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Unprecedented Protests Grip Israel

We’re talking about the huge month of protests in Israel. Israelis in the streets calling for an end to Israel’s status quo and growing inequality.

Israelis participate in a protest against the cost of living in Israel, in central Tel Aviv. (AP)

Israelis participate in a protest against the cost of living in Israel, in central Tel Aviv. (AP)

Huge crowds. National uproar. Passion and politics in the streets. It’s not Egypt or Syria or Yemen or London this time, but Israel.

In the last month, hundreds of thousands of Israelis have poured into the streets of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and beyond to protest the cost of living, the cost of housing, the cost of cottage cheese –- and maybe a lot more. They’ve built a tent city and railed against tycoons and inequality. Shouted they want their country back.

But back to what?

This hour On Point: After the Arab Spring, we’ve got the Israeli Summer. What do Israelis want?

-Tom Ashbrook


Etgar Keret, well- known Israeli author who has been involved in the recent protests. He’s author of several short story collections, three graphic novels, and a children’s book. He has also written extensively for film and television. His most recent book is “The Girl on the Fridge.”

Bernard Avishai, adjunct professor of Business at Hebrew University. He’s author of “The Hebrew Republic: How Secular Democracy and Global Enterprise Will Bring Israel Peace at Last.”

Nadia Matar, founder of the Israeli settlers’ group — “Women in Green” –- which supports Israeli settlement of land captured in the 1967 War, and opposes the creation of a Palestinian state


Associated Press gallery of protests from the past few weeks, as Israelis have set up tent camps in a handful of cities throughout the country calling attention to the soaring cost of living.

Map of Israeli Housing Protests
View Map of Israeli Housing Protests in a larger map

From Tom’s Reading List

The New Yorker: “Middle-class Israelis from across the political spectrum are coming to the improvised tent site to protest what they consider government indifference to the unsustainable cost of living in Tel Aviv. A “rally for affordable living” brought more than twenty thousand people to the streets of Tel Aviv, holding signs that read, “I’ve had enough.” The face of the movement is Daphni Leef, a twenty-six-year-old film student from Tel Aviv, who first set up a tent on Rothschild after looking for an apartment in Tel Aviv and realizing that she couldn’t afford any of those available.”

Haaretz: “Are you in favor of affordable housing? If you are, you may want to consider this. If you want to build “socially correct” apartments on your own property, the land’s value could fall by 28% or more, found a study by the Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipality.”

UPI: “Parents, doctors, students and other Israelis turned out in force to participate in nationwide marches for better living conditions, observers said.”

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  • Dee

    Protesting everything , except the rights of the Palestinian people
    whose land and country they have stolen and illegally occupy in violation of international land and human rights. Shame on them!

    Israelis are on the wrong side of the law and history today. See if
    anyone cares about their rights anymore….It’s too bad they have
    been given an hour of public air time when their presence in the ME
    deprives the Palestinian people of their sovereign land & rights daily.


    • Anonymous

      I now see a pattern here. You only want NPR to have programing that reflects your ideology. In my view you are no better than the kind of tea party extremist who does the same thing.

      • Michael

        blah blah blah, sounds like the pot calling the kettle black. I saw you complaining last time about onpoint or others not talking about syria when critizing israel than when a show on syria happen you (among others) were nowhere to be found.

        Besideds NPR stated goal and the one who comes out with quarterly reported states paraphasing.

        “In regards to the Middle east Israel/Pally both sides should have some type of voice. “

      • no name

        Here we go!!  someone disagrees with israel and instead of replying to their point of view the zionist lobby starts attacking their intentions

        • Michael

          It’s the only way they can fight back, #, facts, history doesn’t help so they have to rely on the personal and emotion attack.

          This women talking right now is a perfect example of such.

    • Gary

      There had never been a Palestinian country when Israel was created by the United Nations.  The basic facts escape you.

      • no name

        maybe but there certainly was a palestinian people

        of course, israel never existed until the west invented it!

        • Gary

          And a people called Palestinians were invented shortly afterwards.

    • Juljul

      If we are so on the wrong side of the law then how come every single aspect of our population is represented in these protests? Arabs, Orthodox Jews, Middle class….etc?

  • Juljul

     Tom, thank you so much for doing a show on this. I would just like to pint out how very very different our (Israeli) protest is in comparison to protests every where else.
    To Dee, firstly the discussion of settlements is on the table, but you would not know that since you are already biased, secondly I just wonder where else Israelis should be other than the Middle East since that is where we are from, this is not only a historical truth, with some Israelis never having left Israel at all btw, but this is also traced back genetically.

    Your hateful comments have nothing to do on such a positive and innovative discussion such as Tom always has.

    • Cory


    • Michael


    • Michael

      There were no such thing as Israeli until 1940, Israelite yes but again they cleanse the Canaanites to do so, than there was two kingdoms that lasted a say a few Hundred years out of 3000, many Jews converted to either Islam or Christianity who could be traced back there as well or how actually live there.  Your facts are clerly wrong and about as biased if not more than anything dee could say. Israeli Historian Yehoshua Porath disputes if not debunks what you said.


      Jews, and Zionists especially, developed their own myths about Palestine. First they interpreted ancient Jewish history according to the ideology of modern nationalism, equating the old Israelite and Judean kingdoms with modern nation-states. The Maccabean revolt and the period of Hasmonean rule were seen as typical manifestations of the struggle for modern national liberation

      • Gary

        I think you mean 1948, but no mind.  Whatever the date, an Israeli state came before a Palestinian state.  Fact.  Sorry.

        • Michael

          Never said it did not.


          Of course you are. no debating that.


      • Righton

        Michael- Much better to let people think you are a fool – than open your mouth and remove all doubt!!!!!!!

        • Michael

          try taking your own advice there.

          I provided links and sources for my claims you along with juljul did not.

          try again.

      • Juljul

        You know I am actually an archaeologist so I do believe that I know more facts than you ever could or would even if you were interested in actually knowing them…but here are the basics…Israel and Judah  and David are all mentioned in extra biblical sources from around the region, examples are Shoshenq stela, Mesha stela, Amarna texts, Assyrian and Persian records,The House of David Stela from tel Dan….as well as numerous Roman texts aka Josephus. 

