by Joshua Mitnick |
Ariel, West Bank — On a sprawling hill top in this West Bank town Tuesday, a commitment made by Israel’s leader in distant Annapolis this week seemed likely to take one of two possible paths, with the outlines of each already apparent.
“Look up there. My son lives in that container,” gestured Arik Yeffet. “There are leaks in the winter, and the heating is insufficient. He deserves to have a spot of his own. Did we commit a crime?”
As Israeli and Palestinian negotiators worked this week on a joint statement ahead of their upcoming Annapolis summit, the Arab League prepared to meet Friday in Cairo to discuss which if any of them would attend the meeting. And Israeli political observers scoffed at the whole thing.
“It’s a total waste of time,” said David Newman, a professor of political geography at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
by Michele Chabin |
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.
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.