100 episodes

From Haaretz – Israel's oldest daily newspaper – a weekly podcast in English on Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World, hosted by Allison Kaplan Sommer.

Haaretz Podcast Haaretz.com

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    • 3.9 • 14 Ratings

From Haaretz – Israel's oldest daily newspaper – a weekly podcast in English on Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World, hosted by Allison Kaplan Sommer.

    'U.S. military aid to Israel is endangered. More people will say it should be cut'

    'U.S. military aid to Israel is endangered. More people will say it should be cut'

    Six months into Israel's conflict with Hamas, the solid support U.S. President Joe Biden's White House gave to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government has taken a serious hit.

    Following the deaths of seven World Central Kitchen humanitarian aid workers, a clash over a possible military operation in Rafah, and Israel's failure to provide a vision for the "day after" the war in Gaza, there has been a "precipitous drop" in the standing of the Israeli prime minister both in the White House and Congress, Haaretz Washington correspondent Ben Samuels tells Haaretz Podcast host Allison Kaplan Sommer.

    "World Central Kitchen founder Jose Andres is a close friend of Joe Biden. And when seven of his employees are killed, that made it personal for the president in a way that unfortunately 30,000 Palestinian casualties has not been," he said, sparking an unprecedented tough phone call from the president to Netanyahu in which Biden "really put his foot down."

    Behind the scenes at the White House, Samuels said, officials are "incredibly frustrated, and I think they feel a little personally betrayed by Netanyahu as well.

    "I think they really believe that they have been going out on a limb providing coverage and support when it is becoming extremely unpopular both within the United States and in the international community. So I think there is a very real sense of resentment," Samuels said.

    Also on the podcast, Hadar Susskind, President and CEO of Americans for Peace Now discusses his organization's support for Congress conditioning aid to Israel, a stance that has traditionally been controversial within the world of American Jewish advocacy groups but is gaining traction on Capitol Hill.

    As Susskind sees it, "aid to Israel is endangered" because Israel's behavior in Gaza and the West Bank "often does not align with American policy and American values. When that happens, you will see far greater pushback, as we are seeing right now [with] people saying aid should be cut."

    As a result, "if you want there to be a path for U.S. aid to Israel to continue, that aid, like all the other aid we give every other country, "needs to be conditioned."

    Susskind, a longtime progressive activist in Washington, also discussed the perception that there is an epidemic of antisemitism on the U.S. left.

    "I still think it is overwhelmingly actually on the far right," he contends. "That's not to say it doesn't exist on the left. It does, and I've seen it, but... so much of what is reported breathlessly as horrible antisemitism on college campuses is college students chanting 'Free Palestine.' You may dislike that – it might make you or your kid on campus uncomfortable – but I personally don't believe that saying 'Free Palestine' is itself an antisemitic act."
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    • 40 min
    'Ultra-Orthodox Israelis are at the peak of their power and they don't pay a price in war'

    'Ultra-Orthodox Israelis are at the peak of their power and they don't pay a price in war'

    The controversy in Israel over the exemption of ultra-Orthodox yeshiva students from military service "has reached a boiling point," former Haaretz journalist and author Yair Ettinger tells host Allison Kaplan Sommer on the Haaretz Podcast.

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has continually delayed confronting the issue in his years in power, Ettinger notes. But this week, the High Court's deadline for either enshrining exemptions in legislation or enlisting yeshiva students expired. And it did so during a war in which Israelis serving in the army have made tremendous sacrifices, and amid severe discontent with Netanyahu's coalition, which depends on ultra-Orthodox support.

    And so, Ettinger says, Israelis who disliked but tolerated the ability of the ultra-Orthodox to avoid army service in the past have now "run out of patience."

    "There is a big dissonance in Israel right now regarding the Haredim. Why? Because they are at the peak of their political power, and yet they don't share the duties [of defending the country]." On one hand, "they are the government. They have been the senior partners of Netanyahu for many, many years. And now, when we have an existential moment, and we are fighting a really difficult war, they don't pay any price."

    Ettinger, author of the book, "Frayed, the Disputes Unraveling Religious Zionists," also looks at how the judicial overhaul battle is inextricably intertwined with the military exemption controversy, and discusses the growing rift in Orthodox society over religion and society, the role of women and tolerance of LGBTQ individuals.

    That rift, he says, is exemplified at the Pride Parade each year, where "you can see many religious Zionists marching and many others [among] them protesting against the parade."

    He also notes that while the Gaza war has underlined the cracks between secular Israelis and their Diaspora counterparts, "the opposite is true" among the Orthodox. "Today, they are closer than ever," Ettinger says.
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    • 35 min
    'The more oppression there is, the more younger Arabs in Israel prefer to identify as Palestinians'

    'The more oppression there is, the more younger Arabs in Israel prefer to identify as Palestinians'

    Haaretz journalist Sheren Falah Saab has been covering the unfolding disastrous humanitarian situation in Gaza for months. Even now, aside from reporting on the lives of Gazans as the war rages, she manages, from time to time, to deep dive into Arab culture, and write the kind of articles that she used to send in all the time before October 7.

    But, she confesses in this week's conversation with Haaretz Podcast host Allison Kaplan Sommer, the things she hears from Gazans often break her heart.

