The recent controversy over remarks made by President Peres regarding negotiations with Palestinians exposes how the 'center-left' pays lip service to the two-state solution, while still preferring a one-state solution with Jewish supremacy. During the current election campaign, two of the most popular party leaders identified with the center-left have done almost everything in their power to avoid saying anything left-sounding on the Palestinian topic. Yair Lapid, leader (and personification) of Yesh Atid, and Shelly Yechimovitch, head of the Labor party, have often tried to position themselves to the right of this issue (Yachimovitch saying nice things about settlements, Lapid opposing…Read More... | 8 Comments
Last Tuesday, it became official: the IDF (following approval from Defense Minister Barak) recognized the academic center in the settlement of Ariel as a full-fledged university. International condemnation soon followed. A UK minister, for instance, expressed disappointment regarding Israel’s decision, and labeled it an obstacle to peace. In response, Israeli Education Minister Gideon Saar (Likud) argued that “[o]ur connection to Ariel is at least as strong as the UK’s connection to the Falkland Islands.” This comparison is quite apt because Ariel, like the Falklands, is the product of a colonial enterprise, meant to place a metropolitan population amidst a weaker…Read More... | 19 Comments
The settlement movement registered major victories this year on various fronts. Its representatives are reaching new heights in politics, the judiciary and the media. One out of five residents east of the Green Line is a settler. The expansion of settlements continues unabated, and - most importantly - settlers are in full control of the Israeli national narrative. In 2012, as more and more observers declared the death of the two-state solution, the settler became the new normal. By Lisa Goldman and Mairav Zonszein For decades, the settler movement and Israel’s secular, largely Ashkenazi urban elite have been playing a game of…Read More... | 37 Comments
A review of the year of social protests - just hours before the demonstration planned against the government's budget - yields bad news: The government has offered shallow solutions and deepened the roots of economic inequality. Last year's social paradox During last summer's social protests, outsiders and curious journalists repeatedly asked me how to explain that Israel has such excellent economic indicators, but so much discontent. Not being much of an economist, but knowing something about public opinion, I looked at how people experienced their lives here – micro versus macroeconomics. Despite apparently excellent macro indicators, most individual families weren't…Read More... | 5 Comments
Blithely ignoring a bitter academic and political controversy, the Committee for Higher Education (CHE) in Judea and Samaria voted Tuesday evening to grant the Ariel University Center of Samaria (also referred to as Ariel College) the status of a fully accredited university. After a few more formalities, the West Bank institute, established in 1982, is expected to be accredited beginning this autumn. Along with the Ariel Cultural Center, this decision drives home Israel's permanence in the West Bank. It also represents the bizarre military takeover of academia – since formally the IDF commander of the Central Command, the highest authority…Read More... | 32 Comments
"It's much easier to sit at home and lob criticism through blogs and tweets, and post that this isn't changing the world overnight. But political change happens one step at a time...If you're sitting on the sidelines critiquing the runners, I have no respect for you. Get in the race, show you can run it faster, show you can get to the finish line, prove you have better ideas." -J Street Executive Director Jeremy Ben-Ami Flush from the success of its third annual conference, J Street stands at tough crossroads. Its first two years of heady success as the receptacle…Read More... | 13 Comments
Staying on the move in Israel and the Palestinian Territories through a month of trial. First excursion: Beit Shean and Tel Al-Baida. First experience: Uncertainty. . . Tel Aviv has become such a carnival of protest this summer, that leaving it can be a bit of an emotional zig-zag. On the sherut, or minivan bus, to the city of Afula, I experience my first downwards zig, on learning that the rest of the country may not be quite as much of a rebellious paradise. . Twenty-two year-old Palestinian-Israeli Amjad sits next to me. By the time we reach his town…Read More... | 3 Comments
Instead of going through the commentary on the recently released "Palestine Papers," I suggest readers start by checking out some of the documents themselves. Even for those suspicious of the "generous Israeli offer vs. Arab rejectionism" narrative of the 2008 talks as I was, some of the documents are quite shocking. Take, for example, this meeting, in which the Palestinian side learns that the Israeli negotiators wouldn't agree to use 1967 borders even as a starting point (h/t Matt Duss): Udi Dekel (Israel): As you know, our guiding principles are UNSC Res. 242, the need for boundaries that can provide…Read More... | 4 Comments
Not long ago, the large settlement which is now at the heart of the controversy over the refusal of Israeli theater actors to perform in its new auditorium, tried to prove in court that officially, it lies outside Israel, and therefore should be exempted from paying VAT Culture Minister Limor Livnat (Likud) was present this week at the opening of the new theater hall at the settlement of Ariel. A couple of months ago, several Israeli theater artist declared their refusal to perform in Ariel, which sits deep in the Palestinian territories, some 15 miles east of the Green Line.…Read More... | 3 Comments
This is one of the rare days when all four of the Israeli dailies lead with completely different headlines. Haaretz leads with Netanyahu's trip to the United States; the PM is "set to discuss a package of benefits in exchange for extending the temporary settlement freeze." Senior administration officials slovenly remind his highness that the benefits are still on the table. This, in a nutshell, is Obama's "tough love" for Israel: When the carrot doesn't work, try... more carrots. Haaretz notes in passing the PM's flight will cost us taxpayer one million dollars. Other headlines of interest include the police…Read More...
Sometimes we get lucky. A dear friend working in the diplomatic community invited me and my girl to the grand opening of the Portuguese film festival in Tel Aviv. We didn't even know what movie was to be screened, but enjoyed the port served in small glasses and the company of dignitaries wearing neckties. Israeli society is extremely informal and the attire common at events of the international community make one feel pleasantly "abroad." Then we stepped into the theatre, the lights were dimmed and suddenly we were back home. The film was named "Amália," and told the story of…Read More...
The following was originally posted on The Magnes Zionist. Jewish Voice of Peace gets a big yasher koah for lining up some of the most talented theater people in the US and UK to support the decision of Israeli actors not to appear in the Occupied Territories. That decision was backed also by a list of Israeli academics and cultural icons of the Zionist and non-Zionist left. What is interesting about JVP's list that it doesn't include just the usual suspects. OK, so Vanessa Redgrave is there. But so is somebody who almost never signs petitions, the great Broadway composer and lyricist, Stephen…Read More... | 1 Comment
The first major theater hall in a West Bank settlement will open on November 8th. The Ariel Culture Hall, located in the settlement of Ariel (south of Nablus) will host major productions of leading Israeli theaters, including Habima, Israel's national theater, and Tel Aviv's city theater, The Cameri. According to Haaretz, The Ariel Culture Hall will have 540 seats, and 40 million NIS (11 million USD) were spent on its construction. The Hall will open with the Israeli adaptation of Piaf, a play by British Pem Gems on the life of the famous singer, performed by the Beer Sheva Theatre.…Read More...
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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.
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