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‘Time for all Religious Zionist parties to unite’ – Arutz Sheva

Posted By on December 7, 2019

MK Moti Yogev (Jewish Home-United Right) on Wednesday called on the Religious Zionist parties to run together in the expected upcoming elections.

Currently, there is a joint Jewish Home-National Union list, as well as the Otzma Yehudit party, which did not win Knesset representation, and the more liberal New Right party.

In an interview with Kol Barama Radio, Yogev said: "We saw during the past year that no branch of Religious Zionism has electoral security on its own. It would be appropriate to run as a technical bloc or find other ways of connecting all the Religious Zionists."

"All types of Religious Zionism need to unite into a single party or single faction, even if we don't agree on everything, so that we will not lose votes from Religious Zionists. We need to reach the next elections in a situation where all of Israel, including this group, does not lose two, three, or four Knesset seats, so that we can influence the next government.

"If the parties are unable to reach an agreement, then at least a technical bloc or single faction should be formed. That's what we have seen in the past, and that's what we've seen recently. We lost less votes in these elections than we did in the previous round of elections."

Yogev also said that a full union between the Jewish Home and National Right parties, which have run together since 2013, "should have been done a long time ago, and it should happen as soon as possible."

When asked his opinion on having open primaries for a large Religious Zionist party, Yogev said, "As long as time permits, and maybe in order to build power, then it would be appropriate to do this, after we raise awareness and explain why we need a Religious Zionist party which will be large, broad, and include anyone who believes in this path, from the entire religious spectrum. Primaries will be held if there is time for them."

"What will be possible if we run to elections in another seventy or ninety days? This seems the proper path to return the public's faith in a Religious Zionist party. Can that be done within a short time? I don't know, we need to talk about that. These are the appropriate principles in my opinion."

Continued here:
'Time for all Religious Zionist parties to unite' - Arutz Sheva

Linda Sarsour Thinks You Can’t Hear or Read – Algemeiner

Posted By on December 7, 2019

Linda Sarsour. Photo: Festival of Faiths via Wikimedia Commons.

The first thing Linda Sarsour likes to say in her speeches is that she is unapologetic. Unapologetically in favor of a boycott against the worlds lone Jewish state. Unapologetically for a one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and that one state isnt Israel.

But on Tuesday, Sarsour was uncharacteristically apologetic.

Over the weekend, I made comments about Israel that require context to understand. I was specifically referring to the racist argument at the heart of the nation-state law recently passed by the Israeli government not the Jewish people, she wrote. I apologize for the confusion.

In a series of Twitter posts, Sarsour said criticism of her comments during a session before the virulently anti-Israel group American Muslims for Palestines (AMP) annual convention is a further attempt to paint the left in USA & UK as antisemitic.

December 6, 2019 10:04 am

No, Linda. It wasnt an attempt to cast the Left as antisemitic. Just you.

In fact, she did not mention Israels nation-state law in her remarks. But she did speak in a session titled, Palestine, Islamophobia, Racism and Zionism: What is the Connection? It is Zionism she found illegitimate, not a controversial new law. And she repeated her previous argument that liberal Zionists and their supporters can never be allies

You tell me, Oh, Im with you. You cant push me out of the movement because Im also against white supremacy,' Sarsour said. Ask them this: How can you be against white supremacy in the United States of America, and the idea of living in a supremacist state based on race and class, but then support a state like Israel that is built on supremacy? That is built on the idea that Jews are supreme to everybody else. How do you, then, not support the caging of children on the US-Mexican border, but then you support the detainment and detention of Palestinian children in Palestine? How does that work, sisters and brothers?

Thats consistent with what she told the AMP convention in 2016, well before the nation-state law was proposed.

We have limits to the type of friendships that were looking for right now, Sarsour said, and I want to be friends with those whom I know have been steadfast, courageous, have been standing up and protecting their own communities, those who have taken the risk to stand up and say we are with the Palestinian people, we unequivocally support BDS when it comes to Palestinian human rights and have been attacked viciously by the very people who are telling you that theyre about to stand on the front line of the Muslim registry program. No thank you, sisters and brothers.

Still, Sarsour claimed Tuesday that she is a consistent advocate for human rights for ALL oppressed people all over the world. My track record is CLEAR. [Emphasis original]

She is right about that, just not in the way she thinks.

For as long as she has been in the public eye, Sarsour has opposed Zionism the idea of a country for Jews in their ancestral homeland that can serve as both a free society based on law, and as a refuge from oppression that Jews have faced throughout history.

Theres no confusion in Sarsours 2012 statement, Theres nothing creepier than Zionism. The statement, for all the controversy it generated, remains on her Twitter feed today.

Her record is clear when she refers to Israel as an oppressor and tells Muslims to stop actually trying to humanize the oppressor.

Theres no context required to understand her antisemitic beliefs, including her claim that Jews contribute to police shootings of unarmed black people in the US because of an Anti-Defamation League program that takes police officials for a week of seminars in Israel, so they can be trained by the Israeli police and military, and then they come back here and do what? Stop and frisk, killing unarmed black people across the country.

She made similar comments in a 2015 speech at the 20th anniversary of avowed antisemite and Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhans Million Man March.

The same people who justify the massacres of Palestinian people and call it collateral damage are the same people who justify the murder of black young men and women, she said.

Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews, is among the examples of antisemitism detailed by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. So is Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.

Sarsour checks both boxes. She served until recently on the governing board for the national Womens March, which was dogged by repeated antisemitic incidents, including a stubborn refusal by Sarsour and her colleagues to renounce Farrakhan. She reportedly has used Nation of Islam officials for security, both personally and for the March.

Despite this record, Sarsour is an official surrogate for Bernie Sanders presidential campaign. And somehow, her hateful rhetoric did not stop Simon & Schuster from publishing Sarsours book, which is due out in March, and ironically described as a memoir of love and resistance.

Its not clear what prompted Sarsour to walk back her hateful comments from the AMP conference. But both the Sanders campaign and Simon & Schuster might be glad to see it.

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Linda Sarsour Thinks You Can't Hear or Read - Algemeiner

National Union pushes Rightist unity ahead of new elections – Arutz Sheva

Posted By on December 7, 2019

Religious Zionism political leadership

Flash 90

The National Union Party is preparing for the upcoming election campaign, even though legally another week remains until the Knesset is dispersed.

Ahead of the elections, the party is campaigning in the spirit of the Bnei Akiva movement "Shabbat Irgun", calling on the party to unifiy religious Zionism into one political home.

National Union chief executive Yehuda Wald said following the campaign launch, "Until the last minute, we'll continue to work to prevent elections and form a government.