        The Hebrews (Israelites and Judahites) had their kingdom/s here for at least 1000 years. When they got kicked out by the Romans they never ever had a home since, other than Israel or as the Romans called it Palestina. They never were allowed to feel like they belonged in any country that they ever inhabited other than in Palestina where many thousands of Jews lived during the Islamic and Ottoman periods as well as During the British mandate. Many bought land here and moved to start settlements such as Tel Aviv, Petah Tikva and Tiberius..etc etc…and yes Jews did live in Jerusalem.

        Jews do not need to make any myths up about their origins. Perhaps if you live in America you should move back to wherever the heck your ancestors came from? I bet the Native Americans would like their land back.

        Perhaps you should read some more books on the subject?

        • Gary

          LOL.  Nope, 1948.  Fact.  Sorry, again.

        • Michael

          ·               You know I am actually an archaeologist so I do believe that I know more facts than you ever could or would even if you were interested in actually knowing them…but here are the basics…Israel and Judah  and David are all mentioned in extra biblical sources from around the region, examples are Shoshenq stela, Mesha stela, Amarna texts, Assyrian and Persian records,The House of David Stela from tel Dan….as well as numerous Roman texts aka Josephus. 
          Seems your not a very good one ( odd one from Israel is getting a WBUR public Radio program) If all the Jews were kicked out by the Romans than why were there still Jews there? Maybe not all the jews were kicked out, maybe many converted to other faiths?
          ·               “Israel and Judah  and David are all mentioned in extra biblical sources from around the region, examples are Shoshenq stela, Mesha stela, Amarna texts, Assyrian and Persian records,The House of David Stela from tel Dan….as well as numerous Roman texts aka Josephus. “
          You are aware biblical sources state a lot of things that aren’t true? But if you believe such than you must also admit that David, Jacob and the likes ethically cleanses the natives there to create the Israelite state. “The Hebrews (Israelites and Judahites) had their kingdom/s here for at least 1000 years.”
          Prove it? Whose was the king/P.M./President of  this kingdom in the 1200,1300,1400,1500,1600,1700,1800’s?

          • Plushkin

            It is funny what passes for an argument these days on NPR. look at this clown for instance – nothing short of hilarious!

          • Plushkin

            and using two accounts at once. 

        • Michael

           “When they got kicked out by the Romans they never ever had a home since, other than Israel or as the Romans called it Palestina.”
           So you speak for all Jews now? Not a single jew had a home? If your reasoning is racism and bigotry name a group of people who didn’t’ face such?
          “They never were allowed to feel like they belonged in any country that they ever inhabited other than in Palestina where many thousands of Jews lived during the Islamic and Ottoman periods as well as During the British mandate.”
          But you said all the jews were kicked out, and historical records (Israeli Historian I quoted) showed that it varied from place to place and jews were still treated far better than places like Europe.
           “Many bought land here and moved to start settlements such as Tel Aviv, Petah Tikva and Tiberius..etc etc…and yes Jews did live in Jerusalem.”
          Many did not, the % of land before the state of Israel was crated was far less for example. 1914 Jewish land ownership in Palestine was under 2 Despite the active British assistance to establish a “Jewish National home” in Palestine (based on the British commitment in the Balfour Declaration), Palestine’s Jewish population in 1947 was increased to 33% of its total population. (Righteous Victims, p. 83). Click here for a map illustrating Palestine’s population distribution per district as of 1946. Again, prior to the 1948 war less than one third of the Jews in Palestine were recognized as legal citizens by the Government of Palestine (Survey of Palestine P. 208), however, they mostly maintained citizenship of their respective countries, such as Russian, Polish, Romanian, and Germany citizenships
          Jewish land ownership in Palestine was under 7% as of 1947? (Benny Morris, p. 170) Click here for a map illustrating Palestine’s land ownership per district as of 1945
          “Jews do not need to make any myths up about their origins.”
          You just did
          “ Perhaps if you live in America you should move back to wherever the heck your ancestors came from? I bet the Native Americans would like their land back.”
          That’s what Helan Thomas said seems you too have something in common.“Perhaps you should read some more books on the subject? “
          Have and even quoted one such.

          • Plushkin

            one more incomprehensible drivel spiced with unrelated cut-n-paste quotations from Israel bashing site. How boring …  

          • Michael

            Good day,

             understandable you don’t like what I post since it debunks much of the myths your types like to claim. Hardly boring hench you once again commenting

            Anyways I will go on doing so despite your hatefilled attacks.


          • Plushkin

            hate? where do you that? calling you for what you are is hardly an expression of hate. 

          • Michael

            Oh yes,  speaking of grammar….

            You wrote.

            “where do you that?”


            Dude your funny.

          • Plushkin

            so I missed a word, big deal.

          • Michael


            But you did.

          • Plushkin

            besides, I’ve been reading these forums for quite a while now and you know what ? There are around couple of dozen regulars with the occasional another couple of dozen drive by shooters – it is hardly a venue worth perusing, albeit it is always amusing to see how you make a fool of yourself virtually every single time you post anything. Keep doing whatever it is you believe you’re doing :-). Just stop using multiple accounts (your poor grammar and overuse of words such as ‘such’ and ‘debunk’  gives you out every single time)   

          • Michael

            Multiple accounts? hardly. proof? of course not. It has become quite clear that people of your ilk cannot depute the facts, instead choosing to attack the messenger.

            “it is hardly a venue worth perusing”  yet here you are whining and complaining about my post.

            “albeit it is always amusing to see how you make a fool of yourself virtually every single time you post anything.”

            If all you got is attacking my grammar it’s pretty clear you got nothing. how does it feel to be owned so much all you have left is to attack my grammar?

            Not my fault you hate being debunked.

          • Plushkin

            Nice that you ask me a question and answer it at the same time.
            There are TWO “Michael”s here posting with same language violations using two distinct `disqus’ accounts one is “U_mtate” the other is “michael”. More descriptive “proof” has been submitted to moderators. Shell I continue ?

          • Plushkin

            and BTW “U_mtate” was banned here on May 25th but mutated? 

