Tel Aviv — A government program to encourage volunteer work by Arab Israelis as a substitute for army enlistment enjoys wide support among the country’s one-fifth minority, despite a campaign by Arab political leaders to discourage youths from participating.
According to a survey released this week by University of Haifa sociologist Sammy Smooha, support for the national service project among Arab youths and the general Arab Israeli population runs between 75 to 80 percent.
Jerusalem — Jerusalem has changed dramatically in the past couple of decades. Entirely new neighborhoods have been built, upscale shopping malls now dot the landscape, and the percentage of green space has dwindled proportionately to the booming construction.
That’s one of the many reasons to savor Mahane Yehuda, Jerusalem’s sprawling open-air market, which, despite its cleaner, more polished appearance in recent years, remains the most lively and authentically Israeli place in an ever-changing city.
Sderot, Israel — The rocket alert was drowned out by the cacophony from the children’s Tu b’Shevat party. By the time the first kids dashed to the bomb shelter at the Parent and Child Community Center here, it was too late.
The Kassam rocket thundered overhead, accompanied by a subtle tremble.
"You heard that boom," asked Dalia Yosef, the director of the Sderot Resilience Center, which focuses on easing the psychological toll of the rockets. "It’s not that far away."
Ashkelon, Israel — For the residents of this coastal city of 120,000, the 10 miles between the Gaza border and the center of town seemed like a comfortable buffer. But in the wake of last Thursday’s rocket hit on the northern edge of the city, the buffer has all but dissolved, nerves here are raw, and residents are wondering if their city will become the next Sderot.
Jerusalem — Shimon, a student at the ultra-Orthodox Tiferet Israel yeshiva, says he is not prepared to serve in the military, even if a new bill calling on the draft of yeshiva students is passed in the Knesset.
“I won’t go into the army, even if there is a law,” says the army-age yeshiva bocher, who studies at the school from early in the morning until late at night.
Jerusalem — Having successfully recovered millions of dollars worth of Jewish property lost in the Holocaust, restitution experts in Israel and the U.S. are now setting their sights on the Arab world.
The Knesset Parliamentary Committee on the Restitution of Jewish Property announced plans this month to create a national center to register documents and testimony about the possibly “tens of billions of dollars” in property left behind by Jews who emigrated to Israel from Arab/Muslim countries.
Jerusalem — Eli Sanders, an incoming senior at Columbia University, never gave much thought to campus anti-Semitism — that is, until a fellow student submitted a controversial article to the Columbia Daily Spectator.
“It was an opinion piece, and it said that the hands of the Jews are stained in blood,” Sanders, the paper’s chief editor, recalls during a tour of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem.
Jerusalem — In the wake of this week’s agreement between the United Nations and Iraq, attention here turned to the threat posed by other countries in the Middle East with nonconventional weapons.
In addition to Iraq, “Iran, Syria, Egypt and Libya are all developing chemical and biological weapons at a rapid rate,” said Dr. Dany Shoham, a military expert at Bar-Ilan University’s Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Affairs.
Jerusalem — As Israelis lined up at hardware stores this week to buy plastic sheeting and rolls of adhesive tape to seal rooms against possible chemical or biological agents, Liora Abramson was taking things in stride — for now.
“We’re feeling really, really calm. If it weren’t for the news reports on TV, I wouldn’t know that a war might be looming,” said Abramson, 21, whose family moved from Borough Park, Brooklyn, to Tel Aviv eight years ago.