TERRORISM IS LEGAL IN CANADA

The JDL is a Kahanist organization that has been banned in Israel and the United States as a terrorist group. Its Canadian branch has been implicated in a long line of vigilante violence and fear-mongering. The fact that such a piece of dreck can solicit in a respectable Jewish establishment should make us sick to our collective stomachs.

But it doesn’t. That’s because the North American Jewish community, like its Christian and atheist counterpart, is infected with the scourge of Islamophobia. I define Islamophobia in the same way I define anti-Semitism: the delegitimization of a faith and the propagation of stereotypes and prejudice against its adherents. And it is endemic in our community.

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Jewish Defense League Meets Pastrami

By Menachem Freedman FOR

The register at Ben and Izzy’s Deli in Toronto / Courtesy of Menachem Freedman

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When the news hit my Facebook feed that Ben and Izzy’s, a restaurant in Toronto, had been named “North America’s Top Kosher Deli,” I immediately packed my bags. Under the guise of visiting family, I began a pilgrimage to what shalomlife.org called “one of the best delis around.” I have to say — the pastrami was perfect, the chicken soup was superb, though the lack of celery soda seemed a bit blasphemous. But what was less appetizing was yet another reminder that the Jewish community is beautiful, vibrant, caring — but also tainted by racism and Islamophobia. It’s about time we speak out.

This sad reminder came to me at the end of my meal. Next to the register, by the charity boxes for orphanages and social programs, I saw a black box with a raised yellow fist. I nearly lost my brisket. The Jewish Defense League (JDL) is soliciting in the #1 kosher deli in North America.

The JDL is a Kahanist organization that has been banned in Israel and the United States as a terrorist group. Its Canadian branch has been implicated in a long line of vigilante violence and fear-mongering. The fact that such a piece of dreck can solicit in a respectable Jewish establishment should make us sick to our collective stomachs.

But it doesn’t. That’s because the North American Jewish community, like its Christian and atheist counterpart, is infected with the scourge of Islamophobia. I define Islamophobia in the same way I define anti-Semitism: the delegitimization of a faith and the propagation of stereotypes and prejudice against its adherents. And it is endemic in our community.

It’s easy to find Islamophobia in fringe movements like the JDL. But it can be found in quieter forms across the Jewish spectrum. It exists in “mainstream” organizations like Aish Hatorah. Aish, which runs synagogues and youth programs across the continent, was associated with and possibly responsible for the fear-mongering “Obsession” video series that taught thousands of Jewish students and Birthright participants (as well as cadets of the NYPD) about the supposed Muslim plot to take over America with Sharia law. It exists in our synagogues, of every denomination. This Rosh Hashana, a Conservative rabbi made waves when he said five percent of the world’s billion Muslims were dangerous extremists (actually, he called them “Koran-waving, Allah Akbar-howling Muslim murderers”) and the rest were comparable to Germans who did not protest the Nazi regime. The Conservative movement has not denounced him.

Again, as figures like Bill Maher and Glenn Beck make evident, Islamophobia is not only, or even primarily, a Jewish problem. But it’s far too prevalent in a community that has historically stood at the forefront of civil rights causes on this continent. Judaism has a special relationship with Islam, as two religions that are centered around good deeds, prayer and an emphasis on charity and community responsibility. We should be the last to buy the message that Islam is a primitive, violent religion — especially when Muslim countries provided Jews a safe, though not equitable haven from thousands of years of Christian massacres.

Throughout the world, Islamophobic laws have also affected Jews. Anti-ritual slaughter legislation in Europe affected kosher meat as well as Halal. The ban on religious headgear in France and the attempted ban in Quebec targeted the kippah as well as the hijab. Anti-sharia legislation affects our beit dins (Jewish courts) and the protection of agunot (women whose husbands refuse to grant them a divorce).

In the fight against Islamophobia, Jews are not passive bystanders; we are secondary targets. We have an obligation to fight ignorance and educate ourselves about the many facets of our fellow Abrahamic faith. We have a duty to fight Islamophobia and any form of discrimination. Speaking out against baseless hatred and prejudice — well, that’s even more Jewish than pastrami on rye.

WHY HELEN THOMAS SAID THOSE WORDS

The words of Helen Thomas echo in my mind whenever I read something like the report that follows ….

GOD IS GREAT is a deafening sound to dogs and other similar creatures

Illegal Jewish settlers are bothered by the call to prayer

Illegal Jewish settlers are bothered by the call to prayer

Israel bans Muslim
call to prayer in Hebron
61 times in October
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HEBRON (Ma’an) — Israeli forces have forbidden mosque leaders from calling for prayers through loudspeakers at the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron 61 times in October under the pretext that it bothers nearby Jewish settlers, the Palestinian ministry of endowment said Sunday.
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The ministry of endowment’s Hebron office said in a statement that banning the call for prayer “is racism and clear violation of freedom of worship which all international conventions maintain.”

A NEW ISRAELI PIN-UP CALENDAR TO DIE FOR ~~ LITERALLY

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The occupation isn’t sexy.

The Gaza war, just recently ended, wasn’t sexy.

And so seeing these women’s limbs draped in ammunition belts, their faces smeared in war paint and their bodies surrounded with guns and knives — it doesn’t feel sexy.

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Israeli Soldiers Create Least Sexy Pin-Up Ever

By Sigal Samuel FOR

MTKL’s Israeli Army Women Calendar

Just a couple of months after the Gaza war, Israel has found a new way “to show the world the beauty of Israel and its people” — via the power of a pin-up calendar featuring real IDF soldiers.

Or, as the creators of the MTKL Israeli Army Women Calendar like to call them, “the chosen amongst the chosen people.”

These chosen women, brought together by two former (male) soldiers who “scoured the ranks of the powerful Israeli army,” would like you to donate $25 to their Indiegogo campaign so that they can not only ship you this calendar, but also create a whole line of clothing and accessories that will blend “the best of military and street into must-have urban fashion.”

MTKL

Their goal is to make $30,000 off the calendars, enabling them to bring their clothing line to production in early 2015. So far they’ve raised about $3700 — which means that a bunch of people are already walking around wearing jewelry “fashioned after the official IDF Dog Tag.”

Scary thought.

I say that because, if you ask me, this fashion line — and the pin-up calendar being used to showcase it — is pretty much the most unsexy thing I can imagine.

It’s not just that this product is the work of two men using a bunch of women’s bodies to make a quick buck. Leave aside for a minute the obvious feminist objections to pin-up calendars writ large — and hone in on this calendar in particular. It doesn’t take long to see that we’re being sold more than your average “male gaze” sexual fantasy. What we’re being sold is an ideology that equates sexiness with militarism, and Israel with both.

There are at least 4 deeply unfortunate things about this:

1) It shows that Israel’s macho culture — a culture that says military violence is a beautiful and even arousing thing — is alive and well.

2) Women are supposed to be grateful to be allowed into this macho culture. The fact that they’re included is a sign of the culture’s progressiveness, of how evolved and “egalitarian” it is (to quote MTKL’s campaign).

3) Plenty of women actually buy into this logic. That includes the international buyers of MTKL’s products (sadly, I have no doubt that their products will sell) and the Israeli models themselves.

4) By buying into this logic, they are — wittingly or unwittingly — working to put a sexy face on the occupation.

But the occupation isn’t sexy.

The Gaza war, just recently ended, wasn’t sexy.

And so seeing these women’s limbs draped in ammunition belts, their faces smeared in war paint and their bodies surrounded with guns and knives — it doesn’t feel sexy.

The MTKL designers may think their calendar will help “to show the world the beauty of Israel and its people” — but I suspect that for an increasing number of people, this insistence on associating Israel with militarism actually does the exact opposite.

DID ELIE WEISEL LEARN ANYTHING FROM THE HOLOCAUST?

IF SO, WHY IS HE SUPPORTING A NEW ONE??
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TO ANYONE!

TO ANYONE!

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Of all the organizations in Israel, he chose Elad, the most controversial, a group with no truth, grace or compassion. It’s all too clear why they chose him as chairman, but not at all clear why he agreed.

Wiesel has garnered enormous respect from the Jewish people and Gentile nations for surviving and becoming a mouthpiece for Holocaust victims. How about sharing some of that respect? Won’t you reconsider, identify with them and sign their cursed blessings?

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Elie Wiesel hides ethnic cleansing behind a prayer shawl

This ostensible messenger of peace supports an organization that evicts Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem.

By Yossi Sarid FOR
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Obama Wiesel

President Barack Obama hugging Elie Wiesel. Photo by Reuters
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Much have I learned from gossip columns, which for reasons of propriety are also called “social columns.” Without them how would we know who’s going with whom and for what gain?