          • Michael

            And you get your info from where?
            Seems like a stalker might want to get some help.

            glad you tested out if you could post 3 weeks ago on Consumer Protection And Wall Street with the use of “test” not only that going back to your post on may 25th it a different account with the same name plushkin 2 months ago (prob after you got banned from Al Jazz

          • Michael


            Clicking on plushkin name will bring one to a totally different account other than the current one with the same name of plushkin on this account.

            besides again I often site my sources for my claims, bbc, Haartz, mutiple Human rights sites, Ynet news, and many other sources on the otherhand you do not and choose to dismiss and whin instead of providing evidences to counter such. While attacking my grammar you, yourself made a grammar mistake(which is pretty funny)

            Anyways don’t expect a response after this since your (it seems) intended goal is attack. It’s odd you try calling someone out for mutiple accounts while doing so yourself.


      • Plushkin

         no one should take this once banned village , you know who , Michael seriously.

  • Juljul

    For more info on the issue, here are some interviews from Nordau street, where many people have set up tents as well:



  • Michael

    Israel approves 227 new homes in West Bank settlement of Ariel

    As for violence there’s been tons, those people setting up those tent cities have been blocking roads, burning tires and attacking people. Not only there calling for more building on illegal land. But there’s also protest against Israel actions in the West Bank and Jim Crow type discrimination against non jews. 20% non jews living on 3% of the land. 5% of the 20% non jews having proffessional jobs. 5% funding for 20% of non-jews. Calls for expelling non-jews to keep a jewish character. Calling right now in the Knesset to put Jewish over Democracy.

    Taking advantage of the troubles
    So at the end of last week, Interior Minister Eli Yishai announced a series of construction projects beyond the 1967 lines. The Shas leader, who purports to promote affordable housing, announced the construction of 1,600 housing units for the ultra-Orthodox in north Jerusalem’s Ramat Shlomo neighborhood, and an additional 624 units in Pisgat Ze’ev, northeast of the capital.

    The boycott law subverts Israeli democracyhttp://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/the-boycott-law-subverts-israeli-democracy-1.372604Lawmakers seek to drop Arabic as one of Israel’s official languageshttp://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/lawmakers-seek-to-drop-arabic-as-one-of-israel-s-official-languages-1.376829According to Elkin, the law is intended to give the courts reasoning that supports “the state as the Jewish nation state in ruling in situations in which the Jewish character of the state clashes with its democratic character.”

    • Gary

      As a progressive, I support discrimination based on race for historically oppressed minorities, which is why I support women’s colleges, black colleges, and affirmative action.  But, then, hey, I’m a progressive, not a right-wing nut opposing the use of race to correct injustice.

      • Michael

        I bet. I knew you didn’t like blacks but women as well?

    • Juljul

      Ariel is a huge city it is not on the table for exchange so yes they will build there what ever they like.

  • ac

    i listen to lots of types of news & this is the 1st i heard of this…

  • Freeman

    Tom;              It will be interesting to see how unbiased you will be in handeling this most sensitive (history) subject.

  • Alan

    is this a pattern of what is to come? In Greece and Spain, the middle classes protested and were put down brutally, in the UK, we had the Ferrel, yes, ferrel youth of all classes looting and burning but what is more violent, a banker stealing millions while destroying pension funds or the sixteen year old robbing from JD sports.

    Israel’s middle classes are revolting against unfair and in some cases corrupt neo liberal policies, who has a problem with privatisation but not how Bibi and his buddies went about it, enriching themselves to the tune of unimaginable wealth. The protesters will not be dealt with harshly by the border police as they are Jews and this time around, not Shephardic Black Panthers but Europeans. The right wing can not sell the case of building in the Occupied Territories as this is what has caused the problems, occupation costs too much as even Arial needs insane security, new roads and an infrastructure which of course diverts investment inside the green Line. Answer, end the occupation, Israel can not afford it.

    • Tncanoeguy

      The banker can afford lobbyists and a better attorney.

  • ac

    the whole world seems in a classic state of a ‘Tale of Two Cities’…..(course, I haven’t read it since high school so I’ve forgotten a lot of it. I’m strictly going by a gut feeling, not details)

  • TheProof

    Isn’t this just the same cause spreading around the world?  It’s all about (1st) the huge separation of wealth that has transpired around the world over the last 10 years and (2nd) the protection of that wealth through their election of right wing governments in democratic governments and in the cast of the Arab Spring — the ruling dictators.  If the US, Europe, South America, etc are broke — who has all the money? Answer:  A very few.

  • Roblipton

    PEP (progressive except Palestine) will not fly anymore.  So, the good news is that social justice is social justice and the Palestinian issue on both sides of the green line will have to be addressed.  This is very good news for revivifying the left in Israel. 

    • Michael

      One could hope. There is a great deal of Israeli on the left fighting for such social justice. Hopefully those polls trending rightward will change.

  • ac

    i think the man in the interview said it all, can’t find a job that pays more than minimum wage. More people than jobs that need them…(I feel like I just posted about that)

    • Tncanoeguy

      Is this a characteristic of any modern economy – more people than jobs?  The goal of a company isn’t to generate jobs but to generate profits.

      • ac

        I don’t know, but it seems you don’t need the people to generate the profit anymore.
        My ‘ponderings’ around this are what will the people DO when they are not needed? It seems like it will be even worse in urban/concentrated populations…..It worries me…..but, it’s not my field, so there are probably variables I don’t know about…

      • Juljul

        There are TONS of jobs here, unemployment is under 5%…many people here do not want to do certain jobs, and another issue is that high level jobs in business pay 1/3d less than the same position would in America.

  • Freeman

    Tom & Guests;
                        Great show; how is it that they are ahead of America on this.Same conditions here in America and “people” haven’t taken to the streets. Where are all these intellectuals that we pay enormous salaries and benefits to ” manage” our countrys’ interest. Sounds like an issue of accountability. Maybe that is what was going on in the United Kingdom.

  • Shai

    The situation with the Palestinians nor capitalism are the problems in Israel. In fact the economic problem in Israel is too much centralization in the hands of olegarch cronies that are in cahoots with politicians. This creates a monopolistic effect in which prices are high and supply is limited, which also chronically limits the number of jobs and caps wages.

  • April B

    OK, I just have to address what was just said: “The problem is that people are not as rich as they should be.” Really? Really, is that the problem? People are dying in Somalia, and that’s the problem?

