For 70 years, Israel has tried to erase Palestinian history. And for 70 years, Palestinians have resisted erasure. My mother helped me understand how. In her expansive history of Jerusalem, British author Karen Armstrong describes a peculiar pastime of Moshe Dayan, the Israeli general who, in 1967, captured the city's eastern half. Dayan, it turns out, was "the most famous of Israel's amateur archaeologists," an avid practitioner with "a quasi-religious passion" for unearthing fragments of Jerusalem's Jewish past. This "patriotic archaeology" was more than hobby, though. Dayan saw in it a way to inspire allegiance, among Jewish Israelis, to the…Read More...
70 years later, Palestinian refugees are no longer waiting for peace talks to determine their fate. In Gaza, they are actively reclaiming their place at the table. On a warm spring day in late April 1956, Moshe Dayan, then the IDF chief of staff and Israel's eminent war hero, delivered an address that would become a central part of Israel's national ethos. Dayan had arrived at Kibbutz Nahal Oz to eulogize Roi Rotberg, a kibbutz security guard who was ambushed by an Egyptian police officer and a Palestinian farmer, and then abducted into the Gaza Strip where he was brutally murdered. The chief of staff…Read More... | 19 Comments
Instead of firmly speaking out against the more than 190 anti-Semitic threats and attacks over the past few weeks, Netanyahu has decided to throw the American Jewish community under the bus of right-wing Israeli fanaticism. By David Sarna Galdi Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this week told a delegation led by Reform Movement head Rabbi Rick Jacobs what it wanted to hear — that he was attuned to their concerns. But Netanyahu’s shocking silence during the recent wave of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States was far louder than his words. Netanyahu, who just a couple of years ago declared that…Read More... | 8 Comments
A new government public relations clip shows Israeli Jews as the perpetual victims of history. But once upon a time Israeli leaders were able to consider the pain of others, too. The Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs managed to out-do itself on Thursday when it released its latest hasbara (state-sponsored PR) video of Jews as eternal victims of persecution in their homeland. The clip tells the story of Rachel and Jacob, two contemporary Israeli Jews who live in a large, comfortable home, which is meant to be a metaphor for the Land of Israel. Slowly, the couple's home is invaded and…Read More... | 5 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
‘The Bedouin will not live on his land with his flock, but rather will be part of the urban class that comes in the afternoon and puts on his slippers,’ Moshe Dayan said in 1963. In the 50 years since, not much has changed regarding Israel's efforts to justify its policy in the Negev: as many Arabs as possible on as little land as possible and as few Jews as possible on as much land as possible. By Avner Ben-Amos (Translated from Hebrew by Mairav Zonszein) Two quotes in the same newspaper, excerpts from interviews with two former military figures,…Read More...
Nothing in Israel, or in the Middle East, is disconnected from anything else. Yet the issue of women’s religious access to the Kotel is treated, especially in North America, as if it exists in a vacuum. By Aryeh Cohen The story of Women of the Wall begins with the Wall. The story of the contemporary Wall begins with the Six-Day War in June of 1967. It begins not on June 7, when the Old City was captured and David Rubinger took his iconic photograph of three battle-weary Israeli soldiers standing in front of the Wall, nor even when the paratroopers’…Read More... | 9 Comments
Headlines: It’s déjà-vu all over again >Top of the news: Israel under attack! All-out war! Egyptians cross the channel! No, wait a second… what? That was the 1973 Yom Kippur war, which is now back in the headlines. A declassified protocol reveals that the Israeli leadership was overwhelmed, and that the security minister at the time, Moshe Dayan, was panicking. Those who have learned the history will not be surprised, but three of Israel’s four dailies find it shocking, even 37 years later. And as to the loss of trust in leadership [Heb]: it has left Israelis ever more passive,…Read More...
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