When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Israel

Ideas

An Open Letter To Netanyahu, From A Notable "Jew Of The Diaspora"

The Polish-French writer Marek Halter addresses a letter to Israel’s leader warning him against the undercurrents of his government that threaten the very essence of the Jewish state.

Watch VideoShow less

This Happened—January 19: Yassar Arafat Returns

Yasser Arafat returns to Hebron on this date in 1997.

Get This Happened straight to your inbox ✉️ each day! Sign up here.

Keep reading...Show less

Why Ben-Gvir's Explosive Visit Is Really Aimed At Netanyahu

Less than a week after being sworn in for the sixth time as Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu was defied by a highly charged visit his far-right coalition ally, Itamar Ben-Gvir, made to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, that has enflamed the entire Muslim world. Netanyahu has a choice to make.

-Analysis-

PARIS — Pick an arsonist to head the fire department and you’re sure to have blazes to fight. That's exactly what is happening in Israel right now, since far-right leader Itamar Ben-Gvir was installed as Minister of National Security.

It didn't take more than a week for the new minister, who had been convicted in the past for incitement to racial hatred, to do what his Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wish he hadn't: to make a visit to Jerusalem's al-Aqsa Mosque compound (a.k.a. Esplanade of the Mosques, or Temple Mount), the third holy site of Islam, and one of the most sensitive spots on the planet.

Ben-Gvir has a clear objective: He wants to challenge the status quo, which exists since 1967, that bans Jews from praying on the esplanade, on which stood their Holy Temple, some 2,000 years ago.

Keep reading...Show less

Negev Terroir? Climate Change Pushes French Winemakers Into Desert Cultivation

More and more French wine growers are interested in the mechanics of growing grapes and producing wine in the world’s most arid regions—like Israel. Climate change is pushing the wine world to imagining all possibilities, including the most extreme.

On his family vineyard in the heart of the Negev desert — a vast expanse of sand and rocks that stretches from Israel’s border with Egypt to its border with Jordan — David Pinto and his team are getting ready to bottle the first white wine of the season.

The last harvest took place two weeks earlier, in September. “We closed out the harvest with two varietals that need more maturation time— Syrah and Muscat Canelli —which we use to make a really special dessert wine,” he explains.

Two years ago Pinto, the CEO of Pinto Winery, launched this adventure into Israeli wine. This year he produced 60,000 bottles, compared to 30,000 in 2021. His rows of vines spread out over ten hectares in this improbable terroir, a triangle amidst the Negev desert’s 13,000 km2 of dry and dusty earth.

“When the first producers set up in this desert 15 years ago, everyone thought they were crazy. Making wine in the desert? Back then people called it a hippie dream, but nobody's saying that anymore,” Pinto says. “There are 300 hectares of vines and 30 producers in the Negev, and the numbers grow every year.”

Keep reading...Show less
This Happened

This Happened—December 9: The First Intifada Ignites

A series of Palestinian protests and violent uprisings in the West Bank, Gaza and Israel began in defiance of Israeli occupation.

Sign up to receive This Happened straight to your inbox each day!

Watch VideoShow less
Geopolitics
Dominique Moïsi

Is Israel's Far Right More Extreme Than In Italy Or The U.S.?

French writer and political scientist Dominique Moïsi was in Israel last week for the country’s latest elections, which saw the victory of a hard right coalition led by Benjamin Netanyahu. He warns that there is an inherent conflict between the self-declared "start-up nation" and the anti-science, anti-liberal program of the new government.

-OpEd-

PARIS — In his autobiography Things Seen, seminal French author Victor Hugo describes daily life in Paris during the revolution of the 1830s. He writes about the “limited reach of tragedy,” where one street is covered in barricades and the next is completely peaceful.

On Nov. 1, the day of the elections in Israel, I was walking around the streets of Tel Aviv with those images from Victor Hugo in mind. There was no indication that the future of the country might be at stake despite the huge election signs on buildings and buses. But for their fifth general election in four years, the people of the country's largest economic and cultural metropolis seemed jaded, if not indifferent.

This impression was quickly contradicted by a turnout of more than 70%, a significant increase over previous elections. But nothing seemed to suggest that Israel was on the brink of a tipping point.

Watch VideoShow less
Rwanda
Tazreena Sajjad*

How Rich Western Countries Pay To Send Refugees Away

Western countries are shipping refugees to poorer nations in exchange for cash.