Before turning to the news pages, cast an eye on the yellow stuff. It will help you understand how the system works.

The special ads – not those intended to sell chocolate pudding – also provide important information and develop your awareness. According to the numbers, under 10 percent of readers look at them, but that’s a mistake to be corrected.

So last Friday, this paper of all papers carried an ad in Hebrew blessing the “dozens of new families joining the Jewish community in the City of David.” According to the ad, “We salute the Zionist action of those involved; we all share the challenge of strengthening the Jewish presence in Jerusalem. With you we’ll receive the pilgrims who visit over the holiday.”

This is followed by the signatures of people linked to settler group Elad. Some of the names are unfamiliar, but some are astonishing. After all, this organization is notorious for making trouble in the City of Eternal Peace.

I wasn’t surprised to see singer Yehoram Gaon’s name, for example. He sees a flag in every rag and takes every broomstick for a flagpole.

But what are former Military Intelligence chief Amos Yadlin, former police chief Shlomo Aharonishki and former Hadassah University Hospital chief Shlomo Mor-Yosef doing there? What’s a former director general of the Prime Minister’s Office, Ilan Cohen, doing there? Maybe they should explain why they’re willing to sponsor people who evict people and take over their homes?

As they say in Isaiah 5:8, “Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no room, and ye be made to dwell alone in the midst of the land.”

And who’s their chairman? You’ll never guess. Not casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, not Jewish organization leader Malcolm Hoenlein. Not even U.S. businessman Irving Moskowitz and his wife Cherna.

It’s somebody identified more than anyone with the memory of the Holocaust — a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom — Elie Wiesel. The Nobel Prize Committee in Oslo wrote: “Wiesel is a messenger to mankind; his message is one of peace, atonement and human dignity.”

This is a man expected to show special sensitivity to the suffering of the other, whether in Romania’s Sighetu Marmației, where he’s from, or Jerusalem’s Silwan neighborhood. This is the man who portrays himself as a friend of Barack Obama, but who lends a hand to those who insult the president publicly.

Before every meeting in Washington, these people prepare another invasion in Jerusalem, sabotaging others’ laborious efforts. Maybe Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu knew why he offered Wiesel Israel’s presidency at the time, but we didn’t.

He’s the man who declared he was keeping himself out of Israeli politics, anointing himself with pure olive oil. Every time he was asked to respond to some injustice in our midst, reminiscent of some injustice far away, he evaded the question.

He of all people burst into one house after another, houses bought in shady deals, fit for the night to be carried out before the sheets and coffee cups have cooled. He of all people is hiding creeping ethnic cleansing behind a prayer shawl.

Of all the organizations in Israel, he chose Elad, the most controversial, a group with no truth, grace or compassion. It’s all too clear why they chose him as chairman, but not at all clear why he agreed.

Wiesel has garnered enormous respect from the Jewish people and Gentile nations for surviving and becoming a mouthpiece for Holocaust victims. How about sharing some of that respect? Won’t you reconsider, identify with them and sign their cursed blessings?

WATCH AS ISLAMOPHOBIA GOES LIVE IN HOLLYWOOD

And the Oscar goes to .... 'Copyleft' by Carlos Latuff

And the Oscar goes to …. ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

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“It’s the only religion that acts like the mafia,” he said of Islam on his program, Real Time with Bill Maher, “that will f–king kill you if you say the wrong thing, draw the wrong picture, or write the wrong book.”

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Ben Affleck, Bill Maher tussle over Islamophobia


Actor gets visibly agitated by comments he considered Islamophobic, cutting off the host, author Sam Harris and N.Y. Times columnist Nicholas Kristof.
By Haaretz

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Ben Affleck at the 52nd New York Film Festival opening night gala presentation of the movie 'Gone Girl' in New York, Sept. 26, 2014. Photo by Reuters

Ben Affleck at the 52nd New York Film Festival opening night gala presentation of the movie ‘Gone Girl’ in New York, Sept. 26, 2014. Photo by Reuters

 

A week after sparking controversy over his anti-Islam comments, HBO host Bill Maher doubled down in a debate over Islam that pushed Ben Affleck’s Islamophobia button on Friday.

“It’s the only religion that acts like the mafia,” he said of Islam on his program, Real Time with Bill Maher, “that will f–king kill you if you say the wrong thing, draw the wrong picture, or write the wrong book.”

Earlier in the heated discussion, Maher and author Sam Harris were agreeing with each other that liberals do not hold up liberal standards when it comes to Islam.

“You and I have been trying to make the case I think that liberals need to stand up for liberal principles. This is what I said on last week’s show,” said Maher, referring to the previous installment when he stated, “If we’re giving no quarter to intolerance, shouldn’t we be starting with the mutilators and the honor killers?”

That debate drew fire from Islamic scholar Reza Aslan, who said on CNN on Monday, “The problem is that you’re talking about a religion of one and a half billion people, and certainly it becomes very easy to just simply paint them all with a single brush.”

On Friday, Maher said that liberals applaud for principles like “freedom of speech, freedom to practice any religion you want without fear of violence, freedom to leave a religion, equality for women, equality for minorities, including homosexuals … but then when you say in the Muslim world this is what’s lacking then they get upset.”

“Liberals have rally failed on the topic of theocracy,” responded Harris.
He asserted that liberals criticize “white theocracy” and “Christians” but have failed to be critical about “the treatment of women, and homosexuals and free thinkers and public intellectuals in the Muslim world.”

He added,” The crucial point of confusion is that we have been sold this meme of Islamaphobia, where every criticism of the doctrine of Islam gets conflated with bigotry toward Muslims as people, which is intellectually ridiculous.”

Are you the person who understands the officially codified document of Islam?” Affleck queried Harris.

“Actually, I’m well educated on this topic,” Harris responded.

“I’m not denying that certain people are bigoted against Muslim people, and that’s a problem,” added Harris, but Affleck did not allow him to finish his sentence.

The actor jumped in, describing Harris’s generalizations about Islam as “gross” and “racist.”

“It’s so not,” interjected Maher.

“It’s like saying, ‘you shifty Jew!'” said Affleck.

Harris shot back, “We have to be able to criticize bad ideas… and Islam is the motherload of bad ideas.”

“That’s just a fact,” chimed in Maher.

“It’s just an ugly thing to say,” said Affleck.

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof tried to bring in some balance, telling Maher that the picture he is painting is “to some extent true, but it is hugely incomplete,” but his calm analysis was cut off by an agitated Affleck.

“It is certainly true that plenty of fanatics and jihadi are Muslim, but the people who are standing up to them – Malala, Mohammed Ali in Iran, in prison for 9 years for speaking up for Christians, a friend that I had in Pakistan who was shot this year, Rashid Rehman, for defending people accused of apostasy –,” said Kristof before Affleck interjected, ending his contribution to the debate.

Affleck argued that the others were stereotyping 1.6 billion people for the beliefs of a handful of radicals. “That’s just not true, Ben,” countered Maher.

Harris then gave an analysis, in which he described 20% of the Muslim world as being Islamists, basing his assessment on various polls, and then described a wider circle of conservative Muslims “who can honestly look at ISIS and say that does not represent us, we’re horrified by that, but they hold views about human rights, women and homosexuals that are deeply troubling.”

He argued that liberal Muslims have to be empowered, adding, “Lying about the link between doctrine and behavior is not going to do that.”

The debate carried on a little longer before Maher made his mafia comment. After that point, everyone agreed to disagree.

Aslan, commenting on Affleck’s aggressiveness during the debate, tweeted on his account, “Watching @BenAffleck go after Sam Harris & Bill Maher with that TONE really made me scared of white New Englander.”

HIGH DEMAND FOR KILLER SPERM IN ISRAEL

A Sick Aftermath of War
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“A man who serves in the army in a combat role is usually assumed to have impressive constitution which confirm the genetic aspirations of the women. They believe he will be fit, healthy, and have several other important attributes.” 

Given the increased demand for specialized sperm, the donors’ bank looked into its database and discovered that all donors had served in the IDF and half had served in combat roles.

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821131748_8a5729f453

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Gaza fighting prompts spike in demand for soldier sperm donations

Haifa hospital sees surge in requests for donors who served in combat roles in wake of IDF Operation Protective Edge.

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Operation Protective Edge has sparked a new wave of patriotism in Israel, and it seems that this sentiment has manifested in a slew of other fields, including sperm donations.

Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center has reported a rise in the number of women requesting special donations, and specifically asking for donors with a background as combat soldiers.

