Stop war on Gaza, demonstrations in Israel

This video is called Demonstration in Tel Aviv, Israel against the situation in Gaza. May 2018.

From the peace movement in Israel:

Emergency demonstrations throughout Israel: Stop the war! Move towards peace!

Press Release Nov. 13, 2018

Hebrew original forwarded by Standing Together, translation Adam Keller

Today at 20:00 – Haifa, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem

The Standing Together movement, along with various peace groups, will demonstrate today (Tuesday, Nov. 13) throughout the country, demanding a complete change of direction. Instead of war and fear and bloodshed we should lift the siege of Gaza, end the occupation, and actively pursue a comprehensive Israeli-Palestinian peace.

The pain of suffering casualties, the fear of another night without sleep and the question “why?` are now the lot of very many people. We want – we must – change this reality. This conflict has gone on far too long. Again and again it flares up. Again we hear arrogant statements about “It is time to teach them a lesson” which do not and should not give anyone a feeling of confidence.

We must take a new path. Residents of Southern Israel and residents of Gaza, Israelis and Palestinians – only peace can guarantee security to all of us. Only peace will ensure quiet nights – this is the only way. Let`s end for spreading hatred and sowing fear, let`s end this pain. Today, especially today, let us demand what should have taken place long ago, the only thing that can ensure life: lifting of the siege, ending the occupation and achieving Israeli-Palestinian peace. We deserve a happy ending to this sad and difficult story. `
The demonstrations will take place at:

Haifa – UNESCO Square in the German Colony, at the foot of the Baha`i Gardens

Jerusalem – Paris Square

Tel Aviv – The corner of Rothschild Boulevard and Allenby Street


For further details and coordination of interviews:

Hila +972-(0)54-2457680 or Doron +972-(0)54-4673320

Izzeldin Abuelaish’s three daughters were killed in Gaza – but he still clings to hope for the Middle East: here.

The resignation of Defence Minister and Israel Beiteinu (Israel is Our Home) party leader Avigdor Lieberman Wednesday has forced Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu’s Likud-led coalition—left with a one-seat majority—to bring forward national elections to early next year: here.

‘World’s oldest beer discovery in Israel’

This April 2016 video says about itself:

Israeli brewery make beer from Jesus’s time

A brewery in Jerusalem have resurrected a recipe for beer from Jesus’ time and discovered why the bible favoured wine. Report by Lydia Batham.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

‘Oldest brewery in the world’ discovered in Israel

In Israel, archaeologists have discovered a 13,000 years old brewery. According to Israeli and American scientists, this is the oldest known place where alcohol was produced.

The discovery was made in the Rakefet cave in Mount Carmel, south of Haifa city. That cave was used by the Natufians as a cemetery. The Natufians were a people of hunter-gatherers who lived in the Mediterranean region during the Stone Age.

In the cave archaeologists found a kind of mortars that had been carved into the rock. They have studied the mortars and it showed that two of the mortars were used to store grains. In the third one, the grains were ground and then fermented. Then a beer-like drink was made.

The fact that mortars were made in the cave indicates that the drink was used during the funeral ceremonies, says Dani Nadal, archeology professor at the University of Haifa. He speaks of an important discovery. “The finding shows that the production of alcohol did not necessarily come about because of the overproduction of grains that had to be processed.” Even before agriculture emerged [in the Neolithic], alcohol was apparently produced as part of a ritual process.”

According To History, We Can Thank Women For Beer: here.

Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery, RIP ceremony

This 30 August 2018 video from Israel says about itself:

Farewell ceremony for Uri Avnery

Sokolov Press House, Tel Aviv. Editing: Eran Vered and Anat Saragusti.

Sharp rise in right-wing attacks on Palestinians and Israeli peace and rights activists: here.

Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery, by Adam Keller

This 20 August 2018 video says about itself:

The Life and Legacy of Uri Avnery

Often criticized, Uri Avnery lived a life fighting for a cause that he believed was critical for peace for Israel: a Palestinian state next door. Even after his death, his left-wing ideas live on with his legacy and his followers’ struggle continues. Our Daniel Campos has the story.

From Israeli peace activist Adam Keller, 25 August 2018:

My Fifty Years With Uri Avnery

How to sum up in a few words 50 years of political partnership, which was also an intensive friendship, with the person who, I believe, had the most influence on me? The starting point: summer of 1969.

