Intractable is a podcast about a well-covered, but often misunderstood, topic: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Each episode takes on one subject—national identity, military culture, political extremism, historical memory, psychology, religion, and media coverage, among others—and investigates it through personal narratives and news stories. Through historical research and present-day interviews with people from myriad backgrounds, Intractable seeks to tell a complete and complicated story—one that gets closer to the truth than any one-sided narrative ever could; one that may, in its telling, evoke more questions than answers.
Listener Response Mini-Episode
An update from Skyler and a bit of much-demanded information about the future of Intractable.
07. The Kids Are Alright
In our seventh episode, we explore the cyclical nature of the conflict—from a human perspective. What can we discover about the next generation, and about the future of Israelis and Palestinians, by looking at the way young people within this conflict communicate with one another—or don’t?
In Tel Aviv and Jaffa, Skyler interviews an Israeli professor with a revolutionary idea, and sits in on an event that brings young women from Israel and the West Bank together for the teeny tiny task of finding a peaceful resolution to the conflict.
In Jerusalem, we talk to parents and children at Hand in Hand, a groundbreaking school that envisions generational change through mixed Jewish-Arab education—in Arabic and Hebrew.
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06. What the People Really Want
In our sixth episode, we inquire after what seems like a history of failed negotiations. If, as former guest, Oxford professor Dr. Sara Yael Hirschhorn said, we need to listen to what the people living here really want in terms of peace arrangements… How can we figure that out?
Skyler speaks with seasoned conflict scholar Yuval Benziman about the importance of two-track diplomacy and the complications that are inherent to a conflict that’s been going on this long. In Ramallah, Dr. Khalil Shikaki, director of the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research, walks us through the numbers, getting us close to an answer. And once we cover the (somewhat surprising) topics that make people willing to negotiate with the other side, we turn to political psychologist Dr. Gilad Hirschberger to understand the psychological foundations of intractability.
05. The Road to Gaza
In our fifth episode, in light of the protests last week in Gaza, which captured the world’s attention, we change our plans and address the quagmire of Gaza. What is daily life like for the 2 million people who live in this small strip of land? What exactly happened at the border fence last week, and why? And most importantly, how did we get here? Skyler speaks with Ohad Hemo, an award-winning Israeli broadcast journalist who reports on Palestinian affairs, and Mohammad Arafat, a 25-year-old Gazan who writes for We Are Not Numbers.
04. The House on the Hill
In our fourth episode, Skyler tackles the controversial topic of the West Bank settlement movement. What motivates Israelis to live east of the Green Line, and what role do the Jewish communities of the West Bank—often referred to by supporters of the movement as Judea and Samaria—play in a theoretical peace process?
Dr. Sara Yael Hirschhorn, Oxford University lecturer and author of City on a Hilltop: American Jews and the Israeli Settler Movement, helps situate us in the ideological history of the movement, as well as the current situation. Dr. Ronit Levine-Schnur, a legal expert in property law, walks us through some of the legal complexities of deciding what land in the West Bank belongs to whom. Israeli documentary filmmaker Ayelet Bechar talks to us about her personal project, Armed, an exploration of armed female settlers in the West Bank. And, finally, we talk to two people who live in the West Bank themselves: One religious settler (Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger of Roots) and one Palestinian (Issa Amro, of Youth Against Settlements), each of whom has chosen to turn away from the cycle of violence that often seems to consume the region, in favor of a different solution.
03. Crossing the Green Line, Part 2: Palestinian
In our third episode, the second in a two-part series on identity, Skyler asks what it means to be Palestinian. To what extent is Palestinian culture shaped by the conflict, and the Israeli military control of the Palestinian Territories? How have the past 70 years changed the way Palestinians view their future and their fate? And how do artists play a role in preserving and documenting the culture and narrative of the Palestinian people?
We return to Yvonne Saba from Episode 2, and talk to her about the Palestinian music scene. Skyler travels to Jenin to tell the complicated, bloody story of a theater movement that rose from the ashes of the Second Intifada, and of the price its founder paid. Stand-up comedian Amer Zahr talks about his perspectives as a member of the sizeable Palestinian diaspora, and we speak with a sublime and surprising young woman named Elham.
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Customer ReviewsSee All
I recommend this to everyone!
A great concept...
But no follow-through. After 1.5 episodes, there hasn’t been much on Palestinians, but I hope it is coming. There is absolutely no historical backbone given. Host keeps saying “it’s so hard to talk about the history”. And she avoids it.
the historical realities (going back a century) are the only way to explain why Palestinians have a right to be mad. So, ignoring the history is being biased against Palestinians.
Host speaks with vocal fry (annoying creaky girl vocal pattern) and makes WILDLY cringey attempts at pronunciation of hebrew names.
FYI - you mentioned that a Holocaust survivor was just murdered in her home. This is categorically NOT an example of “the rise of antisemitism. One crazy man murdered her. And the government arrested him. Sorry...but people murder each other.
Note on pronunciations: please stop. We all TRY to say words with the correct accent, but usually fail. Your failure is very cringey. Just say non-English names/words as an American. Yit-HOCK Ra-BEAN. David Ben GUR-e-on.
Excellent story telling