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middle east

  • As Mideast borders open, Israel is more isolated than ever

    Over the past decade, Middle Eastern countries have viewed their borders as a physical obstacle. The recent warming of relations between Arab states has led to increase in trade, leaving Israel more regionally isolated than ever before. By Moran Zaga Over the last month, border crossings have opened along both the Jordan-Iraq and Iraq-Saudi Arabia borders, while the border crossing between Jordan and Syria is slated to open soon. Even the crossing between Lebanon and Syria is now accessible, even making it to the news recently after Bashar al-Assad paid a visit to the area for Eid al-Adha prayers, after kicking…

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  • The false story Israel tells itself about the Middle East

    According to Israel's leaders, the Middle East is made up of primitive tribespeople and Islamic radicals who cannot be negotiated with. They're wrong. By Idan Barir and Ori Goldberg Nearly a month ago, a hearing at the Knesset's State Control Committee that looked into the State Comptroller's report on Israel's handling of Operation Protective Edge, brought together Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Meretz chairwoman Zehava Galon. During the hearing, Galon asked the prime minister what kind of future he proposes for Israeli citizens. His response had quite an impact on his supporters, who shared the video on social media under the…

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  • Downstairs, from heavenly Aleppo

    Aleppo, your stories will come back to my ears, like a child who sits on his grandmother's knees. By Mati Shemoelof Aleppo, I, Matityaho Ibn Shifra, your old daughter, a grandson of your Arab-Jews, mourn the erasure of your city of poetry, Aleppo, how did they forget to save your libraries? Aleppo, was it not fireworks that lit the skies of the Arab spring? Or were the night stars shining all night long? Aleppo, tell me who is the devil that drops explosive barrels upon your residents, and thinks that in this way — they will write his name in…

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  • What is Israel's place in the Middle East?

    It's time for Israel to recognize that it can coexist with its neighbors without fear or feelings of superiority. Academia can lead the way. By Assaf David The perception of Israel as a foreign entity in the Middle East, hence a fortress under threat, is shared by all major purveyors of knowledge and discourse in the political and public Israeli-Jewish sphere. Alas, the academia, as well as the so-called "peace camp," do not offer an alternative perception, which would view Israel for what it really is: a country becoming well-integrated into the Middle East, and one that can and should live in the region without…

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  • It is time to rebuild ties between Mizrahim and the Arab world

    Five years after Mizrahi Israelis offered their solidarity to the young men and women of the Arab Spring, it is time to say it loud and clear: real peace will come once we recognize the deep cultural and religious ties between Jews and Muslims of the region. By Almog Behar Five years ago in April of 2011, in the wake of the events of the Arab Spring, a group of Jewish descendants from Muslim and Arab countries, second and third generation Mizrahim in Israel, published an open letter of the women and men of the Middle East and North Africa,…

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  • From Haifa to Beirut: '48 Palestinians challenge regional isolation

    For Palestinian citizens of Israel, especially those from the Haifa area, Beirut holds near mythical stature. The two cities share near-identical Arabic dialects, cuisine and the cultural elements, and just a few decades ago traveling between them would have been a mere two-hour drive. Today that is almost unimaginable That disconnection between the Arab Palestinian citizens of Israel, or “’48 Palestinians” as they are sometimes called, and the wider Arab world has been a source of pain and resentment ever since the borders slammed shut in 1948. The majority of Palestinians were locked outside, but over 1 million live in…

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  • The Beaten Path: Seeking refuge in Eilat (part 9)

    Israel was borne of a need to escape a violent Europe. Now Israelis feel a constant need to escape a violent Israel. The deconstructed tourist trail reaches the deepest south, which is where they often go. Part nine of Yuval Ben-Ami’s journey through the Holy Land’s most popular tourist sites. Off the Sinai smuggling routes, there's a place called Coral Beach - that's where you wanna go, to get away from it all. It is only a short bus ride from central Eilat, so you can get there fast and take it slow. Just don’t go wandering the hills on your…

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  • 'Forward' editor: Compare Israel only to Mideast states

    Just because Sisi and Assad are close by doesn't mean their disgusting policies seep through the border and infiltrate the Israeli system, poisoning our minds. Why not compare ourselves to countries we actually want to be more like? I gotta tell you, I'm really tired of this. I'm tired of Jewish right wingers in Israel and the U.S. who say things along the lines of, "Christians have it bad here? You should see what goes on next door in Syria and Egypt," or things like, "you want to talk to me about human rights? Look at how Assad is butchering his…

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  • Israelis welcomed in Doha Forum in Qatar

    The last thing I would have expected in Qatar was to hear Hebrew as I walked through the corridors of the Doha Convention Center. The next scene was no less bizarre, in a country where few Israelis and Jews visit: Rabbis with kippahs on their heads. The Israeli and Jewish presence seemed acceptable and even natural at the Doha Forum, which is organized by the United Nations Alliance for Civilizations. Israelis are not only attending the conference, but also speaking. Israeli representatives from academia, civil society, human rights organizations and religious groups were all among those speaking at the conference.…

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  • Israel drops democracy for membership in elite Mideast club

    There's an upside to the story: Israel's move away from democracy means a move toward the non-democratic regimes of the Middle East, and thus toward peace. The Israeli Knesset is in the midst of approving a number of controversial legislative initiatives. Some of the these aim to subject the Supreme Court to right-wing ideology; others aim at limiting the influence of civil rights and human rights organizations. The Knesset session that approved the first readings of these bill proposals included a hot and raging debate about them. The opposition accused the current government of waging a war against democracy in…

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  • Young Mizrahi Israelis' open letter to Arab peers

    Translated from Hebrew;  English edited by Chana Morgenstern | Arabic version here In a letter titled "Ruh Jedida: A New Spirit for 2011," young Jewish descendants of the Arab and Islamic world living in Israel write to their peers in the Middle East and North Africa We, as the descendents of the Jewish communities of the Arab and Muslim world, the Middle East and the Maghreb, and as the second and third generation of Mizrahi Jews in Israel, are watching with great excitement and curiosity the major role that the men and women of our generation are playing so courageously in the…

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  • Wishes for a faithless year

    The Jewish New Year begins as the cruel Middle Eastern summer draws to an end. My non-Jewish ex-wife used to say: "Your new year makes sense. Something is actually beginning. Nothing is tangibly beginning on the first of January. Of course the days are getting longer but you really wouldn't notice that until late February." To be fair, we really wouldn't know it's autumn by the weather until October. Tomorrow is new years' eve, and I'm sitting here with both fan and AC on full blast, sweating nonetheless, but there was a small breeze here and there over the last…

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