With chants of “Death to Arabs” and “Mohammed is dead” in the background, the 30-something couple spoke earnestly, their faces worried. “As far as I’m concerned,” said the woman, an economist who didn’t want to be named, “I came to a funeral. The father is in mourning. I’m here to support the family in their pain with our presence.” They have come to a grimy parking lot outside a tacky mall in Rishon LeZion, deep in the center of Israel, to protest the wedding of an Arab Muslim Israeli and an Israeli woman born Jewish, who converted to Islam. The…Read More... | 11 Comments
This week: A hole in the wall, protests against conscription, house demolitions in Jerusalem and the Negev, price tagging Women of the Wall, masked protesters in Tel Aviv and the West Bank, and demonstrations against occupation and settlements.Read More...
Rabbi Dov Lipman is soft-spoken and not even 41 years old, but has seen his share of action on the battleground of Israeli society. He's taken verbal beatings and sustained physical injury. He's won praise and publicity, and drawn fire too, for his tireless struggle against religious extremists literally next door. Lipman is a Haredi-ordained educator (Haredi = ultra-Orthodox), and a religious Zionist with a liberal bent – a rare bird in these parts. His main political arena is his home, the city of Beit Shemesh not far from Jerusalem, with its growing Haredi population. This year, Beit Shemesh became…Read More... | 17 Comments
In a study published by The Palestine-Israel Journal, my review of public opinion data showed only minimal differences between women and men in supporting peace. A strong and thriving feminist movement may be the key to advancing peace, and addressing deep, underlying chauvinism in general. Sometimes I worry that if I start writing about the state of feminism in Israel, a storm will gather inside me, and a tirade will come pouring out. The post will explode into an uncontrollable, possibly incoherent, manifesto of frustrations. So I’ll start with two specific issues: passing the buck, and the internalization of male-driven…Read More... | 14 Comments
In the struggle within the Orthodox Jewish community between reactionaries who use Judaism as a weapon against democracy, and modernists whose worldview is based on integrating the two, the reactionaries have been the dominant voice - but the silent majority is starting to raise its own. By Rachel Liel It cannot be easy to be a modern Orthodox Jew in Israel today, not when leading voices in the community are calling for Israel to reject the modern, democratic world. The latest such declaration came from Benny Katsover, an “elder statesman” of the West Bank settler movement. “The main role of…Read More... | 14 Comments
Preface Before I begin, I would like to preface with a few points. First, I do not support the extremist religious elements in Beit Shemesh, as they have been recently discussed in the Israeli and international media. And yes, I would call those engaging in the behavior as covered by Israeli Channel 2 (and translated by +972's Ami Kaufman) as "extremist.” They do not represent all of Beit Shemesh's inhabitants, nor of course all who follow Orthodox Judaism, ultra or non-ultra. Second, I wholeheartedly object to the treatment of women in a manner that is any less than equal to that…Read More... | 16 Comments
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Assault on Gaza
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