The UK government was due to begin its first deportation flight to remove asylum-seekers to the East African country of Rwanda on June 14, 2022, exactly two months after signing the UK-Rwanda agreement. The asylum-seekers were from several war-torn and politically unstable countries, including Syria, Sudan and Iran.

Each year, thousands of people – many fleeing repressive governments or poverty – attempt to cross the English Channel in fragile boats in the hope of starting a new life in the UK.

Watch VideoShow less
FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War
Catherine Dupeyron

Ukraine War Sparks Divisions Among Israel's Russian Population

Russian speakers represent 15% of the Israeli population. And now, the war in Ukraine is bringing long-simmering tensions in their community to the surface.

ISRAEL — Tatiana was born in Russia, but her heart is with Ukraine — and not only because she has been married for 20 years to Alon Gour, who is from Kyiv.

"As soon as Putin came to power in 2000, I campaigned against him. He is a KGB officer and there are no good people in the KGB," explains the 59-year-old from Khabarovsk, a city 8,200 kilometers (5,100 miles) from Moscow and 1,000 km (620 miles) from the Sea of Japan.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

Tatiana, who is not Jewish, came to Israel in 1999. Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, she and her husband spend every evening and every Shabbat looking after Ukrainian refugees who have arrived in Israel, and sending whatever they can to Ukraine. In their apartment in Kfar Saba, north of Tel Aviv, boxes ready for departure are stacked in every corner. Above the bookcase of the living room, two flags are intertwined: one in the colors of Israel, the other those of Ukraine.

Watch VideoShow less
Society
Igal Avidan

For Orthodox Jewish Women, Cinema Inspires A Silent Revolution

Orthodox women are not allowed to go to the cinema and their film screenings are often interrupted by protesters. But in Israel, there is a booming audience for their films and a big cultural shift is happening.

In 1994, the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires was the target of a terror attack that killed 85 people and injured 300 others, most of whom were Jewish. The perpetrators were never identified, probably for political reasons. Shattered, a new film by Israeli director Dina Perlstein, follows Argentinian Jewish prosecutor Anna, who lost her father in the attack, as she searches for the truth. She is joined by a young Israeli Orthodox Jew, Yael, whose older sister was also killed in the attack. Their journey will bring a long-buried secret to light and change their lives forever.

The film, which was recently shown at the Jewish Film Festival Berlin Brandenburg, is unusual. Like Perlstein’s 14 other films, the three-hour long production only features women – most of them Jewish. Perlstein is the first and best known female Orthodox Jewish filmmaker in Israel and she also makes English-language films that are shown at special screenings for Orthodox Jewish women in the USA.

Watch VideoShow less
In The News
Lorraine Olaya, Anne-Sophie Goninet, Lila Paulou and Emma Albright

Russia Vows New Attacks On Kyiv After Moskva Warship Sinks

👋 Сайн уу*

Welcome to Friday, where Russia warns of more strikes on Kyiv as Ukraine claims responsibility for the sinking of the Moskva warship, hundreds are wounded in clashes at Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa Mosque, and “Houston, we have a kebab.” In German daily Die Welt, Michael Brendler explores the end-of-life ethical question that has gained new attention during the pandemic: When is it better to turn off life-support equipment?

[*Sain uu - Mongolian]

Watch VideoShow less
In The News
Lisa Berdet, Emma Albright, Bertrand Hauger and Anne-Sophie Goninet

Dozens Killed In Ukraine Train Station Attack

👋 مرحبا*

Welcome to Friday, where at least 30 are killed in a Russian rocket strike on a Ukrainian train station, Ketanji Brown Jackson is confirmed as the U.S. Supreme Court’s first-ever Black woman justice and polls are tightening between Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen ahead of Sunday’s French presidential elections. La Stampa reporter Francesco Semprini follows the Ukrainian Special Forces patrolling the streets of Kharkiv in search of pro-Russian saboteurs.

[*Marhaba - Arabic]

Watch VideoShow less
In The News
Anne-Sophie Goninet, Lorraine Olaya and Bertrand Hauger

Russia’s Deescalation Pledge Raises Int’l Eyebrows

👋 Dydh da!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where Western leaders share their skepticism after Moscow promises to scale back its offensive in Ukraine, Israel is rocked by a third terror attack in eight days, and Pluto may host ice volcanoes (and a hidden ocean). Meanwhile, Persian-language media Kayhan-London looks at Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guards and the role they may play in helping revive the country’s nuclear deal.

[*Cornish, UK]

Watch VideoShow less
EXPLORE OTHER TOPICS
chinaitalyusafrancegermany