Less a “Big Bang” Than an Earthquake

by Peretz Kidron | published January 18, 2006

The two successive strokes and the cerebral hemorrhage that struck down Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon came just a few weeks after the somber ceremonies marking the tenth anniversary of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. The causes of the two occurrences were very different, and so was the actual physical outcome, for Rabin died within minutes of sustaining his wounds, while doctors still hold out glimmers of hope for Sharon’s survival, albeit with grave handicaps.

Illusions of Unilateralism Dispelled in Israel

by Yoav Peled | published October 11, 2006

In 1967 Israel’s government was headed by Levi Eshkol, a politician said to be easygoing, weak and indecisive, who four years earlier had replaced the country’s founder, David Ben-Gurion, as prime minister. The Israeli public, tired of Ben-Gurion’s authoritarianism and constant exhortations to greater and greater sacrifice, had greeted Eshkol’s appointment with a sigh of relief. Israel’s chief Arab adversary at the time, Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, sought to take advantage of the Eshkol government’s reputed lassitude in order to annul Israel’s achievements in the 1956 Suez campaign: the demilitarization of the Sinai Peninsula and the opening of the Strait of Tiran to Israeli shipping.

Gaza in the Vise

by Omar Karmi | published July 11, 2006

Five-year-old Layan cupped her hands over her ears and screwed her eyes shut when she tried to describe the effect of a sonic boom. She said the sound scares her, even though her father, Muntasir Bahja, 32, a translator, has told her “a small lie to calm her”—that the boom is nothing more than a big balloon released by a plane and then popped.

The New Hamas

Between Resistance and Participation

by Graham Usher | published August 21, 2005

In March 2005, Hamas, the largest Islamist party in Palestine, joined its main secular rival Fatah and 11 other Palestinian organizations in endorsing a document that seemed to embody the greatest harmony achieved within the Palestinian national movement in almost two decades. By the terms of the Cairo Declaration, Hamas agreed to “maintain an atmosphere of calm”—halt attacks on Israel—for the rest of the year, participate in Palestinian parliamentary elections scheduled for July and commence discussions about joining the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

Orange Rampant

by Peretz Kidron | published July 15, 2005

Israel’s national colors are blue and white. In the summer of 2005, however, an Israeli driver adorning his vehicle with ribbons in those hues runs the risk of a broken antenna or a vandal’s scratches in the paint job. Conversely, the motorist would be far safer joining what appears to be the general trend by accepting the strips of bright orange proffered at every main intersection by eager youngsters in orange T-shirts. Indeed, so dominant is the orange that one may be forgiven for suspecting a mass takeover by Protestant militants from Ulster.

Après Nous, Nous

Covering the Colonial Retreat

by Peter Lagerquist , Thomas Hill | published May 19, 2005

The Militarist and Messianic Ideologies

by Neve Gordon | published July 8, 2004

Two weeks after 60,000 Likud Party members voted against a pullout from the Gaza Strip, about 150,000 Israelis filled Rabin Square in Tel Aviv, calling on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's government to proceed with the withdrawal plan. Those opposing the pullout from Gaza support the vision of a Greater Israel, while those favoring the pullout support the state of Israel. The first group believes that without Gaza, Israel will be destroyed; the second believes that with it, Israel will be destroyed.