    In the first of three special episodes in which Haaretz subscribers from around the world were given the opportunity to ask Haaretz journalists their questions, Falah Saab responded to a wide range of queries from readers and talked openly about her life as a Druze citizen working as a journalist in Israel, before and after October 7.

    She talks about the complex identity issues embedded in the question whether minorities prefer to be called "Israeli Arabs" or "Palestinian citizens of Israel," and the challenging process of sourcing and verifying information inside Gaza, almost six months into the war.
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    • 38 min
    Thomas Friedman, Aluf Benn, Noam Tibon and Amir Tibon on the failures of Oct. 7

    Thomas Friedman, Aluf Benn, Noam Tibon and Amir Tibon on the failures of Oct. 7

    This special episode of the Haaretz Podcast features two of the standout sessions from the recent Haaretz-UCLA conference: Israel After October 7 

    First, Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman sits down with Haaretz editor-in-chief Aluf Benn to discuss the “perils” and “opportunities” that lie ahead for Israel in the aftermath of the war in Gaza. 

    Friedman predicts that "Israel is either going to come out of this with a new relationship with the Palestinians in 2024” or will “go back to 1947-48 with new weapons,” if it fails to develop a coherent vision for the future of Gaza and a wider strategic plan for the region.

    The latter option, he fears, becomes increasingly likely the longer that the extreme right-wing coalition led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - a group of “incompetent” ministers he would not want “as waiters at my grandson’s bar mitzvah” remains in power.

    Then, Haaretz diplomatic correspondent Amir Tibon and his father retired Major General Noam Tibon join deputy editor-in-chief of Haaretz English, Maya Lecker, to recount the dramatic episode on October 7 when armed Hamas militants infiltrated Kibbutz Nahal Oz, where Amir lives. He, his wife, and their two little girls spent tense hours locked in their safe room without food or electricity, before Amir's father undertook what he called "the mission of his life" and drove south in a daring campaign to rescue them on his own.

    "On the morning of October 8, I said that everyone responsible for this failure, the biggest failure in the history of the state of Israel, needs to go," Noam Tibon said, echoing Thomas Friedman's message - that Israel needs a change in leadership. "The leadership of the IDF, the Shin Bet – they took responsibility and I know they will go. All of the government too. But the first one who needs to take responsibility is Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister. I believe that Netanyahu is personally in charge of this failure, he basically developed Hamas as an asset. He needs to go as soon as possible."

    The entire conference is available for viewing on YouTube here.
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    • 31 min
    Tony Kushner: Israel's Gaza war 'looks a lot like ethnic cleansing to me'

    Tony Kushner: Israel's Gaza war 'looks a lot like ethnic cleansing to me'

    Award-winning playwright and screenwriter Tony Kushner, one of the first high-profile American Jewish artists to sharply and publicly criticize Israel's treatment of Palestinians, speaks to Haaretz Podcast host Allison Kaplan Sommer about Jonathan Glazer's Oscar speech, the Gaza War, antisemitism in the U.S., and the current production of "Angels in America" in Tel Aviv.

    He calls the events of October 7 "gutting" and as the months have passed since, has been horrified by the "unimaginable proportions" of the civilian death toll in Gaza and the result of actions by Israel which, he says "really looks a lot like ethnic cleansing to me" and explains the level of "passion and rage" in denunciations of the war around the world.

    "If you had asked me, even on October 7, would Israel allow, 30,000 people, many of them civilians, to be killed by the IDF I would have said no. Or what the UN is warning of now and imminent famine, I would have said no."

    He confesses on the podcast that over the five months since October 7, he has "moved closer to the idea that maybe boycott [of Israel] is is necessary." At the same time, he says: "I can't do it. I don't want to do it. I can't separate myself from Israel in that way. It just doesn't feel right."

     
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    • 45 min
    Franklin Foer: 'Simplistic moralism is dividing the world into good and evil, and placing Jews on the side of evil'

    Franklin Foer: 'Simplistic moralism is dividing the world into good and evil, and placing Jews on the side of evil'

    In a bold cover story in The Atlantic, journalist Franklin Foer declared "The Golden Age of American Jewry is Ending." On the Haaretz Podcast, he tells host Allison Kaplan Sommer how and why he reached the sobering conclusion that "an unprecedented period of safety and prosperity for Jewish Americans" is over.

    Allegiance to the Palestinian cause on the progressive left, he says, is understandable – even after the atrocities of October 7 – as is opposition to the war in Gaza and calls for a cease-fire.

    But "in that window after the horrific attacks of October 7 and before the Israeli war truly began, you had all of these people who had no sympathy for what had happened to Jews and immediately started blaming Israel for what had happened. And in that window there was just this sense of abandonment and disappointment that felt like a harbinger of something much worse that was to come."

    According to Foer, people like him had a "sort of blind spot" when it came to antisemitism on the left before October 7.

    Foer says he was particularly stunned after traveling to California to report on the "epidemic of bullying" of Jewish schoolchildren in Berkeley. The stories he heard were "horrifying," exemplifying a "kind of simplistic moralism, the dividing of the world into good and evil, where Jews are placed on the side of evil."

    He sees what is happening as "a return to a more normal form of Jewish history where it's possible to live everyday Jewish life, but it is punctuated by episodes of antisemitism that cause a sense of insecurity and fear. I think that that that could be something closer to the new status quo."
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    • 31 min

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5
14 Ratings

14 Ratings

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