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Redefining chutzpah: The monumentally inappropriate treatment of Ayman Odeh

The Jewish American establishment clearly cannot handle an Arab non-Zionist with the chutzpah to assert his right to be treated respectfully and equally in his own country.

Ayman Odeh’s decision to visit the United States and meet with Jewish community leaders cannot have been an easy one. The burden of scrutiny has been heavy indeed, from all sides. His own constituents, the Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel, were ambivalent at best about what many perceived as a mission that would either be co-opted to soften the perception of Israel’s policies toward its Arab citizens, or twisted to undermine both Odeh and the credibility of his party’s platform.

With Jewish community leaders so firmly supportive of the Netanyahu government, and the United States so committed to its unbreakable alliance with Israel that it had not undertaken a single step to end the occupation in over two decades, many worried that Odeh’s bridge building mission would be misinterpreted as asking for favors.

To a certain extent, these concerns were borne out by events on December 10, when Odeh backed out of a meeting with the Conference of Presidents, a major Jewish NGO umbrella group, because the chairman insisted on holding the meeting in the same office as the Jewish Agency. This is the same Jewish Agency that has been directly involved in hundreds of initiatives to establish new residential communities for Jewish Israelis on land that was expropriated from Palestinians.

Rather than show some sensitivity to Odeh’s point of view, the president of the Conference of Presidents, Malcolm Hoenlein, refused not only to hold the meeting in another room but also immediately released a statement in which he accused Odeh of canceling the meeting.

Later, Hoenlein told the Forward that he saw no reason to “succumb” to Odeh’s request that the meeting be moved to another room (even though it was Hoenlein who had asked for the meeting and Odeh was his guest). Hoenlein also told the Forward, “It’s outrageous that a member of Knesset would say that I can’t go into a place because it has Zionist associations.” Hoenlein added: “He doesn’t have a problem taking [his Knesset] paycheck.”

Hoenlein’s response is, to be kind, monumentally inappropriate. Not to mention: arrogant and entitled beyond belief. Hoenlein is a Jewish citizen of the United States who is the unelected head of an NGO that espouses political opinions far to the right...

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Ayman Odeh has a dream, but not all American Jews like it

NEW YORK — “I believe in talking to everyone,” said Joint List leader Ayman Odeh. “In the Knesset, I speak with everyone.” He added, with a half smile, “Except [Avigdor] Lieberman. But that’s only because he refuses to speak to me.”

Odeh, a Palestinian citizen of Israel whose non-Zionist party is the third largest in the Knesset with 13 seats, is currently visiting Washington and New York for a series of meetings with diplomats, Jewish community leaders, journalists, think tanks and NGOs. But so far the only meeting that has been reported by Jewish media outlets is the one that controversially did not take place — at the New York office of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations.

Upon arriving Thursday morning at the organization’s midtown Manhattan building, Odeh discovered that the umbrella group shared its office with the Jewish Agency. The Agency is affiliated with Israel’s Ministry of Absorption and with the Jewish National Fund (JNF), which is involved in initiatives to displace Palestinians from their homes in favor of Jews.

Staffers for the umbrella group suggested moving the meeting to another office on a different floor in the same building — specifically, to the offices of the Reform Jewish Movement. But Executive Vice President Malcolm Hoenlein rejected the suggestion. He then sent out a press release in which he wrote that he was “deeply disturbed and shocked at the refusal” of Odeh to meet him.

“I did not refuse to meet him,” Odeh told +972. He emphasized that he had responded to an invitation from the Conference of Presidents — that he had not requested the meeting. He did not know until he arrived that the umbrella group shared an office with the Jewish Agency.

“I just asked if we could move the meeting to another room, but they refused. Instead of saying, okay, I understand your discomfort, and offering to meet me in another office, they did everything to make me uncomfortable.” Odeh noted that he made no public statement about the aborted meeting, except in response to the statement released immediately afterward by the Conference of Presidents.

The Jewish Agency’s mandate is to promote aliyah, or Jewish immigration to Israel. The JNF has, as reported extensively by +972, been directly involved in displacing Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem and the West Bank, as well as Palestinian citizens of Israel, in order to convert their...

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Prominent Israeli journalist tweets opportunism at Paris's pain

There is a tendency on the Israeli right to express Schadenfreude when Europe is targeted by terrorists — especially when the perpetrators are jihadis. The subtext is that Israel is unfairly judged for its policies toward the Palestinians.

