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Recently in Israel


by Lara Friedman

The Gaza Strip! IDF Girls Gone Wild! These are some of the nicknames for the recent scandal sparked by Facebook photos and video of semi-nude female IDF soldiers, striking poses and dancing on IDF bases and inside IDF facilities, in some cases carrying weapons and sporting (parts of) IDF uniforms. These stories seemed to be everywhere -- including at the Forward.

Yom Ha'atzmaut -- Restoring True Nature


Early Israelis were filled with pride in 1958 when a monumental effort to dry the Houla wetlands was completed. For seven years, under Syrian shelling that claimed the lives of forty people, Israeli and British engineers dried more than 15,000 acres of marshes, hoping to secure a vast piece of land for agriculture. Drying the Houla wetland was perceived at the time as the purest, boldest manifestation of the Zionist ethos of kibush ha-shmamah ("Conquering the Wilderness").


In his historic speech today, President Obama fired up a crowd of a thousand young Israelis at Jerusalem's convention center, receiving an outpouring of enthusiasm and support for his message of peace.

Peace Now welcomes President Obama to Israel


When President Obama flies into Israel Wednesday, he will see from Airforce One this huge sign that Peace Now activists lay down to welcome his message of peace. The sign, 180 feet long and 50 feet wide, is located in the fields of Kibbutz Nahshon, half-way between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, on the route that large incoming jets use when they land at Israel's Ben Gurion Airport.

The New Israeli Coalition: Promise and Peril


The news broke only hours ago: after 40 days, an agreement has finally been reached on a new Israeli governing coalition, with the new government to be sworn in next week. This news is the culmination of weeks of dramatic and sometimes melodramatic political machinations and theatrics, including public bargaining and issuing of ultimatums, coming on the heels of elections that yielded surprising results. In the end, the new Israeli ruling coalition will be composed of Netanyahu's Likud-Beiteinu faction (31 seats), aligned with Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid faction (19 seats) and Naftali Bennett's Jewish Home party (12 seats), and cemented by Tzipi Livni's HaTnuah faction (6 seats), with key ministries parceled out among the various parties.

Understanding Israel's Elections - APN Resources


This week Israelis went to the polls to elect members of the 19th Knesset. The results of these elections surprised pollsters and pundits alike. APN provides resources to help you understand what happened, what could happen next, and what it all means.


Two-state principles presented to respondents include Israel for Jews and Palestine for Palestinians, with Palestinian refugees having the right to return only to their new country.

Ha'aretz | By Barak Ravid | Dec.31, 2012 | 1:50 AM

Two opinion surveys conducted by different Israeli pollsters in December show that most Likud-Beiteinu and the further-right Habayit Hayehudi voters would support a peace agreement establishing a demilitarized Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, Israel's retention of major settlement blocs and a division of Jerusalem. The two polls also revealed that two thirds of all Israelis support such an agreement.

Open Zion: APN's Lara Friedman - How Obama Can Get Tough With Bibi


Recently, the European Union adopted harsh new Iran sanctions, strongly supported by Israel. Shortly thereafter, Israel announced new East Jerusalem settlement construction. The EU's top official Catherine Ashton, who was about to visit Israel, condemned the announcement in measured terms; Israel's Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, publicly told her, in effect, to shove it. Imagine if in response, Ashton had indefinitely postponed her trip. Imagine that Israeli ambassadors in EU capitals were summoned to the local foreign ministries and read the riot act. Imagine that Israeli press had been alerted, leading to headlines about how Prime Minister Netanyahu and Lieberman were squandering the friendship of the EU and European support on Iran for the sake of settlement expansion.

Or Amir: A Dispatch from Tel Aviv


Former Washington intern Or Amir writes on her thoughts about this past week.

2:30 PM and I am on the bus in Tel Aviv- so exhausted from the past week but can't fall asleep. I am just where the bomb exploded two hours ago on a different bus. I'm looking constantly at the doors, checking who's getting on and off the bus, what are they wearing and if they left anything under their seat. In my head all the plans and promises I gave today and I just wish to survive this ride and maybe to get a chance to fulfill some of them.

Open Zion: APN's Lara Friedman - The Senate On Gaza


In response to the ongoing Gaza-Israel war, Senators Gillibrand (D-NY) and Kirk (R-IL) this afternoon circulated a resolution that they reportedly hope to have the Senate pass by unanimous consent, possibly as early as this evening. The resolution subject:

expressing vigorous support and unwavering commitment to the welfare, security, and survival of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state with secure borders, and recognizing and strongly supporting its right to act in self-defense to protect its citizens against acts of terrorism.