"At the same if elections are held, we have a national responsibility to religious Zionism to do everything possible to run on a single, united list. With no ifs, ands, or buts, he explained.

This morning, Yediot Ahronot newspaper published an interview with Yisrael Beyteinu Chairman MK Avigdor Liberman, in which Liberman makes clear that the chances of preventing new elections are zero.

Liberman said he and his party do not intend to join any narrow government, neither Rightist nor Leftist. "Combining a narrow government with dramatic decisions in the fields of security and the economy may create a large rift and polarization in the public. A narrow government is a total-failure government," he argued.

He said Netanyahu and Gantz made a strategic decision not to go for unity, so both parties are responsible for another election campaign.

"On election night, we promised that we would turn every stone, and we did it. We come with clean hands. It has nothing to do with my and Yisrael Beyteinu's efforts to bring about unity. Simply everyone is relying on his own polls: Netanyahu believes he can reach 61 seats in the next election, without us either. Gantz is confident that he's increased his party's number of seats to 36, and that he'll win the next election."

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National Union pushes Rightist unity ahead of new elections - Arutz Sheva

Is There a Way Out of Israel’s Political Deadlock? – Mosaic

Posted By on December 7, 2019

On Tuesday, leaders of the Jewish states largest political parties, Blue and White and Likud, met to negotiate the terms of a coalition agreementand failed to come to an agreement. If none of the parties in the Knesset succeeds in forming a governing coalition, there will be a third election, with no guarantee that it will be more conclusive than those that preceded it. Identifying six moves by key politicians that have created the deadlock, Shmuel Rosner speculates as to whether they can be circumvented or undone:

The last batch of Israeli polls are depressing. What we see in them is, well, nothing. . . . If elections were held today, the outcome would be much like the ones of last April and September: no majority for the bloc of the right; no majority for any feasible coalition of the center-left. That is, unless someone is willing to undo one of the six decisions that brought us to where we are.

It might be Avigdor Liberman, [leader of the staunchly secular Yisrael Beytenu party], deciding to join the religious-right bloc or supporting a narrow coalition that relies on the Arab parties. It could be [the Blue and White leader] Benny Gantz deciding to enter a coalition with Prime Minister Netanyahu. It could be the aredi parties deciding to abandon Likud. It could be Likud leaders deciding to throw Netanyahu under the bus [and choose a new leader more amenable to potential coalition partners].

Most of these scenarios seem like flights of fancy.

This means another election in March and another attempt to form a coalition with numbers that dont match the prerequisite. This means more months without a functioning government to pass a budget, more months without important decisions being made, more months of bickering and political fatigue.

Read more at Jewish Journal

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Election 2019, Israeli politics

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Is There a Way Out of Israel's Political Deadlock? - Mosaic

In Nablus and Cyprus, the Accusation That Jews Ritually Murder Christians Is Alive and Well – Mosaic

Posted By on December 7, 2019

At the Jacobs Well Church in the West Bank town of Nablus, pilgrims can visit the tomb and sacred relics of St. Philoumenos, who was canonized by the Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem in 2009 and is also revered as a saint by a few other Orthodox denominations, including the Russian Patriarchate in Moscow. According to descriptions of his martyrdom, Philoumenoswho had served as the head of the monastery attached to the churchwas murdered by Zionist settlers who wanted to cleanse the area of any trace of Christianity. His killing was supposedly done in a ritualist fashion, with his body mutilated after his death. These descriptions can be found in such presumably reputable works as the Blackwell Dictionary of Eastern Christianity.

All of these details, writes David Gurevich, recall nothing more than the ritual-murder accusations of Middle Agesof which the blood libel was the most notoriousresponsible for so much violence and abuse of Jews. While the real Philoumenos was murdered by a deranged serial killer from Tel Aviv in 1979, none of the facts corresponds to the now-standard martyrdom narrative. Gurevich writes:

The account of Philoumenos tragic martyrdom, the torture by fanatical Jews, and, furthermore, Philoumenos post-mortem miracles, leading to his glorification as a saint, all resonate with the medieval accusations.

Philoumenos was born in Cyprus. . . . In the pilgrimage church of the famous Machairas Monastery in [Cyprus] Troodos Mountains, I witnessed a painting that depicts Philomenos martyrdomthe Christian monk is seen being assaulted by a man presented as an ultra-Orthodox Jew wearing a typical hat, peyot, and a long beard. . . . Shortly after Philoumenos canonization, nuns in the monastery [in his hometown of Orounta] published his hagiographya comprehensive book which elaborates the saints life story, death, and the miracle-doings. The book tells about various miracles performed by St. Philoumenos before and after his death. One of the miracles is saving Jacobs Well church from shells of the Jewish tanks that attempted to storm the church in 2005 but were stopped by his intervention.

[C]ontrary to the Catholic Church, Orthodox churches have never abolished the veneration of past sanctified victims of Jewish ritual murders. In the course of the general return to religion in the post-Soviet Orthodox states, [some of these] cults were revived. . . . Moreover, in 2017, the Russian Orthodox Church established an official committee of inquiry into whether the last tsar was a victim of ritual murder by Jews.

Read more at Fathom

More about: Anti-Semitism, Cyprus, Orthodox Christianity, West Bank

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In Nablus and Cyprus, the Accusation That Jews Ritually Murder Christians Is Alive and Well - Mosaic

Linda Sarsour clarifies her comment that Israel is built on the idea that Jews are supreme to everyone else – Haaretz

Posted By on December 7, 2019

Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour took to Twitter to clarify recent controversial comments she had made about Israel.

Speaking Friday at the annual conference of American Muslims for Palestine in Chicago, Sarsour had criticized progressive Zionists.

Ask them this, how can you be against white supremacy in America and the idea of being in a state based on race and class, but then you support a state like Israel that is based on supremacy, that is built on the idea that Jews are supreme to everyone else, she said.

Sarsour is a surrogate for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who is Jewish, and one of the original national organizers of the Womens March. She has frequently spoken harshly against Israel and its government.

In a series of tweets on Tuesday, Sarsour said her comments had been referring to Israels nation-state law.

I was specifically referring to the racist argument at the heart of the nation-state law recently passed by the Israeli government not the Jewish people. I apologize for the confusion, she wrote.

The controversial law, passed last year, asserts that Jerusalem is Israels capital, that national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people, and that Hebrew is the states language while Arabic, previously an official language, is now designated as having a special status in the state.

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In her tweets, Sarsour said that We need to be consistent and challenge the State of Israel on its system based on valuing one people over another. We are against a supremacist state in America that values race/class over others & we need to be honest in how we speak about Israel.

