Hashomer Hatzair and AJYAL Educating Syrian Refugees [ssba]

Hashomer Hatzair and AJYAL Educating Syrian Refugees

Hashomer Hatzair, its Arab division AJYAL and Natan-International Humanitarian Aid are fundraising to create an educational center for Syrian refugees on the island of Chios in Greece. Hashomer Hatzair and AJYAL counselors will operate the center and train local educators. So far they have raised about a quarter of the capital needed to get the project running.

“Chios is the closest island to Turkey and about 4,000 refugees reside on it,” says Yair Liebel, the Hashomer Hatzair coordinator for the project.

“Since March the European borders have closed to refugees, yet the flow of refugees arriving by sea has only increased. Refugees arrive by ship to Greece or Italy,” says Liebel. “Greece doesn’t have the capacity to deal with the flow of refugees. The problem is much larger than anything that a local municipality could handle. So the local authorities are trying to prevent the refugees from making a life in the camps. They are not even allowed to engage in the simplest activities like cooking or cleaning.”

The AJYAL and Hashomer Hatzair members were frustrated, witnessing daily disparaging images of Syrian refugees; they decided to focus on what they could do best – education. “We are planning on establishing an educational center in a rented space. Our goal is to attend to people’s real needs, especially the needs of youth,” says Liebel. “There are approximately 1,000 children and teens in the camp. Three hundred kids attend school for 6-9 hours a day. We will take part in existing activities and plan activities for young adults aged 17 to 25. Our plan draws on the Israeli youth movement model. ”

“These are kids who don’t have much to do. They sit idle most of the time,” says Renin Kahil, the AJYAL coordinator. “We want to give them the tools and know-how to take responsibility for what’s happening there. We want to create a youth movement with them.” Kahil says and explains that they intend to emphasize “informal modes of activities.”


The youth activists hope to find local partners to help them build the center of informal education. “Many Syrian refugees are professionals. We hope to find teachers who will work with us to open training courses for instructors. We want to leave behind a structure that will work after we leave, “says Liebel.

The first educational group will include three Jewish and three Arab councilors. Arab-Jewish cooperation is highly significant. ” AJYAL is central to this mission not only because its members speak Arabic, but also because creating the center is a rare opportunity to work together and transcend national divisions. This cooperation is particularly important in the current political climate in Israel.”

“It’s true that we speak Arabic and can communicate with the refugees, but it’s going to be a joint venture of AJYAL and Hashomer Hatzair,” adds Kahil. “I hope that this will become the refugee’s educational center and many will join it. We were interested to see how Israelis respond to this project. We didn’t expect to encounter such excitement. The project reminds us that it’s human to care for others, despite the political divisiveness here in Israel.”

David Tversky published the original article in Davar Rishon, January 24, 2017

Translator: Maya Haber

Editor: Ayala Emmett


Not Exactly Start-Up Nation [ssba]

Not Exactly Start-Up Nation

The Article was originally written for the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation in Israel.

Shlomo Swirski, Academic Director, The Adva Center

Israel, established in 1948 and with a population of 8.13 million (2015), belongs to the self-defined group of developed countries. In 2010 it was accepted into the OECD – the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the prestigious “rich countries’ club.” With a GDP per capita of $33,200 (based on Purchasing Power Parities [PPP]) in 2014, it ranked 22nd out of 34 OECD members (Germany, with $44,800, ranked 10th). It ranked even higher – 19th out of 187 countries (in 2013; Germany ranked 6th) — on the United Nations Human Development Index, which takes into account not only economic performance but also performance in the fields of health, education and gender equality. Read More »



“My analysis,” Rami Hod said, “is that the problem of the Israeli left is a root problem, a radical problem, one that won’t be solved in two years, or in five. If we want to rule, if we want to achieve dominance of the center-left, we must be in the day-to-day lives of the people, helping them in their community, in the municipality, in their union, and in all aspects of their lives.”

Read More »

A Letter to Detroit’s Walk for Israel Steering Committee [ssba]

A Letter to Detroit’s Walk for Israel Steering Committee

This is the letter Partners for Progressive Israel submitted along with our Petition to Detroit’s Walk for Israel organizers, Ms Orly Zinkow of AIPAC and Andre Douville, the Executive Director of Temple Shir Shalom.