In addition to choosing the donor’s educational background, hair and eye color, the hospital also allows women to choose from donors with and without a military record.

“These women build a profile of what they feel is the ideal donor and the father of their future child,” said Dina Aminpour, head of the hospital’s sperm bank.

“It seems that the (Gaza) military operation and the stories the Israeli public was exposed to recently (about the IDF) have helped clarify some things for those requesting donations.

“It touches on the donors’ character, and military service seems to indicate something about a person,” she explains, saying the women affiliated army service with resilience, determination, altruism and resolve.

“A man who serves in the army in a combat role is usually assumed to have impressive constitution which confirm the genetic aspirations of the women. They believe he will be fit, healthy, and have several other important attributes.”

Given the increased demand for specialized sperm, the donors’ bank looked into its database and discovered that all donors had served in the IDF and half had served in combat roles.

Each month some 60 women turn to the sperm bank at the Haifa hospital, and as many as half – in recent days – have asked for a donor with a history of combat service; before Operation Protective Edge, the request was rarely made.

Now the combat criterion has become as important as height and educational background of the donor.

In recent years there has been a significant decrease in the sperm quality of men in Israel and the world, meaning there are less and less potential donors which can actualize the donation.

“On average, only 10 percent of potential donors are accepted,” explained Prof. Shachar Kol, who runs the artificial insemination clinic at Rambam – the largest hospital in the north which supplies sperm donations to fertility clinics for the entire region.

The problem with the sperm quality has led to a large shortage in donations and the need to recruit more and more men to donate. In the past year the hospital even hosted an exhibit hosted by Ynet.

Source

WHEN MURDER IS NOT ENOUGH

Captions say …. A good Arab is a dead Arab … kahane lives!

PriceTag_557_356_c1

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Two videos have emerged showing Israeli police brutally beating a Palestinian youth in the Shuafat neighborhood of eastern occupied Jerusalem.

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The second video posted on Facebook by Quds News Network shows the same incident. It appears to have been shot with a mobile phone from an adjacent building.

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Many injured

Red Crescent medics said 170 Palestinians were injured since Monday, including three with live bullets, Ma’an News Agency reported.

Dozens were injured by rubber bullets, including six journalists, and three people suffered fractures after being assaulted by Israeli police officers, Ma’an News Agency added.

The brutal beating caught on video is reminiscent of an indelible image of a similar attack on a young Palestinian during the first intifada in the late 1980s.

 

From

 

‘SO LONG, IT’S BEEN GOOD TO KNOW YOU’ ~~ A PALESTINIAN LOVE STORY

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Sam Bahour adds this … 

Carol and Osama are good friends; it’s sad to see them leave, physically that is. I am constantly asked by visitors, what I think the ultimate goal of Israeli actions on the ground is. Well, this is it. The goal is for us to leave or vanish–no less. Given we will do neither, collectively, as a people, buckle up for the long haul. Humanity must prevail before peace pokes out its head.

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‘So long, Israel, and thanks for nothing’

As a Palestinian Israeli married to a Palestinian, we’ve been waiting for Israel to grant us permission to live together. 15 years later, forced to choose between homeland and family unity, we have finally left.

By Carol Daniel Kasbari
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Carol Daniel Kasbari and husband Osama with two boys.

Carol Daniel Kasbari and husband Osama with two boys.
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After fifteen years of waiting, my husband and I have finally begun our life together. We have left Jerusalem for good.

I am a Palestinian with Israeli citizenship, raised in Nazareth. My husband is also a Palestinian, but unlike me, he is not a citizen of Israel. In fact, he is not a citizen of any country.

I met my husband, Osama Kasbari, in Ramallah in 1997 when I was a student at the Hebrew University, and the connection was immediate. After that first meeting, we spent three hours talking on the phone – about life, identity, language, home – and within a year, we were married.

We began the process of building a normal life, applying for “family unification,” a process under which non-citizens married to Israelis could gain temporary residency status and further on down the line become permanent residents or citizens. At the Interior Ministry office in Nazareth, we were told that the process would be quite simple: We were to live inside of Israel’s borders, pay taxes, obey the laws and within four years, my husband would be granted permanent residency. This is what we were told, and this is what we believed, so this is what we did.

My husband was granted an Aleph/5 permit, a temporary status which enabled us to live together. He was one of those “good Arabs,” according to the Shin Bet, who reviewed our application to renew his permit. Every year, before the permit expired, I would spend an entire week on the phone, until I finally reached the clerk who would schedule an appointment for us at the Interior Ministry. The grilling would begin on the phone, and end in a day-long visit to an office where we submitted a pile of papers that revealed every detail of our life: Three months of a protracted, demanding and exhausting process. It involved explaining every move and every payment we made. We felt we were at the mercy of clerks and strangers who passed judgment on our life choices. My husband couldn’t leave the country, buy a house and or even open a bank account or pay his own cellphone bill.

In 2003, weeks before my husband was scheduled to receive permanent residency, our dreams were shattered, along with other Palestinian couples like us. On July 31st, 2003, then-Interior Minister Eli Yishai successfully passed the “Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law (Temporary Order)” which categorically denied Palestinians from “the hostile areas,” meaning, Jerusalem, West Bank and Gaza, the ability to receive residency or citizenship as a result of their partnership with a citizen of Israel.

The initial reason provided was purportedly connected to security: One man in such a situation had been involved in a bombing in Haifa. The law was scheduled to last for a year, with the option to be renewed for an indefinite period at the end of the year. No other Palestinian who is in a family unification process has acted any act of terror or assault since 2003, yet the emergency law has been renewed every year until this day.

We were devastated. We had come so close to achieving some degree of normalcy for our family, which by then had expanded to include my two little boys, and suddenly we found ourselves waiting, again, for a political decision that would directly affect our personal lives.

And we tried everything to change it: We appealed to the Interior Ministry; I met with people involved in politics, people of influence with whom I worked with as facilitator for groups in conflict. Everyone would say, yes, yes, that’s terrible, but they would not lift a finger to do anything for us. One senior consultant for the government told me, “You know, Carol, this is the most sensitive issue for the Jewish people, the demographic one. It will be very hard for anyone to help you.”

Eventually, we filed a petition to the Supreme Court. The judges, too, expressed sympathy for our case. They said it was terrible, it was unfair, that we deserved better, and they suggested to the State Attorney that we find a compromise outside of the court that would allow my husband receive permanent status. The latter rejected this suggestion immediately: If we find a compromise with them, he said, we will open up the floodgates, and set a “dangerous precedent.” Our appeal was rejected.

So was this law truly about “security,” or was it about demography? In 2012, the Supreme Court collectively rejected every appeal against the law. They acknowledged that the law violated the principles of equality, but, as Judge Asher Grunis wrote, “[H]uman rights are not a prescription for national suicide,” referring to the “demographic threat” to the Jewish State posed by people like my husband. The treatment of our issue was humiliating and dealt with as a disease and a threat to Jewish existence. We couldn’t tolerate it anymore.

This year, after 15 years of waiting and struggling, of living with insecurity, fear, and harassment, we decided that enough was enough. We did not renew my husband’s temporary residency. Instead, we left the country and started looking for a permanent life in a place where would be welcome, wanted and respected. We moved to the United States, and bought a house in Virginia, something we had realized we may never have been able to do in Jerusalem. We knew this decision would possibly carry life-long consequences, as my husband would not be allowed to return to Jerusalem or Nazareth anymore. I have given up my right to bring up my boys in this country or to live my life close to my family and friends. I haven’t given up on my Palestinian roots or on my homeland, but on the suffering of being minority in a country that doesn’t respect the rights of others who are not Jewish.

Now, when I return to Jerusalem for a visit, I feel numb. My family – and the thousands of other families like ours – had to make the choice between a normal, full life abroad and a temporary life in our homeland. That is a choice no family should have to make.

Carol Daniel Kasbari is a conflict transformation specialist and veteran facilitator for groups in conflict in the Middle East since 1995 and has spoken about her work in this TEDx talk in Jaffa. Born in Nazareth, she holds a Masters degree in NGO Administration and Public Policy from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and is pursuing Ph.D studies at George Mason University in Conflict Analysis and Resolution. She currently lives near Washington, D.C., with her husband, Osama Kasbari, and their two children.
Written FOR

STEPHEN HARPER ~~ SINGING AND DANCING FOR APARTHEID

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As a Canadian citizen, this truly saddens and disgusts me  *

Harper Sings ‘Hey Jude’ At State Dinner In Jerusalem

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It’s fair to say Stephen Harper has received a “rock star” welcome on his first official visit to Israel.