She also dismissed criticism against her comments as an attempt to paint the Left in USA & UK as antisemitic to disrupt potential transformative campaigns & opportunities for true progress for our nations.

Sarsours comments at the conference had drawn criticism on social media, including from Jonathan Greenblatt, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League.

She slanders the founders of Israel as supremacists, invoking a centuries-old anti-Semitic trope when she describes them as having believed that Jews are supreme to everybody else,'Greenblatt wrote Tuesday of Sarsours comments.

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Linda Sarsour clarifies her comment that Israel is built on the idea that Jews are supreme to everyone else - Haaretz

Ofra, the Mayflower of the Settlements: A Revisit by Assaf Gavron – Tablet Magazine

Posted By on December 7, 2019

The walls of the first houses of the West Bank settlement of Ofra are now affixed with the ubiquitous blue signs of Israels Heritage Conservation Council. Here the founding fathers of Ofra established the first Jewish settlement in the mountain region, one reads. Here important decisions were made and, in order to make those crucial decisions, the public was summoned by the PA system on the roof, says another. Its a mythology that is similar to that of Israels first kibbutz, just over 40 years after its establishment. What does it mean for Ofra, and for the settlement enterprise as a whole? When a historical building becomes a museum, doesnt it mean that that history is now settled?

One of Ofras first buildings is now a pizzeria. Across the road is Ofras enormous religious high school for girls. Opposite it, a drab supermarket. None of these three buildings was there when the novelist Amos Oz visited Ofra in the fall of 1982, but the nearby field school was and it is still operating. The description of the school and its glass-eyed taxidermies starts a chapter of In the Land of Israel, Ozs landmark book of meetings and analysis around Israel of the time.

Amoz Oz in 1982 (Photo: Joanna Bailey/Fairfax Media via Getty Images)

Ozs book of travels through Israel was not only a huge bestseller, but a dazzling admonition by a prophet at the gate. Between Ashdod and Bet-Shemesh, Ofra and Tekoa, Ramallah and Jerusalem, Oz documented a colorful yet disparate jumble of camps, ideologies and geographies, that, taken together, seemed to foretell an irreconcilable future. When the novelist researched and wrote his book in the fall of 1982, Israel was in the midst of what would turn out to be only the first Lebanon Waronly a year after the evacuation of Sinai as part of the Camp David peace treaty with Egypt. In 1982, it likely took Oz over an hour to get from Jerusalem to Ofra. He drove north to Ramallah, crossed the city and then drove on the twisting Ramallah-Jericho road through the villages of Beitin and Ein Yabrud, until he reached the settlement. In 2019 it took me 12 minutes, using the new road network that was built as part of the Oslo accord, and bypasses the Arab towns and villages.

Other changes since then: two intifadas, one Oslo accord, the evacuation of the Gaza Strip settlements, mostly right-wing governments. Also, the Jewish Underground, three members of which were, and still are, Ofra residents. The number of settlers, in Ofra and elsewhere, has risen about 25-fold.

Last December seven people were injured in a drive-by shooting by Palestinian terrorists at the Ofra bus stop, and the unborn child of one of the injured women died. A soldier with a machine gun is now posted behind a concrete block next to the bus station. In the most recent Israeli elections, almost 70% of the 1,445 voters in Ofra supported the right-wing-relgious Yemina party, 17% voted for Netanyahus Likud, and 10% gave their voice to the extremist Jewish Power party.

***

I never understood why the book became such a hit, said Israel Harel, who hosted Oz at the time, and who was one of the central interviewees in that first chapter. Quite an ordinary report, he remarks, there are many others just as good. However, the evening that Oz made his speech to the settler audience was unforgettable. There wasnt a soul outside, everyone was in the dining hall. There was nothing like it before or after in our history, even when great rabbis came, or Hanan Porat, who was the most charismatic leader of the settlement movement, or government representative Yossi Beilin, who came at a critical moment, shortly before the Oslo Accords passed in the Knesset. Amos fascinated us all. Following his presentation, we argued with him all night. I must give him credit for leading this unforgettable experience.

We met in a crowded caf in Tel Aviv at night. Harel is 81 but after a two-hour conversation he had far more energy than I had. Oz described him as a pleasant, thoughtful man, who speaks without exclamation marks and knows how to listen with a wise heart. Ill go with that. When he met Oz in Ofra, Harel was already the head of the Yesha Council, representing all the settlements in the occupied territories of Gaza and the West Bank, and the editor of the settlers monthly, Nekuda, both of which he founded and went on to lead for 15 years. He is still one of the quiet leaders of the settler movement and writes a weekly op-ed column in Haaretz, Israels prestige liberal newspaper.

He thinks Oz could have been on their side, if not for poet Nathan Altermans ego: After the Six Day War, the Land of Israel movement was founded. I was in my twenties and was invited to join after publishing a couple of opinion pieces. We had the nations leading writersAlterman, Moshe Shamir, Agnon, Hazaz. They drafted a petition and sent me to get signatures. I suggested inviting Oz and A.B. Yehoshua, but Alterman screamed at me, No way! It was because these young writers had rebelled against his generation. I told Amos in Ofra, If we had offered, you would have joined. He thought for a moment and said, I dont think so. But I do. There were left-wingers who signed and moved to our side, and if those two had signed on I think perhaps history would have looked different, because both became strong and fluent intellectual opponents. It was a mistake.

Harel stopped speaking with Oz after the latters dark cult speech, in which he called the settlers, a messianic, cruel cult, a mob of armed gangsters, criminals against humanity, sadists, pogromists and murderers, who emerged from a dark corner of Judaism. Oz was probably referring to the extremist violent Jewish Underground and Rabbi Meir Kahanes supporters, but Harel saw it as an attack on the more mainstream Gush Emunim settler movement. I never forgave him. It was a violent outburst.

***

We played a little trick on them that allowed us to stay here, Pinchas Wallerstein, the former head of the Binyamin regional council that covers the central part of the West Bank for almost 30 years, told Amos Oz at the time. If Harel is the ideologist, Wallerstein is the wheeler-dealer. We took advantage of the bad blood between Rabin and Peres, and very senior and important people simply shut their eyes.

When I visited Wallerstein in Ofra in 2019, his cellphone vibrated with messages concerning his attempt to get hold of permits for an outpost erected by youngsters in the Arava desert. He spoke to Yoel Rivlin, the presidents son, who works in the Settlement Division, with the Nature and Parks Authority, and with the defense ministers settlement adviser. He called himself, An Adviser for Complicated Matters. Earlier this year a biography titled The Wallerstein Route was published, detailing his extensive activities.

