Voices of protest on Israel’s right and left

by Natalia Balcerzak

(Jerusalem, Israel) — The conflict between Israelis and the Palestinians during July of 2014 saw tensions rise to some of the highest levels it has been in years.

Interestingly, though, it was conflict between two factions from within Israel that raised some of the strongest voices in the days leading up to the Israel/Hamas war. Continue reading Voices of protest on Israel’s right and left

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Water conflict on the Israeli/Palestinian border (audio)

By Patrick Torphy

(BETHLEHEM, West Bank) — Mohammed Nassarla Jabril has so many grandchildren he can’t keep track of them all.

One of Jabril's grandsons flies a kite on their roof amid the large, black plastic water tanks (seen on the left and right).
One of Jabril’s grandsons flies a kite on their roof amid the large, black plastic water tanks (seen on the left and right).

 A group of them play on his roof with a small, flimsy rainbow-colored kite, meandering through a maze of plastic and metallic tanks — 35 of them– all containing their water for the next two weeks.

“Empty, empty, empty,” the 75-year-old Palestinian man says while banging on different tanks, some of them already drained, with an improvised cane. He lives with his family in Aida, a refugee camp near Bethlehem created after Palestinians were forced to flee during the creation of Israel in 1948.

The issue of water for many is a bureaucratic nightmare, but at the core they say it is simple: People aren’t getting enough water. Continue reading Water conflict on the Israeli/Palestinian border (audio)

Staying to play under attack

(SDEROT, Israel) – Last year, Roni Benami-Tarnovski celebrated her 11th birthday in a bomb shelter.

“In the evening we had to escape to another kibbutz. I was really scared,” she said, retelling the story in the bomb-safe room of a children’s center at the Mefalsim kibbutz, a community a few minutes down the road from her home in Sderot.

Sderot native Roni Benami-Tarnovski, 11, loves her home and doesn't want to leave.
Continue reading Staying to play under attack

Healing the World with Marijuana

(Jerusalem, Israel) — Ira Gazit often wakes in the middle of the night to the sound of his 8-year-old son Eyal screaming in pain.

“Smoke on me!  Smoke on me now, please!” Eyal screams.

Eyal has been battling neuroblastoma, a deadly brain cancer, for more than four years.  Doctors tried everything to treat him, including sending him to Germany for experimental treatment.

Two years ago, the Gazit family, discovered medicinal marijuana.
Continue reading Healing the World with Marijuana

15 seconds in Sderot

(SDEROT, Israel) –– Fifteen seconds is the difference between life and death for residents in a small village 100 kilometers (62 miles) from Jerusalem. In Sderot, an agricultural village just a stone’s throw from the Gaza border, the fear of attack weighs heavy on everyone’s mind.

A giant multicolored slide stands in the middle of a playground at Kibbutz Mefalsim just outside Sderot. The structure is between two white cement blocks painted with brown monkeys and green flowers, and a narrow opening on one side.  These cement structures, which blend in so well with their surroundings, are for protection, not play. The blocks are bomb shelters.
Continue reading 15 seconds in Sderot

RAMOT POLIN: FAMILY FRIENDLY SUCCESS OR ARCHITECTURAL DISASTER?

By Juliet Goodman

(Ramot Polin, Jerusalem, Israel) — Four decades after architects designed an avant-garde public housing project for Jerusalem’s ultra-Orthodox population , residents are calling the design a horrible mistake.

The neighborhood is called Ramot Polin.  Others call it the ‘beehive’ because of its shape. Continue reading RAMOT POLIN: FAMILY FRIENDLY SUCCESS OR ARCHITECTURAL DISASTER?