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yuval ben ami

  • Seven Nights 3: Sidewalks and playgrounds

    Part three. In which old friends reunite and talk about leaving. For other nights click here. Some time after sunset, the muezzin at Jaffa's Abu Nabout mosque called for prayer one last time. Meanwhile, protesters at the nearby Clock Square stretched a clothing line across the street. On the line hung baby clothes, reminders of the baby Ali Dwabsheh, who was burned alive. I crossed the street to take a photo, then returned to the side where the other protesters stood, almost tripping as I did over a bundle of clothes made to look like a dead Palestinian baby. Had…

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  • Seven Nights 2: Privileged white male

    Part two. Following the attack, our night owl returns to Jerusalem in drag for a rally, and walks into an emotional pitfall.   For other nights click here. Someone else was murdered on Thursday, the night of the Jerusalem Pride stabbing. In the northern West Bank village of Duma, a group of hooded men, most likely members of the extremist Jewish "Price Tag" cell, set fire to two family homes and left threatening graffiti in Hebrew on the walls. A baby, Ali Dawabsheh, was burned to death. His parents and bother were rescued but remain in an Israeli hospital in critical…

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  • Seven Nights 1: The Stabbing

    The plan was to write a leisurely travel journal: a record of Canaan's summer nights, but the journey began with a dark event: a stabbing at Jerusalem pride, and took on a different nature. Welcome to a seven-part, nocturnal diary of shock and recovery, a true story from an emotional land. For other nights click here. The plan is simple: I will only write about things that happened after dark. Still, I must begin with something that happened at dusk. It was 6:30 p.m. or so and we were walking in central West Jerusalem when six people got stabbed right…

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  • The Israel-Palestine Lorde Project

    Putting together an homage to your favorite singer is a trivial thing — if you live in a normal country. It started off as a simple enough idea: let's make a musical tribute to Lorde, New Zealand's young and upbeat singer-songwriter. I'm crazy about Lorde's music, despite being nearly 40 years old and usually more of a Schubert enthusiast. I even found myself translating her songs into my native language, Hebrew. My easygoing friend, Yaron Fishman, was game, and he's a musical producer. Everything fit, and then I messed it up. I put politics into it, or rather, extracted the…

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  • The Israel-Palestine Lorde Diaries, chapter 15: The love club

    The final chapter, in which we make music. Part 15 of 15. To read the rest of the series, click here. "Yuval, what is your time limit?" Khader asked me online. There was a time limit. The spring's succession of guided tours was supposed kick off in two weeks. Once that happened, I would have no more time. "Why?" "Because Rasha only comes back on March 23rd, and she really wants in." "Where is she now?" "In the U.S., making friends with Uncle Sam". "Okay," I wrote, "I'm going to talk to Yaron. Our deadline is March 7th, but I think we'll…

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  • The Israel-Palestine Lorde Diaries, chapter 12: Never be Royals?

    When the going gets tough, the only way to move forward is to think differently. Following the disheartening drive from the South, the Lorde tribute project picks a new direction. Part 12 of 15. To read the rest of the series, click here. Friday was the last day of the rainy spell. The brave editor of this series, Mike Schaeffer Omer-Man, and Emily, his human rights lawyer wife, had us over for a hummus brunch in Jaffa. Beyond their apartment's large French windows were the comely, winter-gray Mediterranean and something even grayer: a concrete ruin, an abandoned high rise that used…

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  • The Israel-Palestine Lorde Diaries, chapter 11: The lift

    It's cease or desist for the Lorde project, as Yuval gets a rare opportunity for a long nocturnal drive with a great musician. Part 11 of 15. For more, click here. We all packed up into a seven-seater Suburban: Mira Awad, three other actors and myself. Yigal Ezrati, Jaffa Theater's director, was the driver. Clearly I couldn't bring up the project right way, so I was quiet, which brought about an uneasy silence. We pulled into a gas station by the adjacent kibbutz. Yigal left the car to fuel. Mira hummed something, she was in a lovely mood. "So why are…

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  • The Israel-Palestine Lorde Diaries, chapter 9: The Arab Lorde

     Two nights in Jerusalem bring many a new acquaintance, and make things seem so much simpler— or complicated. Click here to read the previous chapters of the ‘Israel-Palestine Lorde Diaries’ Winter was only getting more severe, which presented a dilemma. Being a poetry lover, I head south each year for a poetry festival held in the heart of the desert, at the Sde Boker boarding school. This year I contemplated skipping. Sde Boker is perched atop a steep mesa, overlooking a dramatic canyon and is perfectly exposed to desert winds that can be vicious when winter is earnest. The poets are put up…

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  • The Israel-Palestine Lorde Diaries, chapter 8: Mizrahi vibrations

    There's more to Israeli music than your typical Do-Re-Mi, but as our heroes try to explore new scales, they run into a false note. Click here to read the previous chapters of the 'Israel-Palestine Lorde Diaries' The storm was beating relentlessly at our shutters. It was too cold to go out to Nehama, too rainy to meet up and record. Yaron and I chatted online instead. "I want one of the Israeli songs we do to be Mizrahi," he wrote. This was a good enough and important enough of an idea that it warrants a break from the anyway hibernating…

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  • A Mideast alternative to Israel: A response to Yuval Ben-Ami

     Yuval Ben-Ami is thinking of leaving Israel for a saner life somewhere in Europe. Though I know the feeling he talks about and sympathize with it deeply – my choice, time and time again, is to stay right here, at home. I can even justify it. Of course, I totally agree with Yuval. It's a very rough country that we live in, a country of occupation and racism, a country of militarism, chauvinism and brutal capitalism, a country of fundamentalism and violence, where intimidating winds of fascism are blowing in the air. It's a country where I spent two years…

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  • Support Yuval Ben-Ami's Christmas journey in the holy land

    Dear +972 readers, Christmas – it all began here – and today, it hides around the holy land in some unexpected places. This December, +972’s resident travel writer Yuval Ben-Ami will find the smells, sounds, customs, and lives that go unnoticed at the heart of a holiday celebrated by billions around the world, and bring them to you. He’ll spend 10 days traveling Israel and the West Bank looking for Christmas: Israeli Christmas, Palestinian Christmas, the Christmas of pilgrims, of monks and nuns, Christmas in the Galilee, Christmas in the desert, Christmas in Bethlehem, Christmas in Tel Aviv. Christmas in…

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