As social media reporting from Paris increased in pace and volume on Friday, a well-worn pattern emerged. Bursts of incoherent information were followed by news flashes from the wire services and the 24-hour satellite news channels. Rapid sharing of video clips filmed by eyewitnesses with smart phones and quickly uploaded to video sharing platforms like YouTube. As the reports start to repeat themselves, people start to get a bit bored. That’s when the commentary, recriminations, arguing and flat out tasteless tweets start to flow.

Yesterday on Twitter, the well-established pattern continued. As soon as it became obvious that the confused reports were repeating themselves and it would take awhile for the news organizations to frame the story in a more organized fashion, people started turning on one another. There were the “blame” tweets: attacks on people who had inadvertently shared unverified or incorrect information; sanctimonious comments about moral relativism given the outpouring of emotion and saturation coverage of the Paris attacks versus the relative silence over the Beirut bombings the previous day; and, of course, the left and the right attacked one another over gun control and the refugee issue.

There is a tendency on the Israeli right to express Schadenfreude when Europe is targeted by terrorists — especially when the perpetrators are jihadis trained by the so-called Islamic State (ISIS). The subtext is that Israel is unfairly judged for its policies toward the Palestinians. Netanyahu preaches to this crowd when he conflates Hamas with jihadis, name-checking them with ISIS, Boko Haram, Al Qaeda and so on.

Yesterday Dan Margalit, a veteran and well known Israeli journalist, wrote a tweet that gained him a shellacking of scorn from people who responded to him in Hebrew. In light of the EU’s decision to label products from Israeli settlements, and while the bodies in Paris were still being counted, Margalit wrote:

Ariel is a large West Bank settlement with a population of about 19,000.

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Film review: 'We are Palestine, we're here and we are queer'

Unlike previous films made about gay Palestinians in Israel, ‘Oriented’ is not about Jewish saviors trying to protect Palestinians from political or social repercussions. 

Three men in their mid-twenties are gathered at a Tel Aviv apartment, preparing to go out to a dance party at a popular Jaffa bar called Anna Loulou. Speaking in Arabic laced with Hebrew expressions and the occasional English phrase, they warm up with vodka and grapefruit juice as they sprawl on the couches, talking and listening to music . Will there be Jews at the party? asks one of the young men. Yes, answers another. There will be some. But they’re leftists. They support us. They’re not coming to sing “Viva la Occupation.” The third says, with heavy irony, “Right, they’re coming to save us.” All three men laugh. “Our saviors,” they say.

“Oriented,” a documentary film directed by Jake Witzenfeld, follows the lives of Khader Abu Seif and his friends Fadi and Naim. All three are gay Palestinian citizens of Israel who live and work in Tel Aviv. They are politically active and assertive about their right to define their own complex identity —  and they’re not at all interested in conforming to the expectations of others.

This is probably the first film about gay Palestinians that is blissfully free of cliches. Over a period of about 18 months, the film travels from Tel Aviv to Galilee villages, to Berlin and to Amman. It is a time period that coincides with the 2014 war in Gaza and the immolation of Mohamed Abu Khdeir in East Jerusalem. As the three men cook meals, dance at parties, lie on the beach and make political statements via choreographed videos they upload to Youtube, they and their friends  successfully challenge the received wisdom about homosexual life in the Arab Middle East — particularly the politically loaded templates that are imposed on gay Palestinians by Jewish Israeli society. As Khader, the charismatic protagonist of the film, puts it to a Jewish audience at Tel Aviv’s Open Center for LGBTQ, he is a member of a new generation of Palestinians — one that most people are not familiar with.

Khader, who was born and raised in Jaffa, lives in Tel Aviv with his Jewish partner, who immigrated to Israel as a child from Armenia. His parents, he emphasizes, know he’s gay and accept him. But...

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'Centrist' politician's plan for total separation from Palestinians

Yair Lapid isn’t sure which Palestinians he wants to separate from or even how many of them there are, but he knows he needs a bigger wall to do it.

Now is the time to get the Palestinians completely out of the lives of Israelis, according to Yair Lapid, head of the Yesh Atid (“There is a Future”) party. The self-declared “centrist” politician called for a bigger, stronger wall to separate Palestinians from Israelis — urgently.

Lapid made his remarks during an October 3 video interview he gave to Ynet, Israel’s most popular online news site. A generous +972 reader volunteered to subtitle the clip, which is embedded below.

