When missiles and bombs are flying, while terrorists kidnap and murder, when civilians are caught in the crossfire, and when diaspora Jews and Palestinians are vilified and attacked, there is no good news for anyone. But planning beyond the horrors of the past weeks, as we must, careful scanning of changes in the Arab and Muslim worlds suggest new opportunities for Israelis to live at peace with Palestinians and other neighbors.
Hofesh Shechter often gets annoyed when people only see Jewish or Israeli references in his choreography. “It’s a very interesting, conflicted way the world sees Jews,” he told me a while back. “People [in England] refer to me as Jewish rather than Israeli. There’s this pigeonhole, this file that says ‘Jewish’ on it.”
Jews have a long history revising liturgy they find offensive. The Reform movement has often led that charge, doing away with, for the most part, patrilineal prayers they think should be gender-neutral, and thus more inclusive.
When Israel conquered the West Bank in 1967, virtually no Jews lived there. Most had fled their homes after Jews had been massacred by a group of marauding Arabs in 1929. But now that Israelis are in control of certain cities--notably Hebron, home of the tomb of Abraham--things have gone terribly awry. A new and essential report in the New York Review of Books shows what a disaster the Israeli occupation has become.
If the Arab Spring were to fulfill its revolution, what would happen? An anti-Christian “genocide,” fears Christian Solidarity International, a human rights group. Those who know the situation firsthand say that Christians in the Middle East are increasingly fearful and have been the victims of church bombings and street-beatings. If this were a real reformation it would entail not only democratic elections in countries like Egypt (where the repressive Muslim Brotherhood leads the pack), but tolerance for differences and dissent.
Two mayors in the north, looking for a grass-roots connection.
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‘Even if there is peace between Israel and the Arabs, it will not solve our problems,” Nazia Masrawa, the mayor of an Arab Israeli town in the north called Kfar Qara (population 17,000), told me in a soft, matter-of-fact voice during a recent interview here.
He cited the lack of interaction between Arabs and Jews living in close proximity, based on fear and distrust, and the economic gap between the societies that has widened since the first intifada almost 24 years ago.
The New Yorker does a fine job, usually, of deciding which feature articles to give out free on its website. Their logic seems obvious enough: if the story is of broad political or social importance, make it free. Keep all the other stuff--about the arts, food, sports, or other "soft" stories--behind the pay wall.
When HBO's third season of "In Treatment" premiered this week, one story line was that it lost its main writer, the Israeli novelist Yael Hedaya. (To fans of the show, don't worry: Jhumpa Lahiri is her replacement.) The HBO version was really an adaptation, nearly verbatim, of the Israeli hit series Bi'Tipul, where Hedaya wrote some of the best shows. Now in her mid-40s and still living in Israel, Hedaya is releasing her third novel in English translation this month, "Eden.&