Israel-Palestine News Compiler

Gideon Levy: The dark religious side of Israel

Posted in Internal Israeli Affairs, Opinion Pieces by beyondtheborder on April 12, 2009

We must admit that this society has rather dark religious aspects. Foreigners landing in Israel might ask themselves what country they’re in: Iran, Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia? In any case, it’s not the liberal, secular and enlightened society it purports to be. Thieves’ hands do not have to be hacked off or women’s faces covered to be a religious country. Just as an occupying state, which controls 3.5 million people lacking basic civil rights, cannot call itself “the only democracy in the Middle East,” so a country that has no bread for a week because of its religion cannot call itself secular and liberal. Actually, there has been increased openness in recent years. More entertainment venues and supermarkets are open on Saturday in some of our cities than ever before, like before the Heichal movie theater riots in Petah Tikva. The dead can finally be buried in a civil ceremony in exchange for a fistful of shekels. But that’s not enough to be able to call ourselves a secular society. We must not delude ourselves: From the cradle to the grave, from marriage to divorce, almost everything is still religious.

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Israeli Passover restrictions prevent hundreds from reaching Jerusalem for prayer

Posted in Jerusalem by beyondtheborder on April 11, 2009

Muslims heading to the Al-Aqsa Mosque for Friday prayers and Christians wishing to worship at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where Jesus is said to have been buried following his crucifiction, in Jerusalem were turned away from Israeli checkpoints.

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Jewish Right wing groups try to enter Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem

Posted in Jerusalem by beyondtheborder on April 9, 2009

Palestinian sources said Israeli police did little to stop them,adding that the groups made three attempts to get in, first of all in the morning, then again at midday followed by another try in the afternoon.

Witnesses said the extremists were disguised as Palestinians. The Palestinian committee for Jerusalem said that local activists and youths will now have a full-time presence at the gates of the mosque to prevent such intrusions which tend to happen during Jewish holiday periods such as this weekend’s Passover festival.

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Israel closes Hebron’s Ibrahimi Mosque to Muslims for Passover

Posted in Closures by beyondtheborder on April 9, 2009

Director of Hebron Waqf (religious endowment) office Zayd Ja’bari condemned the decision as a part an attempt to take full control of the mosque and transform it into a Jewish synagogue.

Israeli settlers have taken over half of the building and for years have operated it as a Synagogue. The building is known to Jews and Muslims as the burial place of the Biblical patriarchs, including Abraham.

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Barak orders closure of Palestinian territories

Posted in Miscellaneous by beyondtheborder on April 7, 2009

Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, instructed the army to impose a strict closure over the occupied Palestinian territories starting on Monday at night until midnight on Saturday April 18th as the Jews mark the Pesah (Passover) holiday.

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