You think that letting go of the West Bank will pose an existential danger to the state of Israel. I think that annexing these lands will pose an existential danger to the state of Israel.

Why did Amos Oz publish this book? he asked. He set out to find all the tribes in Israeli society. Theoretically it was a fine idea, to find the unified Israel. But what he discovers is that each and every one is in his own corner, in his hothouse. Oz came to us as a former kibbutz member, for us it was an honor. After all, our mentors and supporters in Ofras early days were the kibbutzniks. We were a semi-kibbutz ourselves, with strict unifying rules down to the color of the rooftile, with a communal dining hall and regular meetings of the assembly. Oz represented the romanticism of the sabra, the Israeli-born. We liked him coming despite the dispute. The dispute was only about location. We did not have an ideological dispute with him: a democratic-Jewish state, Zionism. Even centrist leaders Benny Gantz and Ehud Barak do not dispute that. Only one thing changed for me since then: I remember telling Oz that I would stay in Ofra under any circumstances. Not anymore. I am a part of the Israeli society under any circumstances. This is my guiding principle. I will even give up my house for the benefit of the state. My motivation today is to reduce the height of the flames in Israeli society.

Amos Oz picks olives with Palestinian women in the West Bank village of Aqraba, south of Nablus, 2002 (Photo: Menhem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images)

Despite this conciliatory and dignified approach, I must dispute the idea that there is no dispute. The starting point may be similar: settlement, pioneering, villages in the line of fire. However, Oz was quick to recognize this already in 1967, and in 1982 he already made a clear distinction. His speech in the second Ofra chapter of his book phrases in a piercing and still painfully relevant way, the gap between the settler camp and the humanist camp in Israeli society: You think that letting go of the West Bank will pose an existential danger to the state of Israel. I think that annexing these lands will pose an existential danger to the state of Israel.

This is the bottom line, and it hasnt changed. But beyond the dispute about location, Oz speaks of the indifference of the settlers to his sides moral distress, and diagnoses that from their point of view there is no legitimate argument between two opposing perceptions, but a patronizing and arrogant view that claims there are authentic, real, knowing Jews, and across the road rootless, pervert unbelievers. No one has a monopoly on Judaism, writes Oz, and defends the pluralists right to decide, to import, to opposeand develop a live, updated culture, universal rather than tribal. Museum-like civilization he defined their approach, blaming them for having moral autism and being hypocritical toward the world outside Israel. It would be fair to ask if his words are still relevant in light of the far-reaching changes that took place since 1982 in the world, the region, the state. I believe the answer is yes, and even more so now, 37 years later, the gap is the same. Mainly because, however one tries to approach it, we are still occupying another people.

***

Dror Etkes was a religious teenager in the Ramat Eshkol neighborhood in Jerusalem in 1982. Twenty years later he started documenting the settlements and outposts in the West Bank, first for the Peace Now organization, then for Yesh Din, a legal NGO, and today with Kerem Navot, a nonprofit he founded in 2016. He drove me around in his tiny Chinese-made car. In 1982 Ofra was situated in Jordanian buildings that were constructed between 1966 and 1967, in an army base that the Kingdom of Jordan expropriated from the Palestinians. The buildings were never completed. Most of the expropriated land, about 60 acres, was never used by the Jordanians. When Ofra was established in 1975, the residents used the military infrastructure that the Jordanians left behind. But in the early 1980s Ofra started expanding into the land of the neighboring villages of Ein Yabrud to the west and Silwad to the north, beyond the expropriated land.

Dror Etkes, head of the Peace Now Settlement Watch team, checks a map as he monitors new illegal outposts in the Kohav Hashachar area in 2003 (Photo: Quique Kierszenbaum/Getty Images)

Apart from the Jordanian area and four more plots acquired over the years by the settlers, the whole settlement is built on land that is privately registered to the people of Silwad and Ein Yabrud. About a third of Ofra is built in the formerly Jordanian area, around 200 houses, and two-thirds, close to 500 houses, is built on private land. Beyond that, Ofra controls 1,160 acres of agricultural or abandoned land, which Arabs are not allowed to enter, despite being its legal owners.

Note that most of the West Bank is not registered. Jordan only started the registration process and when Israel occupied the land, registration stopped. But the land east and northeast of Ramallah was registered, and its owners are known. So, when you talk about stealing land, Ofra is unmatched. Theres no shortage of problematic places in the occupied territoriesBet-El, Elon Moreh, and others, but in Ofra they really went wild. The place stinks, extremely so.

Etkes is personally responsible for three major failures in Ofras history, the evacuations known as Amona 1, Amona 2, and the nine houses. In February 2006 nine houses were evacuated and destroyed in the Amona outpost that sat on the hilltop to the east of Ofra, following an appeal submitted by Etkes, claiming that the houses were built on private land. Israels Supreme Court accepted his appeal. In January 2017 the remainder of the Amona outpost was evacuated, 40 houses by this time. (The families were compensated with land and houses in a new settlement called Amichai, specially built for them.) One month later nine houses were evacuated and destroyed in the heart of Ofras southern neighborhood. This time it was the Palestinian land owners themselves who appealed, with Etkes following the process closely.

Etkes is very skilled. He changes cars frequently, hides his ginger head and green eyes behind hats and sunglasses. His sensors are working all the timeon the day of our visit he identified a new sheep farm and a few temporary huts that he assumed were built by youngsters during the summer. He drove me to what used to be Amona and is now a closed military zone (nothing stopped us from driving in; only two deer blinked at us curiously), and showed me the foundations of the destroyed houses, with remains of electricity boards and sewage pipes. They failed, he said, because the evidence was strong.

Was it important for you to act here especially? In different places in the West Bank they use different tricks, and its important to act in all of them, but the case of Ofra is ironic because important people live here. I call Ofra the Mayflower of the settlements. It is a successful, rich, established settlement. Its residents have high self-esteem, and rightly so. It produced the most significant leaders in the settler movement. But it is in serious trouble.

Dont the three evacuations encourage you? Show that it is possible to enforce the law? I dont see it as a success, because the Palestinian land owners still cant access their lands. Besides, it is only pretense law enforcement. All the houses in the southern neighborhood that surround the nine evacuated houses have the exact same status as them, i.e. are on private Palestinian land. But the state doesnt move a finger to evacuate them, only because there is no high-court order. It demonstrates how ridiculous the law is here.

So why do you do this? I want to force the state to decide on which side of the law it stands.

***

One of the houses still standing on the demolished street is the Sorek family house. At the beginning of August a terrible tragedy hit the family. Their 19-year-old son Dvir was murdered by a Palestinian in the Gush Etzion region, close to the Mahanayim yeshiva where he was studying. Dvirs father, Yoav, is a known figure in the national-religious camp, a journalist and thinker who publishes his writing in the periodical Hashiloach, which he also edits.

