stomach poisoning, and so we went to Tel Aviv and took him to the government hospital in Jaffa, where he returned his pure and innocent spirit to God in the morning light of Tuesday, 13/9/49.”

In Donolo Hospital they wouldn’t let my grandfather see his son’s body nor his place of burial. They also refused to provide him a death certificate.

The three languages they spoke didn’t help my grandfather and grandmother who were religious and educated. They believed the doctors and sat shiva (a week-long mourning period in Judaism) in mourning. They couldn’t imagine being lied to; who could believe that in Israel of all places, Jews will kidnap the child of other Jews.

Years later, when similar, horrific stories began coming to the fore, they understood. Since then they have not stopped tormenting themselves over how naive they were. They spoke about Rafael and looked for him until their very last day. Every conversation with my grandmother Jenia would always come to Rafi. “We didn’t think ya binti (“my daughter” in Arabic) we didn’t think,” she would say to me, her eyes filling up with tears.

After some time, Uncle Ezra, may he rest in peace, leafed through the documents and found the...

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France must not push Muslims into the arms of extremists

The terrorists who attacked Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket were well-trained, spoke French and knew their actions would play into the hands of France’s Islamophobic right. Let’s not give them what they’re after.

By Yossi Dahan

As Israel’s news outlets covered the terrorist attacks in Paris, we watched how our analysts and correspondence suddenly became experts on the Republic of France and Islam. We watch as they compete over who does a better job mocking French naiveté – over the “political correctness” by which the French treat the Muslims as equal citizens. The French have likely not seen Tzvi Yehezkeli’s excellent series on Islam in Europe, otherwise they would have understood that Muslims pose the gravest existential threat to Europe. “They don’t understand how to treat this group,” said one of the correspondents. “They need to learn from the Americans how to declare war on Islamic terror,” added another.

In an article titled “What’s the Real Reason Al Qaida attacked ‘Charlie Hebdo’?” Juan Cole, a professor of Middle East history at the University of Michigan, gives an alternative explanation. Terrorist groups like Al-Qaida have trouble recruiting Muslims in their ranks. Most Muslims, writes Cole, are not interested in terror. Most aren’t even interested in politics or political Islam. In a country of 66 million people and five million Muslims, less than 2 million say they are interested in politics. The French Muslim community is the most secular Muslim community in the world. In Paris, where Muslims tend to be more religious and educated, most of the Muslims openly oppose violence and are loyal to France. While Al-Qaida is interested in taking control of the minds of France’s Muslims, it runs into opposition from the local Muslim community. If it succeeds in causing non-Muslim French citizens to hate the Muslims, it will be successful in creating a political identity that fights against anti-Muslim discrimination.

Protesters hold vigil for the slain journalists of Charlie Hebdo, Strasbourg, France, January 7, 2015. (photo: Claude TRUONG-NGOC CC BY-SA 3.0)

Protesters hold vigil for the slain journalists of Charlie Hebdo, Strasbourg, France, January 7, 2015. (photo: Claude TRUONG-NGOC CC BY-SA 3.0)

The terrorists who killed 12 Charlie Hebdo journalists and six people at a kosher grocery store were well-trained. They spoke French, and they knew that their actions would play into the...

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What Egypt's multicultural past teaches us about Israel's present

Jacqueline Kahanoff’s novel, ‘Jacob’s Ladder,’ strips ‘multiculturalism’ of its cold, academic veneer, displaying instead the reality of a Jewish, multicultural lifestyle. But the novel also directs a powerful question toward Israeli society: can the Arabs that live among us today ever live in Israel the same way Jews lived in Egypt?

By Ktsiaa Alon (translated from Hebrew by Shaked Spier)

Several decades after its publication, Jacqueline Kahanoff’s great novel, “Jacob’s Ladder,” has finally been translated into Hebrew. The novel portrays a vivid picture of a Levant of multiculturalism, as Kahanoff called it in her intellectual essays.

After a delay of over 60 years, Jacqueline Kahanoff’s novel “Jacob’s Ladder” was recently published by Gamma (which is under my ownership, K.A.), in cooperation with Yad Ben Zvi publishing house. Kahanoff (1919-1979) is known among Hebrew readers for her book “Me’Mizrah Shemesh,” as well as essays collected and translated by Aharon Amir (originally published in Keshet magazine). Ronit Matalon’s book “The One Facing Us“ contains many passages from Kahanoff’s articles, while the research of Prof. David Ochana, who published the book “Between Two Worlds,” puts together many of her writings. Kahanoff never wrote in Hebrew, which means her greatest novel remains unknown to her readership. The book contains a preface by Eyal Sagi Bizawi and an epilogue by Dr. Yael Shenkar.

In this short article I will address the conditions of visibility that enable the novel’s publication, rather than its content. How does a work of literature reach “its moment?” Reach the right beat, synchronized in time and place? In his essay “The Task of the Translator,” Walter Benjamin wrote that “translations that are more than transmissions of subject matter come into being when a work, in the course of its survival, has reached the age of its fame… in them the life of the originals attains its latest, continually renewed, and most complete unfolding.”

Kahanoff’s work tells the story of a upper-class Jewish family in early 20th century Egypt through the adolescent eyes of Rachel, the oldest daughter. In her intellectual essays, Kahanoff coined the term the “Levant option” – the merging of different cultures. The novel depicts this multiculturalism in all its glory, from the monotony of everyday life to greater ideological struggles. Kahanoff accurately draws the cultural landscape in which the Egyptian Jewish elite of that time lived, leaving no aspect untouched: the everyday life of the extended family, childhood, nannies...

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The Palestinian who won't give up on the power of nonviolence

At the end of 2000, as the Second Intifada was beginning to spread throughout the West Bank and Gaza, Israeli Professor Meir Amor sat down to speak with Dr. Mubarak Awad, a Palestinian expert on nonviolent resistance. Fifteen years later, the two met once again to talk about nonviolence, growing religious fundamentalism, gender equality, Palestinian refugees and Jews from Arab countries. This interview will be published in Peace Magazine in January 2015.

By Meir Amor

* * *

Meir Amor: About 15 years ago you and I had a discussion published in Peace Magazine. The editors think it’s a good opportunity to have another one. So let me ask you: Does your approach to nonviolence have a religious basis? Do Jewish or Muslim religious authorities consider it compatible with their teachings?

Mubarak Awad: Personally, I do it from a Christian perspective. For me, it’s time for us all to learn not to kill or destroy. But I did not push that belief on any Israelis or any Muslims. However, I did study Islam and nonviolence a lot, and I thought it would be great to have a Muslim who was interested in nonviolence so we could have a strong campaign. At that time I was interested in a fellow by the name of Faisal Husseini, a great Muslim who believed in nonviolence. I bought a lot of books about a Muslim who had been with Gandhi—Abdul Ghaffer Khan, who said that Islam is a nonviolent religion.

Mubarak Awad. (photo courtesy of Meir Amor)

Mubarak Awad. (photo courtesy of Meir Amor)

I did this because the majority of Palestinians are Muslim. We held conferences studying Islam and nonviolence, discussing what jihad really means and Sufism in Islam. Sufis are like the Quakers in Christianity. There are many Sufis in Islam who accept the challenge of nonviolence. It’s a big struggle for them—not only between the Palestinians and Israelis or Arabs and Israelis, but also between themselves, for them to be nonviolent at home and active in nonviolence in their community. They can see that we human beings have brains, not just guns, and can resolve any conflict, however big, by debating, by forgiveness, by conciliation.

But in the past 20 years the world has moved toward radical religion in Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. That has allowed...

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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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