A 14-year-old from Tel Aviv, during the summer between elementary school and high school, I notice an ad in HaOlam HaZeh newspaper asking for volunteers at the election headquarters of the “HaOlam Hazeh – Koah Hadash” (“New Force”) party. I went.

In a small basement office on Glickson Street, I found three teenagers folding propaganda flyers into envelopes. To this day, the smell of fresh print takes me back to that very moment. Two hours later, we heard a commotion outside. Knesset Member Uri Avnery, the man whose articles brought us to this office in the first place, walked in. He was returning from an election rally in Rishon LeZion. He exchanged a few words with the volunteers, thanked us for our help, and went into a meeting room with his aides.

At that point, it was not Uri Avnery’s opinions on the Palestinian issue that motivated me to volunteer for the campaign. My own opinions on the matter were not fully formed yet. Only two years prior, in June of 1967, I had shared with many others in celebrating the fact that Israel expanded into “new territories.” I would not have imagined that I would eventually dedicate most of my life to trying to get Israel out of those territories.

I was attracted to Uri Avnery’s party primarily because it was a young, fresh political party that challenged the old, rotten establishment parties, and because it was opposed to religious coercion, and advocated for separation of religion and state, public transportation on Shabbat, and civil marriage. A few weeks after I began volunteering, I left a note on Uri’s desk with a few questions: Can we really make peace with the Arabs? Should we give back all the territories Israel occupied, or only some? And what will happen with the settlers? (The settler population at the time was a tiny fraction of what it is today.)

A week later, I received a letter in the mail – three pages of detailed answers to each one of my 10 questions. I still have that letter. I have no doubt that Uri wrote it himself – his writing style seeps out of every word. He took the time and energy, in the middle of running a political campaign, to provide thorough answers to the questions of a 14-year-old. I think it turned out to be a profitable investment.

The end point: Friday, August 3, 2018. A years-long political partner of Uri Avnery, at 63 years old, I receive his weekly column, as I do every Friday. In this article, he wrote about the Jewish Nation-State Law and Israel’s national identity, and whether it was Jewish or Israeli (he of course advocated strongly for an Israeli identity).

As I had done many times before, I wrote him an email commenting on the substance of the article, raising some fundamental objections. He suggested we discuss them further next time we meet.

I asked for his opinion on the protest against the Nation-State Law, scheduled for the following day by the Druze community. He said he was convinced that the demonstration would not focus on the Druze’s exclusive standing in Israeli society, or the unique bundle of rights they get for serving in the military, but that it will tackle the fundamental principle of equality for all citizens.

The last which I will ever hear from him was a one-line message on my computer screen: “I am going to the Druze protest tomorrow.” I assume that he did read what I had written him, that on that night he went to sleep in his bed and that he woke up the next day with the intention of participating in the protest. In the evening, when I was standing amidst the large crowd that amassed in the Rabin Square, I assumed he was standing somewhere around. I rang his phone twice, getting no reply and chalking it up to bad reception (which is common during mass rallies when very many people use their mobile phones all at once).

In retrospect I know that by then he had already been admitted to the emergency room at Ichilov Hospital, never to regain consciousness. It was the activists who planned to give him a ride to the demonstration who had found him lying on the floor of his apartment.

What filled the 50 years between the start and end points? The HaOlam Hazeh – Koah Hadash party, which merged into Peace and Eqaulity for Israel, a political party known as Shelli in Hebrew; the Council for Israeli-Palestinian Peace, which held meetings with the Palestinian Liberation Organization and became a faction of Sheli; the Progressive List for Peace, which we joined after Shelli broke up; and then Gush Shalom.

So many meetings, marches, protests and conversations. So many memories. Standing side by side, holding posters at a protest to prevent the closure of Raymonda Tawil’s news agency in East Jerusalem. The photo that Avnery’s wife, Rachel, took of that demonstration is still up on the wall of the room I am writing these very words in.

A conversation with Avnery the day that HaOlam Hazeh, which he edited for 40 years, officially shut down. I Said: “I know this is a difficult day for you”. He answered: “The paper was a tool, serving a purpose. We shall find other tools.”

It is early 1983. Uri Avnery, Matti Peled and Yaakov Arnon, known us the “Three Muskateers”, come back from a meeting with Yasser Arafat in Tunisia. As soon as he lands at the airport, he hands me photos of the meeting, and I bounce from one newsroom to another across Tel Aviv to distribute them in person. I then take a shared taxi to Jerusalem where Ziad Abu Aayyad, editor of the Palestinian Al-Fajr (“The Dawn”) newspaper, waited for me.