    • Tncanoeguy

      It’s all relative.

  • Ellen Dibble

    If a third is going to housing, does that mean an asset, like homeownership?  Or is that third the same when it’s rent going to a landlord, AKA not an asset.  Leading to a huge wealth discrepancy between renters and owners.  But at least renters would be in “socially acceptable” housing.

  • Miriam

    Here is a message I got from a friend in Israel:

    I was about to write to you about the Israeli revolution. A peaceful revolution.   A revolution of conscience.
    It began with one young woman, 25,call Dafni, who decided to put a tent in Rotchield Blvd three weeks ago, after being evacuated from her apartment and she couldn’t find a new one at reasonable rent.
    She called her friend to join her, and in a few days it became a TENT CITY, a TENT SETTLEMENT, of hundreds and thousand of people, who long for different quality of life, for a different attitude- from the political leadership, different future for us and for the next generation.   It is an amazing movement that is not violent but very polite, with academic people running it and people from all over the country, all kind of groups are joining the protest.  It is a new spirit that is born here. a spirit of unity, spirit of humanity, spirit of kindness.
    There were 3 marches in Tel Aviv- and in other cities in Israel, also. last saturday 300,000 people came from all over the country to Tel Aviv to walk in the street peacefully and support the revolution.
    People ask for lowering the rate of the taxes that we pay, direct and indirect.
    To lower the price of food, cost of education, build apartments that young families can afford themselves.
    And the amazing thing is that those who lead the protest do not go after the political temptation, they remain independent, clean, not connected to politics. And the university brings them a lot of help.  They have help from university professors of economy, for example, who volunteer to advise those young people.
    So, 3 days ago I put a Tent in a second Tent city close to my home- Nordau Boulevard and I sit there every evening with friends to be part of this beautiful movement.
    I attach pictures taken by Ivgeny, whom I met at the protest.

  • Dan

    Oh boy, this Nadia clown is going to be interesting. 

  • Ben

    Nadia just made me turn off my radio.

    • Guest

      With you…it takes a LOT to make me turn off my radio, but she managed!

      This whole “it’s our homeland because the Torah says so” kills me…aren’t there MANY religions around the world laying claims because THEIR “holy book” says it is their right?  These are cousins, essentially, who are trying to kill each other.

      And her daughter doesn’t have a place to live? Hmmm…ask all of the Palestinians who’ve lived in refugee camps for 30+ years what they think about that!

      • Kevin

        I’ve often thought that it’s interesting that Christians have never pressed a claim for more power and influence in Israel, considering it’s the birthplace of their religion.

  • Ellen Dibble

    I guess we should give everything back to the Indian tribes here, North and South.

    • Dan

      Amen!  “Biblical homeland!?” Give me a break it’s been 2000 years.  

      • Juljul

        Jews have been living in Israel (previously called Palestine by the Romans) for ever, it’s just that no one cares to mention that fact, yes it was only several hundred families, but they were here. And the ones that were not bought land from the locals and moved here from the 1800s on wards before the state became a state.

        • Doubting Thomas

          I don’t believe in any gods, but it strikes me that a god who allegedly parcels out land and favors to one particular tribe must have been invented by that tribe.

          • Anonymous

            I’m praying to the Flying Spaghetti Monster to see if He will grant me a holy land for myself. 

    • Michael

      America had slaverly so if a country start’s enslaving africans should they be allowed to? America did it? America did alot of things in the past that are considered wrong and disgusting but it doesn’t give others the right do to the same now because america did in 100+ years ago before International laws.

      • Ellen Dibble

        I was born the year Israel became independent, an American Christian, and I have no difficulty understanding that American Christians, evangelical and mainstream, were NOT thinking about Arabs in 1947 and for the years following.  We were pretty starry-eyed about claiming some connection to Biblical roots via returning turf to the ancient tribes the Lord had bestowed it upon.  Like motherhood and apple pie, it was a home truth.  One did not question it.  Of course Israel belonged to the Jews.  Didn’t we hear about that in church week-in, week-out?  I know it’s a limited view, but I think it explains how Israel was launched with religious not rational strictures.  I don’t know what role the Cold War played in the strategic support of one regime and another, but the uninformed American public seemed to agree with the Old Testament that God’s people should reclaim their inheritance, to quote Nadia’s word — “inheritors,” not “settlers.”

        • Guest

          I think it is a big leap to assume that the American public had any great awareness regarding the formation of Israel and the political situation in the Middle East in general. (Remember, a majority of Americans still that Saddam Hussein was involved with 911…We haven’t gotten better at grasping the nuances of the region to this day!)

          As I understand the history the Allies wanted a very sticky problem to “go away”, e.g. what were they going to do with all of Europe’s displaced Jews?  Turning to “the Biblical Homeland” was a quick and dirty solution for Britain at the time. Not something noble.

          And as I recall: Zionists put forth alternatives for the location of the Jewish state, so it was not always Palestine or bust.

          No matter what you believe it is simply not viable NOT to seek peace. The US cannot continue to be the world’s policeman; we cannot afford it and there is no public appetite for it.  And Arab populations are increasing much faster than the Israeli population. Israel is fighting a tide that will overwhelm it unless there is benefit to be had on both sides. Why is this so hard for both Jews and Arabs to accept?

      • Doubting Thomas

        Remember, too, that slavery is permitted in both the Old and New Testaments, with rules for the treatment of slaves spelled out.

        This is the same “moral’ textbook Israeli settlers use to justify their occupation. 

  • Igneous Slag

    Free Jonathan Pollard?  How about fry Jonathan Pollard?  Traitors deserve the death penalty.

    • Bshund

      Before throwing outrageous statements into highly-charged discussions, Slag, do a little research: traitors are those guilty of treason. The U.S. government did not charge Pollard with treason, because he was not guilty of treason. He passed classified information to a friendly power, which was entitled to that information under State Department memorandum. That is not treason. Further, every country – most definitely including the United States – spies on its allies, as well as its enemies. Welcome to the world of grownups.

  • Freeman

             Israel should learn from Africa; DON’T multiply beyond the “given” land to sustain your population. Starve and die if you don’t live within your means.  Don’t expect OTHER countries to pay for your irresponsibility. 

