Over 70 Israeli activists publish an open letter in support of the ultra-Orthodox community, as it struggles against a new law that would draft its young men into the army or national civil service. (Translated from Hebrew by Asaf Shalev) We, civilians and activists – religious, masorti (tradition-committed) and secular - wish to express our support for the struggle of the ultra-Orthodox community against forced military enlistment. There must be an end to the empty rhetoric employed by the Israeli government and its constituent parties that are calling for the "sharing of the burden" of military service, by which they…Read More... | 8 Comments
After 20 years of a failed and fictitious peace process, there is no more room for 'processes' that serve as substitutes for peace. There is nothing left to clarify between the two sides. The only possible compromise for a peace agreement is well known. By Rona Moran and Hana Amouri (Translated from Hebrew by Itamar Haritan) The ongoing “peace” negotiations are headed for failure. Everyone knows it. Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu know it, as do the leaders of the Palestinian Authority, who are participating in the negotiations under heavy American pressure. The U.S. knows it too…Read More... | 81 Comments
A recent 'New York Times' profile of religious Jews who are highly critical of Israel and sympathetic to the boycott movement sent some in the Jewish blogosphere into a frenzy. In a fascinating response to Israeli journalist and blogger Shmuel Rosner, Jeremiah Haber explains how one can be a Zionist while opposing a Jewish state. By Jeremiah Haber It is understandable that two bloggers, Shmuel Rosner and Liel Leibovitz, couldn’t understand my views since they never took the time to read them. Rosner based his criticism on a few words that he admits he has no desire to try to understand; Leibovitz based…Read More... | 10 Comments
An in-depth article on Palestinian refugees and their attitudes toward return and peace had some in the liberal Zionist camp up in arms. In a response published last week, Danny Orbach accused Paula Schmitt of doing a disservice to the refugees by nurturing their 'disastrous, futile fantasies' and distorting the events of 1948. Now, Schmitt responds to the allegations. By Paula Schmitt Debating Zionists or staunchly religious people is like playing a board game where your pieces must move like chess while your opponent's pieces can move like checkers. Only one side of this battle follows rules and abides by…Read More... | 28 Comments
While Palestinians and their leaders historically took their cues from anti-colonial resistance in Vietnam, Cuba and Algeria, their struggle has, over time, become similar to the fight against apartheid in South Africa. With the failure of the Oslo Accords, new, often overlapping approaches have proliferated, leading Ran Greenstein to find out what a genuine anti-apartheid model would look like in our time. By Ran Greenstein How can we define and understand the essence of the struggle against political oppression in Israel/Palestine? On the face of it the answer is simple: the target is the Israeli regime and its practices. But, is…Read More... | 16 Comments
After being expelled and relocated in the 1950s, the residents of Umm al-Hiran are about to lose their homes once again - this time to make way for a Jewish national-religious settlement. (This post has been updated.) The Israeli government on Sunday made one of its most outrageous decisions in recent years (and there is no shortage of those, as you know). The cabinet held a special session in Sde Boker - the Kibbutz in which David Ben-Gurion is buried – to approve plans to build a new Jewish town (along with several others - all for Jews) in the northeast…Read More... | 37 Comments
The State of Israel has never attempted to build a national identity that would be ‘liberated ’from Jewish ‘religion.’ Instead, it has focused on the construction of a national identity distinct in one critical respect: it is reserved for Jews only. By Yaacov Yadgar One of the more controversial legislative bills being currently pushed forward by the ruling coalition in Israel, a proposed ‘Basic Law: Israel—the Nation-State of the Jewish People’, seeks to enshrine and ensure, constitutionally so, the State of Israel’s ‘Jewish identity’ as the nation-state of the Jewish People. Several aspects of the proposed bill draw immediate attention: first,…Read More... | 11 Comments
Neta Elkayam, an upcoming artist and musician based in Jerusalem, tells the story of her multi-faceted identity and presents her own personal mixtape. Café Gibraltar sat down with Elkayam to discuss her experiences growing up in a southern Israeli development town, her life-changing trip to Morocco, and the power of North Africa’s female singers. By Hagar Shezaf and Khen Elmaleh Where are you from? I was born in Netivot, Israel. My experience has been one of a "southerner," although I spent the second half of my life wandering. I lived in Be'er Sheba's Dalet neighborhood, and then in the Hatikva…Read More... | 1 Comment
It would do wonders for equality and integration, and Israeli Arabs seem willing to volunteer, but they're being pounded from both sides by Arab and Jewish nationalists. In principle, I don’t think there would be anything unjust in going so far as to draft Israeli Arab youths to do a year or two of civilian national service in hospitals, schools, etc. – even though there is a well-known, deeply entrenched pattern of discrimination against Arab citizens in this country. If it’s unjust to draft them to do national service in an old-age home, it’s much more unjust to force them…Read More... | 24 Comments
Did Haggai Matar lose his job at 'Maariv' because of his political views, or was it his involvement in the paper's union that led management to order his dismissal? Israeli daily Maariv filed a statement to the Tel Aviv District Labor Court claiming that the paper chose not to rehire Tel Aviv municipal reporter Haggai Matar because his opinions are “different from the editorial line that a Zionist newspaper like Maariv wishes to present." Haggai Matar (who is also a contributor at +972), was the head of the Maariv journalist union's worker's committee when the paper was under threat of…Read More... | 4 Comments
An academic chapter about the history of Muslim relations with Jews provides a refreshing rejoinder to the tired assumption that Muslim society and culture are fundamentally anti-Semitic. In this post, I am hosting a short comment by the author, explaining his argument.Read More... | 25 Comments
It is imperative that Jews around the world who cherish humanistic values publicly express their concern about the current situation in Israel, and call for the government to return to peaceful, moral, democratic, and humanistic values. By Daniel Bar-Tal Israel is a prosperous and well developed state with remarkable achievements in technological, educational, cultural, scientific and agricultural spheres by every account. These achievements are a source of pride to Israelis as well as to Jews around the world. But beside these undeniable successes, a considerable segment of the Jews in Israel, who love their country and care about its future,…Read More... | 33 Comments
With Israel and Palestine no closer to a peaceful two-state resolution 20 years after the start of Oslo, the burden of proof is on its believers, not its detractors, settler leader Dany Dayan says. Even the woman set to be in charge of any future peace process, Tzipi Livni, is speaking about the need to formulate backup plans. Tzipi Livni, the only person in the soon-to-be-formed Israeli government who genuinely believes in the importance of the two-state peace process, splashed cold water on the prospect of it ever happening Tuesday. It’s time to start looking at alternative plans in case…Read More... | 26 Comments
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On the challenges facing a growing population of asylum seekers and refugees in Israel.
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