The support we received was phenomenal. We want to thank everyone who signed. We were particularly touched by the comments. Your support means the world to us.  Read More »

Detroit Jews ask: Are targeted Israel boycotts the same as BDS? [ssba]

Detroit Jews ask: Are targeted Israel boycotts the same as BDS?

Our petition, Demand Detroit’s Walk for Israel include all supporters of Israel, promted Ron Kampeas to published following article in the the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. 

(JTA) — For the second year in a row, the Detroit area’s Walk for Israel has rebuffed the sponsorship of left-wing pro-Israel groups because of their support for boycotting settlements.

At the heart of the dispute is a question of definitions: Is support of a boycott targeting Jewish enterprises beyond Israel’s 1967 borders the same as backing the blanket economic and cultural boycott of Israel called for by the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement? Read More »

Tamar Zandberg, Six Year Later and Iran still does not have a Bomb [ssba]

Tamar Zandberg, Six Year Later and Iran still does not have a Bomb

Tamar Zandberg posted on Facebook a response to Raviv Drucker’s Haartetz article asking “What Happened to the Iranian Bomb?” In the article Drucker argues that the entire political establishment adopted Netanyahu’s nightmare scenarios regarding Iran. But In Israel, when the doomsday prophecies fail to predict the future, nobody ever pays a price. “The doomsdayers,” as he calls them, “believe that there’s always some “long term” in which their prophecy will come true.” Read More »

Merav Michaeli, Hope is a Decision [ssba]

Merav Michaeli, Hope is a Decision

We spoke today to MK Merav Michaeli about the achievements of the opposition in the Knesset and the challenges the Israeli Left is facing.

She spoke about the incitement against the Left and how despite the hostile political and media environment the Opposition in the Knesset succeeded in voting down eight bills since the beginning of the year.

“Hope,” she said, “is a decision. The place and the time we need hope the most is when it looks like the situation is hopeless. That is the time when we need to find the hope within ourselves.”

Partners for Progressive Israel depends on your support. If you enjoy the program is free, we kindly ask for a suggested donation of $10.

Listen to MK Michaeli

David Grossman, Israel Confronts its Beasts [ssba]

David Grossman, Israel Confronts its Beasts

The renowned novelist David Grossman spoke on Israeli radio on February 13. Yoav Peck translated Grossman’s insightful interview and agreed to share it with us.

This is indeed a striking text. Grossman has the ability to offer a sharp, clear analysis of Israel’s political reality. He argues that Netanyahu’s narrow view of Middle Eastern history exploits Jewish and Israeli collective trauma, and that a leader who views all Arabs as an eternal threat is bound to miss real dangers. To call Arabs “wild beasts” is a useless, inflammatory way of “crying wolf.” Grossman warns that Netanyahu will be caught by surprise should Israel face real existential danger. Read More »

Bernie Sanders and Hashomer Hatzair [ssba]

Bernie Sanders and Hashomer Hatzair

Hillel Schenker has spent his adult life in Israel, having made Aliya from Brooklyn to a Hashomer Hatzair kibbutz in 1963 — the same year that Bernie Sanders spent about three months on an HH kibbutz as a foreign volunteer.  Hillel has long been a journalist and peace activist, and is currently chair of the Israeli chapter of Democrats Abroad.  A frequent blogger for the Times of Israel, his latest post is to counter “the red-baiting of Hashomer Hatzair and the fact that Bernie Sanders spent three months in 1963 on such a ‘subversive’ kibbutz.”  Click here to read this post.  

Other relevant articles on this matter include a news report in the Times of Israel: “50 years on, Bernie Sanders still champions values of his Israeli kibbutz” beginning with the tag line: “Shaar Haamakim was a bastion of socialism when the Vermont senator volunteered there in the ’60s, and continues to preserve ‘social democratic values’.”   Read More »

Israel’s New McCarthyism [ssba]

Israel’s New McCarthyism

Peter Dreier published the following article in The American Prospect. Dreier teaches politics and chairs the Urban & Environmental Policy Department at Occidental College. His latest book is The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century: A Social Justice Hall of Fame (Nation Books, 2012).

The article examines the growing attacks on Israel’s progressive civil rights and human rights movement (such as Breaking the Silence) and on the New Israel Fund by the Netanyahu’s government and extremist groups like Im Tirtzu: Read More »

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