    • Juljul

      what the heck are you talking about? WHAT other countries are paying for Israel?

  • Michael

    Nadia Matar is a perfect example of the controlling party and settler’s views.

    Thanks for having her.

  • Anonymous

    The Bible cannot seriously be cited as being authoritative for land claims (Manifest Destiny excluded obviously). 

    • Juljul

      yes the Old Testament, as well extra Biblical sources can be cited…why not?

      • Kevin

        I think the Old Testament ought to cited as well, especially the parts that say, “You shall steal, you shall not covet your neighbor’s house, you shall not murder,” etc.

  • Ryan

    I’ll try listening online some other time. Nadia is too much. 

  • Mbuguji

    Nadia Matar!!! why am i even listening??

  • Jay

    Nadia’s stance may be a voice or opinion that ought to be represented in this conversation, but I cant believe you gave such a voice this much time… Normally you shut the radical callers up in a much better manner to keep the conversation a productive and informative one.

    • ac

      I don’t think he had a choice – she kind of rolled right over anything but the sound of her own voice, lol!!

  • Freeman

           I am to understand that American aid goes to building additional housing in Israel; which I  have some reservation on; I am absolutely opposed to building additional housing on “illegal” land that belongs to someone else.

  • John

    am sure this will be taken out of context but it is a fact that the Jewish
    population has been very successful in the finance industry, even Mel Brooks
    pokes fun at this fact. Why is it that the vast amount of wealth amassed by the
    Jewish community has not reinvested it into their homeland to
    create a more vibrant society? The Goldman Sachs of the world or possibly the Hollywood
    influence could easily provide support to the nation of Israel or at the least
    pass along the financial knowledge to improve the situation for their people.
    Is this an

    am sure this will be taken out of context but it is a fact that the Jewish
    population has been very successful in the finance industry, even Mel Brooks
    pokes fun at this fact. Why is it that the vast amount of wealth amassed by the
    Jewish community has not reinvested it into their homeland to create a more
    vibrant society? The Goldman Sachs of the world or possibly the Hollywood influence
    could easily provide support to the nation of Israel or at the least pass along
    the financial knowledge to improve the situation for their people. Is this an anti-Semitic
    statement or just acknowledgement of the presence of greed?
    I would make the same arguement for pro-athletes that have come from a low-income society and feel no responsibility to use their acquired wealth to help improve their neighborhood that continue to struggle.


    • Juljul

      John…you have a point…and they do invest a lot…they also buy up all the lucrative housing and then don’t rent it out

    • Plushkin

      Likewise oil rich Arab states should be held accountable for poverty in so-called palestine.

      • John

        indeed, I believe they should all be working in the interests of the people of their nation and not a small minority of the top 10% that hold all of the wealth, i suppose we could make the same arguement for how the system is operating in the U.S. right now.

  • Ellen Dibble

    I heard that Israel’s defense is a fifth or a sixth of their national budget, and I’m wondering what part of that is American foreign aid.

    • Kevin

      The usual dollar amount is $3 billion. Subtract that from the annual budget, whatever that is.

  • Dan

    Discussions about Israel and Palestine too often end up sounding like five year olds who can’t get along.  Many in my generation don’t care about nor feel any obligation to Israel.  Tired of keeping the promises of our fathers.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Interesting that Israeli politicians are answerable to their parties and not to any constituency.  I’ve got to think American politicians are secretly answerable to their campaign financers.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Interesting to hear the caller who said that in Israel until the current demonstrations it has been looked as somehow treasonous to protest.  She called it being a “fifth column,” and I’m afraid I don’t know exactly what is. 
        But there in Israel you see a socialist streak, and a capitalist streak, and a police-state autocratic streak, apparently.

    • Juljul

      thats absurd…people protest here non stop! teachers at least once a year, doctors as well, municipal workers…etc etc etc…oh and students…i know I’m missing some but you get the point. 

      • Kevin

        Yes, and sometimes they get arrested. It of course depends on when and where and who. One of Israel’s big problems is that they have a low respect for the rule of law, plus they have a set of official triple standards, one relatively lenient one for Israelis, a somewhat harsher one for Israeli leftists, and an extremely harsh and punitive one for Palestinians. What you’re saying is usually true, but not always. Unfortunately, police and the army can decide to make up laws on the spot if they deem it necessary for security, and if it involves Israelis versus Palestinians, the Israeli courts will usually back up the army and the police.

    • Gary

      Must be, if ONE caller said it.  Israelis argue, protest, and debate each other NON-STOP.  But, again, if one caller said it, and you already have a bias against Israel, then it is “apparently” a police state.

      • Kevin

        Israel is indeed a police state, but not to every one (see my comment below). It’s a very uniquely strange police state that really does allow a lot of political dissent, but reserves the right to withdraw those rights when it feels like it.

  • Non-Jew, Non-Palestinian

    I have no sympathy with the Israeli protestors. Maybe they are feeling a tiny bit of what the Palestinians have suffered since their country was taken away in 1948. Why is the American taxpayer having to support Israel and the greedy settlers? It’s not right.

    • Ellen Dibble

      I think it’s strategic, because of the “dangerous neighborhood,” and post-Arab spring, the neighborhood might be very different.  I thought I heard Nadia saying that Israel would protect the Palestinians from being overrun by certain other nations (Syria?), and I guess  I misheard.  But I believe I’ve heard that Israel does NOT want, under any circumstances, for a future Palestine to be able to defend itself.  So what is this about Bethlehem shooting bombs at Telaviv…
          There was a lot to take on board this hour.  Thanks for the variety of perspectives, OnPoint.

      • Tommfriend

        Bethlehem was a popular tourist destination. The current fatah occupiers have destroyed holy sites and driven the once majority Christian population out of town under threat of violence.
        Israel should protect these religious minorities anywhere within the Palestinian Mandate. They should not have abandoned this responsibility to others.

    • Juljul

      oh my god no ones land was taken away, the UN was going to partition it giving a small portion to the Jews and the rest to the arabs who lived on the land…the arabs who lived within Jewish areas were going to stay where they were according to the agreement. However the arabs did not agree, and en mass attacked Israel who beat them and then told the arabs to stay and not leave and live together as brothers. they did not, most ran, and now claim the right to return…

    • Tommfriend

      Palestine was the property of the Ottoman Empire. It was divided
      between Judean Palestinians and Arab Palestinians. The Jew accepted the divide the arabs did not. 

