The Six-Day War's Legacy in Sinai

The Six-Day War's 50th anniversary will generate an overabundance of commentary about the war's legacy on the Arab-Israeli conflict. Most scholarship will focus on the continued challenges of Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Jerusalem, however there are valuable lessons that Read more

Trump in Israel: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

  President Donald Trump was in Israel for all of twenty-eight hours, and yet even within that short window of time he managed to till a significant amount of discursive soil. Dozens of analysts and commentators will offer their thoughts Read more

Erdogan, Jerusalem, and the End of the Honeymoon

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's statements at the International Forum on al-Quds Waqf (held in Istanbul) received international media coverage when he attacked Israeli policy in Jerusalem, compared the situation in the West Bank with Apartheid South Africa, and called for Read more

The Curious Case of Michael Flynn, Turkey, and Israeli gas

President Trump's former national security advisor Michael Flynn has been at the epicenter of an ongoing story for the last few weeks. While I don't want to rehash what has already been reported, I did find one particular nugget Read more

Angry Birds: Freedom of the Press in Israel and Turkey

Posted on by Gabriel in Israel, Turkey |  

“Freedom of the press” has been a hot topic this week in Turkey and Israel. Although the conversation in each country is unique, and the tactics employed to limit media freedom varies, it is nevertheless discouraging to witness the fragility of democracy when executive power goes unchecked. Read more

Grounds for Reconciliation? Turkish Coffee as Israeli Peacemaker

Posted on by Gabriel in Israel, Turkey |  

A bag of Israeli-branded "Turkish" coffee

I was watching TV yesterday when I stumbled across this commercial, made by Strauss Group, an international food & beverage company and one of Israel’s most well-known brands globally. Read more

Remembering Ariel Sharon: A Collection of Op-Eds

Posted on by Gabriel in Israel |  

sharon

The death of Ariel Sharon has resulted in the publication of a wide range of opinion columns and articles about the impact of his career on Israeli history and the Jewish world. If anything, it proves that his influence was far-reaching, complicated, if at times controversial.

I have collected a number of pieces that have been published online and provided links to them (in bold). I encourage reading them – the conclusions you reach are entirely your own: Read more

Ariel Sharon, Bulldozer of Israel

Posted on by Gabriel in Israel |  
Menachem Begin and Ariel Sharon touring Beaufort fortress after its capture in June 1982 (IDF Archive)

Menachem Begin and Ariel Sharon touring Beaufort fortress after its capture in June 1982 (IDF Archive)

I come to bury Ariel Sharon, not exclusively to praise him, though it feels almost obligatory to poetically eulogize Israel’s now-deceased 11th prime minister. Eight years have passed since a massive stroke left him comatose, and no doubt many of the obits one can read in the dozens of major newspapers around the world were in fact written in 2006, so I hope to use a bit of hindsight while remembering one of Israel’s greatest figures. Read more

A War on Christmas in the Middle East?

Posted on by Gabriel in Israel, Turkey |  

Holiday madness has arrived early in the Middle East. On Sunday, Israel’s Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein rejected a fellow MK’s request for an official Christmas tree to be displayed in parliament during the holiday season. Meanwhile, in certain neighborhoods of Istanbul – a metropolis that has thoroughly embraced the commercial spirit of Christmas and New Year’s – there have been local efforts to “ban Santa.” Protestors held up signs reading “Christmas is a coup against Islam.” (For more on the changing attitudes towards Christmas in Turkey today, read this piece by Pinar Tremblay.) Read more

Remembering Lawrence of Arabia

Posted on by Gabriel in Uncategorized |  

I will admit, Lawrence of Arabia is perhaps one of my favorite movies of all time. It is a timeless visual masterpiece – Hollywood rarely makes films on such a grandiose scale – and compelling plot to boot, despite its many historical inaccuracies. Read more

Implications of the IDF’s Minority Strategy

Posted on by Gabriel in Israel |  

While I generally believe that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) support the integration and acculturation of Israel’s minorities into mainstream society via the military experience, news that the IDF has opened an exclusive new software testing course only for Ethiopian soldiers is yet another sign of increasing segregation within Israel’s military. As someone who suffered equally alongside immigrants from all over the world during my army service I am deeply disturbed by the implications of this decision. Read more

The French Twist

Posted on by Gabriel in Iran, Israel |  

Israel is abuzz with news of France’s unexpected obstruction of a potential agreement between the P5+1 and Iran regarding the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program. It is difficult to remember a time when the French were praised by the Israeli press, decades perhaps. The maneuver couldn’t have come at a better time either – it was a welcome distraction to the public feud between the Obama Administration and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on a range of issues, but none more important then the threat of a nuclear Iran. Now (at least publicly) there is another voice of caution against a hasty deal. Read more

Ataturk, Ben-Gurion, and Turkey’s Road Not Taken

Posted on by Gabriel in Israel, Turkey |  

Although they appear very far apart today, Israel and Turkey share common historical DNA. The two countries were forged in the same fire of post-World War I secularism, anti-imperialism, and ethnic nationalism; and they have both been tested by significant domestic and regional challenges. In particular, their founders, David Ben-Gurion and Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, both developed nation-specific models for statehood after the chaotic collapse of the Ottoman Empire. They did so by drawing from European models, while each observed the successes and failures of the other. Both emphasized a cultural and historical relationship to the land and adopted strict secular values. Their goals were the same, even if the end product was not: To construct nation-states that would “be masters of their own fate,” as Israel’s Declaration of Independence put it. As a result, the early years of these two Middle Eastern states—both of which were non-Arab, secular, and Western-oriented—were highlighted by an intense strategic partnership.

Read more

Curing the hiccups in Israeli-Turkish negotiations

Posted on by Gabriel in Israel, Turkey |  

From tales of Turkish intelligence chief Hakan Fidan revealing the names of 10 Mossad assets to Iranian authorities, to El Al being locked out of the Turkish market, it is hard to find a silver lining amid the darkening clouds of Israeli-Turkish relations. Read more