On the backdrop of rising discrimination and violence against Israel's Arab citizens, a new children's book invokes the spirit of friendship between Arabs and Jews, giving us at least one thing to look forward to in 2016. By Yoni Mendel (Translated from Hebrew by Ami Asher) A new children's book, "Sweet Tea with Mint And Other Stories" is being released in a climate of increasing discrimination. With the Education Ministry excluding books from its curriculum out of fear of “miscegenation,” at a time of record low of Arabic proficiency among Jews, and with the images of Jews dancing and stabbing photos of Palestinian…Read More... | 10 Comments
On its next to last night, the journey leads away from the cities and, in a way, to another continent. For other nights click here. The papers promised a meteor shower. Here was a great excuse to take a spin out of town. I haven't been off the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv axis in a while (Bethlehem is essentially a Jerusalem suburb). Nothing sounded more appealing than heading into the dark hills to chase a shooting star or two. Ruthie was feeling a tad better and encouraged me to head out, but I was unsure. Then a surprise phone call called the shots.…Read More...
Israeli society is finally beginning to understand the importance of Ramadan to the Muslim population. Just don't be afraid of us as we invade your cities this weekend, okay? That's it, Ramadan is over. Thirty brutal summer days have passed. We ate all that was forbidden at night, and the celebrations and carbohydrates are nearing their end. Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the month-long fast, is before us. Many call this the "small" holiday, because it lasts only three days and does not have its own "eve," as opposed to Eid al-Adha, the "big" holiday, which lasts five…Read More...
Israel’s political and social outlook, rooted in its desire to be a 'Jewish state,' makes it impossible to view the Palestinians as anything but an existential problem, even those it accepts as citizens. By Amjad Iraqi Last week, Haaretz’s Ofer Aderet reported about the auctioning of a letter written by Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, to then-Haifa Mayor Abba Hushi. In the letter Ben-Gurion rejected attempts to allow Palestinian Arabs to return to Haifa after fleeing during the 1948 war, stating that “until the war is over, we don’t want a return of the enemy.” While the letter does…Read More... | 8 Comments
Six decades after the Nakba forced us into different corners of the world, social networks allowed us to reconnect with our families and villages. In Yarmouk, I found the people I should have grown up around—the ones who looked like me and my immediate family. And then war broke out in Syria, Facebook went dark and people disappeared, once again. Those who do not have family members in Syria's refugee camps can watch the atrocities taking place on the news from far away, as if it were all just one big Hollywood horror movie: one that causes deep anguish for…Read More... | 17 Comments
From afar, the flight of the fancy complex and the boxy city appear rather harmonious. It is upon close inspection that they are revealed to be made up of entirely contradicting notions. The second stop on Yuval Ben-Ami's journey to deconstruct Israel's well-worn tourist trail is something of an exception, in every sense of the word. Welcome to Haifa's Baha'i Gardens. A few weeks ago, my dear friend Osnat had an interesting experience on the slopes of Mt. Carmel. It happened when she came to visit the famed Baha'i Gardens: an astounding pillar of greenery rising up from Haifa's port district,…Read More... | 8 Comments
More than 1,000 Palestinian citizens of Israel were arrested by Israeli police during Operation Protective Edge, according to a lawyer representing a number of the detainees. While some were arrested for protesting the Israeli military incursion into Gaza, dozens were held without charge. Maisa Arshid, an attorney for dozens of the detainees, says that 20 to 30 Palestinians were picked up by Israeli police every week in the Nazareth area alone. “All of them are accused of participating in illegal demonstrations,” she says. But, she adds, “Part of these demos were permitted by the police themselves.” In many cases, there…Read More... | 14 Comments
The recent demonstrations in Tel Aviv and Haifa against the Gaza war have largely failed to reach the global media. And while the end of the bloodshed still seems far from sight, there is a different, violent confrontation being held inside Israel – one that targets Arab citizens and left-wing activists on the internet, and uses physical violence against anti-war demonstrators. By Omer Raz Tel Aviv, July 13 The second weekend of Operation Protective Edge saw the first bout of physical violence at Habima Square - the cultural heart of Tel Aviv. At around 8 p.m. a crowd of several…Read More... | 13 Comments
Dozens of supporters, including past refusers, hold demonstration outside Haifa draft board office in solidarity with 19-year-old Udi Segal. By Moriel Rothman-Zecher and Yuval Orr For the past month, the news in Israel/Palestine has been filled with reports of more and more people killed, the vast majority of them Palestinians. As much of Israeli society is swept up in the fever of the most recent war on Gaza, there are those voices that refuse to accept a present, or future, filled with violence, occupation, fear and hostility. One of those voices belongs to Udi Segal, a 19-year-old Israeli from Kibbutz…Read More... | 15 Comments
Israel may think that bombing - and killing - innocents is a viable strategy. But there is a better option: to actually understand what has been driving Palestinian resistance for all these decades. Point out the barbarity of Israel's ongoing attacks against Gaza - as of this writing, more than 80 killed, a quarter of them under the age of 16 - and you're bound to hear a familiar rejoinder: but what exactly would you have Israel do? The question implies that the root cause of the current attacks is some - presumably innate - Palestinian propensity toward violence. "They"…Read More... | 13 Comments
Omar Sa'ad was hospitalized late last week after complaining for three straight days of chest pains. Attempts by military intelligence to transfer him to Tel Aviv's Ichilov hospital failed after both his family and medical staff protested the life-threatening decision. Omar Sa'ad, a Druze conscientious objector who is currently serving his seventh prison term for refusing to join the Israeli army, was hospitalized in Haifa last week with a liver infection. According to a report by Raanan Shemesh Forshner, two policemen are currently guarding Sa'ad's hospital room "so that he does not escape." On Saturday, while he was still undergoing treatments, military police…Read More...
By Rafael Balulu The Mizrahi discourse has its own set of eloquent speakers. Although varied, one can say that it seems that in 2013 there are many voices who are speaking in the name of this complex identity. Comedy has always been a subversive tool that made it possible to get away with poking fun of the holiest of holies. Galit Hoogi and Tom Aharon are two new, sharp stand up comedians who are challenging everything we know about stand up that deals with Israeli culture and Mizrahi identity. From the days of Avner Dan's imitations of different ethnic groups…Read More... | 1 Comment
As an Israeli who was born and raised in the United States, few things were more important to me than formulating an Israeli identity. It was a strange complex, which, at its core, always strived to be "the most Israeli" possible (and always more Israeli than those who surrounded me). In our expat community, Israeliness was demonstrated in all sorts of way - there was (and still is) an Israeli scouts chapter, Israeli Remembrance Day and Holocaust Memorial Day ceremonies, lectures on Israeli culture and history and a plethora of Zionist organizations that worked tirelessly to bring us a culture…Read More... | 1 Comment
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