While many Israeli media reports praise the crowds who led (to) the overthrow of Mohammed Morsi, conservative writers continue to view the Arab Spring with skepticism | The common view is that the regional turmoil relieves some of the pressure on Israel over the Palestinian issue. In the morning following the overthrow of Egypt’s Mohammed Morsi, there isn’t a single unified voice coming from Israeli officials and the national media. While some pundits welcome the Muslim Brotherhood's removal from power (pointing mainly to its very hostile rhetoric towards Israel) others think that Morsi ended up being surprisingly cooperative with Israel.…Read More... | 17 Comments
Israel's Channel 10 news anchor Guy Zohar interviewed Egyptian journalist and political activist Heba Abo Seif live from Tahrir Square on Tuesday. Abu Saif, who spoke excellent Hebrew, assured Zohar that the military stands behind the Egyptian nation, and urged the Israeli people to stand up to their own government. She specifically references "Bibi and Lapid," saying that Israelis should not remain silent if they are not getting what they were promised. She also said that Egypt "will never be Syria," referencing the unity between Egyptian nation and the military. Here is the video interview, translated in full (Note it…Read More... | 17 Comments
As Egypt’s currency continues to fall and the IMF strings for a bailout package that will end fuel and food subsides, popular anger has turned on the country's first democratically elected president. Now, out on the streets of Cairo, protesters are being confronted by the same forces they fought in order to overthrow Mubarak in 2011. By Jesse Rosenfeld CAIRO – Concrete walls have replaced the barbwire at the end of my street, sealing off the banks, the Parliament and western embassies from the rest of Cairo’s downtown. With nothing but lines of riot police and armored vehicles filling the concrete cordon,…Read More... | 10 Comments
The Arab Spring presents a conundrum for many liberal Jews. As liberals they feel compelled to advocate self-determination over tyranny and democracy over dictatorship. But as Jews they worry that the Arab dictators, particularly Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, held down the lid on a seething Pandora’s Box of popular anti-Semitism. On the contrary, though, I would posit that anti-Semitism festered in Egypt as a result of Mubarak’s policies, and that it will naturally fade away if Egypt succeeds in making the transition to a more transparent, democratic society. When anti-regime activists attacked and burned the Israeli embassy in Cairo in September,…Read More... | 22 Comments
From Bahrain to Tunisia, at demonstrations, in interviews and in their own writing, they repeat, “We will not be quiet.” In their refusal to view the rights of women as a cause separate from civil rights, human rights and pro-democracy activism, female Arab protestors have taken feminism to a new level. By Lisa Goldman During the January 25 uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak, two women from vastly different backgrounds worked side-by-side at Tahrir Square, organizing the distribution of donated food and medical supplies. One was a secular, feminist attorney who wears slim jeans and has her hair done at one…Read More... | 5 Comments
Israel Navy forces boarded the ships of a flotilla headed for the Gaza Strip on Friday afternoon, thereby putting an end to the latest attempt of international activists to sail to the coastal territory. Two ships, the Canadian "Tahrir" and the Irish "Saoirse" set sail from Turkey on Wednesday, carrying humanitarian aid in an attempt to break Israeli's blockade on Gaza. The flotilla - dubbed "Freedom Waves" - was carrying 27 international activists and reporters from Al Jazeera and Democracy Now!, which aired a video report from the Tahrir, as the IDF prepared to board: Before the forces came on board…Read More... | 3 Comments
Update, 10:00 A.M. Friday, Israel time: Flotilla activists report they are some 80 miles from the Gaza Coast. Army Radio reports that Israel Navy ships are already at sea, set to stop the ships from reaching the coastal territory. AFP quotes a flotilla spokesperson who says all ship passengers have pledged not to resist an Israeli naval interception. Meanwhile, Gazans await the ships at the port. Amid growing international wrangling over the Palestinian statehood bid, activists with the flotilla movement on Wednesday launched another attempt to sail to the Gaza Strip in a challenge to Israel's siege of the coastal territory.…Read More... | 9 Comments
The social justice demonstrations have been accused of ignoring the key issue of the occupation. But their tremendous groundswell of solidarity and cooperation is slowly gnawing at something even more significant than that - the principle of separation, of which the occupation is just one exercise. One of the most impressive aspects of the J14 movement is how quickly it is snowballing, drawing more and more groups and communities into a torrent of discontent. Pouring out into the streets is everything that Israelis, of all national identities, creeds and most classes complained about for years: The climbing rents, the rising…Read More... | 60 Comments
This article was jointly written by Dahlia Scheindlin and Joseph Dana, based on our shared experiences of the protests. The popular, mass protests here that began as a cry of rage against housing prices have evolved admirably into a public outcry against a slew of deep-rooted problems in Israeli social and economic life. Visiting the tent camps early every day, we’ve watched the protest grow from a motley band of wishful Woodstockers at the tip of Rothschild Boulevard two weeks ago, to a sort of mini-metropolis spreading close to the end of the road. There’s a first aid tent courtesy…Read More... | 104 Comments
Social justice protesters blocked major road tonight across the country, as new protest camps were set up and evicted ones were rebuilt. Earlier today, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented a housing plan consisting mainly of speeding up privatisation, jarring badly with the protesters' demand for "welfare state now" In the special press conference at his office in Jerusalem this morning, Netanyahu attempted to empathise with the protest, claiming he identified the looming housing crisis already several years ago and promised. Flanked by housing minister Ariel Atias and finance minister Yuval Steinitz, whom Netanyahu reportedly attempted to oust just a few…Read More... | 1 Comment
By Roni Gelbfish | From Hebrew: Dimi Reider Tonight, tens of thousands of people will march from the tent camp in Tel Aviv to protest not only the housing prices but the overall discontent and frustration with Israel's political system. Writer Roni Gelbfish shares six notes on how she found she doesn't need to be cynical to survive in Israel anymore. It's hard to write clearly and concisely about the struggle waged in Israel's streets and squares for the past few days. It's hard to write about it reservedly, and maybe it's for the best. So many years have past since…Read More... | 2 Comments
Surprising the locals When I walked into Cairo’s Ben Ezra Synagogue last Saturday afternoon, the groundskeeper, Hassan, was both surprised and excited. Now a museum, I was not the only person there. But it turns out I was the only one to kiss the mezuzah on the way inside. Hassan smiled and asked me, “Anta yehudi?” I smiled back and nodded. With his broken English and my shattered Arabic, Hassan apologized that he could not sell to me any souvenirs because “it is Shabbat,” but he then took it upon himself to briefly explain the city’s Jewish history. “There are…Read More... | 29 Comments
CAIRO -- Yasmin, an attorney and democracy activist, said that this past Friday’s demonstration at Tahrir Square was the biggest she’d seen since Mubarak resigned. “This is the old spirit of the revolution,” she said, as Ramy Essam, a musician who composed and performed a now-famous song at Tahrir during the revolution, played the guitar and sang from the stage. That was his first performance since he was arrested, and badly beaten by soldiers three weeks earlier. At one point, he removed his shirt to show the audience the still visible bruises and scars on his torso. There were thousands…Read More... | 3 Comments
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