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Life & Culture

  • The beat goes on: The story of Palestine's national dance

    The Palestinian-Israeli conflict gets more than its share of attention. And yet, listening more attentively to the narrative of the dabke, Palestine’s national dance, gives a new angle to resistance and struggle. By Dana Mills In July 2015 Palestinian activists in London took to the streets to hold a Day of Rage to commemorate the bloodiest day of the Protective Edge, Israel’s 2014 war in Gaza one year earlier. In addition to signs and posters, chants and cries, protesters stormed the British Museum and Barclays Bank in London with a dabke flash mob. In 2012, students at Arizona State University…

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  • War crimes and open wounds: The physician who took on Israeli segregation

    On the occasion of her 80th birthday, Ruchama Marton, the founder of Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, talks about the atrocities she witnessed as a soldier, the enduring power of feminism, and why only outside help has a chance of ending Israel's military rule over the Palestinians. By Alon Mizrahi Ruchama Marton belongs to what you might call Generation 1.5 of Israel’s anti-occupation activists. She was slightly too young to belong to the small and avant-garde group that established the revolutionary socialist organization Matzpen in the 1960s, but old enough to have taken classes with firebrand Professor Yeshayahu Leibowitz in Jerusalem. There, while…

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  • Goodbye to the Jewish-Arab school that taught me the meaning of hope

    For years, Jerusalem's bilingual school gave an entire community reason to believe in hope and partnership. In Israel of today, it is nothing short of a miracle. Today is the first day of September, the first day of school in Israel. Putting aside the years we lived abroad, this is the first time in 13 years that we are not sending our daughters to the Max Rayne "Hand in Hand" bilingual school in Jerusalem. [tmwinpost] The process of deciding which school to send one's child begins at a very early age. As young parents, it was clear to us that we didn't want anything…

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  • Israeli society isn't yet ready for a woman in a hijab

    I am a strong, independent and successful woman. Yet Israeli society is unwilling to understand that wearing a hijab is my choice. By Seren Khateb Shahbari Two years ago I decided to start wearing a hijab. I had a feeling that this is what I wanted at this stage of life. The spiritual need pushed me there. I was convinced, despite the social and political reality we live in. I knew that this would be a decision that would change many aspects of my life, affecting my work, my job, my ability to be accepted to an internship, and especially on…

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  • Meet the Palestinian youth planning their return

    A group of young Palestinian citizens from the northern city of Umm al-Fahm, descendants of families displaced in 1948 of their villages, meets every week to discuss identity, national oppression, and the Nakba. As part of the 'Odna' project — return in Arabic — the teenagers focus on planning of the return of the Palestinian refugees.

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  • 'Israel Hayom' outs prominent Jewish American BDS activist

    Israel's most widely-circulated newspaper outs Ariel Gold, just months after the Knesset passes law banning entry to anyone who encourages boycotting Israel.  By Yael Marom Under the headline "BDS activist tricks authorities, enters Israel against protocol," Israel Hayom, the country's most widely-circulated daily newspaper, published an article last Thursday that outed Jewish American activist Ariel Gold over her support for boycotting Israel. The article, written by Shimon Yaish and Yair Altman, provided a golden opportunity to make sure the interior minister was made aware of the situation, after the Knesset passed legislation earlier this year banning foreign nationals who support the boycott of the country from…

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  • Dismantling the occupation — brick by brick, book by book

    Like the children of countless American Jewish families, throughout her childhood Ayelet Waldman was told that trees were being planted in her name across Israel, something very few people questioned back then. “This is the first time I have ever planted a tree for Palestinians,” she says as she looks out at the West Bank village of Susya on a balmy day in the middle of June. “My grandmother would donate money to the Jewish National Fund, which would then plant trees in my name. She had no idea that the money she was giving would go toward the settlement…

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  • I left Gaza, but it failed to leave me

    I feel guilty for living in a safe country while my family does not. But I want a future, and to start a family with children who don't know what an F-16 is. By Abeer Ayyoub It has been almost an entire year since I left Gaza, although to me it feels as if it was only yesterday. I was lost in Europe — between working, studying, and comparing every single aspect of my life here to Gaza. I left Gaza, but it failed to leave me. I still care about and think of all the loved ones I left behind…

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  • Bloated time and the death of meaning

    By Ala Hlehel The occupation deprives you of your humanity by depriving you of the ability to control time. A free human being controls his time: he gets up when he wants and goes to bed when he wants; he goes to work according to a simple daily routine; she visits her relatives and her fiancé; he goes to the movies; she goes for a walk amid nature around her home any time she wishes. A human being is human because he makes his own decisions, because he has the ability to plan for tomorrow and the day after tomorrow,…

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  • New play brings tales from Palestine to the London stage

    A new one-man play, staged to mark the 69th anniversary of the Nakba and 50 years of occupation, brought Gaza, Ramallah and Yarmouk refugee camp to the heart of London.  By Christa Blackmon A 12-year old boy escaping from Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus is left alone to sort out the quirks of his biology in an overcrowded raft headed for Europe. A vain yet independent girl struggles with her father's rules and her first taste of sexual love. A shallow 20-year-old taxi driver is desperate to get laid despite the watchful eye of Hamas. And a vibrant actor living…

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  • When heroes fall far from home

    Perhaps I expected some measure of defiance, for him to rage, as Dylan Thomas begged of his father, 'against the dying of the light.' But in the end, there was no rage left in my father, even as the core injustice of his life — that he could never return home — remained. When he first learned the word “Palestinian,” my younger brother used it to name all things broken or not quite right. It was an innocent association—learned, as all language is, by mapping sounds to things manifest. But in our diaspora home, Palestine was not a tactile place.…

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