'So we're going out, and here's the deal: we'll only drink in places where people were murdered due to inter-group hatred.' The seventh and final installment. For other nights click here. One April night in 2003, my cousin Yaron decided he needed a bass player. He was growing as a local blues musician and figured that some accompaniment would do no harm. He told his girlfriend, Shir, that he's popping over to Mike's Place, a blues bar on Tel Aviv's promenade, and left. He returned shortly afterwards, covered in blood and in a state of shock. While the band played at…Read More...
Without the Arab citizens there is no 'left-wing bloc' in Israeli politics. The only problem? The inclusion of Arabs was what led the Right to violently bring down the Left in the first place. By Lev Grinberg Since the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, there have been no political blocs in Israel. No Left and no Right — only survival combinations. Therefore, all the talk of the “size of blocs” only distorts the depressing reality in Israeli politics, wherein the real issues are barely discussed. The reason there have been no blocs since 1995 is simple: the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin was…Read More... | 6 Comments
On the face of it, a protest by Likud youth against one of Israel's most prominent newspapers seems like a non-issue. But in the context of last summer's war and the growing threats against left-wing journalists, freedom of the press may no longer be able to protect the media. By Gaby Goldman Journalists, editors, media outlets - we all love simple stories. Something straightforward, black and white, good or bad. And this is what makes it harder for me to admit that the Likud party's demonstration in front of the Yedioth Ahronoth daily's building on Sunday night is not a simple…Read More... | 14 Comments
Nearly 20 years after Yitzhak Rabin's assassination, the Israeli peace camp is still talking about annexation and separation. At the opening of Saturday night's rally marking 19 years since the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, a video of the slain prime minister's final speech was aired on giant screens, alongside shots of the protesters from that same night in November 1995. At the end of the segment, the screens showed an aerial view of last night's actual protest. Were the protest not significantly smaller than the one in 1995, it would have been difficult to tell the two apart. The opening…Read More... | 8 Comments
Ron Pundak, one of the architects of the Oslo Accord, died Friday at the age of 59. In 1993, Pundak, an expert on Middle East history, was working under Yossi Beilin, who was then the Israeli deputy foreign minister. At the time, Israel was holding formal negotiations in Washington with a Palestinian team, but the talks were heading nowhere and the promise of the Rabin government seemed to be fading away. Along with Yair Hirschfeld, Pundak initiated a secret back channel between Israeli and PLO officials (contact with PLO members was still illegal when Rabin took office), first in London…Read More... | 10 Comments
Israel’s doves may have a Palestinian partner, but they lack a locomotive to pull the peace train to its destination. Read part one: What does the future hold for Israel’s military politicians? By Thomas G. Mitchell From the 1960s until the outbreak of the al-Aqsa Intifada in late 2000, which led to the collapse of the Labor Party and an end to it as an alternative to the Likud in heading coalitions, there have been six major military politicians who had an influence on Israeli policy toward the Palestinians and Israel’s neighbors. These six were: Yigal Allon, Moshe Dayan, Ezer Weizman, Yitzhak…Read More... | 5 Comments
Could the Jewish state ever be lead by a class of non-military politicians? Until there is a peace agreement with the Palestinians, it seems unlikely. And even then, who knows? By Thomas G. Mitchell Historically there have been two types of Israeli leaders who have been willing to give up territory to the Arabs in exchange for peace. The first type consists of conservative civilian politicians who distrust and fear the Arabs, but who, because of foreign pressure or opportunity, are willing to make peace under the right circumstances. Examples of these are Golda Meir in 1974, Menahem Begin in 1977-79 with…Read More... | 12 Comments
Israel's former prime minister Ariel Sharon, who spent the last eight years comatose after a series of strokes, died on Saturday, January 11. He was 85 years old. A general, politician, statesman, and to many a notorious war criminal, Ariel Sharon was known to combine dogged personal ambition with strategic acumen and ruthlessness, which together shaped one of the most controversial and remarkable careers in Israeli political history. Born in the community of Kfar Malal in 1928, Sharon joined the Haganah in the mid 1940s, and first saw action in the run-up to the 1948 War, when his unit staged…Read More... | 11 Comments
And nobody objects. I was listening on the radio to the prime minister's speech in the Knesset on Wednesday for the 18th anniversary (on the Hebrew calendar) of the Rabin assassination, and it just struck me how far we’ve come in this country. Bibi Netanyahu is now preaching to Israel the lessons of Rabin's murder. And nobody says anything. Members of the Rabin family sitting in the Knesset, whatever they were thinking, didn’t say a word. Neither did the MKs of the Labor Party or Meretz, or MK Ahmed Tibi or anybody else who lived through that time and understands…Read More... | 11 Comments
Former Sephardic chief rabbi and spiritual leader of Shas was known for efforts to reconcile Jewish law with modernity, advance the status of Mizrahi Jews in the Israeli religious establishment and in Israeli politics and society. Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the spiritual leader of the Sephardic-Haredi Shas party passed away Monday at the age of 93. Yosef recently suffered from a series of health problems, specifically with his heart and lungs. He was hospitalized several times in the last month. Yosef was a complex and not always well understood figure. He was know for his groundbreaking rulings which tried to incorporate…Read More... | 9 Comments
History has shown that the longer the ultra-Orthodox are excluded from the Israeli coalition, the more likely are the chances that they forge alliances with left-of-centre and dovish partners. Could the Haredi parties be the ones to tip the balance in favor of a peace agreement? By Romana Michelon As of late July, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process is once again making global headlines. Largely the result of the diplomatic efforts made by US Secretary of State, John Kerry, this is the first time since 2010 that chief negotiators representing Israel and the Palestinian Authority confront one another in direct, albeit…Read More... | 4 Comments
Can Israeli, Palestinian and American negotiators learn from their mistakes in order to bring about a peaceful resolution to the conflict? New negotiations offer hope like a quarter-drop of water splashed onto scorched and desiccated earth. How quickly such a drop can be absorbed as if it never was, and ground into the dust by the overwhelming forces of failure. Once, hope went beyond a drop: in 1993, the Oslo Accords were a shining symbol of progress. After years of despair and death, it has become synonymous with failure for many. Yet it is the only model for agreements actually…Read More... | 11 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
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The Iran Deal
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