by Michele Chabin |
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.
The bloody end to a massive rally in Gaza Monday marking the third anniversary of Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat’s death is seen as underscoring the disunity of the Palestinian people whose aspirations for their own state are proving more and more elusive.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak ruled out Tuesday an imminent large-scale invasion of the Gaza Strip to put an end to the repeated Palestinian rocket attacks against southern Israel, explaining that it would scuttle the upcoming Israeli summit meeting in Annapolis, Md., with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Barak was responding to mounting pressure for a military response following the firing of three rockets last week at the city of Sderot, one of which struck a house and another a power line, knocking out electricity to the city.
by Michele Chabin |
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.
by Joshua Mitnick |
Jericho, West Bank — Dressed in freshly pressed uniforms, officers stroll through the new school toting briefcases stuffed with course packs for classes in information technology and Hebrew.
Wake-up is at 5 a.m., and the daily schedule includes lineups, weight training and lectures. It is a place of order, discipline and timetables — concepts not usually associated with the Palestinian security forces.