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Israel

Israel’s Enemy Within: Why Radical West Bank Settlers Put The Country At Risk

Op-Ed: The violence of Jewish settlers on the West Bank is no longer only aimed at Palestinians. Some settlers are attacking soldiers who are there for their protection. In the end, though, Jerusalem’s leadership has no one to blame but themselves.

(andydr)
(andydr)
Peter Münch

Israel is armed against enemies like few other countries. It has fighter jets and drones, tanks and submarines and, just in case, an atomic bomb. The Jewish state is a steeled state, and probably has to be that way in view of threats to its survival that exist to this day.

But for a long time, the threat to Israel hasn't only been coming from the outside. There is an enemy growing within, an enemy that hurls stones and sets fires and won't even hesitate in attacking the country's own army. The internal threat comes from radical settlers on the West Bank, who are openly challenging the Israeli state. And in Jerusalem, a normally punchy government is showing itself to be only conditionally ready to take defensive action.

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Russia

When Mom Believes Putin: A Russian Family Torn Apart Over Ukraine Invasion

Sisters Rante and Satu Vodich fled Russia because they could no longer bear to live under Putin — but their mother believes state propaganda about the war. Her daughters are building a new life for themselves in Georgia.

A mother and her daughter on a barricade in Kyiv

Steffi Unsleber

TBILISI — On a gloomy afternoon in May, Rante Vodich gets the keys to her new home. A week earlier, the 27-year-old found this wooden shed in Tbilisi, with a corrugated iron roof and ramshackle bathroom. The shed next door houses an old bed covered in dust. Vodich refers to the place as a “studio” and pays $300 per month in rent. She says finding the studio is the best thing that’s happened to her since she came to Georgia. It is her hope for the future.

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Her younger sister Satu Vodich is around 400 kilometers further west, in the city of Batumi on Georgia’s Black Sea coast, surrounded by Russian tourists, Ukrainian flags, skyscrapers with sea views and the run-down homes of local residents.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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