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A quiet street in Jerusalem’s Beit Hakerem neighborhood, where the first community building went up 90 years ago.

Earlier this month, our neighborhood grocery in Jerusalem celebrated its 20th anniversary, and we were all treated to a lavish party, with barbeque, beer and wine.

Why would the three owners, Shai, Eli and Nir, care about us so much? Because we care about them. Twenty years ago they came to our neighborhood, Beit HaKerem, took over a lousy, sleepy grocery, changed its name to Market, and turned it into an institution.

If Israel is a Startup Nation, then Market is a social startup. The three energetic Jerusalemites discovered the secret of all startups — a special need — and then went on to find the perfect solution for it.…  Seguir leyendo »

A street in Arara, northern Israel. Credit Dan Balilty/Associated Press

Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv is always bustling. Youngsters, families and tourists fill its shops, cafes and bars. On Jan. 1, this boulevard became the site of another terrorist attack on Israelis. First, two young men were gunned down in a bar; then, as he fled the scene, the terrorist killed a taxi driver. Several others were injured.

A week later, after a long pursuit, the terrorist, an Israeli-Arab citizen named Nashat Melhem, was encircled by security forces in his hide-out in the town of Arara, and was shot dead after he had opened fire at his pursuers. Nashat Melhem’s rampage in Tel Aviv was not his first attempt at terror, as he had a 2007 conviction for assaulting a soldier and trying to seize his gun.…  Seguir leyendo »

Recent events in Germany, where Muslim immigrants harassed local women, generated more doubts about Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door policy, which let some million immigrants enter Germany in 2015. Most vocal were spokesmen of Pegida (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the Occident), who have been warning that the new immigrants would “destroy” Germany.

However, these doomsday prophecies ignore an interesting, positive effect of the recent wave of immigration to Germany. According to the Guardian newspaper (Jan. 6, 2016), this influx of people stopped the constant decline of the German population and rejuvenated its workforce. Indeed, Chancellor Merkel, in her New Year address, asked Germans to see refugee arrivals as “an opportunity for tomorrow” and urged doubters not to follow racist hate-mongers.…  Seguir leyendo »

The struggle for identity is common to teenagers regardless of where they live. But these struggles take on an entirely different layer in Israel, especially if you are what is commonly referred to as an Israeli Arab.

On a trip to what is known as the Triangle in Israel, I had the opportunity to meet Duaa Anabosi, a 16-year-old girl working as a clerk at Al-Qasame College in the town of Kafr Qasim. The college has more than 3,000 Arab boys and girls studying a range of subjects, from math and science to liberal arts.

The Triangle is the area of high Arab concentration in eastern Israel, with the Green Line, the 1967 boundary, to the east in the Samarian foothills.…  Seguir leyendo »

Minority Life in Israel

My mother, Zakia, was so proud that my sister and I spoke better Hebrew than Arabic. Osman, my father, believed that by achieving the highest levels of education, we would one day be treated as equal in our country, Israel. He sincerely believed that Palestinians capable of articulating their narrative would win the hearts and minds of Israeli Jews.

My parents believed in the promise of a democracy that transcends ethnicity. I still retain that dream, but it is tested every time I go home. I am a citizen of Israel, married to an American Jew, yet I am not welcome in Israel.…  Seguir leyendo »

An American colleague and I traveled to Israel at the end of June to continue research with an Israeli team composed of Jewish and Muslim researchers from Ben Gurion University in Beersheba. Our team studies how rapid social change has shifted values among Arabs in northern Israel, Bedouin Arabs in the Negev and Ethiopians Jews in southern Israel — Israeli citizens all. In the course of this work, we have been warmly welcomed into the homes of our Arab partners in northern Israel. We also saw the home of a newlywed Bedouin couple that had been destroyed by Israeli bulldozers because some Bedouin ancestral lands are not recognized by the Israeli government, and we learned about racial discrimination against Ethiopian Jews.…  Seguir leyendo »

Can Arabs, who make up one-fifth of Israel's population, be loyal citizens of the Jewish state? With this question in mind, I recently visited several Arab-inhabited regions of Israel (Jaffa, Baqa al-Gharbiya, Umm al-Fahm, Haifa, Acre, Nazareth, the Golan Heights, Jerusalem) and talked with mainstream Arab and Jewish Israelis.

I found most Arabic-speaking citizens to be intensely conflicted about living in a Jewish polity. On the one hand, they resent Judaism as the country's privileged religion, the Law of Return that permits only Jews to immigrate at will, Hebrew as the primary language of state, the Star of David in the flag, and mention of the "Jewish soul" in the anthem.…  Seguir leyendo »