Zena el Khalil, After the Occupation
In 1982, the Israeli army officially took control of the entire South Lebanon region and decided the village of Zena el Khalil’s grandfather was a strategic military point. He had to stop construction on his house in order to accommodate the army. “The occupiers finished building the home my Grandpa started. Except, instead of providing rooms for a growing family, they built interrogation booths, holding cells, torture rooms, and of course, bureaucratic offices. Right next to our oak tree. Right on top of the very same building they had blown up only a few years before.” Eighteen years later, Zena and her family would finally return home.
Photo: Lebanon, August, 2006 (Paolo Pellegrin/Magnum Photos)
Dimi Reider, Israel: The Knesset vs. Democracy
This should be a year in which Israeli democracy is much on display. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been reconfirmed as head of the right-leaning Likud Party, seems to be pushing for early national elections; while candidates to lead the centrist Kadima Party, the main opposition party, are now campaigning for their March 27 primary. But even as the country prepares for its most important democratic exercise, a far-reaching series of laws now pending or already passed by the Knesset suggests Israel is moving in an alarmingly anti-democratic direction.
(Photo: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images)
Richard Goldstone’s much-discussed retraction of key findings in his committee’s report on the 2009 Gaza war has produced in Israel a predictable burst of self-congratulation. From the prime minister on down, the message from the Israeli government is a defiant “We told you so!” spoken from the always-privileged vantage point of an innocent victim wrongly accused. Along with this, we have an updated Israeli version of the Prodigal Son; Goldstone, a South African former judge and liberal Zionist of the old school, has supposedly come (rather shamefacedly) back home.
David Shulman, Goldstone’s Retreat?
Photo: Richard Goldstone, Gaza City, June 3, 2009 (Ashraf Amra/AP Photo)
“For the last two or three years, we’ve been seeing a very consistent trend of younger Israelis becoming increasingly right-wing,” Dahlia Scheindlin, a public opinion analyst, told me. Last year, Scheindlin carried out a survey on behalf of the Kulanana Shared Citizenship Initiative that showed eroding support for democratic values among Israeli youth, at least insofar as the rights of non-Jews go. One question in the survey asked whether there should be “Equal access to state resources, equal opportunities [for] all citizens.” Among Jewish respondents between the ages of 16-29, a mere 43 percent agreed.
Eyal Press, Young Israelis: A Turn to the Right?
Photo: Uriel Sinai/Getty Images