And on Tuesday, he rocked out.

The prime minister took the stage at a state dinner in Jerusalem to perform some Beatles tunes on the keyboard, including “Hey Jude,” with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looking on.

And judging by the videos posted online, it seems Harper’s musical stylings were warmly received by Netanyahu and his wife, Sara.

The Jerusalem Post described Harper’s performance as courageous.

Netanyahu posted a brief clip to his YouTube account.

Harper also dusted off an old classic, “With A Little Help From My Friends.”

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FROM

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Related Report

DROWNING IN THE FECES OF ZION (VIDEO)

334590_Gaza-sewage

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Fetid muck, which bubbles up from manholes and overflows from the idle plant when waste goes untreated, could soon spill into the homes of tens of thousands more residents in downtown Gaza City, officials and residents said.

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Video: As siege stops pumps, Gaza children wade to school in sewage

 Ali Abunimah
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This video shows children in the al-Sabra neighborhood in eastern Gaza City wading through streets flooded with sewage.Some make their way carefully across stones to avoid the fetid water, while others wade right in or are carried on the shoulders of older children.With their book bags on their backs, they are determined to get to school. The video was shot by Jehad Saftawi for the Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU) (imeu.net).

Siege stops pumps

Why is this happening? As Reuters reported on 14 November:

Children waded through sewage submerging the streets of a central Gaza neighborhood on Thursday, a day after one of the blockaded Palestinian enclave’s largest waste water treatment plants stopped for lack of fuel.

Fetid muck, which bubbles up from manholes and overflows from the idle plant when waste goes untreated, could soon spill into the homes of tens of thousands more residents in downtown Gaza City, officials and residents said.

Egypt’s months-long crackdown on cross-border smuggling tunnels that used to bring fuel in cheaply has already forced Gaza’s only power plant to stop, meaning two weeks of daily 12-hour blackouts for the territory’s 1.8 million residents.

“This is the start of a catastrophe and unless the world listens to our cries, a real disaster may hit Gaza and its people,” Gaza municipality’s Sa’ad El-Deen Al-Tbash said.

“This is a humanitarian, not a political issue. Gaza’s children did nothing to deserve being stuck in sewage,” he told Reuters.

As a consequence of the blackouts Gaza children must also study in the dark.

“Health catastrophe”

While media are reporting that electricity blackouts are now 12 hours per day, the new situation is that for many people, power is out for 18 hours daily.

On 7 November the UK charity Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) warned of the dire impact on Gaza’s already strained healthcare system.

With grid power so compromised, most hospitals rely on generators but, MAP warned:

The majority of generators in Gaza’s hospitals were not designed to work for up to 18 hours per day and the Ministry of Health expects to encounter difficulties in maintaining them, especially those requiring spare parts, due to the restrictions of Israel’s blockade.

The fuel crisis is making it difficult for ambulances to continue operating and hindering the ability of medical workers to get to health facilities. Its impact on other essential services such as sewage and water pumping stations also poses a public health risk. 

The video above shows that for the children confronted with sewage in the streets, “risk” has turned into a grim reality.

This is no “natural” disaster. It is the result of the sewer-like politics of the region, where Israel, Egypt’s coup regime and the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority collude, with US and EU complicity, to tighten the siege and with it the deliberate collective punishment of the Palestinian people in Gaza.

Written FOR

NO NEED TO APOLOGISE TO PALESTINE, IT JUST DOESN’T EXIST!

Of course, you can never please everyone. Within hours the blog on which the change was announced was bombarded with several messages demanding to know why there was still no mention of Palestine.
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The ‘old map’
w-scholastic-111513
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Scholastic Puts Israel Back on ‘Stilton’ Map

By Dave Goldiner

And the new one

Scholastic had already apologized for publishing a children’s book in its popular Geronimo Stilton series that included a map of the Middle East leaving out Israel.

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Stung by the fierce reaction, the publishing giant has gone one step further.

It reworked the animated map to include Israel. It also told parents it would replace copies of the book, ‘Thea Stilton and the Blue Scarab’ with a new updated one including the new and improved map.

Or you can download a copy of the new Israel-friendly map and paste it on top of the old offending map. Plus there are options for getting a new e-book if you purchased the book online.

Or you can call a special hotline.

Got the message? The folks at Scholastic are really, really sorry about the snafu. And they really, really care about Israel.

Of course, you can never please everyone. Within hours the blog on which the change was announced was bombarded with several messages demanding to know why there was still no mention of Palestine.

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FALSIFYING LIFE IN GAZA

Rather than admit that life in the Gaza Strip was virtually destroyed by actions of the Israeli army, they now want you to believe that just the opposite is the case …. here is how they do it; 
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A few questions came to mind after reading the following ….
1. Where are the building materials coming from (and how are they getting through the closed border)
2. Where are the goods on sale coming from seeing as the siege does not allow goods to enter the Strip?
Does the IDF really believe we are all stupid??
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Israel army publishes fake image of huge “Gaza shopping mall”

Ali Abunimah
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An enormous shopping mall the Israeli army claims is in the Gaza Strip. (Source: IDF Blog)

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In one of its periodic efforts to deny the devastating effects of its siege of Gaza, the Israeli occupation army published a blog post on 12 August claiming that Palestinians in Gaza are “out in force, enjoying themselves in sparkling new malls, beautiful beaches and hotels, and doing their shopping in pristine grocery stores and markets heaving with fresh produce.” (Screenshot of entire “IDF blog” post).

The “IDF blog” includes the impressive photo above of a shopping mall where Palestinians in Gaza are supposedly shopping for the latest imported fashions.

I showed the photo to The Electronic Intifada’s correspondent in Gaza, Rami Almeghari. His reaction: “I can assure you that there is no such mall in Gaza.” Rami is quite right.

Fake image

If you do a Google Image search using the image from the “IDF” blog post, the same image turns up associated with the Metro Plaza shopping mall in Kolkata, India as well as several other places. 

 

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kolkata

A Google image search turned up many examples, like this one, of the image associated with other malls.

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Where is it really?

But the “Gaza mall” photo published by the Israeli army is actually an image of the Suria KLCC Mall in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, as numerous user-generated photographs on the travel review site TripAdvisor.com attest.

You can also see many people shopping at the mall – in Malaysia – in this video:

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Israeli army sources: anti-Palestinian, Islamophobic blogs

Before publishing it on 12 August on its English-language website, the Israeli army published the same post in French on 4 August.

It was then published by the anti-Palestinian website Tribune Juive the same day.

But some of the material had already circulated on many other Islamophobic websites long before.

For example, the same Kuala Lumpur mall photo, purportedly in Gaza, appeared on a virulently Islamophobic blog called “Barenaked Islam” in April 2012, and was disseminated on Facebook by “Geert Wilders supporters,” a page dedicated to the Islamophobic Dutch politician.

It also appeared on “Religion of Peace,” another anti-Muslim hate site.

It would appear that the Israeli army gets its information about Gaza from Islamophobic hate sites.

Forced dependency

The Kuala Lumpur shopping mall is vastly bigger than any commercial facility anywhere in Gaza.

But another image, the supermarket shown on the “IDF” blog, appears to be the Metro supermarket in Gaza. I didn’t visit it, but I did visit the Abu Dallal supermarket in Nuseirat refugee camp.

I was told that Abu Dallal is one of largest supermarkets in Gaza. By American, European, or Jordanian standards it is not very big, smaller than an average CVS or Boots drugstore.

More important than its size, however, is that like other stores in Gaza, it is packed full of Israeli goods.

That’s one of the ways the Israeli blockade creates dependency: While Gaza industry and agriculture are devastated by the siege, Israel is happy enough to see its own companies profiting from people in Gaza, siphoning off what little income they have, whether from work, humanitarian aid or remittances abroad, by selling them Israeli goods.

Poverty and dependency are the real effects of siege

But Israel is much more restrictive when it comes to supplies that meet basic needs and could allow Gaza to move out of dependency. There is, for example, a shortage of 250 schools for Gaza’s children, which cannot be built due to the lack of building supplies.

And the reality is that while there is food in Gaza, “severe poverty has increased over years of closure and because of travel restrictions,” Gisha, an Israeli nongovermental organization that monitors the siege, noted in a recent factsheet.

More than 70 percent of the Gaza population receives some form of humanitarian aid, compared with one third in the year 2000.

For imports of raw materials and many basic goods, Gaza’s economy remains heavily dependent on underground tunnels to Egypt, as I saw myself during my visit, and as Gisha also documents.

Since the Egyptian military coup on 3 July, the Egyptian army, which works closely with Israel, has been instensifying its effort to destroy the tunnels.

