Jun 4, 2021 • 1HR 0M

When your neighbors turn on you with rage ... and violence.

A conversation with Tahel Harris, a young married mother of two small children, who lives in the neighborhood in Lod where violence tore a community asunder. What happened? Can life be restored?

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Though the international community has been focused primarily on the May 2021 conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, those who know Israel well know that potentially much more significant — and painful and worrisome — were the outbreaks of violence between Jews and Arabs in cities such as Lod, Jaffa, Acre and Jerusalem. In some locations, it was Arabs who attacked Jews. In others, Jews were violent towards Arabs. In both cases, the fabric of Israeli life was torn asunder.

To get a better “on the ground” sense of what happened, we will be posting interviews with several people, Jews and Arabs, who lived through the violence. For the first such conversation, I went to Lod, where I met with Tahel Harris, a young married mother of two, who lives in the Ramat Eshkol neighborhood of Lod, which was the epicenter of the violence in that city.

What happened? What did she feel as she watched parts of her neighborhood go up in flames? Listen to Tahel, who was brave to do this interview in a language that is not her native language, and you can hear the harrowing description of those early nights of the conflict, and the pain of a young family wondering if the community that they had can ever be rebuilt, and if it can’t, whether it’s time to leave.

Music credits: Medieval poem by Rabbi Shlomo Ibn Gvirol. Melody and performance by Shaked Jehuda and Eyal Gesundheit. Production by Eyal Gesundheit. To view a video of their performance, see this YouTube:

A number of readers asked for a brief explanation of why the recent conflict between Israel and Hamas broke out now; many wanted something concise that they could share with friends, children, grandchildren, etc. So we’ve put together two quick videos, the first video covering the long-term background causes, while the second video covers the more immediate “perfect” storm that led to the fighting. Feel free to share the links to both videos.

Other readers have asked for a list of books to read to get a more robust understanding of Israel’s history, culture and politics. We’ll soon be posting a list of “thirty-something books to read about Israel to know what you’re talking about.” They’re just suggestions … you don’t have to read all 30! Or any, for that matter!

Our twitter feed is here; feel free to join there, too.