At the age of 49, Yoav Sorek can be seen as a dominant representative of the next generation after the founders of Ofra, but he has no pretensions to holding such a title. We sat in his garden recently, under an olive tree and next to a small swimming pool. He was a pleasant, soft-spoken man. I didnt come here for ideological reasons, he said. Twenty-two years ago, my wife and I moved to the Rechelim outpost, a few miles up the road, when there were only three trailers there. It was a little extreme for us, so we came to bourgeois Ofra. It is fun to raise children here, though it could have been similar in a community village within the recognized borders of Israel.

Born in Rehovot and raised in a right-wing house, he has lived on the right side of the green line since he was 15. I think that Amos Oz would have admired his thinking, which calls religious Judaism to recalculate its route. In a long essay, published in the October issue of Hashiloach, he relates to the same division that Oz criticized in that speech in front of the Ofra people, between the fossilized, museum-like Judaism and the pluralist, universal, open version.

Sorek does indeed call for a link between the messianic and the realist, the mythical and the universal, but the deeper you delve into his essay, it seems that the complaint is predominantly against the side that disapproves of the mythical and messianic. And when he moves from theory to reality, you read statements like, The messianic realism of Gush Emunim was not understood, or Netanyahu knows that Israel is not just another state. However, in conversation, he will honestly admit to the failures of the settlement enterprise: For most Israelis we are still beyond the dark mountains; we have no sovereignty, no master plan, no government that will naturalize the West Bank. He will even express ideas that are heard almost only on the left and Palestinian side, like focusing on 1948 and not 1967, and suggesting the rehabilitation of the Palestinian refugees. But he believes in the Great Jewish Story, and thinks that secular Zionism is detached from it, thereby seeing the settlements as a colonialism that sucksyou are left with Amos Ozs metaphor about us clinging to the board in order not to drown. This is wretched in my eyes, mere survivalism.

Sorek supports the deportation of terrorist families: Destroying their houses does little damage. Deportation sends a message that there is no tolerance for those who dont respect us. The only ones who are left are those who accept our existence. It will decrease the radical element and encourage coexistence.

But the families did not murder, individual members did. The murderers did not operate in a void. The mosque, the education system, this is what they grow up hearing. There is an element there that is stronger than the human. We need to concentrate on changing the vector. Once they realize we are here to stay, they will go with us. We should encourage their emigration on the one hand, and their will to join us on the other, including conversion. The key in neutralizing the hostility is to be strong until they come to terms with us.

I believed Sorek when he told me that he doesnt hate Arabs and that he educates his children to what he calls well-meaning nationalism. But I cant accept the assumption that the national feeling on the other side is essentially odious. Nor do I accept the patronizing view that we can educate the Palestinians and define who they are and what is good for them.

When I asked him about the nine houses down the road he jumped up and led me upstairs to view the neighborhood. Its simple, he said, there is the law, and there is morality. The land is private administratively, but not morally. There wasnt ever a person who thought this land was his. Look over there to the park between the neighborhoods. That land belongs to a friendly Arab and no one touches it. In Amona there were never any Arabs. The place was deserted. They destroyed it for the sake of destruction. Amona was built in harmony, a kind of a Woodstock, wooden houses, integrated with nature. The settlement they built for them instead, Amichai, cut into the mountain aggressively and ruined nature over there. Whats the point? And the nine houses here on our street, it was just a provocation, an action to annoy us. No one will get those plots anyway. It was a waste of millions. Just so that the evacuation vehicles could pass, they paved dirt roads, ruined vines, and no one asked who owned that land. Theyve spilled tons of limestone that ruined nature.

I sleep well at night because I did not take land from anyone. The fact that the land has no status is due to the weakness of the authorities. I hate being presented as doing something which is against my values. It is not who I am.

***

Esther Brot is the captain of Ofras womens netball team. Age 34, she was born a few years after Ozs visit and book. She hasnt read it. Unlike the experienced veteran founders, who have been repeating their mantras expertly for decades, there was something fresh and authentic about her, even captivating, when we met. Energies of a millennial. Her eyes were big and smiling, her head covering partial and fashionable. She grew up in Ateret, a small obscure settlement, a seven-minute drive from Ofra. Brot and her family were living in one of the nine houses that were evacuated two years ago.

She is an interior designer and we sat in the pretty space she designed in the big house where the family moved after the evacuation, in a street of new houses within the regulated Jordanian expropriation area, opposite those first houses with the blue nostalgic signs. Her three children are around us, eating, playing, watching a movie.

She was a student at the Ofra high school for girls, which is how she got to know the place. She and her husband, Netzach, a lawyer working in Tel Aviv, were looking for a house, a good place in the middle. She knew Ofra was a leading settlement, Great people, thinkers. We bought a house because we knew that if it didnt work out, we could sell it easily. We didnt come here to drain the marshes [a reference to the early Zionist pioneers]. Obviously, you cant be a lefty if you live here, but the reasons for the move were definitely comfort, standard of living, the society, and cheap housing.

All these leaderswhat could go wrong? Still, we tried to understand, because it was after the Gaza strip and Amona evacuations, and I remember asking the secretary, Whats the story with the land here? I am not adventurous and not delusional. I realize where we live and know that there is always the danger of a peace agreement. But I asked if there is danger beyond that. He assured me there wasnt.

She opened a booklet with maps and photos, especially made to tell the story of the nine houses that were evacuated. There was no one in our neighborhood, she showed. My complaint is against the government that didnt regulate the land. It paved roads but hesitated when it came to ownership. And the leftist groups found their opening.

A few days after the court appeal was made, they quickly moved into the house, although it was not finished. The toilet arrived after us, and the rabbi gave us permission to work on a holy day. We had to get in under the stretcher, because half a million Israeli shekels were invested in these walls.

This is generation 2.5 of the settlers, as Brot called herself. You get under the stretcher not for the land of Israel, but for the half-a-million shekels. She talks about her rights as an individual and as a buyer, not a Jew.

They waited seven years in uncertainty while the appeal made it through the courts, but everyone thought it would be all right. This is not Amona or the Gaza Strip. There were outrageous government decisions in those places, we thought, but not here. In the end it was worse. Even if the left loses the elections, it wins the bureaucratic system. The left controls the courts and prosecution.