Exports crushed

Israel continues to crush Gaza’s export industries. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Israel has allowed a total of 94 trucks out of Gaza in 2013 – that’s about a dozen a month from a population of almost 1.7 million people. Insignificant.

By contrast, in 2007, the year before the siege began to bite, more than 5,000 trucks were allowed out of Gaza. In 2001 it was 15,000.

Cynical propaganda

The Israeli army’s cynical propaganda is supposed to distract people from the fact that the vast majority of people in Gaza live in deep poverty and a very precarious economic situation, without electricity for 8-12 hours per day, and depend on humanitarian aid, due to Israel.

Gaza’s per capita annual GDP is just over $1,000 dollars. Compare that with $32,800 for Israel.

The lesson: learn the facts and don’t be taken in by Israeli army fabrications.

With thanks to Twitter user @sallyidwedar who initially spotted “IDF” fakery, and Omar Ghraieb for answering my queries about Gaza’s supermarkets.

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SOLDIERS DESECRATE THE MEMORY OF RACHEL CORRIE

Israeli soldiers had a “fun” time making what they called “Rachel Corrie pancakes.”

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Israeli soldiers have depraved “fun” making “Rachel Corrie pancakes”

Ali Abunimah 

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Israeli soldiers had a “fun” time making what they called “Rachel Corrie pancakes.”

Photos of the event were posted on the Facebook page of the “Heritage House,” a settlement in occupied East Jerusalem that houses so-called “lone soldiers,” men recruited from overseas to join the Israeli occupation forces.

Nesim Pesarel, one of the “Heritage House” residents, seen in a photo from his personal Facebook page.

Above the photos of young men, some in Israeli army fatigues or apparently carrying guns, is the caption “Afternoon of ‘rachel corrie’ Pancakes and fun!”

Rachel Corrie is the young American woman murdered by an Israeli soldier who crushed her to death with a bulldozer as she tried to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian family home in the occupied Gaza Strip on 16 March 2003.

The depraved joke that these men were presumably making is a play on the English idiom “flat as a pancake.” Their celebration and joking about Rachel Corrie’s death is utterly vile and reflects the culture of dehumanization inculcated into Israeli soldiers.

Ben Packer, the director and rabbi of “Heritage House,” hit back at some negative comments about the images, posting this response:

In honor of the all the hate messages from the anti-Israel/Jewish crowd, one of our supporters has pledged $5 towards Israeli settlements (maybe for additional bulldozers) for each additional comment. keep’em coming anti-semites! We love our Israeli soldiers and will not back down in the face of those who attempt to endanger them!

Packer added, “Anti-Israel activists are all in a tizzy about these pictures! makes them even funnier!!!”

The page also appeals for donations “to support our guests and ‘lone soldiers.’” Residents of the “Heritage House” settlement also take part in colonization activities in other parts of the occupied West Bank, including Hebron.

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Alex Winston is the “den mother” of The Heritage House men’s dormitory. Alex Winston is a member of the Israeli army’s Givati Brigade.

Nesim Pasarel (right with weapon) and Jonathan Leibovits (seated)

 

(Update: The gallery was removed shortly after the publication of this post.)

The true face of the “IDF”

In recent months, The Electronic Intifada has highlighted incidents of Israeli soldiers using social media to advocate brutal violence, and acts of sadistic torture and murder of children.

The Electronic Intifada also revealed images soldiers posted on the photo-sharing site Instagram of nudity, drug use and violence and most notoriously of a Palestinian child seen through the scope of a sniper’s rifle.

This week, the army began investigating a video posted online of Israeli soldiers frying a small bird alive, an act that had no purpose but gratuitous animal cruelty.

Israeli army attempts to halt social media scandals

The “Rachel Corrie pancakes” photos provide yet another window into the Israeli army’s culture of violence and come just as the occupation forces have tried to staunch the flow of embarrassing incidents on social media that have hurt its propaganda efforts.

The campaign, which includes this YouTube video, urges soldiers to “improve their image online.” 

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The voiceover in the video commands:

Soldier! Improve your appearance! Always remember: You are the face of the IDF. So improve your appearance – online!

The IDF is glad to invite you to get connected, share, love, tweet, respond, and show the pretty face of the IDF.

So go into the official pages and send us pictures, videoclips, and stories. The IDF on the Internet. One army, everybody’s face.

The “lone soldiers” at the Heritage House settler-colony have clearly not got the message.

With thanks to Dena Shunra for assistance with research and translation and Benjamin Doherty for assistance with research.

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PALESTINIANS ARE THE FIRST TO SUFFER UNDER EGYPT’S NEW GOVERNMENT

 Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff  (Freedom for whom???) 
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The Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza, which is a six hour drive from Cairo airport, has been closed indefinitely, ever since the Egyptian army overthrew elected PresidentMuhammad Morsi on 3 July after days of street protests.
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Egypt deporting Palestinians trying to return to Gaza

by Ali Abunimah 

A Palestinian woman waits at the closed Rafah crossing with Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip on 5 July.

 (Eyad Al Baba)

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Palestinians trying to return home to the Gaza Strip via Cairo airport are being deported by Egyptian authorities to the countries they flew in from, at their own expense.

The Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza, which is a six hour drive from Cairo airport, has been closed indefinitely, ever since the Egyptian army overthrew elected PresidentMuhammad Morsi on 3 July after days of street protests.

In recent days, militant groups in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula have repeatedly attacked Egyptian army posts and checkpoints.

Yousef M. Aljamal, a writer and occasional Electronic Intifada contributor, was among those deported. Aljamal was returning home to Gaza from New Zealand, where heparticipated in the recent Conference on Palestine in Auckland.

Aljamal tweeted about his deportation from Cairo, back to the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, where he had stopped in order to obtain an Egyptian visa.

He reported seeing other Palestinians sent back to Algeria, Jordan, Tunisia and Canada, among other countries.

on Twitter

The Palestinian government in Gaza has appealed to Egyptian authorities to re-open Rafah, citing thousands of Palestinians, including many pilgrims, stranded away from home.

Even before the latest crisis in Egypt, conditions at the crossing have remained difficult and unpredictable, with “Mubarak-era cruelty” remaining the norm.

Anti-Palestinian campaign intensifies in Egypt

The deportation of Palestinians comes as campaigns against Palestinians are intensifying in Egypt.

Anti-Palestinian campaigns in the Egyptian media are not new, as Joseph Massad wrote last August. They have included outlandish claims that shortages of basic supplies including fuel and medicines for Egypt’s 83 million people are caused by supplies being sent to Gaza’s 1.7 million Palestinians.

The volume has however increased amid the ongoing crisis. Rumors circulated by Egyptian media and social media accuse Hamas – without evidence – of sending operatives to support the deposed Muslim Brotherhood government.

Such rumors have led to false accusations and deportations of Palestinians living in Egypt,as the Egyptian journalist Fahmy Howeidy reported in a 7 July article in Egypt’s Shorouk News.

Howeidy concludes his powerful piece with these observations:

Who is the party that is keen to terrorize and humiliate Palestinians and fabricate charges against them in Egypt? And what is its interest in doing this? And why is there no clear political stance to stop these humiliations? My information is that there are elements within the Palestinian security apparatus still working against the government in the Gaza Strip and trying to malign it and bring it down.

There are also elements within the Egyptian security services – whose arms reach into the media – who despise Palestinians and sneer at resistance, and who cannot bear to hear the name of Hamas because of their relations with the Muslim Brotherhood. And these parties have rebounded lately, for well-known reasons. This leads to ask who they represent and to what extent they are connected with the deep state whose elements do not cease for even a day from spreading hatred between Egyptians and Palestinians in violation of all national and ethical norms.

Syrians, as well as Palestinians, have also been targeted by such rumors and campaigns.

As Egypt slips further into political chaos, Palestinians stranded abroad are hoping they can get home without falling victim to the increasingly poisonous atmosphere.

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ZIONIST HARASSMENT ON THE WALLS …

Why are communities of Palestinian citizens of Israel increasingly the victims of racist vandalism at the hands of Jewish Israelis? Why were cars in Abu Ghosh damaged last week? Why were gravestones in Jaffa desecrated last month? Why was a school in Wahat al-Salam defaced last year?
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Israel’s racists step up attacks on Palestinian citizens

David Sheen *

Men stand near wall sprayed-painted with graffiti

Graffiti reading “Arabs out” and “Racism – Assimilation” in Abu Ghosh, 18 June.