    • gardenia

      Anti-semite.  The best Palestinian is a dead one.

  • Anonymous

    once again government radio bends to the whims of the israel lobby.  what does an anti palestinian screed have to do wwith a discussion of economic inequality in israel?  Imagine if governemnt radio had a guest who went on and on about “god forbid” jewish people being permitted in palistine?  What if government radio had a guest who went on anf on about epeling all jewish people from israel?

    We know that you have to listen to your masters in the israel lobby but come on;  what does atrhe imprisonment of a traitor for spying have to do with economic inequaity in israel?

    • Michael Bresler

      1. NPR is not government radio.
      2. The anti-Jewish sentiments you hypothesized have actually been presented on NPR, by both guests and callers. One caller was allowed to present an uninterrupted 2-minute anti-Israel screed…in a show about GANDHI (yes, Gandhi, I’m not making that up)!
      3. The crime for which Pollard was charged, convicted and sentenced was not treason. Look it up, before you throw around highly charged words like “traitor.”

      • no name


        presumably you understand the difference between a caller giving a screed (assuning that you accurately discribed the call) and government radio constantly having guests who are simply anti-palistinean spin artists for the zionist lobby while rarely presenting the opposite point of view.

        presumably you also can differentiate between expressing an opinion that pollard is traitor and stating that he is imprisoned for spying, both of which I did. look it up.  I know that dealing with more than one thought is tough but  … .

      • no name


        1. sure it is;
        2. are you equating the screed of a caller (assuming that you accurately describe the call) with govenrment radio’s policy of always having an extreme anti-palistiean spin artise from the israel lobby as a guest while rarely if ever having guests who espouse the opposite point of view? 
        3.  presumably you can distinguish an expression of opinion that pollard is a traitor from a statment of fact that he is imprisoned for spying.  My comment both expressed an opinion and stated a fact. “look it up” Is that too complicated for you?

  • Robert Riversong

    The two primary guests presented balanced and reasoned perspectives on Israeli current events. That Tom Ashbrook would think it necessary to include a voice such as Nadia’s for the sake (I assume) of “balance” – a voice which is thoroughly disconnected from any reality other than a biblical missionary theocracy – speaks poorly of his judgement and his commitment to rational conversation.

    Let Fox be “fair and balanced” to the extremist views. NPR should be the voice of reason (often the least represented in today’s political atmosphere).

    • ac

      i like hearing what others think, even if it is crazy – keep your enemies close, no?

      • Robert Riversong

        It’s one thing to make a personal choice to listen to your “enemies”. But it’s another, entirely, to give that voice a global soapbox.

    • Juljul

      They did not really represent the people on the street actually…not to the fullest, Nadia’s voice is a big voice within the protest movement btw.

  • Quadraticus

    “Biblical homeland”? Are you kidding me, Nadia? Hey, my ancestors owned half of Austria at one point. Should I go there and demand to get it back? This is might-makes-right, plain and simple.

    If the Israelis want to take back their “biblical homeland”, they can pay the price in money and blood and continue this war for another thousand years: don’t ask me to help, either with tax dollars or blood from Islamic blowback. Zionism is a very costly policy: frankly, Israelis would be much better off buying property in Brooklyn instead of waging neverending war so they can live in the desert their ancestors occupied 10,000 years ago. It’s insanity.

    • Gary

      It’s true:  Crying over a lost homeland is crazy.  I’m glad that we agree the Arabs should drop it.

      • Kevin

        Why should the Palestinians stop crying over a lost homeland when Zionist Jews in Europe and elsewhere cried over THEIR lost homeland for centuries? This seems like a double standard. 

  • Buddhaclown

    When the conservative pro-settler commentator joined the show, her heated, uncontrolled tone — on the verge of shouting — reminded me so much of conservative commentators on Fox News or just the first hour’s show here on On Point. I felt so much sympathy for what the left wing in Israel has to deal with, and it made me realize how the real clash of the 21st century is not between cultures or classes . . .  but between Modernity and Conservatism. 

  • Michael

    Besides Nadia Matar this was a fairly balanced show would have been better if you ask a israeli arab to join as well.

  • Irene Moore

    Oh, this made my day and much, much more.  To hear this intellegent conversation about living together in peace and turning away from greed.  How rare and pleasing to the ear

  • Anonymous

    I never normally comment on these shows, but i had to come here and say that Nadia Matar lady is just absolutely nuts. She is the definition of a Religious Zealot.  Biblical homeland?  Settlers offensive?  Bin landen taking New York?    

    wow just this lady…. is the definition is whats wrong with Israel’s agenda.

  • Michael

    Nadia Matar ( whose Juljul agrees with)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nadia_MatarThe principles of the Women in Green are:

    1. All-out war against terrorism2. Not to give back an inch of territory3. To expel Palestinians involved in armed actions4. To allow the other Palestinians to live within the larger Israel, but without the right to vote.

    Wow I’m sure #2 and 4 will surely lead to peace.

    Israeli Nationalist news(rightwing settlers newspaper and supporter of “The Nationalist Party)

    Nadia Matar in New York: Kill Abbas
    Nadia Matar told a fervent pro-Israel crowd in a New York synagogue, “We
    must kill all terrorist leaders, starting with Mahmoud Abbas.”http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/130526

    • Juljul

      I never said I agree with Nadia, I just said that she represents a view point within a democracy…twisting words is oh so very easy Michael.

      Most settlers are not of her opinion, by the way, and the majority would have no problem living within one state with Arabs in it. Do you even have a clue as to how much interaction there is between Israelis and Palestinians? Obviously not because why would anyone bother with that part of the discussion, if it isn’t violent it’s boring.

    • Plushkin

      There is absolutely nothing wrong with what she says. At least she puts forward her solution in clear text. Pally supporters, however, just bounce everything off Israel suggesting that Israel just owes them a state. How convenient!

  • Michael

    Hopefully this will lead to a more equal society there and xenophobic racist that now makes up much of the controlling government will be voted out for a more balanced one that treats all it’s citizens as equals not second class.

