As the 50th anniversary of the occupation draws near, those who consider themselves to be on the left cannot hide behind the battles that keep us in our comfort zone. By Emily Hilton Confrontations erupted at the Western Wall last week between security forces and activists from Reform and Conservative movement, after the activists broke through security barriers with torah scrolls in their arms, defying the ultra-Orthodox authorities that run the holy site. [tmwinpost] The prayer rally was staged after the government failed to implement a resolution approved in January to create a pluralist prayer section at the southern end of the Western…Read More... | 11 Comments
Those who dismiss the struggle at the Western Wall because it ignores Palestinians should recognize how important the Kotel is to American Jews. Their struggle for justice might start at the Western Wall, but it doesn't necessarily end there. By Rachel Canar Something unprecedented happened in Jerusalem on Wednesday. More than 200 people, including 12 rabbis — leaders of the Reform, Conservative and Masorti movements — held a major Jewish protest against the status quo in Israel. It wasn’t about the occupation; it was about the rights of Jews of all streams to pray in their respective traditions at the Western Wall,…Read More... | 45 Comments
Slowly but surely, the process of shedding democratic characteristics in favor of 'ethnocratic' ones is becoming clearer and clearer for all to see. By Tomer Persico (translated by Maya Haber) Over the last few weeks we have heard about the collapse of the delicate duality the Israeli government has been trying to preserve for years. It is the duality of occupation at home and democracy for abroad, religious coercion at home and a booming high-tech industry abroad, the stabbing at Jerusalem's pride parade and pinkwashing abroad. It is a strategic duality. It allows Israel to play a part in the…Read More... | 2 Comments
After years of negotiations with reform and conservative movements of Judaism and ‘Women of the Wall,’ the Israeli government agreed to create an egalitarian prayer space at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, where men and women can pray in the same space. We went to the Western Wall to ask people how they feel about the decision, and whether they would use the mixed prayer plaza. Read more: Women of the Wall victory can teach us a few things 'Why I cannot stand with Women of the Wall'Read More...
If we succeeded at pushing the government to find a solution on a matter as sensitive as the Western Wall, then we can also push Israel's leadership — from a perspective of self interest — to make other, equally positive decisions. By Batya Kallus Last Sunday, following a 27-year struggle by Women of the Wall, the Israeli government approved a plan to create a new pluralistic, egalitarian and feminist plaza alongside the ultra-Orthodox prayer plaza at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. This is first and foremost a victory for Jewish feminists. But imagine — a group of Jewish religious women…Read More...
They began with clashes around the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif, continued with mutual arson and stabbing attacks, and ended in a massacre. And even then we continued living together. By Hillel Cohen (translated from Hebrew by Sol Salbe) The recent events in Jerusalem are reminding some people of the summer of 1929. The parallels are uncanny: a struggle to extend praying rights for Jews at the Temple Mount; rising tensions; hateful language; a meager few voices trying to restore calm only to be denounced as traitors; blood in the streets. And more blood. And more. Among the killings there is a…Read More...
For Israel and settler organizations, creating a Jewish identity and presence on the access road to the Western Wall is crucial. Palestinians, on the other hand, view it as a dangerous provocation. By Yonathan Mizrachi The many stabbings in Jerusalem's Old City in recent weeks have taken place in one precise location: Ha-Gai Street, or Al-Wad Street in Arabic. While the walled city is relatively small, it is interesting to note why the political and violent struggle over Jerusalem focalizes on its most heavily guarded street. [tmwinpost] Damascus Gate is located on the Old City's northern wall, and is the…Read More...
Snow blankets Jerusalem and the hilly West Bank late Thursday and Friday, shutting down roads and highways, covering holy sites and the separation wall alike. In Gaza, heavy rain causes flooding in the war-torn Strip. Related: The storm that only affects Jews PHOTOS: Denied services, Palestinian residents form emergency response teamRead More... | 20 Comments
It's no coincidence that images of the Tower of David are popping up everywhere in the holy city: right-wing settlers and real estate moguls alike have been using the symbol to gain power. By Dana Hercbergs Like mushrooms after the rain, the Tower of David seems to be popping up in new places in Jerusalem. Its appearance on phone books, municipal pamphlets, and items like sugar packets and votive candles strikes me as a phenomenon of the last few years, having lived in Jerusalem off and on since 2007. Local friends do not seem to think much of it, claiming that…Read More... | 2 Comments
It's still beautiful and moving, but recent decades have done something strange to the 'Kotel,' our first stop along the deconstructed tourist trail. What happens when a site is the object of both religious longing and military identity? Read part one of The Beaten Path, 'An introduction, or how to ruin a good story' There are so many advantages to not being a tourist. For one, I know the best way to get to Jerusalem from Tel-Aviv. Busses only reach the main terminal, which is located on the western outskirts of town and requires a further trip by the light rail.…Read More... | 2 Comments
Official Israel loves to boast of the complete freedom of worship it grants to members of all religions. In reality, however, it’s just another deception brought to you by your local 'hasbara' dealer. By Orly Noy One of the main tools in the Israeli hasbara toolbox is the ‘religious freedom’ discourse. As subscribers of the “villa in the jungle” worldview, Israel advocates never miss an opportunity to emphasize the religious freedoms that Israel supposedly gives to believers of all faiths, unlike its Arab neighbors. Prime Minister Netanyahu, especially, loves to make this claim -- and he repeats it ad nauseam.…Read More... | 8 Comments
The past 15 years have seen a revival of Jewish extremist movements seeking to upend the status quo around the Temple Mount in the name of multicultural ideals. Betty Herschman says failing to see through this veneer could lead to the enflaming of one of the world’s most combustible hotspots. By Betty Herschman The current intensification of religious extremist activities on the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif is not a new phenomenon, but rather the ultimate realization of a slow, decades-long crusade. The story behind today’s mounting pressures - from increased attempts to ascend and pray on the Mount to legislative challenges to…Read More...
The Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif is one of the most complicated and sensitive issues on Israel’s agenda, activating friction points between Israel and the Palestinian population, and the Arab world at large. Over the past several hundred years, a status quo has been maintained according to which the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif area is an area reserved for Muslim prayer and the Western Wall is a prayer area reserved for Jews. Over the last decade, the status of these areas has gradually shifted, driven by a revival of activity by Jews determined to strengthen the status of the Temple Mount complex as a…Read More...
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