With war raging over Israel's border with Syria, it's easy to forget that the Golan Heights — a buffer between the two countries — is occupied territory. But occupied it is, and the landscape bears witness to a history of violence and expulsion. "The sky fell to earth, the stars turned to stones..." — Elias Khoury, Gate of the Sun I’m standing at the top of a crumbling minaret, looking into Syria. The tower belongs to a mosque in the destroyed Circassian village of Sur’aman, whose ruins are gradually being consumed by the woods around them. In the distance lies…Read More... | 4 Comments
yom kippur war
It grew out of the Muslim Brotherhood, split into two branches over ideological differences, and is now joining forces with communists, feminists and Jews in the Joint List. This is the surprising story of the Islamic Movement in the Jewish state. By Dr. Nohad Ali Much has been said in the Israeli media about the union between the four Arab parties leading up to the March 17 election. But while the Jewish-Arab Hadash party, nationalist Balad and Ahmad Tibi's Ta'al are well-known to most Israeli Jews, Ra'am (United Arab List) remains something of a mystery. And when we do hear about…Read More... | 4 Comments
Avner Gvaryahu, spokesperson for the anti-occupation group Breaking the Silence: 'We want as many public figures as possible to assume responsibility, in broad daylight, for the kind of stories every soldier knows to tell.' Breaking the Silence, an organization made up of ex-IDF soldiers that seeks to expose the reality of the occupation, is organizing a public reading of soldier testimonies from the West Bank and Gaza in central Tel Aviv's Habima Square. The event will mark the 10 year anniversary of the organization, which has taken a leading role in documenting Israel's control over the Palestinians in the West Bank…Read More... | 28 Comments
From the Qibya massacre, to Sabra and Shatila and the dirty tricks, lies and deceptions that made the West Bank settlements what they are today, Ariel Sharon has caused unimaginable damage to Israel, its army, morality, and political life. (Translated by Sol Salbe) On Saturday night, as soon as Ariel Sharon's death became known, our hyperactive education minister, Shai Piron, rushed to announce that teachers would devote part of the following day's lesson to Sharon's legacy. These classes would be based on prepared outlines which were supposed to be distributed in the morning. You can get a really good idea of what…Read More... | 18 Comments
Netanyahu appears more and more confident that Iran's stated intentions are not its true intentions. Instead of making parallels to WWII, he should take some lessons from the overconfident, and ultimately catastrophic intelligence assessments that preceded the Yom Kippur War. By Shemuel Meir What can we learn from the Israeli intelligence failure, known in Hebrew as the “conceptzia,” which is generally accepted as the explanation for the Yom Kippur War’s strategic surprise? The term “conceptzia” refers to an all-encompassing preconception that determines our interpretation of reality. In the case of the Yom Kippur War, it refers to the axiomatic view which…Read More... | 5 Comments
Today is not only a day of sadness for fallen Israeli soldiers, it's also one of public declarations that all those bloody conflicts were righteous and necessary - just like the current ones and those that lie ahead. Maybe in another country, a country that goes to war once in a generation or longer, Memorial Day can be a day strictly of sadness for the soldiers who were killed, and can even be a day to look back and ask: Was that war, or the one before it, really necessary? Did some of these soldiers we're mourning, did this family's…Read More... | 8 Comments
There is a proven road to security for the people of the Negev: a total end to Israeli rule over the people who are shooting at them. Here is my suggestion for how Israel can bring peace and quiet to the people living within rocket range of Gaza: lift the blockade of the Strip entirely (they get all the weaponry and fighters they want through the tunnels anyway); announce that in one year Israel will have no military or governmental presence whatsoever beyond the security barrier ("the wall") in the West Bank (the settlers will then leave of their…Read More... | 33 Comments
The Headlines: The Dollar declines, Israeli politics sink even lower > The dollar has sharply declined throughout the world. In Israel, the national bank has been trying to stop this development (which would hurt exports and economic growth) by buying huge amounts of foreign currency. Predictably, it is failing to exclude Israel from the global trend. This is an interesting and important story, but let us put it in perspective: the exchange rate is right now about 5-6% below what it was most of the year, and other currencies (and export markets) are unaffected by this trend. > Defense Minister…Read More...
Headlines: Disloyalty to Judaism and Democracy Netanyahu has decided to support a proposed bill, which would require new citizens to proclaim their allegiance not just to Israel, as they are required to do right now, but specifically to Israel as a “Jewish and democratic state”. The law would apply only to non-Jews, and all outlets agree that it was specifically tailored to deny citizenship to Palestinians who marry Israeli Arabs, and wish to become citizens. The coverage is largely neutral, though, focusing on coalition intrigue and the impact on the peace talks. Nobody referred to the irony of this proposal:…Read More...
Headlines: Yesterday’s new today > This is a news roundup, but do the newspapers necessarily publish news? This is yet another day when the Yom Kippur War protocols capture the headlines, without revealing anything significant about that war that we didn’t already know. Israel was caught by surprise despite sufficient intelligence? Jordan was a secret ally? Israeli leadership considered extreme measures? These are just about the best known facts about that war. > Is the city of Lod in the grip of a crime wave? There have been 8 murders this year in a city with a population of 74,000,…Read More...
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...
Following an 1992 IDF military training debacle known as the Zeelim B scandal, an Israeli general named Uri Sagi, then serving as chief of AMAN (military intelligence), was interviewed for the domestic media. During the interview, the journalist noted that the IDF Spokesman gave a version of events that directly contradicted Sagi’s. The general, always noted for his bluntness, fired back immediately: “The IDF Spokesman lies, as usual." We had another demonstration of the Spokesman's economical use of the truth on Tuesday. Our brave gunmen took over the Irene, a ship carrying nine peace activists to Gaza, in yet another…Read More... | 3 Comments
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