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  • 12 years a prisoner: A Gaza love story

    Haya Asaad waited for more than a decade for her fiancé to get out of Israeli prison. By Abeer Ayyoub GAZA CITY — At a modest dressmaking shop in downtown Gaza City, the tailor makes the final touches on Haya Asaad’s classic tight wedding dress. But Asaad isn’t your typical bride: an Israeli court kept her wedding on hold for more than 12 years while her fiancé was behind bars. The story began when Asaad, now 30, was studying business administration. Eyad was a teacher at the same school, and the young couple immediately fell in love. Eyad proposed after only…

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  • The Israel-Palestine Lorde Diaries, chapter 15: The love club

    The final chapter, in which we make music. Part 15 of 15. To read the rest of the series, click here. "Yuval, what is your time limit?" Khader asked me online. There was a time limit. The spring's succession of guided tours was supposed kick off in two weeks. Once that happened, I would have no more time. "Why?" "Because Rasha only comes back on March 23rd, and she really wants in." "Where is she now?" "In the U.S., making friends with Uncle Sam". "Okay," I wrote, "I'm going to talk to Yaron. Our deadline is March 7th, but I think we'll…

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  • The Israel-Palestine Lorde Diaries, chapter 14: Not alone

    What can bring hope in times of weak spirit? How about a teardrop, a social network, a Russian soprano and a faithful ex-lover. Part 14 of 15. To read the rest of the series, click here. The war never broke out in earnest, but my mood was not quick to recover. One thing did brighten things up, however: I was invited to speak on Radio New Zealand. Attentive producer Jeremy Rose caught sight of the very first post in this series and wrote me instantly. On the last night of January 31, 2015, which in New Zealand was the first morning…

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  • The Israel-Palestine Lorde diaries, chapter 13: Overwhelmed

    In this country, looking at things differently can really get your head spinning. Part 13 of 15. To read the rest of the series, click here. And so the project took a real conceptual shift. There was no denying it: this was the same shift my own political views took in recent years. Once I strongly believed in the dichotomy, and consequently in a two-state solution. Here is how I saw the map: west of the Green line, folks should sing Lorde in Hebrew. East of it: in Arabic. By now, however, and due to more developments and learning than I…

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  • The Israel-Palestine Lorde Diaries, chapter 12: Never be Royals?

    When the going gets tough, the only way to move forward is to think differently. Following the disheartening drive from the South, the Lorde tribute project picks a new direction. Part 12 of 15. To read the rest of the series, click here. Friday was the last day of the rainy spell. The brave editor of this series, Mike Schaeffer Omer-Man, and Emily, his human rights lawyer wife, had us over for a hummus brunch in Jaffa. Beyond their apartment's large French windows were the comely, winter-gray Mediterranean and something even grayer: a concrete ruin, an abandoned high rise that used…

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  • The Israel-Palestine Lorde Diaries, chapter 11: The lift

    It's cease or desist for the Lorde project, as Yuval gets a rare opportunity for a long nocturnal drive with a great musician. Part 11 of 15. For more, click here. We all packed up into a seven-seater Suburban: Mira Awad, three other actors and myself. Yigal Ezrati, Jaffa Theater's director, was the driver. Clearly I couldn't bring up the project right way, so I was quiet, which brought about an uneasy silence. We pulled into a gas station by the adjacent kibbutz. Yigal left the car to fuel. Mira hummed something, she was in a lovely mood. "So why are…

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  • The Israel-Palestine Lorde diaries, chapter 10: Law of desire

    The story takes a southern turn, as Yuval heads into the desert for a possible rendezvous with an elusive star, and has disturbing thoughts on the way. Click here to read the previous chapters of the ‘Israel-Palestine Lorde Diaries’ And so I was left with no choice. I had to travel to a freezing desert plateau, where I would chase Mira Awad and try to make her change her mind. The way to Sde Boker by public transportation begins with a 70-minute train ride to Be'er Sheva. At Tel Aviv's Hahagana station I bumped into another traveler headed for the same poetry…

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  • The Israel-Palestine Lorde Diaries, chapter 9: The Arab Lorde

     Two nights in Jerusalem bring many a new acquaintance, and make things seem so much simpler— or complicated. Click here to read the previous chapters of the ‘Israel-Palestine Lorde Diaries’ Winter was only getting more severe, which presented a dilemma. Being a poetry lover, I head south each year for a poetry festival held in the heart of the desert, at the Sde Boker boarding school. This year I contemplated skipping. Sde Boker is perched atop a steep mesa, overlooking a dramatic canyon and is perfectly exposed to desert winds that can be vicious when winter is earnest. The poets are put up…

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  • The Israel-Palestine Lorde Diaries, chapter 8: Mizrahi vibrations

    There's more to Israeli music than your typical Do-Re-Mi, but as our heroes try to explore new scales, they run into a false note. Click here to read the previous chapters of the 'Israel-Palestine Lorde Diaries' The storm was beating relentlessly at our shutters. It was too cold to go out to Nehama, too rainy to meet up and record. Yaron and I chatted online instead. "I want one of the Israeli songs we do to be Mizrahi," he wrote. This was a good enough and important enough of an idea that it warrants a break from the anyway hibernating…

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  • The Israel-Palestine Lorde Diaries, chapter 7: Bus jammin'

    Ironically, it's a break from music-making and partner-searching that produces a first duet, and with a very special musician, too. Read the previous chapters of The Israel-Palestine Lorde Diaries here. On the fifth morning of the tour, after having breakfast at the group's Jerusalem hotel, I climbed aboard the bus and found that we had a young guest. It was Husam's 12-year-old daughter, Mayar. He explained that school is still out for the winter holidays. He thought it would be nice to take her to the Israel Museum with us. At first I was amazed to see Mayar on this side…

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+972 is an independent, blog-based web magazine. It was launched in August 2010, resulting from a merger of a number of popular English-language blogs dealing with life and politics in Israel and Palestine.

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