News from Peace Now:

This morning (December 2) a plan for temporary housing on three plots of absentee property near the illegal outpost of Amona was deposited. This was done through a special order - originally used for the Migron settlers - which allows for the promotion of plans in an expedited process. It is now clear that the government is promoting temporary housing for the Amona settlers in the nearby absentee property, despite Israel’s legal interpretation since 1967 according to which absentee property cannot be used for the establishment of settlements.

It is important to note that while the plan is for eight months only, in the settlements what is temporary usually becomes permanent. For example the two year long temporary housing for the Migron settlers from in Givat HaYekev (or the New Migron) is still in place.

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For Argument's Sake

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In our jointly authored book, my father, a writer, and I, a historian, took a fresh look at the mystery of Jewish survival. "Ours", we wrote, "is not a bloodline but a textline."

Book pullJews are not a people forged by blood and swords, but we are nevertheless an ancient nation. This belonging can cross international borders today; it tackles the religious-secular divide and the Israel-diaspora divide. Ours is a uniquely textual nation, whose sense of belonging comes from the Bible and a myriad of subsequent books, interpretations, arguments and questions. For many centuries, ours was the only pre-modern culture with universal male literacy, alongside significant female literacy.

Tell your Child"Tell your child": this is our oldest and best survival technique and cultural instrument. But we do not only teach our children to read and remember. We also encourage them to think afresh, and to challenge their elders with questions and ideas. Also to laugh: at ourselves, at authorities, and even at the Almighty.

As you know, all good Jewish families argue. Humor, irreverence, debate, originality, and text-based inventiveness: these are the ancient codes of Jewish survival. They explain our global sense of cousinhood - or at least a shared sense of humor - in today's world. It is the key to our three-millennia survival.

Does 'textual nationhood' mean that the Land of Israel is unimportant? That Jews ought to have remained stateless? Not in my book. The State of Israel, which my four grandparents helped build in the fields of the kibbutz and in the libraries of Jerusalem, is a miracle even to secular Jews like us. It came into being when young Jews of the 20th century transformed longing into activism, memory into state-building, and Talmudic reasoning into modern invention.

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APN Board Book - December 2016

The December 2016 Board Book features a sampling of APN’s work in 2016 towards the following objectives:

  • Standing Up Against the New Political Order
  • Taking Our Case to the United Nations
  • Mobilizing Action to Preserve the Two-State Solution
  • Preserving Israel’s Democratic Character, Defending Jewish Values and the U.S. Constitution
  • Regular Publications (Legislative Round-up; Hard Questions, Tough Answers; They Say, We Say; fundraisers, etc.)

Read the full Board Book here.

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Former Shin Bet Director Yuval Diskin, "Real security can only be achieved through peace."

APNlogo_donateAs part of an ongoing series, APN is running this message this week in the Washington Jewish Week and the Baltimore Jewish Times from former Shin Bet Director Yuval Diskin .

You can support additional ads by donating here.

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News from Peace Now:
With an expected vote on the regulation bill at the Knesset tomorrow (November 30), Peace Now exposes the scope of construction on private Palestinian lands and the implication of the bill on the two state solution in a new report. 
According to a Peace Now count the regulation law will result in the retroactive legalization of 55 illegal outposts and of approximately 4,000 housing units in settlements and illegal outposts. 

Peace Now views the regulation law as a grand land robbery, which will lead not only to the expropriation of 8,000 dunams of private Palestinian lands but might also rob Israelis and Palestinians of the possibility of arriving at a two state solution. 

To read the full report click here.

Key findings:
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Fight the Darkness

Debra DeLeeToday is Giving Tuesday, and I am writing to ask you to consider donating to Americans for Peace Now and to Israel’s Peace Now movement, two organizations that work together to advance the liberal values championed by the founders of both the U.S. and Israel.

I just returned from Israel after an exciting week with APN’s annual Israel study tour.

During my stay there, I had dozens of conversations with progressive Israeli friends. All of them – in one way or another, sometimes basking in schadenfreude – welcomed me to their club.