 (Jim Hollander /EPA)

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Why are communities of Palestinian citizens of Israel increasingly the victims of racist vandalism at the hands of Jewish Israelis? Why were cars in Abu Ghosh damaged last week? Why were gravestones in Jaffa desecrated last month? Why was a school in Wahat al-Salam defaced last year?

Are attacks on these communities reprisals for anti-Semitic attacks that emanate from them? Is it because the sons of Wahat al-Salam crash cars into Jews? Is it because the youth of Jaffa perpetrate terrorist attacks against Israelis? Is it because the residents of Abu Ghosh provide protection to anti-Zionist suicide bombers?

The attacks listed in the first paragraph of this article actually occurred, but the ones listed in the second paragraph are totally false — I just fabricated them. No residents of these communities have been accused of committing crimes motivated by nationalism — or anti-nationalism, for that matter.

Even if any of them had been, it would not justify the collective punishment of these communities. But it would at least provide motives for attacks on these communities, motives that some Israelis might sympathize with: “revenge” for prior attacks on Jews, “intimidation” to prevent future attacks on Jews.

But again, residents of these communities are not suspected of having committed any hate crimes against Jewish Israelis. So what could be the motive for attacking them? In addition to the prescriptive messages spray-painted in previous attacks — “Arabs Out” and “Death to Arabs” — the perpetrators of the most recent acts of vandalism also included another slogan, one that does point to motive: “Racism or Assimilation.”

“Racism or assimilation”

For outsiders unfamiliar with the internal Israeli discourse, this phrase needs to be parsed. The vandals have posited these two nouns — “racism” and “assimilation” — as either-or options for Jewish people living in Israel. Aligning themselves with the first option, the perpetrators are acknowledging that their attacks on Palestinian communities are motivated by racism, and they are calling for more of the same. The other option, the alternative to racism, is the choice that they loathe: assimilation.

What is this creature called assimilation, and why do these self-professed racists hate it so much? Assimilation is simply the process by which individuals, or groups of individuals, adopt ideas from other individuals and groups of individuals. These racists want to prevent Jewish people from adopting ideas of other people because they want all Jewish people to adopt their own ideology: Jewish Dominionism.

Dominionists seek to transform the State of Israel from a democratic ethnocracy into a theocratic ethnocracy. The current government, a relatively secular regime that grants extra privileges to Jewish people on the basis of their ethnicity, is insufficiently Jewish in their opinion. The Dominionists want all affairs of state and all public spaces in Israel to conform to the rules of Orthodox Judaism.

If the Dominionists’ dreams were realized and they were able to forge the face of the state, what would it look like? At the first public conference of the Dominionist “Derech Chaim” movement in March, I listened to the movement’s leaders flesh out their shared vision for the future. They bemoaned the legal obstacles that hinder the accomplishment one of their main objectives: physically separating Jewish citizens from non-Jewish citizens in Israel.

Segregation

Dominionists do not make up a majority of the Jewish population in Israel; if they did, they would already have turned Israel into a full-fledged theocracy. But their desire to physically separate Jewish people and non-Jewish people into separate areas is shared by the secular segregationists, who do make up a majority of the Jewish population.

Secular segregationists do not want the country to be governed under the strict rules of Orthodox Judaism, but for their own racist reasons they would prefer to not have to see any non-Jewish Arab people as they go about their daily lives. When they seek medical attention at hospitals or recreation at amusement parks, there seems to be an increasing consensus among the majority of Jewish Israelis that religious segregation is a positive phenomenon.

To be sure, there are parts of Israel in which Jewish people and non-Jewish people choose to live close to each other and get along fairly well. They are few and far between, but they exist, and among them are Abu Ghosh, Jaffa and Wahat al-Salam. It is precisely because Jews and Arabs live there in relative peace that these communities are attacked. It is the option of Israelis and Palestinians living in a multicultural environment that the Dominionists want to eliminate.

If the government of Israel not only enabled segregation but also simultaneously enabled groups of Jews, Arabs and others to establish multicultural institutions and heterogenous communities, it could at least claim to be adhering to a libertarian interpretation of the right to equal treatment under the law. But there is only one such Palestinian-Israeli intentional community in the entire country — Wahat al-Salam — and as its first Palestinian resident told me just days before he died last year, it exists not because of the Israeli government’s efforts, but in spite of them.

While (what are likely) disorganized groups of Dominionist hooligans carry out physical attacks on mixed Arab-Jewish communities like Wahat al-Salam, highly organized groups of Dominionist activists move into mixed Arab-Jewish towns across the country with the avowed objective of preventing “assimilation” and eventually driving out the non-Jewish residents (Amy Teibel, “Devout Israeli Jews moving to Arab-Jewish cities,” Associated Press, 4 October 2012). And in the last three years, top Israeli political and religious leaders have stepped up their efforts to segregate areas of the country into Jewish and non-Jewish.

Racist rulings

In 2010, first dozens, and then hundreds, of chief rabbis on the government payroll issued a religious edict forbidding Jews from renting apartments to non-Jewish people. The rabbis justified their racist ruling by citing passages of the Bible which call for ethnic cleansing the land of Israel and implementing complete racial segregation (Deuteronomy 7). Their ruling still stands, and no disciplinary action was ever taken against the rabbis.

In 2011, Israel’s parliament, the Knessetpassed the Communities Acceptance Law, colloquially called the “Kaadan Loophole Law,” because it circumvented the Kaadan case at the high court, which made it illegal to bar a person from purchasing property just because he or she comes from a different culture. The new law granted hundreds of villages in Israel the right to veto home sales on the basis of the buyer’s background.

new government bill currently being debated in the Knesset would permit Israeli businesses to give preferential treatment to people who have served in the army. Although the law would also have a negative impact on some other groups, it is a thinly veiled attempt to sanction discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel, who, as a rule, do not serve in the military. If the law is enacted, it would essentially extend the legal right to segregate by religion to land developers in any area of the country, including downtown Tel Aviv.

After last week’s embarrassing attack in Abu Ghosh, just as a long list of Hollywood stars were visiting Jerusalem only a couple of kilometers away, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was quick to condemn the attack, saying that it contradicted the values of the Israeli people, and of the Jewish religion (“PM: ‘Price tag’ attacks contradict values of Jewish people and state,” The Jerusalem Post). While that may be true for some Israelis, and for some adherents of Judaism, these racist attacks are clearly in sync with the values of large number of Jewish Israelis, including secular segregationists such as Netanyahu himself, and the Jewish Dominionists that are his power-brokering political partners.

*David Sheen is an independent writer and filmmaker. Born in Toronto, Canada, Sheen now lives in Dimona.

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EVERYDAY ISRAELI APARTHEID … MUCH WORSE THAN YOU THOUGHT

 Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff
Tim-apartheid_by_latuff2
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No doubt a lot of Jews would say: Israelis have a long history of terror and hatred from Arabs, what do you expect? In return I would say: Arabs have a long history of violent subjugation and hatred from Jews, what do you expect?

But let’s put that duel aside and keep in mind who we’re talking about: Bedouin kids with cancer. Arab youngsters wishing to go to an amusement park. Random Arab adults trying to switch their bank accounts.

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Everyday ‘Apartheid’ and the Liberal Dream

By Larry Derfner

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The following items appeared in the Israeli media this month: Superland, an amusement park outside Tel Aviv, makes a policy of reserving separate days for Israeli Arab high school classes and separate ones for Israeli Jewish classes. A Jewish community pool in the Negev refused to admit a group of Bedouin children with cancer because, in the words of the manager, the patrons have a problem with that “sector.” In a hidden-camera investigation by Channel 10 news, branches of Bank Hapoalim, Israel’s largest bank, refused to allow three out of five Israeli Arab customers to transfer their accounts to a branch in a predominantly Jewish area, while routinely allowing all the Jewish customers to do so.

I have to admit, I am surprised. I didn’t think it was this bad.

I didn’t think the racist practices against Arabs in Israel — not Palestinians in the West Bank, but people who live in “Israel proper” as citizens — were so deeply entrenched. Unless I’m extremely mistaken, this sort of thing doesn’t, couldn’t, go on in the United States, or Canada, or other Western countries that Israel likes to think of as its peers in the democratic world.

No doubt a lot of Jews would say: Israelis have a long history of terror and hatred from Arabs, what do you expect? In return I would say: Arabs have a long history of violent subjugation and hatred from Jews, what do you expect?

But let’s put that duel aside and keep in mind who we’re talking about: Bedouin kids with cancer. Arab youngsters wishing to go to an amusement park. Random Arab adults trying to switch their bank accounts.

