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  • UNESCO's mistake on Jerusalem

    The resolution was yet another shallow attack on identity elements, the same type I reject every time Israel does it to Palestinians. It was also a setback to the kind of UN action that could actually move the bar in a region that desperately needs it. UNESCO has made a startlingly bad move in voting to affirm “Item 25,” a hodgepodge of condemnations and calls for Israel to stop policies that harm religious or cultural sites in Jerusalem, Hebron and Gaza. On Jerusalem, the text conspicuously referred to the holiest site by its Muslim name only: Al-Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram Al-Sharif, pointedly…

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  • Neither Russian nor Israeli: Lessons from a journey to the homeland

    After years of denying her Russian identity, Osnat Ita Skoblinski finally made peace with the cultural world of her friends and family. However, she never expected her first trip back 'home' to bring out feelings of hate and revulsion. By Osnat Ita Skoblinski My parents, who immigrated to Israel in the 70s, refused to have a decorated Christmas tree in our home. "We're Jews," they said, as they set out for a Novy God party on December 31st with Santa hats on their heads. Born in Israel to parents from the Soviet Union, I found New Year’s Eve celebrations especially confusing.…

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  • What it means to be a Palestinian immersed in Israeli society

    Towibah Mjdoob is researching how some Palestinians live within entirely Jewish surroundings, how the conflict between the two nations comes into play in their day-to-day lives. But very quickly, Mjdoob realizes that she has become the subject of her own research. By Towibah Mjdoob A nearby voice says to me: "Good morning Hagit." I had just locked the door to my apartment and was heading out for a long day at the university. I turn around to see who, aside from myself, was in the garden. I didn't see anybody. It was just me and the landlord's mother standing there. She…

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  • I Don't Know Arabic, but I do. And yet don't

    Watching an Arabic movie every Friday throughout my childhood. Nearly 30 years would pass before I discover that my grandmother and Farid al-Atrash were friends. I have no idea, it goes under my radar. And yet they are there, the words. By Tamar Kaplansky (Translated from Hebrew by Orna Meir-Stacey) I don’t know Arabic. My mother grew up in Alexandria, my father still has a Palestinian identity card. Both my grandmothers spoke Arabic – one with a K’ of Egypt, which is A’ (and this is why ba’lawa is called ba’lawa and nothing else), and one local, Galilean, Arabic. But…

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  • I am an Arab Jew

    A Lebanese band's concert in Jordan offered  this Arab Jew from Haifa a new take on her identity and one of the of the key premises of the Arab-Jewish conflict. By Lihi Yona Last Tuesday, I returned from Amman. I went to see a concert given by the Lebanese band Mashrou3 Leila in the only Middle Eastern Arab country still open for Israeli Jews to freely visit. The best way to get from Israel to Amman is by bus from Nazareth. The passengers were mostly elderly Arabs going to travel in Jordan and the rest were a bunch of fellow…

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