In remarks that strongly echoed those made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in his notorious race-baiting election day video (“hordes of Palestinians are coming out to the ballot box”), Lapid says in the interview, “The next stage of the current conflict is not the knife but the ballot box.” He adds, “If 300,000 East Jerusalem Palestinians go cast their ballots in the next municipal elections…we’ll have a Palestinian mayor who will decide on the prayer times at both the Western Wall and on the Temple Mount.”

East Jerusalem Palestinians have the legal right to vote in Jerusalem municipal elections, but most choose not to because it amounts to a de facto recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the part of the city that was captured in 1967. Israel’s position is that it has annexed East Jerusalem, a move that is not recognized internationally. For Palestinians, East Jerusalem is meant to be the capital of their future state.

It’s not clear who Lapid is referring to with the term “the Palestinians.” Does he mean all the Palestinians, including those who comprise 20 percent of citizens of the state of Israel? Or perhaps he just doesn’t know how to count. He mentions 3.5 million, but there are actually about 5 million Palestinians currently living in territory that is completely controlled by Israel — roughly 2.5 million in the West Bank, 250,000 in East Jerusalem and about 2 million who are citizens of Israel. There are another nearly 2 million in Gaza, which is remotely controlled by Israel. So, altogether, we are talking about almost 7 million Palestinians living under Israeli jurisdiction. If Lapid is referring only to those who live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem,...

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WATCH: Israeli Border Police assault, pepper spray Palestinian journalists

A Border Police officer pepper sprays Palestinian journalists covering a West Bank protest. The police claims it is ‘looking into the incident.’

An Israeli Border Police officer assaulted medics and journalists at a well known junction in the West Bank Friday, according to photojournalist Fadi Arouri.

The incident took place near the Al-Bireh checkpoint, which abuts the Israeli settlement of Beit El— a spot known for frequent clashes between Palestinian youth and Israeli security forces. But Arouri says that journalists and medics were at a significant distances from the protestors when the incident he photographed (below), took place.

“He [the officer in the photo – LG) was chasing photographers, even struggling with some of us. He took the gas masks off some journalists to spray them directly in the face,” recounted Arouri. “He did it to two of them right in front of me.” Arouri added that he saw the officer “dragging a journalist and beating him.”

Arouri, who posted the photos on his professional Facebook page, noted that this particular member of Border Police — known as Magav — was well known to journalists who have been covering West Bank demonstrations over the past few years. He has been “among the worst” of security forces at Qalandiya, Bil’in, and Nabi Saleh — all places that are scenes of frequent Palestinian demonstrations. There have been many reported incidents of Israeli security forces using excessive or inappropriate force to stop demonstrations, many of which have been reported by +972 Magazine.

Arouri also took some video of the scene, where we can see clearly that the border police is just casually ejecting pepper spray at journalists who pose absolutely no threat, followed by disturbing scenes of a journalist wearing a flak jacket marked “press” is kicked, slapped and dragged by paramilitary forces. There are no protestors in sight, although the sound of tear gas being fired nearby is audible. The exchanges are a familiar mixture of Arabic, Hebrew and English, with the Palestinian press shouting that they are journalists and asking why they are being assaulted. Border Policemen are heard yelling “get back” and “move,” although there is no visible reason to harass journalists.

A second video provides context and even more shocking footage, with border police deliberately running over a Palestinian youth. One officer descends from the vehicle and steps on the boy he just...

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An unwilling symbol of Israel's identity complex

A Palestinian resident of the Tel Aviv city-state publishes a nasty racist letter from an anonymous neighbor, and becomes a local celebrity.

Ziad “Zizo” Abul Hawa was thrust into the local media spotlight this week when he discovered that one of his neighbors wanted to get him evicted from his Tel Aviv apartment because she didn’t think it was safe to have an Arab in the building. The neighbor, who still has not been identified, left an unsigned note pinned to the notice board in the lobby of his building.

To the Tenants of 51 Bar Kochba Street,

Due to the security situation I don’t think we can allow ourselves to be indifferent and do nothing about the fact that there is an Arab residing in our building. His name is Ziad Abul Hawa and he lives in Apartment 4. This is something that I have long sought to discuss with the Tenants’ Association, even before the current situation.

Now is the opportunity.

I invite you all to a meeting in the bomb shelter on the first floor, this coming Thursday October 15, to discuss the situation and decide what can be done.