She said that the height of the humiliation was the realization that her fellow citizens didnt care. I was interviewed on a popular show and the host said, youre cool, why dont you come back home? It was the first time I realized that society does not see me as part of it. I always thought we were protecting Tel Aviv. I didnt ask for gratitude, but I thought I was part of the nation. That was the crisis for me. The state betrayed me, the court betrayed me, and now society has betrayed me. I feel that the left-wing organizations are not doing it because of their love for human rights, but because they want to trample on my rights.

Or maybe they are striving to live in a law-abiding state and oppose controlling another people. I grew up here. This is what I know. I am raising the fourth generation. We are still at war. We cant leave. Having a border 15 kilometers from the sea is illogical. There is no solution, even Trump hasnt got one, Im sorry to disappoint you, but it is a religious war.

Despite the uncompromising right-wing views that Brot and her fellow interviewees hold, there was something more open in her. She felt that the founding generation believed in an absolute truth, and it doesnt exist anymore. She met the Darkenu (Our Way) organization, and I realized there is an ideological left.

Of the patronizing approach that Oz described she said, Weve learned since then, we are less arrogant. Or at least we know that we have to learn. She has met Palestinians from the area as part of the Good Neighbors initiative and says she would be curious to visit Ramallah and Rawabi. When she sees Palestinians at army check posts she understands their feeling of humiliation. What changed her was the evacuation. It shook my belief. I was religious out of inertia, and that started a process of understanding that the world was more complex. In a good way.

The process was supposed to reach its peak when Brot was invited by Our Way to give a speech at the annual ceremony commemorating Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, two years ago. I wanted to talk about unity, but not to apologize. I have criticisms about our project, I remember the contempt whenever Rabin appeared on TV, and that people rejoiced at his assassination. I think we must commemorate him in our schools. You never kill, its a simple message that should reverberate loudly. But the good old left-wing Meretz types felt I was stealing their ceremony, how dare I?

After pressure from the left, her speech was canceled. Zehava Galon put up a banner on her Facebook page, Unity? No thanks! And Mossi Raz called me the Inciter from Ofra. Are you serious? This is where Meretz lost me.

***

I ended the long day in Ofra on an orange plastic chair on the Tel Aviv beach. Beside me sat Yehuda Etzion. Literally a gentleman, with a long white beard, white hair, and a big skullcap. He was part of the first group that started Ofra, and he was there on the night when Amos Oz spoke, apparently shouting and interrupting. He claimed he published a reply in Nekuda, but the next day I couldnt find it in the library; perhaps the issue went amiss. Etzion was one of the leaders of the Jewish Underground, among those who planned to blow up the mosques on Jerusalems Temple Mount, and consequently sat in jail for four and a half years. In the first Amona evacuation he was crushed by a police horse and won 35,000 shekels compensation from the state.

What happened since 1982? Strengthening. Of us, and even more so, of the Palestinian enemy: their villages, the Palestinian Authority, their international recognition. The paradox is that as the power grows on both sides, the balance remains, meaning the fight has not been settled. In 1982 we felt we had succeeded, but who knows what will happen? A political change and we wont survive. Now were stronger but there could still be an agreement that will cause distress.

Ofra in 2017 (Photo: Abbas Momani/AFP/Getty Images)

What will you do then? I considered starting a movement called Remain. We will stay anyway, you want to go? Go. There was a movement like that, when the population of Tel Aviv was evacuated during the First World War, when painter Nahum Guttman and others announced that they were not leaving. In Nahariya, too, which was out of the partition plan, the council drafted a paper outlining how to operate outside the state. Leaving was not on the cards.

Wallerstein said that to Oz in 1982, but today he told me he changed. Pinchas wants a total overlap between the state of Israel and the settlers. I dont. We are friends but are in ideological disagreement.

Why stay? It is the land of Israel. Like Hanita that was founded under the foreign governance of Britain. We settle, we are surrounded by Arabs, and yet we remain. The commitment is still there. If the State of Israel fails to govern, strengthen, deepen the roots, it does not oblige us to fail toothey can go.

Who did you vote for? I think the last time I voted was in 1977. I have an internal disagreement with the whole system and regime. A regime fits a culture. A vague culture gets a certain political system. At the moment both sides are unfitthe pot and the lid. We need a commitment to the God of Israel and the Torah, and this requires a regime of an Israeli Kingdom. I realize that now it is seen as a far-reaching and inappropriate vision. I feel more a citizen of the nonexistent Israel Kingdom of David than a citizen of Israel, and therefore I dont participate. Its OK, I live with the chuckles, even in my own house.

Etzion sees amazing qualities in the young generation, though he admits his generation was more ideological then the one that followed. Individual motives have prevailedthe small flower and not the wide field. I pray that the next generation will bring back the group and in a stronger way. I foresee a cultural revolution that will change the nature of Judaism and redeem the world. I call it the Jerusalem Annunciation. Etzion has been working on planning the Temple, with an architect and a team, for the last six or seven years. They are planning the whole city, with the Temple at the center. Were dedicating many hours for this. Its on the computer, waiting. It is something that must happen and will happen. I am careful with time predictions but The Book of Reconstructed Jerusalem will be a consciousness catalyst. Like Herzls Altneuland was a consciousness catalyst for Zionism before there was anything. It opened minds.

And what about Ofra? A fine settlement. We started well and it stayed a nice, good place. The numbers have grown, thank God. But its not from ant to elephant, its from baby elephant to elephant. One can ask if its DNA has been kept. I think it has, partially.

***

After many hours with the ideologist, the wheeler-dealer, the philosopher, the angry millennial, and the Temple dreamer, I summarize and generalize: All of them are passionate, undoubting right-wingers, admire the late Hanan Porat, and are devoted to the land of Israel. The Palestinians are invisible to them, but they offer solutions for their problem that somehow always include Jordan.

They have concerns, but also belief and confidence. Yehuda Etzion said, The balance remains. They brought us down twice in Amona and with the nine houses. But the strengthening of our power means that we can be injured but not easily killed, the Ofra entity is stronger than that. We are durable. Pain, tears, well, OK.

Israel Harel agreed. Perhaps we were not flags for the whole nation but we were for a big part of it. We did our best. He was not worried about the future of Ofra. The Arabs will not accept Trumps plan, because they dont accept any plan. Thats our luck. And Wallerstein added, Ofra still leads the worldview of getting the most of what we can. And the consensus is changing in our favor.

During our conversations I kept thinking about a sentence in David Grossmans epilogue to the 2009 edition of Ozs In the Land of Israel: Again and again I thought to myself, it wont work. There is no chance that we will ever live a normal life here.

