Latest posts by Elizabeth Tsurkov
"Everyone says that firing on civilians in a war crime, and no one sees civilians on the other side," tweets Leftist Israeli blogger Noam.
Darfuri asylum-seeker and actor, Babaker (Babi) Ibrahim was arrested by Israeli police for not having a receipt for his bicycle, which was thus presumed to be stolen. His detention without trial sparked outrage and an online and offline campaign to release him.
A protest organized by three groups affiliated with the Israeli social justice movement (#j14) was held in Jerusalem on Saturday night (June 8). The protesters demanded a reversal of the decision to export most of Israel's natural gas reserves with only 12.5% of the value of the gas going to the State in taxes. The protesters also voiced objections against the budget of the new government, which is expected to significantly raise taxes on Israel's lower and middle-class, while at the same time cutting government services on which those classes rely. The protest, despite being peaceful and rather small (a few hundreds of protesters) was met with an unusually high level of random police brutality.
The Israeli public largely objects to the current policy of allowing ultra-orthodox Jewish youth to avoid army service, but the rule has long been upheld thanks to political power play. Now, the policy is up for consideration.
For a whole day, Israeli media were forbidden from reporting on the Prisoner X story, even as it was making headlines worldwide and Israelis disseminated the news in social media and blogs.
The financial troubles of Israeli news media is affecting the diversity and independence of reporters, who are less willing to challenge the wishes of editors or managers who answer to the tycoons who own the media outlets. Increasingly, citizen journalist and bloggers fill in the void of Israeli mainstream media coverage.
Israel's Minister of Defense, Ehud Barak, who previously served as Israel's Prime Minister (1999-2001) and IDF Chief of Staff (1991-1995), made a surprise announcement in a press conference today, saying he will be retiring from politics as we wants to spend more time with his family. Israeli netizens react to his resignation.
The latest round of fighting between Israel and Gaza militants was covered around the clock in Israel. Media outlets largely adopted the government's narrative and justifications for the offensive. Leftist Israeli bloggers and netizens, while criticizing the government throughout the operation, also attacked what they saw as a biased coverage of the events.
After a cease fire was negotiated and rocket fire from Gaza had almost stopped, IDF drones assassinated Hamas military chief, Ahmad al-Jabari. Gaza militants responded by launching a barrage of rockets. One of those rockets exploded in a home in the southern town of Kiryat Malachi, killing three members of a family. IDF attacks on Gaza have resulted in the death of at least 13 people, some of them civilians, and injured over 100 people. Israelis living under constant rocket fire in southern Israel shared their experiences and feelings online.
In June 2012 Israel began implementing the amendment to the Anti-Infiltration Law according to which all asylum seekers who cross the Israel-Egypt border are automatically jailed for a minimum period of three years without trial. Citizens of ‘enemy states' (such as Sudan) are jailed indefinitely. Elizabeth Tsurkov shares blog reactions as more prison camps are erected to receive the influx of refugees.
Israeli netizens closely followed the elections in the United States, many of them staying up until the early morning hours to find out who of the candidates crossed the 270 electoral vote threshold. The Israeli social media and blogosphere scene is dominated by people who lean to the Left and thus most hoped that Obama would be re-elected. Liberal Israelis are generally disappointed with Obama's inaction regarding the peace process and human rights violations inside Israel, but Romney is seen as the worst of the two.
Israelis took to Facebook and Twitter to react to the announcement that the two largest right-wing parties in Israel will run on a joint ballot in the upcoming January 2013 elections. The parties, Likud, headed by Prime Minister Binyamin (Bibi) Netanyahu, and Yisrael Beyetenu headed by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, are projected to form the next Israeli government, as all polls show that the right-wing blog will once against be dominant one in the Knesset.
Oמ Saturday evening (July 14), 56-year-old Moshe Silman attended the Aviv social justice protest, which marked a year since the beginning of the #J14 protest movement. Since the self-immolation, the discussions about it dominated the Israeli cyberspace. The initial reaction was shock, especially of the hundreds of people who witnessed the self-immolation. Many expressed the feeling that Silman's story could have happened to most Israelis due to the near total absence of a government safety net.
Israel's netizens react with satire to a recently released report that claims Israel is not an occupying power in the West Bank. Image caption reads: "Listen, I'm gonna take off the blindfold. Tell me if you still see the occupation."
One of the major results of the social justice protests in Israel has been a renewed debate about the budgetary priorities of the state. The social justice movement (also known as #j14) demands a more equal distribution of wealth in Israel, including funneling a greater share of the budget to welfare services, instead of current budgetary priorities- namely, the defense budget.
In the past few weeks two cases of rape of Jewish women by Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers have been reported in the Israeli media, prompting a new wave of racism against asylum seekers in Israel.
Israel's biggest news story of recent months happened in the early hours of May 8: the head of the opposition, Shaul Mofaz, agreed to join Benjamin Netanyahu's government, thus postponing the early elections Netanyahu had announced just days before.
Yuval Diskin, the former chief of Israel's internal security agency, Shin Bet, caused a firestorm in Israel at the end of April, when he was recorded speaking against the Israeli leadership, specifically, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
The Jewish holiday of Passover began on the night of Friday April 6, and millions of Israelis gathered for the Seder, the traditional ritual feast. The Seder is infamous as an occasion when one is forced to spend time with disagreeable family members. Israeli Twitter users, known for their sense of humor and cynicism, could be counted on to tweet their Passover Seder experiences.
The Israeli Twittersphere reacted strongly to the decision of the Ministerial Committee for Legislation in the Knesset, approving two bills that would heavily tax foreign donations of human rights non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and would severely limit the amounts the organizations are allowed to receive funding.
Several Israeli media reports in recent days have discussed the possibility of an imminent Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear facilities. Following these reports, the Israeli public, for the first time, started seriously debating this important issue. Netizens react to the news on their blogs and on Twitter.