An Israeli amusement park found itself in hot water after being caught segregating Jewish and Arab school groups. But instead of being an aberration, the incident is reflective of the dominant culture of segregation and discrimination that permeates Israeli society from the bottom up. "Superland" - the Israeli amusement park exposed for segregating Arab and Jewish citizens this week - is the most fittingly tragic and ironic title for how I see the current Israeli zeitgeist. No screenwriter or playwright could have come up with a better concept for a tragic comedy about this place. It captures the two most dominant concepts…Read More... | 63 Comments
Perhaps the greatest similarity between Abraham Lincoln and Yitzhak Rabin is that both men’s assassins succeeded in altering history. Following Lincoln’s death the reconstruction of the American south was abandoned and the Supreme Court accepted the notion of 'separate yet equal.' Following Rabin’s assassination, the occupation of the West Bank and the Palestinian people has deepened as Israeli settlements continue to grow. By Ilan Manor It was Ernst Lubitsch, an American filmmaker of Jewish decent, who used his 1942 classic comedy To Be or Not to Be to remark on the fate of dictators saying that "if they named a brandy…Read More... | 7 Comments
Neither Palestinians nor Israelis should be fooled into believing that separated bus lines are part of an overall policy that benefits Palestinian workers. The announcement that Israel’s Ministry of Transportation would begin a “Palestinian-only” bus service from the Eyal checkpoint in the West Bank might appear to be a harmless policy. Indeed, many Palestinians working in Israel may be inclined to use the new service. If the advertisements are correct, Palestinians might avoid overcrowded buses, save hundreds of shekels from cheaper tickets, and even avoid unnecessary scuffles with Jewish settlers on the bus. The catch is that these messages are…Read More... | 7 Comments
A new Israeli bus line will serve only Palestinians. Officials claim it's not segregation, but the ongoing experience of discrimination faced by Palestinian workers speaks for itself. Photos by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org Early this morning, Palestinians from the West Bank with permits to work inside the state of Israel crammed onto bus lines specially created for "Palestinians only" -- instead of using the same public buses used by Israelis. The Israeli Transportation Ministry launched the new bus lines today, for travel from the Eyal checkpoint to Tel Aviv and Kfar Saba and back to the checkpoint, after settlers complained about Palestinians…Read More... | 19 Comments
Underneath a new Knesset election poll published today by Haaretz, there was a surprising disclaimer: "due to lack of time, the Arab parties weren't surveyed." The reference is to the three non-Zionist and mostly Palestinian Knesset parties: Ra'am-Ta'al, Balad and Hadash, which were nowhere to be found in the charts Haaretz published. Together, they have 11 Knesset seats, including one held by a Jewish member of Hadash. Some polls published in the Israeli media tend to group those parties into one entry, titled "Arab parties." At other times, they ignore them completely. Often pollsters do include Palestinian citizens in their surveys…Read More... | 10 Comments
Bus lines created exclusively for Palestinians is another step in the fortification of the de facto system of segregation imposed by the Israeli government between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean. Thousands of Palestinians travel from the West Bank to work in Israel every day using Israeli public transportation. The buses are overcrowded. At times there are tensions and confrontations between Israelis and Palestinians. Israeli settlers can't stand the sight of Palestinians anyway. So why not create a separate bus line for them? This is the logic behind a new proposal being considered by the Ministry of Transportation: Additional bus lines exclusively…Read More... | 18 Comments
Palestinian, Israeli and international women activists dressed in traditional Palestinian garb attempted to walk down Shuhada street, Hebron's main commercial thoroughfare. After only a few minutes, they were stopped by soldiers, and seven people were arrested in total. By Noa Shaindlinger A group of Israeli and international female activists joined Palestinian women on Wednesday in a direct action in Hebron to protest the ongoing ban on Palestinian freedom of movement on Shuhada street. The street, which was once the lively commercial centre of Hebron, was closed off to Palestinian vehicular traffic after the 1994 massacre of 29 Muslims in the…Read More... | 19 Comments
I love Bradley Burston's writing. He is clever and passionate, and more often than not, he is upset by the same things I am. But I found his post on Apartheid Week deeply misguided, both morally and politically. Briefly, Burston claims that "Apartheid Week" is both a political failure and a moral abomination, since it is organized by the BDS movement that aims to destroy Israel. Mixing the moral issue – whether Apartheid Week is justified – with the question of effectiveness (is it working?) tends to blur the debate. To make things simple, I won't address BDS' and Apartheid…Read More... | 64 Comments
A group of artists have replaced the front page in hundreds of copies of the Israel Hayom daily paper. The new headline declared that the separation regime in occupied Hebron is ending. An anonymous group that identified itself only as "artists for Israel tomorrow" has distributed hundreds of copies of a "utopian" version of Israel Hayom ["Israel Today"], with a cover story announcing the end of the limitations of freedom of movement for Palestinians in occupied Hebron. Israel Hayom is the most widely read paper in Israel. It is distributed for free, and at considerable losses, at the expense of gambling…Read More... | 6 Comments
The West Bank has several highways on which Palestinians are not allowed to travel, but in Hebron, even a main street divides the settlers and the local Palestinians. This picture was taken on Monday on the Shuhada street in Hebron: Note who gets the bigger part of the road... well, nobody in Hebron ever claimed that separate is equal. ------------------------ A day of international solidarity with the Palestinian people of Hebron will take place on February 24. A protest march is planned, details [Hebrew] here.Read More... | 45 Comments
+972's Ami Kaufman writes that he found "particularly heart-warming" the flashmob in Beit Shemesh, noting that it shows the ultra-Orthodox "who wears the pants in this town." I'm guessing it's obvious who wears the pants: the woman in the middle front row. I cannot identify her, but I think it is safe to guess that is the choreographer herself, since everyone is looking at her. And somewhere in there is Miri Shalem, the organizer. It is also worth noting that she has organized women-only "disco nights" (as reported in Hebrew by Ma'ariv/NRG in 2004) in neighboring Ramat Beit Shemesh…Read More... | 32 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
Avigdor Lieberman's party, Yisrael Beitenu, owes much of its clout to flying the secularist banner and opposing the growing religious influence over Israeli public life. So why aren't they standing up against gender segregation? Put simply, they now have much bigger fish to fry. The subject of segregation between men and women in Israeli public spaces continues to dominate the news. Tanya Rosenblit, the student already dubbed the Israeli Rosa Parks for refusing to move to the back of a "kosher" bus, has met yesterday with Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz and became the target of a smear campaign. Utra-Orthodox journalist and…Read More... | 12 Comments
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The Iran Deal
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