There’s a lot more where that comes from, of course — Israeli Arabs looking for jobs, looking for apartments, trying to get into a nightclub, trying to reserve a table at a restaurant. It’s a matter of luck, of which Jew in a position of power they happen to come across.

Two out of the five Arabs at Bank Hapoalim got lucky, the other three didn’t. The five Jews, of course, didn’t need luck.

As the saying goes, it is what it is.

What does this state of affairs say, for instance, about Israel’s blanket defense of “security” in ethnically profiling Arabs (along with all other gentiles) at Ben-Gurion Airport? How much of the true reason for that is security, and how much is straight-up racism? (And – sorry to come back to that old duel – but how much is the security problem responsible for Israeli racism, and how much is Israeli racism responsible for the security problem?)

And what does the past week’s news say about the popular claim that not only isn’t Israel an apartheid country, but that it’s anti-Semitic to even suggest so?

Finally, what does all this say to the liberals? What does it say to those (including me) who want to believe that if this country just ends the occupation, if it allows a Palestinian state to come into being in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, if it goes back to living within its old, pre-Six Day War borders, its spirit will be healed?

Larry Derfner is a journalist in Israel who blogs for +972 Magazine.

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THE TRUTH ABOUT APARTHEID

 It’s much worse than you thought it was …
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Politicians have voiced outrage following revelations that an amusement park in central Israel segregated students from Jewish and Arab schools by having them attend on separate days. …..Outrage at the discrimination or the fact that it was exposed?
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And what about this? No outrage?? … There is even a website called Avoda Ivrit — Hebrew Labor — that boasts a database of 2,000 businesses nationwide that only employ Jews. The website administrators did not respond to a message from the Forward, but one of the advertisers, the owner of Jerusalem restaurant Shipudei Hagefen, spoke enthusiastically about its Jews-only staffing policy. Zion Anovil said that he introduced the policy 10 years ago and has found it “good for business.” Diners, said Hagefen are “more satisfied,” have “more confidence,” and like the policy from the point of view of service and ideology. “There’s no legal problem — I can hire who I want,” he insisted.
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Amusement Park Discrimination May Be Tip of Iceberg in Israel

Businesses and Web Sites Openly Cater to Jews Only

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THINKSTOCK

By Nathan Jeffay

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TEL AVIV — Politicians have voiced outrage following revelations that an amusement park in central Israel segregated students from Jewish and Arab schools by having them attend on separate days. But civil rights activists say this discrimination is more common than many realize.

After learning that, for years, Superland in Rishon Lezion has been keeping schools from different sectors separate, Education Minister Shai Piron declared himself “shocked at the face of such acts that have no place in Israeli society.” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu began a Cabinet meeting June 2 by condemning the “phenomena of racism against Israeli Arabs.”

But according to Nadeem Shehadeh, attorney for the Israeli Arab nongovernmental organization Adalah, the incident at Superland doesn’t reflect a phenomenon — just everyday life. “This case isn’t unique,” he said. “What is unique is that it got to the media.”

The government’s practice of unequal allocation of resources between Jewish and Arab sectors is well documented. It was acknowledged bluntly in the findings of the Or Commission, a government panel appointed specifically to expose these practices, in the report it released a decade ago. But activists contend that discrimination by the private sector and by other service providers goes largely unchecked.

“There is no safeguard for equality,” Mohammad Zeidan director of the Arab Association for Human Rights, complained to the Forward. “And therefore there is a clear open window for discrimination.”

Israel did establish, in 2008, the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission. But with just 11 employees, it is seen by critics as largely reactive rather than proactive. Its activities consist mainly of non-discrimination training for employers who volunteer for this; it does not identify patterns of discrimination or look for offenders. It has initiated fewer than six cases a year on average in the labor courts.

Janet Shalom of the EEOC said her agency was established “in order to receive complaints and through that enforce equal opportunity in the workforce.” The commission is nevertheless seeking “to enlarge its authority,” said Shalom, by having employers complete voluntary reports on their hiring practices.

Activists contend that instances of discrimination are obvious.

Ads for services in trade directories, for example, will commonly use phrases like “Hebrew labor” and “blue and white labor” to signal to readers that they employ only Jews. The former was a slogan of Zionists in the pre-state era who were proud to work their own lands and make their own products, and while the latter refers to the Israeli flag, it’s widely understood to mean that the employees in question are Jewish.

There is even a website called Avoda Ivrit — Hebrew Labor — that boasts a database of 2,000 businesses nationwide that only employ Jews. The website administrators did not respond to a message from the Forward, but one of the advertisers, the owner of Jerusalem restaurant Shipudei Hagefen, spoke enthusiastically about its Jews-only staffing policy. Zion Anovil said that he introduced the policy 10 years ago and has found it “good for business.” Diners, said Hagefen are “more satisfied,” have “more confidence,” and like the policy from the point of view of service and ideology. “There’s no legal problem — I can hire who I want,” he insisted.

In fact, the law is clear. At least on paper, Israel’s Equal Employment Opportunities Law forbids discrimination on the basis of gender, marital status, pregnancy, age, race, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, ethnic origin, views, party affiliation and reserve duty in the army.

Nevertheless, on Janglo, a website for English-speaking immigrants in Israel, some businesses dispense even with the euphemisms. “You have finally found the BEST and ONLY ALL JEWISH MOVING SERVICE for your moving needs,” one listing declares.

The Jewish Moving Service, which placed the ad, promised to get back to the Forward with a comment, but failed to do so. Janglo’s administrator, Zev Stub, insisted that the moving company’s ad message “is not one of employment discrimination,” adding, “We refuse messages that violate the law.”

The EEOC and the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor “do not see the mentioned advertisement as an acceptable one,” the ministry told the Forward on behalf of both agencies.

Public pressures has forced some changes. Until April 2012, Ben Gurion Airport, the country’s aviation gateway, instructed taxi companies not to send drivers from “minorities” — that is, the Arab sector — to the airport. The rule was canceled after its existence became public. But the airport’s contract with the Hadar taxi company, which serves the facility, still specified that the company could hire only drivers who had performed army or national service, which the vast majority of Arabs don’t.

Arab cab driver Youssef Atallah argued last August that unless specific military experience is needed to do the job, a demand that the job be restricted to army veterans violates equal opportunity law. After Atallah complained to the EEOC, the airports authority canceled the employment criterion.

Still, a national service record continues to be a common requirement in all sorts of jobs, from high-tech to restaurant work.

“In military-related jobs, [that’s] okay,” said Auni Banna, a staff attorney with the Association for Civil Rights in Israel. “But you don’t need to have been in the military to know how to wash dishes.”

Zeidan, of the Arab human rights group, said that politicians venting their outrage at the Superland incident as if it were some rare occurrence have missed an opportunity to tackle more pervasive discrimination.

“The politicians and the prime minister talk against it, and that’s it,” he said. “But it’s not as if anyone says, ‘Let’s go to the root and deal with the problem.’” In Zeidan’s view, the government, parliament and courts need to become “proactive.”

Some Israeli Arabs claim that properties suddenly become unavailable when it appears to the would-be seller that that the buyers are Arab. More blatantly, in 2010 dozens of rabbis — including some who are state-salaried — signed a letter claiming that renting or selling to non-Jews violates religious law. Piron, the same education minister who condemned the Superland discrimination — and who is also a rabbi — wrote in an online halacha forum in 2002 that religious law prohibits selling homes to Arabs. Piron has said that he no longer stands by his ruling.

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WHY DID MALCOLM X SAY THIS?

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Here’s one reason …. (one that wasn’t reported in the Western media)
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Children with cancer barred from Israeli swimming pool for being Arab

 by Ali Abunima
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An Israeli public swimming pool has refused entry to a group of children with cancer because the children are Arab.

The subtitled video report above from Israel’s Channel 2 says that Dr. Gali Zohar, wanted to surprise a group of 20 Bedouin children with cancer with a fun day at the pool at Mabu’im village in the south of the country.

Zohar called the pool ahead of time and managers agreed to admit the children free of charge. Everything was fine until the managers realized the children were Arab and then specifically said that allowing Bedouin children in would be a “problem.”

Bedouins in the south of historic Palestine are ostensibly citizens of Israel but face the imminent threat of further mass expulsions from their traditional lands as part of Israel’s racist “Judaization” policies.

The Channel 2 report includes an audio recording of a telephone call in which a pool manager specifies that the facility will not let in children from the Arab “sector.” The report added that Ben-Gurion University agreed to allow the children to use its facilities.

Racism at public facilities in Israel

This shocking incident came to light just days after it emerged that another Israeli facility, the theme park Superland, segregates Jewish and Arab students on separate days.