A bit later in 1983, the radio announcing the assassination of Issam Sartawi, a PLO member who often met with Avnery and was a close personal friend to him, and my phone call to Uri informing him of the sad news. The frustrating endless phone calls, in the couple of days that followed, proved to us that it was impossible to rent a hall in Tel Aviv to commemorate a PLO man – even one who advocated for peace with Israel and was killed for it.

December 1992. Prime Minister Rabin, who had not yet signed the Oslo Accords and had not yet become a hero of peace, expels more than four hundred Palestinian activists to Lebanon, and we put up a protest tent in front of the Prime Minister’s Office. A cold Jerusalem winter, and it is snowing, but inside the tent that was donated by Bedouins from the Negev, it feels warm and cozy. Uri, Rachel, myself and my wife Beate join other activists in a long conversation with Sheikh Raed Salah, head of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, on Judaism and Islam, and how religion and politics converge and clash.

In 1997, in the middle of a protest in front of Har Homa – Netanyahu’s flagship settlement – Uri’s stomach wound, which he had been carrying since the war in 1948, breaks open. A Palestinian ambulance clears him to Al-Makassed Hospital in East Jerusalem; we are all very anxious. Rachel tells me, “even though I do not believe in God, I am praying.” But Uri recovers and lives on for 21 more years of intensive political activity.

May 2003, the Muqata’a (Presidential Compound) in Ramallah. That afternoon, there was a suicide bombing in Rishon LeZion, and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon drops a broad hint that he might send an elite IDF unit to “handle” Yasser Arafat that night. We are among 15 Israeli activists who go to Ramallah to serve as human shields. We call the media and tell them that “for the Prime Minister’s information, there are Israeli citizens sitting outside of Arafat’s door!”

Arafat shows Uri his gun and says, “if they come, I have a bullet in here for myself.” We spend an entire night at Arafat’s door, having conversations with young Palestinian guards in a mix of Arabic, Hebrew, and English, paying attention to every sound. Then it is dawn, and we understand that we made it through the night safely, and that the soldiers will not be coming. Another long, relaxed conversation when we stopped to eat something on our way back from a Progressive List meeting in Nazareth: “The Crusaders were here before us, they came from Europe and established here a kingdom that lasted 200 years. Not all of them were religious fanatics. Among them were people who spoke Arabic and had Muslim friends. But they were never able to achieve peace with their neighbors or adapt to this region. They had temporary agreements and ceasefires, but were not able to gain real peace. Acre was their ‘Tel Aviv,’ and when it fell, the last Crusaders were thrown into the sea – literally. Those who do not learn from history are bound to repeat it.”

“If I ever get the chance to serve as a minister, I would want to have Education Ministry. That is the most important portfolio in the cabinet. The Defense Minister may be able to send soldiers to die in war, but the Education Minister can shape children’s consciousness. The policies of today’s Education Minister will still bear manifest results in 50 years, when today’s children become grandparents and talk to their own granchildren. If I were the minister, the first thing I would do is remove the [Biblical] Book of Joshua from the curriculum. That book advocates genocide, plain and simple. It is also a historical fiction – the events it describes never happened. Rachel was a teacher for 40 years, and every year she succeeded in avoiding teaching this trash.”

Rachel accompanied him everywhere, an active partner to everything he did, editing his articles and dealing with the all the logistics of organizing protests. We all knew she was a carrier of hepatitis B – a time bomb that might explode at any moment. And when it finally did, Uri spent six months with her in the hospital, day and night. He almost disappeared from political life. One day, I happened to bump into him in the hallway of Ichilov Hospital as he was pushing her in a wheelchair, from one checkup to another. In her final weeks, someone told Uri of an experimental treatment that might save Rachel’s life. Although he knew the chances were slim, Uri spent large sums of money to purchase the medication in America and have it flown to Ben Gurion Airport, and from there, transported directly to the hospital.

When she passed away, Uri asked that nobody contact him for three days, and he completely disengaged from the world. Once those three days were over, he went back to his routine of protests and political commentary ­ or so it seemed.

