Archive for the ‘Israel’ Category

On Saturday night, Darkeu screened this video to tens of thousands of Israelis, gathered in Rabin Square, who watched in stunned silence. Twenty-two years ago to the day, at that very spot, Yitzhak Rabin was murdered after months of the sort of incitement, hate and violence that is once again rising in Israel. On Saturday, Israel’s moderate majority gathered in the square, united in determination to never again let extremists determine their country’s future.

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What an inspiring and heartening act of valor and kindness!

Call them Israel’s American volunteer fire brigade.

Dozens of firefighters from across the United States put their lives on hold – leaving behind jobs and families – to help subdue the wildfires that swept Israel over the past week. While they all share a love of Israel, only a handful of them are Jewish.

“We’re just firefighters. When guys hear about a situation like this one, where the Israelis are working as hard as they can, they want to come help,” said Billy Hirth, a Protestant who retired last year after a 24-year career as a firefighter in Arlington, Texas, and has been coordinating the American effort from Jerusalem.

“It’s a brotherhood. Firemen are firemen,” he said.

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By Maayan Lubell

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered an unprecedented vilification of the Israeli media on Monday, accusing a leading television journalist of being part of a plot to bring down his right-wing government.

After declining to be interviewed by Channel Two anchorwoman Ilana Dayan for a piece investigating the workings of his administration and the role his wife plays in appointing officials, Netanyahu’s office sent a written statement.

Dayan read it in its entirety on air, taking six minutes to deliver the tirade against her as she stood in front of the prime minister’s office.

“It is time to peel the mask off the face of Ilana Dayan, who has shown once more that she has no professional integrity,” the statement said.

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Amos Oz, as always, provides interesting insights on a variety of topics in this succinct interview on BBC

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Shimon Peres was the last of his kind

By Ari Shavit

Unlike other Jews who succeeded him in power, Peres always knew that to be a Jew also meant to be universal and moral; to be on the correct, enlightened side of history.

True, he founded Israel Aircraft Industries (1953), made the decision about the Entebbe Operation (1976), saved Israel from hyperinflation (1985) and got the army out of most of Lebanon (1985). He tried the London agreement (1987) led the Oslo process (1993), and succeeded in turning himself from a controversial politician into a beloved president (2007).

But the real contribution Shimon Peres made to the Jewish state was the amazing work he did in Paris in the mid-1950s that led to the construction of the nuclear reactor in Dimona.

Against powerful counterforces, David Ben-Gurion’s sorcerer’s apprentice succeeded in spreading the strategic security net that assured Israel’s existence. Against all odds, the 34-year-old kibbutznik erected above us that invisible glass dome that allows us to lead almost sane lives in this crazy place.

But Peres was never really a kibbutznik. He was a child of the Jewish Diaspora who arrived from Europe before the disaster to the Ben Shemen Youth Village and tried all his life to become an Israeli. He was the beloved grandson of the grandfather killed in the Holocaust, and all his life he tried to flee the past into the future.

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Mount Herzl

Jerusalem, Israel

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Zvia, Yoni, Chemi and generations of the Peres family; President Rivlin; Prime Minister Netanyahu; members of the Israeli government and the Knesset; heads of state and the government and guests from around the world, including President Abbas, whose presence here is a gesture and a reminder of the unfinished business of peace; to the people of Israel:  I could not be more honored to be in Jerusalem to say farewell to my friend Shimon Peres, who showed us that justice and hope are at the heart of the Zionist idea.

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I am really saddened to lose Shimon Peres, a leader that was among the greatest statesmen of the 21st century, an inspiring voice of reason and wisdom not just for the Jewish people and for the Israeli people, but for humanity. Shimon Peres was one of the last living pioneers who established, built, secured, and strengthened the State of Israel. He was also a visionary, philosopher and diplomat with extraordinary insight into the human spirit. I was scheduled to meet him on my last trip to Israel on the afternoon when he suffered a stroke. My thoughts are with his wonderful family, including my dear friend Mika Almog, his amazing granddaughter, and his son Chemi and daughter Tzvia, all cut from the same cloth of wisdom and warmth. May Shimon’s incredible contributions to the Jewish people, to Israel, and to the world be a source of strength to you and to all of us during these difficult times, and may his words of wisdom guide all of us for years to come. Below you will find a beautiful statement from President Obama:

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A joint poll conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) in Jerusalem and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) in Ramallah and released on August 22, 2016 shed some interesting insights on the state of public opinion on both sides.  The findings include:

A slight majority of Israelis and Palestinians support the two-state solution. However, they do not trust each other, have disparate views on the terms of a permanent settlement, underestimate the level of compromise on the other side, and view its intentions as threatening. Nonetheless, at least a quarter of the opposition to a permanent settlement on both sides is flexible and it is likely that its opinion might be changed with the right incentives.

STATISTICAL HIGHLIGHTS BELOW

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This article scratches the surface of the challenge I have been hearing from Israeli friends across a spectrum of politics from right to left: Netanyahu’s methodical and obsessive effort to dismantle independent journalism and dispirit and intimidate any media critics.

 

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In a hair salon in Israel, Arab and Jewish women find common ground… in a sink.

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