While Arab and Jewish children in Israel attend separate and unequal schools, racial segregation in public facilities like parks or pools is not mandated by law as it was in apartheid South Africa or the United States. But Palestinian citizens of Israel have habitually faced discrimination.

As for millions more Palestinians living under occupation and siege in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Israel’s strict closures, sieges and permit system effectively bar them from most recreational facilities, parks and beaches in historic Palestine.

In recent years, Palestinian and Israeli women have challenged these draconian movement restrictions by going on “illegal” trips to the beach together.

The latest cases of swimming pool racism are reminiscent of an incident caught on video last year when Palestinian families were turned away from a resort near the Dead Sea as Europeans, Israelis and dogs were allowed to enter freely.

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WHY WOULD CARLOS LATUFF SAY THIS?

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Here’s just one of many reasons …. Notice how it’s denied after being admitted;
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Amusement park denies entry to Arab teacher, students

Superland Rishon Lezion is trying to minimize damage after its decision not to allow Arab students in its gates on certain days caused tumult. Education Minister to discriminated teacher: I’m shocked

Shahar Chai

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A Jaffa school teacher complained that Superland Rishon Lezion prevented him from buying tickets for Arab students, a complaint which was followed by the amusement park’s management admission that the park is open to Jewish schools on certain days and Arab schools on other days. The park management released another statement on its Facebook page Thursday morning, announcing that the policy, which provoked fierce public criticism, will be reexamined.

“Throughout most of the year, Superland is open to the entire public without any difference to different segments of the population,” the management tried to explain the discrimination.

“In June, various schools ask to use Superland grounds to hold end of year events. The Superland management received requests from both Jewish and Arab schools to conduct the events on separate days. We have taken the requests into consideration and this month a few different days were set for different sectors. However, in the next few days, we will reexamine the decision to agree to these requests.”

The exposure of this discrimination led the Chairman of the Education, Culture and Sports Committee MK Amram Mitzna to hold an urgent hearing on Monday. Mitzna called on Education Minister Shai Piron to stop schools from sending their students to Superland and the mayor of Rishon Lezion to take legal actions against the discriminators. “This behavior is a slap in the face of the efforts to deal with racism within Israeli society,” said Mitzna.

‘No place in Israeli society’

Piron himself spoke on the phone with Khaled Shakra, the Jaffa high-school teacher who exposed the story. The minister said: “I’m shocked at the face of such acts that have no place in Israeli society. I see a joint life, between Jews and Arabs, as one of the fundamental values of the Declaration of Independence. Values of equality, partnership and tolerance are at the heart of the Education Ministry’s policies.”

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon referred to the story on his Facbook page: “When I hear the teacher who was discriminated against at Superland, and when I read Superlan’s unprecedented response, I ask myself how any one of us would respond if in any other country there would be a discrimination in parks between regular and Jewish schools. I believe I would be as shocked and ashamed as I am now.”

The Abraham Fund Initiatives, operating a venture to promote coexistence between Jews and Arabs, responded to the discrimination: “It is important that the Education Ministry send a clear message that there should be no activity in or with places that racially segregate between Jewish and Arab students.

Minister Piron spoke last week in front of the Knesset Education Committee about the importance he finds in programs that bring Jewish and Arab students together, and the severe incident at Superland highlights the urgency in implementing these measures in the education system.”

HaShomer HaTzair youth movement decided in response to these events that its thousands of members would not go to Superland as part of their summer camps. Hashomer Hatzair spokesperson Ofer Neiman said that “racism is a criminal and sick act that must stop leading the discourse in the Israeli public. If the Superland management conducts a proper investigation and deals with those responsible for this embarrassing behavior we will reconsider our collaboration with the park.”

The National Student and Youth Council said “this is contempt of the Israel democracy. Here, on our piece of land, to which we returned after many years of persecution and discrimination, it is inconceivable we would do the same thing. We call on school principals to cancel any agreements with Superland and demand the company operating the park to renounce this criminal act.”

Source

WELCOMING THE STRANGER IN ISRAEL, UNLESS THEY ARE BLACK

The Torah, (not the King’s Edition) clearly states in Deuteronomy 10: 19 You shall love the stranger, for you were once strangers in the land of Egypt.’ Those that read only hatred in the Torah are not only destroying it, but are destroying the Jewish people as well.
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The State of Israel does not provide these people homeless shelters, which is particularly problematic for women, since sex is sometimes a precondition for being taken into an apartment.The bitter irony here is, of course, that we might have expected that a nation shaped by the refugee experience would find humane ways to deal with today’s displaced people.

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Israel’s Heartbreaking Policy to African Asylum-Seekers

Nation Founded by Refugees Now Turns Its Back on Them

Unwelcome: Few refugees in Israel are granted official refugee status and asylum.

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Unwelcome: Few refugees in Israel are granted official refugee status and asylum.

By Leonard Fein

Meet Omer Olivier. Mr. Olivier is an asylum seeker from the Democratic Republic of Congo. He has been living in Israel for the last seventeen years without official status. Although he has filed a request to be recognized as a refugee, his lack of recognized status means he cannot work legally nor get medical services.

And so, typically, it goes for those who claim refugee status in Israel. In recent years, there have been 4,322 applications for refugee status; according to Physicians for Human Rights, three have been processed and approved. (The figures are murky. A different report estimates between 35,000 and 38,000 asylum seekers, the vast majority of whom, knowing how slim are the odds that they will actually be processed, let alone approved as “legitimate” refugees, have not applied for asylum. Of those who have applied, less than one percent have been processed and accepted as refugees.)

The stumbling block is Israel’s refusal to examine people who claim refugee status on a case-by-case basis. By Israel’s preferred definition, asylum seekers are in fact infiltrators. So much for being gracious to the stranger.

I met some of these “infiltrators” in a day-care center in Tel Aviv in mid-April. They are stateless people, unable to return to Eritrea for fear of arrest and worse, unable to establish legal residence in Israel. The ones I met were four years old. Thousands more, children and adults, are housed at a massive detention facility in the Negev, which I plan to visit on my next trip to Israel.

Often, the argument put forward in defense of Israel’s restrictive policy is demographic: Israel would be overrun were its doors to be opened. Indeed, Prime Minister Netanyahu has inexplicably asserted that these people are “a threat to the Jewish and democratic character of the State of Israel.”

One obvious problem with this argument is that Israel is today a country with a population of more than eight million, and nowhere near the verge of being overrun, still less so were there a more thoughtful path to legal status.

Instead, Israel has determined that Eritrean and Sudanese refugees, the main asylum seekers, are simply not eligible for Refuge Status Determination, as required by the UN Convention on the Rights of Refugees, which Israel ratified on October 1, 1954. And when the terms of reference of that Convention were broadened in 1967, Israel ratified that, too, on June 14, 1968.

The Knesset Information Center acknowledges that Israel is the only developed country that uses temporary collective protection as an alternative to granting asylum on an individual basis, even though the guidelines of the UN High Commission on Refugees clearly state that granting collective protection does not relieve a country of its responsibility to guarantee basic social and economic rights to asylum seekers.

The collective “protection” currently imposed on Eritreans and Sudanese is, in effect, a deferred deportation order; those who are “protected” by it lack work permits, health insurance and welfare benefits. That means that Israel must somehow deal with the 60,000 asylum seekers in Israel who have survived the trek through Sinai, where many have been repeatedly raped or otherwise abused. Once in Israel, they congregate in poor neighborhoods where two-way resentment festers.

The problem: Israel makes the conferral of basic social rights contingent on at least legal residence. The unprocessed asylum seekers lack legal residence, hence lack access to health and social services, are cut off from all local social service frameworks, are barred from legal employment. This drives very many of them into an existence of indigency and want, renders them dependent on charity and non-profit social assistance organizations. Some women find their way to Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, which reports that many require gynecological attention in the wake of their experience of rape and abuse.

This is not the case in many other countries, where legal status and social benefits are de-linked. While awaiting a ruling on their legal status, asylum seekers in most developed countries enjoy many or all the social rights due a citizen. That is definitively not the case in Israel. After being detained for months or even years, they are given a document that explicitly states that they lack the legal right to work. Lacking the legal right to work, they enter the unregulated job market, where they are often underpaid and overworked and not protected by labor laws and where they are dependent on a network of volunteers for health care.

Plus: The State of Israel does not provide these people homeless shelters, which is particularly problematic for women, since sex is sometimes a precondition for being taken into an apartment.

The bitter irony here is, of course, that we might have expected that a nation shaped by the refugee experience would find humane ways to deal with today’s displaced people. Israel is easy to love — but too often it breaks your heart.

Source

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