Tel Aviv

The Goldstone Illusion
November 06, 2009

I. In 2000, I was asked by the Israel Defense Forces to join a group of philosophers, lawyers, and generals for the purpose of drafting the army’s ethics code. Since then, I have been deeply involved in the analysis of the moral issues that Israel faces in its war on terrorism. I have spent many hours in discussions with soldiers and officers in order to better grasp the dilemmas that they tackle in the field, and in an attempt to help facilitate the internalization of the code of ethics in war.

Buying Time
November 05, 2009

Yitzchak Newman is in the market for his first house. For now, the young IT project manager lives with his wife and toddler in a rented basement apartment. Space is limited and the family yearns to attain the middle class ideal of owning their own home. But unlike most aspiring home-owners, the Newmans are determined to enter the real estate market in what may be the world’s most politically sensitive strip of land.

Dear Rahm: Barack Obama and Yitzhak Rabin, The Link That Will Not Help
November 02, 2009

This coming Wednesday will be the 14th anniversary of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin at a Tel Aviv rally for the Oslo peace accords. Like the initial rally itself, the memorial--scheduled for Saturday, October 31, but postponed due to what turned out to be only light rains--was to be a highly charged political event. Except that in 1995, Israel was still stirred by hopes of bringing the decades of war with the Arabs to an end. Yet, at the same time, foreboding grew that these hopes themselves constituted a trap, a mortal trap.

Oops! Jane Fonda Made a Terrible Mistake. She Didn't Mean What She Said About Israel. She Meant the Opposite.
October 01, 2009

You may recall (or you may not) that on September 12 I posted a recounting the tale of Fonda's appeal to the city and to the world that the Toronto Film Festival be boycotted because the program included a fest for the Tel Aviv movie industry and its artistic achievements.  This sector of Israeli culture has over the last ten years produced an unusual number of very unusual productions.  Ask anybody in the quality side of the business and he will tell you that Tel Aviv is now one of the great centers of film art (as Tel Aviv is also to dance).  Sorry, this is not my ethnic chauvinism.  It is t

"...A Government In Tel Aviv..." What Nonsense! Alas, It's Also Rancid Bigotry And Deceit
August 05, 2009

The phrase, "a government in Tel Aviv," does not come from an article written in 1948 during which the provisional government of Israel had, in fact, headquartered itself in the city then only 40 years old. Not at all.

Narrative Dissonance
July 01, 2009

What Obama's Cairo speech got wrong.

"show And Tel"
April 04, 2009

That's the title of Ha'aretz's special magazine insert for the the hundredth anniversary of Tel Aviv, "the first Hebrew city."  I'm in Jerusalem right now.

Eastern Exposure
February 17, 2009

That the State of Israel has an ethnicity problem is the opposite of news: hardly a day goes by without some report on the hostilities between Jews and Arabs. But We Look Like the Enemy, the impassioned, often self-righteous new book by Rachel Shabi, draws the reader's attention to an easily overlooked dimension of that old conflict. What if you are an Israeli Jew who is also, in some ways, an Arab?

The Things They Carried
January 16, 2009

I’m not supposed to be here. This vast training base near the Gaza border where thousands of reservists are preparing for battle is off-limits to the press. Still, everyone in Israel knows someone, and my travelling companion knows a senior army commander who’s willing to break the rules. “Just say you’re my friends,” says the commander, who picks us up in his car near the gate. The commander, whom I’ll call Shmulik, is eager to slip us in. He wants us to meet his men, to tell the world the truth about Israel’s soldiers. Tomorrow morning, he says, they’re crossing into Gaza.

Back to the Front
January 04, 2009

Dawn, the morning after Israel's ground incursion into Gaza. Last night, I received an emergency IDF call-up order--via SMS. Israel, 2009. Gone are the days when such commands were hand-delivered or broadcast in code over the radio. Gone are the prearranged assembly points in town where members of various units would meet and file into specially-mobilized buses. Today we travel to our bases individually, often by cab.