I dont believe there is symmetry. I believe that the occupation is less morally acceptable than sporadic Palestinian violence. But I accept the debate. Its existence. Every side deserves to voice its opinion. And the feeling is that stillmore than evermost of the settlers dont accept the debate. Oz wrote that already in 1982. And it is more extreme, institutionalized, and tolerated today. If anything, Oz was naive in even trying to preach to them that night, in believing that they could be convinced. Knowing the settlers since being a soldier in Gaza in the late 1980s, and later in my researching and writing, I dont think such a scenario is feasible.

Recently Ofra saw, for the first time in its history, the arrival of a crane. The settlement is about to start building six-story buildings. It looks like its here to stay.

***

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Assaf Gavron has published six novels: Ice, Moving, Almost Dead, Hydromania, The Hilltop, and Eighteen Lashes; a collection of short stories, Sex in the Cemetery; and a non-fiction collection of Jerusalem falafel-joint reviews, Eating Standing Up.

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Ofra, the Mayflower of the Settlements: A Revisit by Assaf Gavron - Tablet Magazine

My interracial marriage became a protest in the Trump era – Quartz

Posted By on December 7, 2019

My first interaction with the woman I would end up marrying took place at a time when few people considered the 45th president of the United States to be a serious candidate.

Like a lot of flirtations, it began with a simple joke to get her attention. Anyone with online dating experience knows you have to be creative with your opening line if you dont want to get quickly relegated to the sidelines.

After scouring her profile and discovering we had much in common in a mutual passion for social justice, I landed on the perfect opening:

So Im assuming youre planning to vote for Donald Trump?

What was only a joke at the time earned me a laugh and won me the coveted first date.

Though we had much in common, it was clear we come from different cultures and backgrounds.

Im about as white as humanly possible: 97% Ashkenazi Jewish heritage, according to 23andME. My wife is half Mexican and half Honduran with a diaspora of ancestral ties across the globe.

As our relationship progressed from casual to serious dating to our engagement and finally to our wedding, we confronted all manner of our cultural and racial differences along the way, and continue to do so.

Thanks in large part to events like the landmark Loving v. Virginia case, interracial marriages are common enough today. They continue to increase from 3% in 1967 (when Loving v. Virginia was decided) to 17% in 2015.

Im a firm believer that adults have the right to marry whoever they want, regardless of ones ethnicity, sexual preference, or any aspect of ones identity. And about four in 10 American adults (39%) agree with me and believe that more people of different races marrying each other is good for society, according to a 2017 Pew Research Center survey. That shows an increase from 24% in 2010, and a decrease in the number of people who believe interracial marriage is harmful for society, from 13% in 2010 to 9% in 2017.

But what makes our partnership feel so different in the past few years is that our society at large is reeling with new challengeschallenges many people frankly thought we had overcomefrom the racial tensions exacerbated by the rhetoric of our current president, Donald Trump.

When I look back, that initial line I told my wife feels a little more loaded now.

In our relationship, outside of discussing whether to have kids, where to live, and other common decisions to hash out, we talk about white privilege, systemic racism, and immigration.

It has helped us both learn from each other and grow in ways neither of us could have imagined.

This type of dialogue would be typical in the privacy of a marriage at any time. But since 2016, things have felt anything but normal. Topics once considered intimate now feel like a public statement.

We have a president who calls migrants seeking asylum invaders and who tells members of Congress who are women of color to go back to the places from which they came.

Not to be naveAmerica has a racism problem, and always has. But its different when these bigoted beliefs come straight from the leader of the so-called free world.

Trumps words permeate every fabric of our society and bring out hatred, once largely hidden, into the light. And then he uses his voice to help legitimize it.

For my wife and I, this has meant our marriage has become a visible protest against the presidency. Its not just a marriage anymore, but an affront to racism and ignorance.

That was never the plan.

I can see firsthand how an interracial marriage is good for our society. One of the best parts of spending every day with someone who grew up so differently than the way I did has been to learn about and truly appreciate cultures and experiences vastly different from my own.

That might be through studying phrases in Spanish as a way to communicate with non-English speaking family members, or getting to discover the music of Gloria Trevi.

Our relationship has exposed me to the challenges of people who grow up without the privilege (and the financial stability that often comes with it) that I was fortunate to have.

I learned how when she was a kid, my wifes dad woke up at 3am every morning to get to his job so there would always be food on the table. Ive seen the difficulties of the immigration system first-hand, and the stress and uncertainty families face trying to reunite loved ones spread out over multiple countries.

I have learned to read the codes and understand the harm of the subtle and systemic racism that often go unnoticed by those of us with white privilege (yes, white people, it is real. Learn about it).

I saw how swiftly this was exacerbated when my wife ran for local office for city council in a conservative district that voted for Trump in San Diego County.

We often babysit my nephew on my wifes side of the family, who is half Latino and half white and whose skin tone is more similar to mine. When he would join us at political events on occasion my wife would often get askedboth alone and when we were togetherif he was really her nephew, or if he was mine.

This persisted in Facebook comments, and in conversations about her run for office. In a disparaging tone, people continued to question if he was actually her nephew, implying that having a nephew who looks different than her makes him less likely to be related to her. And revealing that many people are still ignorant as to how diverse families can look today.

My main argument was how completely irrelevant the whole matter was in her run for office. It reveals how those with bigoted beliefs try to find any way to belittle those who are different.

When it comes to economic mobility for people of color, Ive seen how the burden of debt has been crippling to my wife and her family members who had to take out huge student loans to get a quality higher education and decent jobs. They believed in the American Dream and thought hard work and education was the way to get ahead.

White privilege, generational wealth, and systemic racism make it more complicated than that. Through my wifes eyes, Ive become aware of the advantages afforded to me, including not having to earn an income while in college and graduating debt-free.

My wife has also been exposed to the middle-class American Jewish experience, which encompasses immense privilege in our country, but also hardships of its own kind, as we saw when a gunman opened fireat the Congregation Chabadjust an hour away from where we live earlier this year.

Though I grew up thinking there were nuanced differences amongst the middle-class, my wife has made it clear to me that simply being in the middle-class was to inherently have wealth and privilege. For instance, during a visit home, I mentioned that the kids in an adjacent neighborhood were the rich kids. It was then that I realized just how subjective the descriptor rich was.

My middle-class upbringing was significantly more privileged than her more humble economic background. To her, I was among the rich kids.

Conversations like these aid in bringing people together, rather than further separating them.

Now, with the presidents America First platform and with his rampant use of racist tropes, it seems more important than ever for us to not only expose others to our relationship and all that weve experienced, but to speak openly about how our differences make us stronger together.

While its never comfortable to be stared at, we get a sense of immense satisfaction when displaying our love to people who grimace at the sight of us, when were just going about our day. The president has created a painful atmosphere for so many people that to thrive in an interracial marriage is now a small form of dissent against the hate being spread across the country.