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November 28, 2016 - Forest fires raise strategic issues; so does Golan clash with ISIS

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Yossi Alpher is an independent security analyst. He is the former director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, a former senior official with the Mossad, and a former IDF intelligence officer. Views and positions expressed here are those of the writer, and do not necessarily represent APN's views and policy positions.

This week, Alpher discusses what we have learned from Israel's recent emergence from a week of battling massive forest fires; climate change as a national security issue for Israel; "pyro-terrorism;" the state of Israel’s emergency services; the strategic significance of all this regional and international aid to Israel for the fires; and how significant is Sunday's IDF clash with an ISIS force on the Golan.

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Bilingual schools fighting segregation in Israel

kid and barbara350x375Jewish and Arab students celebrated “Tolerance Day” when we visited Bridge Over the Wadi, the bilingual elementary school in the Israeli Arab town of Kufr Kara. This extraordinary school is one of a handful statewide, in which Jewish and Arab kids study and socialize in Hebrew and Arabic, learn about each other’s culture and narrative, and build common ground.

“How is ‘Tolerance Day’ different from any other day here,” I asked the school’s principal, Dr. Hassan Aghbaria. “That’s a good point,” he laughed, “we teach and experience tolerance every day, year round.”

Dr. Aghbaria’s school is one of six bilingual schools throughout Israel, run by Hand in Hand, the Center for Jewish-Arab education in Israel. The one in Kufr Kara is the only place in Israel where Jewish parents take their children, every day, to a school in an Arab community.

To understand how unusual these schools are, one must realize how segregated Israel’s school system is, and how segregated Israeli society is. Jewish and Arab students attend separate schools, where separate curricula are taught. Jewish and Arab citizens hardly socialize. They hardly get together. “What we have in this school is a virtual environment. Everything outside is segregated, while everything inside our school is integrated,” Principal Aghbaria told participants in APN’s Israel study tour who visited his school mid-November. The challenge, he said, is to extend this environment beyond the school, beyond Kufr Kara, and beyond the five elementary school years that students attend.

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israeli-separation-barrier-Newsweek-AnatBenNun320x265With the election of Donald Trump as the next president of the United States, speculation is running high in regard to Washington’s policy on Israeli settlement construction and the future of the Middle East peace process.

While many unpredictable variables are in place, one thing is certain—the viability of the two-state solution is at stake. After 50 years of occupation and as the point of no return grows closer, Trump’s administration is set to carry an even heavier responsibility on its shoulders than previous U.S. administrations.

When it comes to Trump’s settlement policy, I argue that instinctual assumptions of reckless Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank during his presidency may be misleading. Unfortunately, the likely alternative also contains substantial risks for the two-state solution.

Celebrating Trump’s election, the Israeli right-wing was single-minded. It was not worried about democratic values, nor was it concerned with pluralism or for the American Jewish community. Rather, it expected that starting from January 20, all restraints on settlement construction would be removed. Without restraints from either Trump or Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, continued settlement developments will create irreversible damage to the two-state solution.

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Hope Is Something You Make

Americans for Peace Now

These days you may be feeling shell-shocked, angry, and depressed. We certainly are: As we observe Washington’s new political landscape, we acknowledge that advancing an Israeli-Palestinian peace agenda, based on a two-state solution, will be difficult. We have long said that supporting Israel means supporting peace. This was never merely a slogan. Compromising core Jewish values in order to avoid criticizing Israel comes at a high price – both for Israel and for Jews in America. Jewish values are incompatible with occupation. We will not give up – and you must not give up, either.

DonateIsraeli superstar and peace activist David Broza has never given up. He has performed in anti-war demonstrations despite warnings that political activity would destroy his career. He has fought with all the tools he had - his music, his songs, his voice. And he is still fighting. His album, East Jerusalem, West Jerusalem, is a collaborative project with Palestinian musicians focusing on hope and peace. Active in Peace Now for decades, he is proud to partner with Americans for Peace Now, to offer you the album and the film — a CD and DVD set — for a donation of $36 or more. All but $15 of your donation is tax-deductible. This #BlackFriday, the Friday after Thanksgiving, support our work in this critical moment - and get a little hope for a friend (or yourself). Hope is not just something you have, it’s something you make.

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