Stories written by Pierre Klochendler

Border Weakens Between Bombs and Cherries

It all happened within ten days – Syria’s civil war fought metres away from Israeli orchards abutting the ceasefire line; Austrian peacekeepers hastily evacuating the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) that separates Israel from Syria; fears of a total collapse of the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF). All while the cherry-picking season is at its peak.

Scales Tip Towards Women in Jewish Religious Rights Struggle

The struggle for gender equality and Jewish pluralism took a highly symbolic turn on Sunday at the Western Wall, Judaism's most revered site and emblem of unity, as a group of women known as "Women of the Wall" prayed legally and in a way they saw fit.

46 Years on, Arab-Israeli War Still Leaving Its Mark

Majda el-Batsch was eight years old in June 1967 when she heard about the war that year. "I didn't know what war meant," she recalled. More than four decades later, the Palestinian reporter is still grappling with the meaning of what is known as the Six-Day War.

When It Comes to Syria, Israel Frequently Redrawing Red Lines

Israel is being drawn into Syria's quagmire as it threatens to act further on transfers of "game-changing" weapons to hostile protagonists involved in Syria's civil war, be they Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah, Jihadist Sunni rebels, or loyalist forces of President Bashar al Assad.

Arab Magazine Challenges Attitudes About Arab Women

With a subtle blend of colour and shadow, 20-year-old Sumoud Farraj prepares for a photo shoot. Next month, along with three other young Arab women, she'll appear in a designer miniskirt on the cover of Lilac, an Arabic-language women's magazine.

Israeli Students Vow to Eradicate Malnutrition

At the Gymnasia Herzliya School in Tel Aviv, 20 ninth and tenth graders are testing the simplest, cheapest and fastest way to solve the problem of malnutrition among their peers around the world.

‘Tell Us About Jail – Just In Case’

“Three interrogators questioned me for three hours. I was handcuffed. They beat me, slapped me, kicked me, boxed me, accused me of throwing stones; played a video of a demonstration. I denied I was there. So again, they beat me up,” recounts Zein Abu-Mariya, 17, seated on a sofa next to dad.

Textbooks Hold Seeds of Peace and War

At Dar el-Eitam Islamic Orphanage, a secondary school under Waqf (Islamic trust) supervision located in Jerusalem’s walled Old City, Palestinian twelfth graders prepare their Tawjihi (A-Level) in history. On the wall behind the teacher are two portraits of “martyrs” killed during the Second Intifadah uprising (2000-2005).

Obama Visit Settles It a Little for Israel

On his visit to Israel and the Palestinian Territories, U.S. President Barack Obama laid out his vision for a revival of the long-stalled peace talks. Yet, it was clear from his statements that a settlement freeze is no longer an immediate requirement. And, he carefully avoided mentioning the pre-1967 lines as the basis for a two-state solution, to the Israeli Prime Minister’s delight.

Past Netanyahu, Obama Looks at Israeli People

U.S. President Barack Obama arrives in Israel on Wednesday, his first destination abroad of his second term, to pay a visit to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu whose own second consecutive term will have started only 48 hours beforehand. No wonder that the true purpose of the U.S. President’s visit is defined as reaching out to the Israeli people.

Digging Deep for New Conflict

If Herod the Great was a controversial figure of his time, 2,000 years on the controversy isn’t about his legacy; it’s about who holds the rights to excavate and preserve his artefacts.

Peace and Dead Sea at a New Low

Two of the three main objectives of the Red Sea-Dead Sea canal project grapple with how to “save the Dead Sea” and “build a symbol of peace in the region.” With Israeli-Palestinians relations and the Dead Sea at an all time low, questions arise whether the ‘Red-Dead Canal’ (as it is known in environmental jargon) could save not only the hyper-saline desert lake but peace itself.

More Dead Than Red

The World Bank has declared the Red Sea-Dead Sea canal project feasible. Designed to “save the Dead Sea”, “desalinate water and/or generate hydroelectricity at affordable prices in Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Authority”, and “build a symbol of peace in the Middle East”, the scheme, green groups warn, is fraught with environmental hazards.

Israelis Ski on Thin Snow

Unbending winds howl in the mountain, seldom carrying echoes of the two-year-old civil war closing in on Damascus just 35 kilometres away. But Israelis revel in immaculate pleasure. Albeit an internationally-recognised Syrian territory, the Israeli-controlled high ground is de facto their one and only ski resort.

Israel Votes for More of the Same – And Seeks Change

“He who believes doesn’t fear”…re-elected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hums a popular tune played with great intensity by his supporters. Indeed, faith is what Netanyahu badly needs right now as people showed just how little faith they have in him. “We’ll have coalition problems,” confides a Likud lawmaker.

Victory Close to Defeat for Netanyahu

As expected, Benjamin Netanyahu has been ensured another term in office. Against all expectations, he could have been defeated. Now, he faces uncertainty over the kind of governing coalition he will lead and thus the kind of policies he will carry out. And he faces a lingering question: can any prospective coalition last?

Iran’s Nuclear Plans Drop Off Israeli Radar

A meeting between Iran and world powers is tentatively set for the month-end in Istanbul, and might constitute a litmus test over a compromise regarding Iran’s uranium enrichment programme. Strangely enough, in Israel, Iran’s nuclear quest is now off the public radar.

Netanyahu Suffers From Being Too Popular

“We feel like we finally live a normal life in a normal country,” marvelled a popular radio host. Normalcy – this rare appreciation by Israelis of the privilege to indulge in small talk about the stormy weather that’s wreaked the whole region – is so abnormal here.

Marching Toward a Third Uprising?

While the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip hasn’t been so quiet for the past two decades, it’s now the turn of the occupied West Bank to show signs of eruption.

Some Take Cannabis Illicitly, Israelis Take it Seriously

With his shaky hands, eighty-year-old Moshe Roth can barely pour the green powder into his pipe. Seated in a wheelchair, he murmurs in a trembling voice, “Even the scent’s good.”

Diamonds Are Israel’s Best Friend

While Israelis aren’t new to the diamond trade, they’re fairly novice in diamond mining. Inspired by the words of a revered Rabbi who prophesied that gems are buried in the Promised Land, Shefa Yamim, the country’s first exploration and mining company, hopes to unearth huge diamonds deposits.

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