Getting married should not have to be a protest, but if love is supposed to conquer hate, then hopefully we are adding some points to the scoreboard on the side of love, understanding, and partnership.

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My interracial marriage became a protest in the Trump era - Quartz

John Offenbach interview: ‘I wanted to examine what it means to be a Jew and to reclaim the word’ – Evening Standard

Posted By on December 7, 2019

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Photographer John Offenbach is emphatic that his provocatively titled new book, Jew, is not a political statement about anti-Semitism. Were sitting in the caf at the Jewish Museum in Camden where 33 of his 120 black-and-white portraits of Jews living all over the world have just gone on display in an exhibition with the same title.

I wanted to examine what it means to be a Jew and to reclaim the word, says Offenbach, 55, who grew up in a liberal Jewish family in north London. Several family members, including his mother, were shocked by the title as if the word Jew was an insult. We talk about Muslims, Hindus and Christians, so why Jewish people?

The biggest shock for most people buying his book or visiting the exhibition, however and anyone interested in the question should will be the sheer variety of faces and ethnicities on show, which challenges the idea ofthe benchmark Jew being a white Ashkenazi, says Offenbach. He began his project four years ago, looking for people willing to be photographed from all walks of life, from all over the globe.

I wanted to know where normal resides. Normal isnt just the great and the good, not just the successful or rich Jews, and I do think that anti-Semitism springs from that basic misconception, which as you can see from my photographs, is plainly not true. They include murderconvicts and drug addicts too. When I started photographing homeless people in Israel, some of my friends here couldnt believe they even existed, while people over there were amazed that there are Jews in the House of Lords.

Of the more shocking portraits there is a topless scarred woman who was raped by her own father, and a man with the word f*ck tattooed across his face. These sit beside a Hasidic man, one of the 30,000 annual pilgrims visiting RabbiNachmanofBreslovsiconic tomb inUman, Ukraine, and a physicist from Tel Aviv.

Global mission: John Offenbach first began the project four years ago

There are Chinese Jews from Kaifeng, schoolgirls from Azerbaijan and a convert soferet scribe from London. Offenbach reached out to celebrities too, such as Matt Lucas, an instant yes, nightclub promoter Philip Sallon who styled his hair specially for the exhibition opening and Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, the only survivingmember of the Womens Orchestra in Auschwitz, forced to play the cello at the camp gates while prisoners went about their slave labour.

The project began in the obvious place: Israel. Even so, Offenbach has organised some of the portraits in such a way as to challenge both the stereotype of what a Jew looks like and to ask what it is to be one. Inspired by the work of the German documentary photographer August Sander, most of his subjects are described anonymously, simply as victim of a terrorist attack or homeless man or newspaper editor. They are carefully arranged in the exhibition to provoke more questions.

Why is a transsexual waitress next to a life model, who is next to a fully veiled woman? Im sure the veiled woman would say the life model wasnt Jewish, because shes not modest enough. It seems to me everything depends on who you ask, he explains. When I was in Ukraine, someone told me that I couldnt be Jewish because I havent got a beard. Some people have these strict rules; others have much broader ideas.

For Offenbach, it was enough for his subjects to self-identify as Jews. He admits he ran into problems in Kaifeng, China, where claims from some of the Jewish community seemed contradictory. In the end, he chose just twopeople. One man said hed had a DNA test and could trace his ancestry back to the Silk Route, while a woman remembered seeing the word Jew under ethnicity in her family book, he pauses. But there was also something familiar to me about the way they were.

Perhaps the most arresting image, used on the books cover, is of a beautiful young black man who Offenbach met by chance in Tel Aviv. It was right at the beginning of the project. We had set up a stall in the market and just talked to people as they walked past. Id say hello, my names Johnny and Im doing this project and were inviting people to come and be photographed. He was the guy selling pastries at the next door stall.

What the project really shows is that Jews come in all shapes and sizes. When I look at the 120 portraits I feel Im made up of all of them a little bit, good and bad. And the fact that around 20,000 schoolchildren visit the museum every year and will see some of them, now that makes me really proud.

Jew: Photographs by John Offenbach is at the Jewish Museum, NW1 (jewishmuseum.org.uk) until April 29. The accompanying book is published by Skira (50). Signed prints in an edition of 12 cost 1,900 each (jewportrait.com)

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John Offenbach interview: 'I wanted to examine what it means to be a Jew and to reclaim the word' - Evening Standard

Israel praises ‘good relations and productive cooperation’ with Brazil – AZERTAC News

Posted By on December 7, 2019

Baku, December 6, AZERTAC

Member of Knesset (MK) and chairman of the Interim Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Gabi Ashkenazi met on Wednesday with a delegation of Brazilian Congress Members and praised the strong diplomatic and economic relations between the two countries, according to TPS news agency.

The Brazilian delegation was comprised of members of the Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee of the Brazilian National Congress Chamber of Deputies, headed by Eduardo Bolsonaro, son of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.

The Chamber of Deputies is the lower house of the Brazilian National Congress.

During the meeting, Ashkenazi praised the good relations between Israel and Brazil, as well as the cooperation on security-related issues. Ashkenazi assured the Brazilian delegation that the strong diplomatic ties between the countries will continue, regardless of the political reality in Israel.

An example of the cooperation between the countries came in September when Israel dispatched a firefighting delegation to assist Brazil in combating the mass blazes in the Amazon rainforest.

Ashkenazi also commended the planned opening of a Brazilian trade mission in Jerusalem.

On December 15, the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency, known as Apex-Brasil, which operates under the authority of the foreign ministry, will officially open a trade office in the Har Hotzvim hi-tech park in Jerusalem.

In March, Brazils foreign ministry in a statement acknowledged that Jerusalem has been inseparable of the identity of the Jewish people for over three millennia and has become the political heart of the modern and thriving State of Israel, and announced the establishment of an office in Jerusalem for the promotion of trade, investment, technology and innovation to be coordinated by the Foreign Ministry.

The US was the first country to make the historic move and relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem last year. Guatemala followed suit shortly after, and several counties have opened diplomatic and economic missions in the city.

In September, Honduras opened a diplomatic trade office in Jerusalem and recognized the city as Israels capital.

Hungary in March opened its new diplomatic trade mission in Jerusalem, a branch of the Hungarian Embassy in Tel Aviv.

Slovakia announced its plans to open similar diplomatic offices in the city.

AZERTAG.AZ :Israel praises good relations and productive cooperation with Brazil

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Israel praises 'good relations and productive cooperation' with Brazil - AZERTAC News


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