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Back-To-School In Israel: Kids Talk Of Wartime Summer

High school students in Ramla
High school students in Ramla
Diana Bahur Nir

TEL AVIV — With Israeli students returning to school this week, Calcalist decided to ask a few how they spent what turned out to be an unusual summer holiday, given the fighting between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

Seven weeks of Israeli airstrikes in Gaza and Hamas rocket attacks aimed at targets in Israel have left more than 2,100 people dead, most of them Palestinian civilians. A current open-ended ceasefire agreed upon Aug. 26 so far appears to be holding.

Here is how seven kids from around Israel remember their summer:

Musa Rantisi, 7, Jaffa
"I went to the beach, to the swimming pool and to the park. I most enjoyed the birthday of my brother. When the situation started to degenerate, my parents took me to Sharm el- Sheikh for 10 days."

Itay Shelsinger, 8, Herzliya
"During the war, I wrote in my diary when there were alarms and when there were ceasefires. Once, an alarm caught me on the toilet. Because of the war, they cancelled the swimming pool in the summer camp. I also got a new dog."

Segev Galili , 9, Ness-Ziona
"The first weeks of the holiday were a bummer because I was not allowed to go out to the garden. The first alarm sounded when I was out there by myself. During the ceasefires, I went with my dad to play basketball in the neighborhood, which was completely empty and silent."

Hagar Katora Rotberd, 10, Tel Aviv
"I had a pajama party with friends. and the alarm sounded in the middle. I really wanted to go to the scout's summer camp, and was sad when they cancelled it. Instead I went to stay at my grandparents' house. I downloaded the Red Alert app on my grandfather's phone. At the beginning, he was stressed from the sound and got angry, so I changed the alarm to a kind of ticktock, and he liked it."

Yarden Gabriel , 11, Yavne
"I was supposed to go to the swimming pool and to an amusement park, but I spent most of the time at home. I went only to places with a shelter or the friends living not far from my house. For the birthday of one of my friends, we went bowling. In the middle, there was an alarm and everybody was scared and some of us cried. I cried too because I thought of my family. I didn't know if they got to a shelter in time. My grandmother who lives in the south came to live with us because she doesn't have a shelter. It was fun."

Dvir Bernstein, 12, Ashdod
"Summer camp was cancelled, so we organized activities at home or at my friends' homes. We slept in the shelter of the building. Because of the war, all the family got closer. We used to live in Hebron. We moved here because it was supposed to be calmer, apparently not that much."

Yuval Antman, 13, Yad Mordechai
"All the summer activities on our kibbutz were cancelled from the second day of the operation. We went to Crete for one week, and when we came back I told my parents that I didn't want to leave the kibbutz again, so we stayed. But when we came back, the bombings continued. Three or four red alert alarms a day is pretty usual here, and you hear booms all day long."

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food / travel

When Racism Poisons Italy's Culinary Scene

This is the case of chef Mareme Cisse, a black woman, who was called a slur after a couple found out that she was the one who would be preparing their meal.

Photo of Mareme Cisse cooking

Mareme Cisse in the kitchen of Ginger People&Food

Caterina Suffici


TURIN — Guess who's not coming to dinner. It seems like a scene from the American Deep South during the decades of segregation. But this happened in Italy, in this summer of 2023.

Two Italians, in their sixties, got up from the restaurant table and left (without saying goodbye, as the owner points out), when they declared that they didn't want to eat in a restaurant where the chef was what they called: an 'n-word.'

Racists, poor things. And ignorant, in the sense of not knowing basic facts. They don't realize that we are all made of mixtures, come from different racial and ethnic backgrounds. And that food, of course, are blends of different ingredients and recipes.

The restaurant is called Ginger People&Food, and these visitors from out of town probably didn't understand that either.

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