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  • No, Catalonia isn't Palestine

    Some in Israel are drawing parallels between the Catalonian demand for national self-determination and Palestinian independence. The two situations are nothing alike. The referendum over Catalonian secession underway in Spain is turning into a serious political crisis, which threatens to become a European crisis that could dwarf even Brexit. The European Union has succeeded at tampering internal conflicts inside member states: the vision of European identity was critical in ending the violence in Northern Ireland, and perhaps even the struggle for Basque independence. [tmwinpost] Now, a declaration of Catalonian independence would put to a test not only Spain, but the European…

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  • Three flags in Madrid: Impressions of a demo

    No sooner than arriving at the grand "storm the Congress" demonstration in Madrid did we begin making comparisons to demos back home. The cause, after all, is similar if not the same, and Israel's J14 movement took much inspiration from Spain's M15. These days, anger is reawakening on Spain's streets, with a major difference: here, in Madrid, there's a huge demonstration, the third in a single week. There, in Tel Aviv, there isn't. This was not, however, an altogether peaceful summer, not at all. This is the summer in which Israeli police turned extra violent against social justice protesters, arresting…

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  • Thousands protest austerity measures in Spain

    Madrid – In Spain on Thursday, yields on the country’s five-year bond reached a 16-year record high as the Conservative government tried to convince investors and European finance ministers that Spain can properly handle its budgetary crisis. The news came as tens of thousands of protestors took the streets in some 80 cities across the country, angry at the country’s recent austerity measures. Puerta del Sol is a popular Madrid plaza, filled with shops, cafes and, on Thursday, thousands of demonstrators from all across the capital region. A march that began less than one kilometer away ended steps away from…

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  • Did Spain recognize Israel as the Jewish homeland?

    This is what an Israeli newspaper claimed. The truth is more nuanced, and sheds light on how difficult it is for international actors to accept Israel's demands According to the Israeli daily Ha'aretz, the Spanish foreign minister outlined a new policy in her speech to the UN General Assembly last week. The headline chosen by the newspaper was "Spain recognizes Israel as Jewish homeland". According to the article's text, the Spanish minister also argued that "the issue of Palestinian refugees should be solved in such a way that it does not compromise Israel’s current demographic makeup of a Jewish majority."…

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  • September journey part 18: The drinking game

    Staying on the move in Israel and the Palestinian territories (and beyond) through a month of trial. And today: Spanish sojourn ends. Autumn begins. Take a bunch of secular Israelis on a trip to a land exploding with pork products, and you're going to witness some excitement. Here is Maoz showing off the chorizo rojo he bought in Jerez to Ben-Dror and Lea who are waiting outside the hotel. We are setting off back towards Madrid and the airport. Traveling through mysterious rocky landscape, and stopping at the city of Segovia to catch a glimpse of its Roman aqueduct. rising…

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  • September journey part 16: Hierosolyma est perdita

    Staying on the road in Israel and the Palestinian territories (and beyond) through a month of trial. And today: Mi casa, su casa I came to Spain to look for my country, and am beginning the trip by looking for my suitcase, lost at the airport. The lost luggage personnel frown at the mention of El Al. They are expressing simple criticism of the company's handling of luggage, but the deeply ingrained Israeli instinct retorts: antisemites! No, no, no. This is an opportunity to break out of these paradigms if there ever was one. Lea Netzer's Sepharadic-history initiative has a…

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  • September journey part 15: A confidence problem

    Staying on the road in Israel and the Palestinian territories through a month of trial. And today from the Moshav's green glens to arid Castillia la Mancha. Two interesting invitations arrived over the past few days. One is to the police station in Hebron, where I am to be interrogated about the events described in chapters 9-11 of this travelogue. The phone call came as a bit of a shock, since I had thought we were through with the ordeal. Hebron police seem to think otherwise. Our date is set for the morning of Sunday, September 25th. I'll be sure…

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  • Puerta del Ha'bima: The Spanish revolution reaches Israel

    Five weeks after seeing the demonstrations in Madrid, Hagai El-Ad is filled with hope that the passion is finally coming to Israel By Hagai El-Ad The people were ecstatic. The energy was left. The air - and the crowds - were hot. It was one of the most uplifting demonstrations I've ever participated in. And, it was quite clear: it could never happen here in Israel. Five weeks ago in Madrid, my vacation there happened to run into one of those demonstrations. So powerful, energetic and passionate, one simply couldn't walk away. Only one thought, though, clouded the spirit: the…


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