I’m not rejecting him outright, but I do think we should talk to him and check him out.

We have the right to be concerned about our safety and the safety of our families and to feel secure in the building we live in.

The Apartment Tenants

Ziad, who has gone by the nickname Zizo since he was a child, took  a selfie that shows him making a wry duck face, with the note behind him, and posted it on Facebook with the humorous Hebrew caption, “Ya! I’m coming with mulukhiya muffins.”

The photo went viral almost immediately, with so many people tagging him when they shared it on Facebook that Zizo’s original status was soon buried, along with comments that combined expressions of disgust for the anonymous neighbor and support for Zizo, almost all written in Hebrew. Some other neighbors in the building tore the notice down and replaced it with a satirical one that mocked the anonymous original; others sought him out to apologize. By the following day he had been interviewed for nearly all of the major Israeli media outlets, speaking in flawless idiomatic Hebrew, and had turned down an invitation to be a guest on a popular morning...

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When people can't believe their eyes, it's usually ideology

+972 published video of undercover Israeli soldiers restraining a Palestinian stone thrower and shooting him point blank in the leg. An astonishing number of people looked at the evidence and refused to believe what they saw.

Yesterday I published a post about a video that showed Israeli plainclothes undercover soldiers restraining a Palestinian youth at a West Bank demonstration and shooting him in the leg at point blank range. The youth was clutching a small stone, but was otherwise unarmed.

These undercover agents are called “mistarevim” in Hebrew (meaning disguised as an Arab) and “mustarabeen” in Arabic. According to reports from several sources, including the AFP,  journalists witnessed a group of mistarevim infiltrating a demonstration in the West Bank and then suddenly producing handguns, which they shot directly at the Palestinian protestors.

At one point two of the undercover troops grab one of the Palestinian young men and restrain him, while a third presses the barrel of his handgun to his thigh and pulls the trigger. The ‘pop’ of the weapon is audible. Uniformed soldiers punch and kick the wounded youth and then drag him away.

A still image taken at the scene by Activestills photojournalist Muhannad Saleem shows the youth being carried away on a stretcher by soldiers wearing the latex gloves used by medics. There is a tourniquet tied around his thigh above a bleeding wound, and he is wearing an oxygen mask.

An astonishing number of people looked at all this evidence and refused to believe what they saw. And they were upset with the messenger, too. Yesterday +972 editor Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man and I were inundated with testy emails and social media messages from people who demanded additional evidence proving the undercover agent had really pulled the trigger and shot the boy.

The multiple witnesses, the videos and the photographs were not enough. Some claimed they did not hear the gun being discharged. Others claimed they saw the Palestinian youth walking after he’d supposedly been shot, which proved that the undercover officer had not really pulled the trigger. On Facebook, there were long threads of comments claiming the video was fabricated, a “Pallywood” production.

But then the army spokesperson responded to our query and confirmed nonchalantly that yes, the shooting had occurred as witnessed and documented. “It was an accurate shot that disabled the central suspect who fought back even...

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WATCH: Israeli undercover agents shoot unarmed youth at point blank range

(Updated below with a response from the Israeli military spokesperson’s office.)

A video released Wednesday onto several social media accounts and published by several news outlets shows Israeli plainclothes undercover officers apparently shooting an unarmed Palestinian youth in the leg at point blank range, while other undercover officers hold him down.

The shooting and beating took place during clashes in between Ramallah and the Beit El settlement, which abuts the de facto Palestinian capital and hosts the army’s regional headquarters base.

Several videos of the same event emerged on Wednesday, showing the Israeli plainclothes troops wearing keffiyehs wrapped around their faces, infiltrating the West Bank demonstration and then either shooting toward demonstrators at close range with handguns, or assaulting them and dragging them away to military vehicles.

Reuters bureau chief Luke Baker confirmed via a tweet that he had viewed footage of Israeli undercover officers throwing stones at soldiers and encouraging the Palestinian youth around them to do the same.


AFP filmed a clip of the incident shown above from a different angle. (AFP footage cannot be embedded but you can watch the clip on YouTube, the shooting takes place at at around the 0:36 second mark.) This clip looks entirely unedited (the first version zooms in to show the gun and shot) and appears to corroborate the first video.

