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Haifa

  • When will Israel stop seeing Palestinians as a 'demographic threat?'

    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…

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  • Finding my family in Yarmouk — then losing them again

    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.  By Samah Salaime 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…

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  • The Beaten Path: Baha'i Haifa, Banana St. and the ultimate Other (part 3)

    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,…

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  • Israel cracks down on dissent

    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…

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  • 'Unprecedented' violence stalks anti-war demos across Israel

    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…

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  • WATCH: Israeli teen refuses to serve in army, likely to face jail time

    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…

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  • Why are there are no white flags in Gaza?

    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"…

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  • Druze conscientious objector hospitalized with liver infection

    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…

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  • Black humor: These Mizrahi comedians will make fun of you too

    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…

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  • In the diaspora, Arik Einstein defined 'Israeliness'

    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…

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  • Israeli police lock up Haifa activist for Facebook statuses

    Police detained and held Razi Nabulsi, a young Palestinian from Haifa for a week for statuses he posted to Facebook and Twitter, claiming they constituted incitement. The catch? Even though the statuses were posted publicly on the Internet, police declared them to be secret evidence and refused to publicly say in court what he was accused of writing. By Yoav Haifawi Razi Nabulsi, a 23-year-old activist and student in Haifa, spent the last week in jail for statuses he publicly posted on Facebook and Twitter. His detention was extended twice. In four different court hearings during the week (two remand extension…

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  • At annual conference, Palestinians and Israelis turn 'return' into reality

    Palestinians, Israelis and internationals gathered in a Tel Aviv museum last week for a two-day conference dedicated to the Palestinian right of return. Tom Pessah on some of the conference highlights. By Tom Pessah I don’t normally cry during academic conferences, although perhaps "academic conference" would be the wrong way to characterize Zochrot's conference on the issue of the Nakba and the Palestinian right of return. This year's conference, titled “From Truth to Redress,” was held in Tel Aviv's Eretz Israel Museum (on the grounds of the former Palestinian village Al-Sheikh Muwannis) and featured two days of presentations by Palestinians, Israelis…

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  • The battle for hearts and minds: Entry permits during Ramadan

    The Palestinian, in whose head is engraved an image of the lands that were torn away from him, now faces an entirely different picture that clashes with the narrative and imagery of his grandparents' stories. Haifa of today is not the Haifa of Al-Shrak Cafe or the 1920s and 30s capital of Palestinian culture. An entry permit is a statement in and of itself: Here, you are permitted to enter once again, to have a good time, to pray. That is, as long as you behave yourself. By Fady Asleh One of the questions that came up during Ramadan last…

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