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religious freedom

  • Let’s talk about what UNESCO resolution does say instead of what it doesn’t

    The absence of an affirmation of Judaism's connection to the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif is being exploited to distract from Israeli violations of the status quo, and restrictions on Muslim-Palestinian access to the holy site. By Tom Pessah Anti-Semitism, for Netanyahu and much of the Israeli and Jewish press, is clickbait. Mention it and you can all but guarantee almost automatic outrage. Just like advertisers can avoid talking about why a car is expensive by using sexual imagery or even the word “sex” to sell it, the Israeli government can dodge difficult questions about its policy by “anti-Semitizing” those who raise these…

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  • Between Yom Kippur and Eid al-Adha: Navigating stone-throwing with Waze

    Tensions in Israel are increasing as the Jewish fast and the Muslim feast are set to take place on the same day. But should Muslims give up their holiday joy just to ensure that Jews are not disturbed? (Translated from Hebrew by Sol Salbe) Once every 33 years it happens: Muslims celebrate Eid al-Adha, the Feast of the Sacrifice, and on the same day the Jews are engaged in introspection each looking at their relations with others in the world, and seeking forgiveness, on Yom Kippur. Jews fast while we feast from dawn to dusk in a rare and inexplicable…

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  • WATCH: Are Israelis free to choose whom to marry?

    In contemporary Israeli society, civil marriage, gay marriage, mixed couples and same-sex parenting appear to exist out in the open. But we live under the illusion that we have the freedom to choose whom and how to marry. In reality, we can't marry someone from a different religion - even the type of wedding is dictated to us. These decrees harm freedom of religion and they don't only affect Jews. In Arab society, the situation is even more challenging. A discussion about the topic took place in Haifa recently.

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  • WATCH: Thousands of ultra-Orthodox protest women's prayer at Western Wall

    For the first time in 24 years, Israel Police protected nearly 500 Women of the Wall members Friday morning as they gathered at the Western Wall (Kotel) in Jerusalem for their monthly prayer service. The women were confronted by thousands of ultra-Orthodox protesters, both young girls who watched from the side and men of all ages, who acted violently towards the group of women. Protesters reportedly threw stones, water bottlers, garbage and whatever else they could in their direction, and a few were reportedly arrested. The police managed to enable a small group of 20-30 women to actually reach the women's section…

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  • PHOTOS: Palestinian Christians protest Israeli permit regime during Palm Sunday procession

    During the annual Palm Sunday procession, Palestinian Christians protest permits delayed and denied during the Easter season. Photos by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org Whether during Ramadan or Easter, every year, Palestinians with West Bank IDs face challenges entering Jerusalem for religious worship. Despite claims by Israeli authorities of granting more permits and relaxing restrictions, each year thousands of worshipers are denied entry. This Easter season, early reports indicate that Palestinian Christian communities from the northern West Bank had to cancel their Palm Sunday celebrations in Jerusalem due to a lack of permits. Parishes from the Bethlehem and Ramallah areas received between…

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  • Dispute over wine festival in Be'er Sheva mosque: 'Muslim rage' or Israeli hypocrisy?

    Controversy erupted after local Arab residents complained that the Salut Wine and Beer Festival would be held on the grounds of a mosque-turned-museum. The public outcry from the festival-goers reveals both a fear of the 're-Islamification of Be'er Sheva,' as well as a liberal approach that takes for granted the ways in which the state religion affects the daily lives of its non-Jewish citizens. By Nasser Rego There has been some brouhaha about Arabs whining about wine. The sixth annual Salut Wine and Beer Festival was scheduled to take place in Be'er Sheva on September 5-6. Attendees were promised a smorgasbord of…

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  • Oct 18: Arab poverty on the rise, Barak's problems

    The Headlines: Guilt and Innocence > The State Attorney has decided not to retroactively acquit Margalit Harshefi, who was convicted for knowing in advance about the intention to assassinate Prime Minister Rabin in 1995, and doing nothing to stop it. Influential columnist Nahum Barnea suggests reopening the whole issue: what was the role of hard-right leaders and rabbis in the incitement that preceded the murder? (Yedioth) > Pressure is mounting to reopen the investigation against Defense Minister Barak (Labor) for employing an illegal migrant. The case was closed, supposedly because the migrant could not be found. However, yesterday, she was…

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