Michele Chabin

Rally Roundup

01/09/2008
Israel Correspondent

Jerusalem — President George W. Bush’s three-day visit to Israel has spurred a rush of grass-roots activism by Israelis who want the American and Israeli governments to hear their message.

Unfortunately for the protesters, the government’s decision to hermetically seal much of Jerusalem from Wednesday through Friday, coupled with its reluctance to grant permits for anything requiring even a modest police presence — meant that most events had to be held prior to Bush’s arrival.

Jewish Agency To Soon Launch ‘Flex Aliyah’

01/02/2008
Israel Correspondent

Jerusalem — Determined to continue to play a central role in aliyah at a time when the number of immigrants coming to the country is declining dramatically and as private immigration organizations like Nefesh B’Nefesh are expanding their activities and boasting their successes, the Jewish Agency for Israel will soon unveil a “flex aliyah” program for potential olim who do not necessarily want to live in Israel full time.

Start Worrying; Details To Follow

01/02/2008

We don’t wish to alarm you, but...

So said the IDF Home Front Command last week, when it announced its new campaign to prepare the Israel public for any eventuality.

As part of the campaign, a “guidebook” — available in six languages, including English — will be delivered to every household in Israel.

Har Homa: The New Front Line?

12/26/2007
Israel Correspondent

Jerusalem — The terrace of Moshe Matitya’s spacious apartment in the Har Homa neighborhood in the eastern part of Jerusalem affords the computer programmer sweeping views of Bethlehem to the south and the rolling Judean Hills to the east and west.

These days, the view, which was a selling point when Matitya moved his family to this controversial neighborhood from the German Colony almost three years ago, is making him nervous. And it’s making him feel as if he may now be on the front line of a new conflict with the Palestinians and the Americans.

Great Shopping (And History, Too)

12/05/2007
Israel Correspondent

Jerusalem — Residents of Mamilla, a century-old neighborhood located right outside the Old City of Jerusalem, have been eyewitnesses to many important events in the city’s turbulent history.

In 1948 and 1967, they either fled or shuttered themselves in their homes as soldiers fought on their doorsteps. Now, during happier times, they watch tens of thousands of Israelis march to the Western Wall to celebrate holidays.

The Height Of Pessimism

10/12/2007
Israel Correspondent

Jerusalem — The bus and highway billboards are, well, explosive.

In the first signs of life from the settler movement since the disengagement from Gaza two years ago, the notices — which signal the Yesha Council of Jewish settlements disgust at next month’s planned summit between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) — insist that “The Agreement between Olmert and ‘Abu Bluff’ Will Explode in Our Faces.”

Israel Education Gets Failing Grades

11/20/2007
Israel Correspondent

Jerusalem — Tens of thousands of Israelis took the streets of Tel Aviv on Saturday night to show solidarity with striking secondary school teaches and to demand sweeping reforms in the educational system. The strike has gone on for more than a month.

Speaker after speaker lamented the sorry state of the nation’s schools and facilities and called for more classroom hours and smaller classes.

Haredi Hooligans

11/15/2007
Israel Correspondent

Beit Shemesh — The haredi neighborhood of Ramat Beit Shemesh “Bet” has clean, wide streets and neat white residential buildings that house large families devoted to Torah study. Wherever you go, it seems, mothers in long-sleeved, below-the-knee dresses and dark headscarves push single or double strollers, their children well fed and smiling.

Despite the outward appearances of calm, Bet, the most religious section of Beit Shemesh, a thriving municipality between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, has been dealing with a war that shows no signs of abating.

Sympathy For The Devil?

11/07/2007
Israel Correspondent

Jerusalem — The assassin, now a proud daddy, was beaming.

On Sunday, 12 years to the day that he gunned down Israeli Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin, Yigal Amir was celebrating his son’s brit in a tent set up on the grounds of the Rimonim prison near Netanya, where he is serving a life sentence.

The next day, every media outlet in the country showed images of a clean-cut Amir smiling and waving to supporters with his right hand and holding the bassinet with his left.

‘Teachers Are Getting Shafted’

10/25/2007
Israel Correspondent

Jerusalem — As much as he’s been wanting to complete his master’s degree in history, David Graniewitz would rather be standing in front of a classroom, teaching history or English to junior high and high school students.

Instead Graniewitz, who has taught in Israeli secondary schools for almost 20 years, has spent the past couple of weeks glued to his kitchen table, focusing — or trying to focus — on his own studies.

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