In 2012 Haaretz newspaper reported (Hebrew link) that the commanding officer of an undercover unit confirmed it was their practice to have plainclothes agents infiltrate Palestinian demonstrations and throw stones in the direction of soldiers while encouraging the Palestinian youth to follow suit, and then arrest them for throwing stones.

Roughly 100 Palestinians were wounded across the West Bank on Wednesday, according to Palestinian news agency Ma’an, including 10 wounded by live ammunition and 89 by rubber-coated steel bullets.

Clashes have taken place on a daily basis in East Jerusalem and across the West Bank for nearly a week following tensions surrounding Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem and an increasingly frequent and ongoing series of attacks by Palestinian individuals against Israeli civilians, leaving four Israelis...

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Yom Kippur in popular culture: nostalgia and other musings

“It was different with Papa. He celebrated all the major holidays — Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah, Pesach — and he loved telling me Bible stories, but religion didn’t have a very important place in his life. Once, during Mama’s illness, I asked him if he believed in God. He gazed at me with that tender look, a look that spoke only of the powerlessness of love, and said, “You know, Sara, God doesn’t need us to believe in him. All he wants is for us to act as if he were there.”

— from Paths of Desire, a novel by Emmanuel Kattan

Yom Kippur is one of the two Jewish holidays that have become well-known tropes for the universal human experience in secular European and American art. Passover is the other one — specifically the seder meal, which includes so many symbols that can be interpreted ecumenically to talk about hunger, freedom, welcoming the stranger, telling the story of the Exodus to the children, justice and so on. But while the seder is about reaching out to include others (“all who are hungry, come and eat”), Yom Kippur is about introspection, repentance, forgiveness and redemption.

Parts of the liturgy are beautiful and have inspired some moving art, especially poetry and music. There’s Max Bruch’s gorgeous cello and orchestra composition of Kol Nidre, the Aramaic recitation that opens the evening service of Yom Kippur.  (My mother was a huge fan of Jacqueline Du Pre’s interpretation.) Bruch was a Protestant who died in the 1920s, but the Nazis banned all his music anyway, for his sin of having composed a work based on a Jewish theme.

In more recent popular music, songs based on the liturgy include greats like Leonard Cohen’s “Who By Fire,” referring to the part of the service where congregants sing the prayer derived from the tradition that on Yom Kippur it’s written in the Book of Life: Who will die this year and how — by fire, by sword, by water..?  Barbra Streisand’s Avinu Malkeinu (Our Father, Our King) is a straight rendition of one of the high points in the liturgy, rather than an interpretation like Cohen’s. In the clip below, Cohen explains in a 1979 interview how the Hebrew prayer inspired “Who By Fire.”

In the movies, Kol Nidre is a trope for redemption via the return...

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Prime minister's wife accused in court of abusing staff

Former employees of the prime minister’s residence are suing the Netanyahus for wife Sara’s allegedly abusive and inhumane treatment. On Sunday a former cook recounted some shocking incidents when she testified under subpoena.

Sara Netanyahu, the wife of the prime minister, is an alcoholic who drinks champagne from morning to night, terrorizes her employees with verbal and physical abuse and has her husband, the prime minister, so terrified of her rages that he does not dare utter a word that might appear to contradict her. This is according to testimony heard on Sunday in a Jerusalem court  from former employees at the prime minister’s residence. Guy Eliahu, a former maintenance man at the official residence, is suing the Netanyahus for what he says is Sara’s abusive, inappropriate and inhumane treatment.

According to a report published by Ynet, the Israeli digital media site, on Sunday a former cook, Etti Haim, who took the witness stand reluctantly after she was subpoenaed, described several shocking incidents.

In one case, testified Haim, Sara Netanyahu went ballistic upon discovering that the patio awning had been rolled up after the al fresco dinner table had been fully set for dinner, including an array of prepared salads. Just before Sara Netanyahu appeared for the meal, the prime minister had asked Guy Eliahu, the maintenance man, to roll up the awning over the table. Upon seeing this Mrs. Netanyahu berated Eliahu, insisting the dinner table was now contaminated by dust. Haim said the prime minister did not intervene but sat silently on a bench near the table, avoiding eye contact with Eliahu. Mrs. Netanyahu ordered that the table be entirely cleared of dishes and food and re-set. When her son Avner said that his food was fine and should not be cleared away, Sara Netanyahu angrily accused him of taking the side of the servants. The prime minister’s wife then trashed the dinner table. Haim testified:

Haim recounted another incident when Sara Netanyahu refused to have an ambulance called to the official residence after the cook collapsed in the kitchen. Haim fainted while rushing to prepare a late-night meal the prime minister’s wife had just requested. According to Haim’s testimony, a paramedic said the problem was with Haim’s heart and that she must be evacuated to the hospital immediately. But rather than call the emergency medical services Netanyahu forced the cook to phone home and ask one of her...