    Israelis step up social protests: Masked rallies set for Wednesday across the country.


  • http://bookofzo.blogspot.com Joshua Hendrickson

    Nadia is a classic voice for the reactionary/fundamentalist viewpoint: I’m selfish and my God gives me the right to be selfish. This applies whether the reactionary/fundamentalist is Jewish, Muslim, Christian, or Teabagger. Thanks for giving her the opportunity for us to hear her, even if I do have to clean the filth out of my ears afterward. It’s good to know the enemy.

    • Plushkin

      so reactionary/fundamentalists come only from religious groups and GOP. How refreshing. Extreme left cannot possibly be either. Extraordinary!
      And the “enemy” is like Obama referring to GOP as enemy or deeper than that? Just curious…   

  • http://bookofzo.blogspot.com Joshua Hendrickson

    The protests give me hope. It’s true that they should integrate Israeli Arabs.  Progressive solidarity is the only counter to the regressive herd.

  • Dhlinva

    It suddenly struck me how different that women’s perspective was than mine.  I don’t know that much about it, but from what little I have read, the Israeli’s treat the Palestinians like dogs.  She certainly spoke of them with contempt.  How the Palestinians are fighting is exactly how people fight when they got abso-fucking-lutely nothing to lose.  I wish the Israeli’s would seek another perspective.  They are deceiving themselves with their illusion  The Palestinian territories are a big ghetto.  Isn’t it unbelievable that people who were so mistreated could treat others so miserably?  Just bottling them up in an area that can’t really support itself.  As conditions continue to deteriorate. Peace is the only way out, my friends.  Seek it.  Only by giving love will you receive it  Your hateful thoughts are hurting you.  To give, truly is to receive.  You’re getting back exactly what you’re giving.  Sewing what you reap.  Thoughts matter.

  • Tommfriend

    I notice that Tom was very concerned as to whether the inclusion of arabs in the recent Israeli demonstrations was a problem. He asked quite pointedly if it was.
    What he did not ask if Jewish inclusion in a new state was a problem. Why should any new state exclude Jews because of their religion?
    Israel far from treating their arabs as ‘dogs’ has granted them citizenship in Israel. Is this what is being offered in return?
    Why is this overlooked?
    Judean Palestinians must be guaranteed human rights as must Christians and women.
    Why is this cause overlooked? Why is the creation of a rascist state so acceptable to so many?

  • Sales

    Seriously that Natalie is a total idiot and Zionist cunt.  More importantly she brought nothing to the discussion, but fillabustering reactionary, religious nonsense.

  • Dee

    Re: A Racist Jewish state

    Tomfriend, you bring up a very important point -why should anyone accept Israel’s right to exist as a racist Jewish state? It is simply un-conscionable in this day and age and it violates the international Con-venant on race and religion … Not to mention violating civil rights.

    In addition, the fact that Israel’s right wing leaders and their apol-
    ogists around the world support such a state is simply outrageous
    also –and then they expect the Arabs and the rest of us to go
    along with this…I say no way! No more….

    I believe Gandhi had it right in 1938 when he argued against the partition of Palestine and felt it was morally wrong to reduce the Arabs population to accommodate Jews …

    Indeed, Gandhi proposed Jews stay in the country of their birth
    and fight for their civil rights like the rest of us…How imminently sensible in retrospect that argument is –especially today!

    Gandhi said the world didn’t need a Jewish state –at least no more than it needed a Christian state and proposed this arrangement was better insurance policy for Jews against dictators like Hitler in the long run.  Dee

    P.S. When one considers the fact various groups throughout history
    suffered at the hands of dictators –such as the early Christians in Roman times or were afflicted by famine or disease –and no group
    I know of were given special treatment –such as a homeland.

    So this Zionist plea for a homeland -was way out of whack with the norm and indeed how people have acted throughout history. And perhaps more importantly today, there is no need for a special home-
    land for Jews or anyone else in our human rights world —and this should end for the good of all…Especially, for the Palestinian people. 

    • Plushkin

      nice so by the same token there is no need “for special home” for pallys. After all they can all go to Jordan where they belong. 

    • Tommfriend

      Hard to be a rascist state while guaranteeing the human rights of your citizens regardless of race, which is what Israel alone does in that entire region.
      Your hatred comes through very clearly.
      The fact is that the League of Nations and the UN formed Israel, as they did many states after the wars. Many of those states do not permit freedom of religion as Israel does, but I see no concern from you.
      50% of Iraq’s Christian population has fled since the USA has arrived.
      This example of overt rascism worries you not.  I suspect because the Christians are doomed there and that suits your goals.
      Israel however stands strong, hence is a threat to you.
      All of the areas that Israel has allowed to self-administer have suffered loss of freedoms and the loss of education.
      I believe that the translation of the word Israel explains your ire.
      Israel translates to “God Rules”.

      • Kevin

         I wish you could visit some of the villages in the West Bank whose land has been stolen by nearby Israeli settlements and then watch as the Israeli army and police come to shoot tear gas at any thing that moves when Palestinians try to lead unarmed, non-violent demonstrations. I wish you could also be there to see when settlers throw rocks and bottles at passing cars driven by Palestinian residents while the army and police stand by and do nothing, and then see how the army and police go berserk when Palestinians throw a few rocks in pitiful attempts at self-defense against tear gas and rubber bullets. Or when Palestinians are convicted of crimes in Israeli courts (often on false testimony wrung from coercive interrogations of other Palestinian detainees,  some of them boys no more than 10 years old) at much higher rates than Israelis and get much harsher sentences than their Israeli counterparts. To say that Israel protects the human rights of its citizens regardless of ethnicity is simply incorrect. I wish you were right, but, no, it’s not true.

  • http://twitter.com/wwwcash Criostoir

    Well said Jeremy

  • http://twitter.com/wwwcash Criostoir

    Morality and ethics and peace and love are all well and good in theory but in the real world whether we like it or not might is always, always right.

    Try telling a white shark that it is not fair to eat you.

    A very wise Chinese gentleman once said: “You can have what you can take, you can keep what you can hold.”

    Native American, Native Palestinian, Native Irish, who cares, the guy holding the biggest gun will always win.

    Remember it is not to long ago that the Jews were viewed as terrorists by the British rulers in Palestine.