How to finish this article? I will go back to 1969, to an article by Uri which I read under the table during a very boring class in eighth grade. I still remember it, almost word for word; it was a futuristic article that attempted to imagine what the country would look like in 1990. The page was split into two parallel columns, representing two parallel futures. In one of the futures, Independence Day in 1990 is marked by a tremendous manifestation of military power, with new tanks on display in Jerusalem. Prime Minister Moshe Dayan congratulates IDF soldiers who are on alert in the Lebanon Valley and the Land of Goshen near the Nile, and declares: “We shall never give up the city of Be’erot (formerly Beirut), this is our ancestral homeland!” In the second future, on Independence Day in 1990 festive receptions are being held at Israeli embassies across the Arab world, but the most moving photo was captured in Jerusalem, of a warm embrace between Israeli President Moshe Dayan and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat.

Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery’s cremation

This 20 August 2018 video says about itself:

Uri Avnery, veteran Israeli activist for a Palestinian state, dies at 94:

The man known as the first Israeli to meet Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat died in Tel Aviv on Monday at the age of 94. Peace activist and former Knesset member Uri Avnery was also one of the first Israelis to actively push for the establishment of a Palestinian state, more than 70 years ago.

A controversial figure among fellow Israelis, Avnery was hailed as groundbreaking by his supporters and an enemy of the people by critics.

Israeli publication Haaretz on Monday described the left-wing journalist as an advocate of co-operation between Palestinians and Israelis under a joint name and an opponent of the 1947 UN Partition Plan — that is to say, a supporter of a single state. His stance, however, changed after 1948-49 Arab-Israeli war.

“During the war, I was filled with compassion for the Arab population. You know, I entered a dozen villages whose inhabitants had fled a few minutes before — the pot on the stove was still hot”, he said in an interview with Haaretz in 2014. “The war totally convinced me there’s a Palestinian people, and that peace must be forged first and foremost with them. To achieve that goal, a Palestinian nation-state had to be established”, Avnery wrote in his memoir.

From Israeli peace movement Gush Shalom today:

Public figures, Knesset Members of various parties, a high level delegation from the Palestinian Authority and the gathered mourners who cherish his memory will today (Wednesday), between 5.00 to 6.00 pm, gather in front of the coffin of veteran peace activist Uri Avnery, which will be placed in the vestibule at Beit Sokolov, (Journalists’ Association Building) at 4 Kaplan St., Tel Aviv. Words will be said in his memory by those who knew and respected him. All those who want to pay their last respects are heartily invited to come.

At the end of the event, Avnery’s body will be taken to cremated, according to the instructions he left in his life. The location of the cremation facility is kept secret due to attempts by extremist religious groups to sabotage and destroy it. Uri Avnery’s ashes will be scattered at sea, again in accordance with the request he left, as were the ashes of his wife Rachel who died seven years ago. The scattering of the ashes will be carried out privately by its close friends, without a public or media presence.

Anat Saragusti +972-54-2151991
Adam Keller +972-54-2340749

Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery, RIP

This 2013 video from Israel says about itself:

Turning points in Uri Avnery’s life – Produced for his 90th birthday event

From the Gush Shalom peace movement in Israel today:

Avnery’s opponents will ultimately have to follow in his footsteps

Gush Shalom grieves and mourns the passing of its founder, Uri Avnery. Until the last moment he continued on the way he had traveled all his life. On Saturday, two weeks ago, he collapsed in his home when he was about to leave for the Rabin Square and attend a demonstration against the “Nation State Law”, a few hours after he wrote a sharp article against that law.

Avnery devoted himself entirely to the struggle to achieve peace between the state of Israel and the Palestinian people in their independent state, as well as between Israel and the Arab and Muslim World. He did not get to the end of the road, did not live to see peace come about. We – the members of Gush Shalom as well as very many other people who were directly and indirectly influenced by him – will continue his mission and honor his memory.

On the day of the passing of Uri Avnery, the most right-wing government in the history of Israel is engaged in negotiations with Hamas. Ironically, the same kind of demagogic accusations which were hurled at Uri Avnery throughout his life are now made against Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

In the history of the State of Israel, Uri Avnery will be inscribed as a far-seeing visionary who pointed to a way which others failed to see. It is the fate and future of the State of Israel to reach peace with its neighbors and to integrate into the geographical and political region in which it is located. Avnery’s greatest opponents will ultimately have to follow in his footsteps – because the State of Israel has no other real choice.

Jeremy Corbyn leads tributes to veteran Israeli peace campaigner Uri Avnery: here.