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How to neutralize stone throwers — without killing them

End the occupation, and extend full civil rights to Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem. It’s that simple.

Reports of violent clashes in Jerusalem are leading the Israeli news cycle these days, and receiving quite a bit of international coverage as well. Mako, a popular Israeli news site, refers to the actions of Palestinian teens confronting armed security forces wearing protective riot gear  as “rock and molotov cocktail terrorism.” The narrative set by Netanyahu’s government, whereby any type of Palestinian protest or violence is labeled terrorism, has seeped into the mainstream media.

Last week a 64-year-old Israeli man named Alexander Levlovich died in Jerusalem after his car was hit by an object that was probably a rock or a cinder block. Palestinian teens were throwing rocks at cars driving on the road at the time. It’s not terribly uncommon to see clusters of Palestinian kids throwing stones at cars driven by Israelis on East Jerusalem roads. Incidents of shocking violence are tragically common in Jerusalem, and strike Jews and Palestinians alike.

The discourse around these incidents is terribly depressing and demoralizing. In this it is a reflection of the entire discourse about the occupation and the future of Israel and Palestine. Netanyahu’s response to the tragic death of Alexander Levlovich was to exploit it to justify his call for loosening the rules of engagement so that security forces would be permitted to shoot Palestinian protestors, even when they present no physical threat. But this has been a de facto practice on the ground for years now, as illustrated by the dozens of video clips easily found online — of soldiers shooting unarmed Palestinians in the back, or from a roof,  in the face, or in the toe (while in custody, blindfolded and with wrists bound). In 99 percent of the cases, the soldiers receive either no punishment at all or a meaningless censure. There are no real consequences for soldiers who beat, shoot or kill unarmed Palestinians in the West Bank.

+972 investigates: License to Kill, the Case Files

The incidents mentioned here are just a few examples of a systemic problem for which there is only one resolution: end the military occupation. After nearly 50 years, we should be well past the point of claiming the Israeli army can be an enlightened, all-powerful military ruler...

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Israeli ex-pat asks whether it is possible to come home

In her new film, Danae Elon documents her attempts to carve a place out for children where they can be proud of who they are, but realizes that just by choosing to be in Israel, she couldn’t avoid the most difficult questions of war and occupation.

In one of the most affecting scenes of her documentary “P.S. Jerusalem,” filmmaker Danae Elon follows her two little boys and their Palestinian schoolmate, all three dressed nearly identically in hooded sweatshirts and jeans, as they navigate the streets of the city at night, traversing Jewish majority and Arab majority neighborhoods while clutching their skateboards. The boys, who attend the bilingual Hand in Hand School, switch from one language to the next depending on the area they’re in. “Don’t speak Arabic here,” whispers her son in Hebrew to his Palestinian friend. Two minutes later, the Palestinian boy whispers to them in Arabic, “Sh! Not a word in Hebrew!”

It would be easy and natural for adults to dismiss the excited warnings of six and seven-year-old boys as exaggeration for the sake of drama. But in contemporary Jerusalem, being beaten up just for speaking the wrong language in the wrong neighborhood is tragically not unheard of. This is the reality that these boys, children of liberal, secular parents attending the city’s most pluralistic, liberal school, are already aware of in elementary school. (In 2014, the Jerusalem Hand in Hand school was torched by Jewish terrorists in a “price tag” incident.)

When Danae Elon moved back in 2010 to Jerusalem, where she was born and raised, she wanted to give her two young sons and her unborn child — as well as her French-Algerian Jewish partner Philippe — a sense of belonging in the place that she identified as home. New York, she explains in the opening scenes of P.S. Jerusalem, had never felt like home. She describes the city she remembers as a place populated by bohemians and by intellectuals like her father, the renowned Haaretz journalist and writer Amos Elon.

But her father, who died in 2009, had left Israel in 2004. Citing despair and disillusionment with the direction the country had taken since 1967, he spent his final years living with his wife on a farm in Tuscany. It was during that period that he and Danae grew closest, as witnessed by excerpts of their conversations inserted into the...

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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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