    Isn’t it funny how terrorists who prevail become freedom fighters!

    Nelson Mandela comes to mind.

    • Kevin

      The opinion you just stated is very common in Israel, from what people there tell me. “Morality is a nice idea, but we can’t afford to be moral when the whole world’s against us.” I wish the Israelis would realize that the whole world’s against them BECAUSE they don’t behave morally. It may seem like might makes right, but most tyrants and dictatorial, fascist states don’t last forever. There is justice in the universe, and His name is God. 

    • Slipstream

      Notably cynical viewpoint

  • Pingback: Israel’s summer of protest: Avishai, Walzer, et al. «ScrollPost.com

  • Paul Jevas

    Israel from the “Palestinian” Perspective
    Your perspective–and those of your guests of the program– would have more credulity and sympathy in Gaza Iran and Russia– And of course the UN. One need not be an expert in mid-East politics to understand what has been going on over there for the past 3,500, nor the past 150 years. Your recent history of their battles are grossly obscured by your (dare I say) Political Correctness.  Two items should jar your memory:
    1.) Israel BOUGHT that land in the late 19th century, much to the humor of those who gladly took their money.
    2.) Israel was  attacked from three fronts the morning after their statehood—and several times since then.
     3.) EVERYONE knows the PA will NEVER agree to any sort of ‘Land for Peace’ deal; they have ALWAYS been very vocal about Israels destruction ( do you not remember the refugee problem was started when the people were convinced that Israel would be pushed into the sea, and they needed to clear out for Israels destruction–that 6-day war in 1969 is remembered as ‘The Great Disaster’–  And of course ANYONE who would be foolish to agree to any deal with Israel would be signing their death warrant (does Anwar Sadat ring a bell?). Last of all historically any land once conquered by Islam must remain in their control. This principal Islam CANNOT negotiate on.
    Please—stick to our own national issues and quite messing up the facts with Western ideology. THANK YOU.

  • Dee

    To Criostoir, Re Might is Right

    You would do well to go back through history and discover Might has
    rarely ever been considered right. Indeed ,as Gandhi points out below it is the people & the truth who have ultimately won the day instead.

    Perhaps this goes back to an observation Thomas Jefferson made about liberty itself…That it was the desire of all mankind and he
    predicted the world’s monachs & dictators would ultimately be over-thrown as a result “All eyes are opened, or opening to the rights of man.”

    Isn’t this what we have seen in the modern world for the last 60yrs
    also, with the fall of the British Empire and recognition of indigenous
    peoples’ rights –to the fall of the Soviet Union and dictatorships in Latin America and Middle East today?

    Indeed, one could say Might has become a huge liability for world leaders –as one of the US Justices to the Nuremberg Trial in 1945, Robert L. Jackson declared “no grievances or policies will justify re-
    sort to aggressive war. It is utterly renounced and condemned as
    an instrument of policy.”  Dee

    “Whenever I despair, I remember that the way of truth and love has always won. There may be tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they may seem invincible, but in the end, they always fail. Think of it: always.” Gandhi

  • Paul Jevas

    These were shepherds from the countries that surround Israel who were ordered off Israeli land prior to the 6-day war with a promise of return and the spoils of war; the Islamic world refer to it as “The Great Disaster”;the Jews were to be overrun and pushed into the sea. When Israel defended herself from yet another holocaust–and won, those
     who had left the land found themselves without a home: NONE of the surrounding countries would take their own peoples back.
    These “Palestinians” have been successfully used as a PR campaign for their so-called right to return. Essentially all of foreign relief monies designated for “Palestine” over the years were siphoned to Arafat’s Swiss bank accounts.
    The PA is winning a PR campaign they have proven could not be accomplished militarily since Israel’s statehood in 1948.
     Incidentally, the term “Palestine” was given to the land by ancient Rome that referred to Israel’s ancient enemies who were called Philistines, a term picked up by Great Brittan during their occupation.
    Here’s a thought: Google “Palestine” and see how far back they go. These who demand a land they never ruled from nor built are playing on the sympathies of a very myopic and ignorant West to accomplish their goal of removing Israel from a land purchased by Orthodox Jews who built a city from swamps and deserts and won during subsequent battles.
     Historically and legally–they have more rights to their land than Europe does to America.
     HEY! Here’s a novel idea!! Let’s demonstrate our solidarity with “Palestine” and return North America to the Native Americans: let’s all go back to where WE came from prior to the 1600′s.
    Look, Israel has been our friend and ally: the only stable state in the Middle-East. Since it has become fashionable now to denigrate and abhor Democracy then why should we not abandon our friend and ally for an internationally recognized terrorist group financed by Syria and Iran, who happen to be enemies of the West and do in fact abhor democratic rule; proven by their vote to let Hamas rule over them. 
    THIS is illustrative of why we are considered a laughingstock to the rest of the developed world: we inject emotion and misguided passion into our myopic vision of the planet and rewrite the historical narrative to suit our own misguided passions.
    The one instance that it worked in our favor was to grant statehood to a people who had survived the holocaust with no legitimate “home” to return to. 

  • Slipstream

    I was glad to hear this program, because I had no idea any such situation was developing in Israel.  Yes, one does wonder quite a bit about what kind of biases and filters the American mainstream media puts their information thru before it reaches our eyes and ears.  Of course it is not shocking that Israel, like every other country, would have its class differences and struggles. 

    And in response to a few of the other comments I see hear, and have heard all my life – just how do hardcore anti-Arab Jews and Israelis see some sort of lasting peace developing without giving the Palestinians a homeland of some kind?  You’re going to have to give them something – but of course the Arabs might have to swallow their pride a bit and accept less than everything they want.

  • http://www.telavivapartments.net telavivvacationapartment

    why they are always having a protests? i think the government is not doing well they are not comfortable with the leader

  • http://www.telavivapartments.org tel aviv apartment rentals

    this is really a disgusting problem the landlords do not have a consideration to the renters the rent must be lower especially to the renters who cannot afford to a high rentals

  • http://www.embassyofisrael.co.uk/ george

    Interesting I found this blog by accident. Really glad I did though, I’ll be back from now on.It can be difficult to find good blogs nowadays. Found one here though by the looks of things.

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