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.
Hila, Israel — Amid a flurry of reports about possible progress in prisoner-swap talks to secure the release of kidnapped Israeli Cpl. Gilad Shalit, his father Noam says he won’t get his hopes up despite signs of encouragement.
“It has only just started to move. It hasn’t reached an agreement. It has a much longer road to go,” he told The Jewish Week in an interview at the Shalit family home in this northern Israel hamlet.
Petach Tikvah, Israel — Recounting how officials in this central-Israel city stonewalled complaints this month about the segregation of four Ethiopian schoolgirls, Daniel Uoria paused to answer his cell phone. It was an adviser to the deputy mayor.
"It’s because the minister of education is coming here to see what happened," explained Uoria, 29, after the call as he sat in an office at the headquarters of the Kadima Party. "Once you make a stink, suddenly everybody wants to help."
Tel Aviv — Work on Israel’s controversial separation barrier has ground to a virtual halt as the country’s attention — and budget funding — has shifted away from the threat of Palestinian suicide bombers from the West Bank, say fence advocates.
Tel Aviv — They risked arrest in Syria and Lebanon to offer Israelis back home rare glimpses of their neighbors, but now a top Israeli national security commentator, a popular blogger and a travel journalist are under police investigation for breaking a decades-old law banning travel to “enemy” states.
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?”
The post-Annapolis proclamation ran as the banner headline on Israel’s largest selling daily, Yediot Ahronot.
But on the sun-bathed morning after the Rothschild Coffee Spot — the café kiosk hub of Tel Aviv’s most lively boulevard — few chose to let the first renewal of peace talks in seven years distract them from their morning java.
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.