By now it is clear to all that the fires that erupted in Israel late last year were not the result of nationalistic arson. So why does the Education Ministry claim otherwise? By John Brown* This past November, Israel's Education Ministry published a booklet on the fires that erupted in Israel late last year. The booklet, issue 143 of the Al Seder Hayom (Hebrew for "The Daily Agenda") magazine, claimed that the fires "began as a result of negligence, and spread to many areas as a result of nationalistically-motivated arson […] the deliberate arsons once again raise issues surrounding the maintaining the delicate relations…Read More... | 1 Comment
The Paris Peace Conference will focus on Israeli settlements in the West Bank. That is because with greater and greater restrictions on movement, and by unraveling the ties that bind Palestinian society, Israel has effectively removed Gaza from the conversation. That is a terrible mistake. By Tania Hary This Sunday, senior diplomats and foreign ministers from 70 countries are expected to convene in Paris along with Palestinian officials to talk peace. According to reports, they’re expected to call on the parties to refrain from taking “unilateral steps that prejudge the outcome of final-status negotiations,” code for Israel to please refrain…Read More... | 2 Comments
A perfect storm of domestic Israeli politics combined with the changing of the guard in Washington could create an opportunity for those advocating annexation to finally make their move. Senior Israeli government minister Naftali Bennett announced on Sunday that he will introduce legislation to effectively annex Israel’s third-largest settlement in the West Bank, Ma’ale Adumim, by the end of January. It is safe to assume, that when Bennett says “by the end of January,” he means after the January 20 inauguration of Donald Trump. [tmwinpost] Bennett’s desire to incrementally annex parts of the West Bank are neither new nor secret.…Read More... | 36 Comments
The Education Ministry seems to be doing all it can to give teachers the feeling that deep, honest conversations about democracy and equality are not welcome in school. By Gil Gertel The director-general of the Education Ministry published an amendment to its "Educational Discourse on Controversial Issues" guidelines last week. The reason? To impose restrictions on guest lecturers who come and speak to students. The amendment does not propose any tools for selecting lectures, instead it creates ambiguity intended to frighten principals and teachers. Two studies published over the last few weeks confirm the trend: fear has spread on all levels, from teachers to heads of local authorities, over dealing…Read More... | 4 Comments
The wildfire that struck Neve Shalom-Wahat al-Salam left our Jewish-Arab village more resilient than ever before. We invite Israel's politicians to learn from us on how to heal our society's wounds. Our country has been up in flames this past week. Hundreds of fires have broken out in various areas resulting in tens of thousands of people being evacuated from their homes. The first fire started last Tuesday at Neve Shalom-Wahat al Salam, a unique community between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv where Jews and Arabs live together in equality, which struggled to quell the flames and bring peace to the region. My husband and…Read More... | 11 Comments
Moti Yogev's 'muezzin law' is yet another step toward creating a public atmosphere that could lead to expelling Arabs from Israel. By Abed Abu Shehadeh As it does every year, the sounds of the muezzin reached the Knesset this past week. Last time it was Yisrael Beiteinu's Anastasia Michaeli who brought the "muezzin law" before the Knesset; this time it was MK Moti Yogev (Jewish Home). The dangerous bill, which was approved by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation, leaves little room for the imagination: "Houses of worship will be forbidden from using loudspeakers to call the worshippers to prayer or to transmit religious,…Read More... | 40 Comments
While Netanyahu distracts the Left with attacks on the media, his right-wing coalition partners are taking far more dangerous steps. By Ilan Manor Like many on the Israeli left, my Facebook feed last week was swarming with images of veteran journalist Ilana Dayan trouncing Prime Minister Netanyahu. Friends from all over country felt certain that Netanyahu's long, violent, personal, and erratic public rebuke of Dayan would be his undoing, that the prime minister had finally gone too far in his war on the media. Soon, journalists joined the choir berating Netanyahu for labelling Dayan a left-wing saboteur and propagandist. [tmwinpost]…Read More...
Although U.S. policy toward Israeli settlements has fluctuated over time, successive American officials have consistently taken a dim view of the settlement movement. Trump and his advisors may change all that very soon. By Derek Davison Although President-elect Donald Trump and his foreign policy team are only beginning to develop their agenda for his coming administration, his surprising election on Tuesday may already be having an impact on Israel’s West Bank settlement policy. On Thursday, Jason Greenblatt, co-chairman of the Trump campaign’s Israel Advisory Committee, told Israel’s Army Radio that “it is certainly not Mr. Trump’s view that settlement activities should…Read More... | 11 Comments
Elor Azaria is guilty for firing the bullet that killed Abdel Fatteh al-Sharif this past March. But let us not forget the long line of inciting comments by top Israeli leaders that made it possible. By Noam Rotem Sgt. Elor Azaria stood on the witness stand during his trial this past week and described what led him to fire a bullet into Abdel Fatteh al-Sharif's head on March 24 in Hebron's Tel Rumeida neighborhood. Al-Sharif had, just moments before, stabbed an Israeli soldier before he was shot, wounded and posed no threat to anyone. Azaria fired his weapon directly at al-Sharif's head as the latter laid sprawled out on the ground. Since…Read More... | 1 Comment
What kind of hope does the prime minister offer us when every attempt to bring about peace is rejected as a plot to destroy Israel? By Yossi Dahan Less than a year ago, in a rare moment of honesty, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented his vision for Israeli citizens, in present and future tense. It happened during a meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, which came together to mark the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. "These days there is talk about what would have happened if someone or other would have remained. This is not relevant……Read More...
A new initiative seeks to find a new, creative way to solve the conflict. The only problem? It forgets about equality. By Yuval Eylon The latest hit in the peace plan business comes from "Two States One Homeland," an initiative that eschews both the two-state solution and the one-state solution, instead envisioning a confederation between Israel and a future Palestinian state. Founder Meron Rapoport fleshed out the movement's core principles at the movement's conference a few weeks ago: "We believe that the central aspect that was missed here over the past 22 years is the fact that the land between…Read More... | 11 Comments
My dear leftists, there's really no reason to ask the last person to leave Israel to turn out the lights, as many of you have done over the last 48 hours. Most chances are that things will remain just as bad as they are – which is, in itself, hardly a reason to rejoice. By Gilad Halpern The pioneering 1970s rock band Kaveret (Hebrew for beehive) was groundbreaking in many respects. Other than their huge musical contribution, the band's repertoire included comical, sometimes nonsensical songs that stood in stark contrast to the earnest, stuffy folk songs that had hitherto characterized…Read More...
Behind all the pretty words, Bennett's speech at the Israel Prize ceremony reveals exactly what he's after: a Jewish nationalist theocracy. By Gil Gertel During last Thursday's annual Israel Prize ceremony, Education Minister Naftali Bennett gave a speech laying out his vision. He called for the establishment of a national, Jewish state, and in order to justify his outlook he used a history that doesn't even exist in the bible, scorned diaspora Jews, and promised equality for all through Jewish supremacy. "This is the only way," he summarized his speech in support of Jewish theocracy, to the applause of those…Read More... | 8 Comments
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