Haim Watzman

Diverging Opinions: Israel’s Knesset, where its contentious politics plays out.

Why Israel’s Crazy Electoral System Might Be Best Idea Ever

As the Israeli elections near, many criticize an electoral system that seems to balkanize the body politic. Haim Watzman thinks that’s exactly what Israel needs.

Author Blog: Wimps

Cinéma Vérité: Three recent Israeli films that have garnered Oscar nominations ? including, most recently, ?Ajami? (above), which is set in a hardscrabble Jaffa neighborhood ? have taken tough looks at Israeli society and history.

The Bright Side of Israel’s Dark Oscar Nominees

When I was an adolescent growing up in America in the early 1970s, I knew of only two Israeli films. There was the soldier movie — that was Yosef Milo’s “He Walked Through the Fields.” And there was the one about Jaffa’s underclass — that was Menachem Golan’s “Kazablan.”

Whose Home?: A Palestinian protester, wearing a T-shirt saying ?No to Ethnic Cleansing,? confronts a Jewish man outside a disputed building in East Jerusalem.

First Sheikh Jarrah, Then Baka?

Mike Huckabee recently made a virulently anti-Zionist remark — and the Jews who accompanied him on his tour of East Jerusalem cheered.

Gilad Shalit’s Plight, and Israel’s Dilemma

There are many beautiful theories about how to bring Gilad Shalit home, but it’s an ugly fact that he now has been a captive for three years. And it’s an ugly fact that a series of Israeli governments have been unable to free him. Both diplomatic and military means have failed so far. Shalit’s family and friends blame the government for not doing enough, as do many Israelis. Others, including army officers, diplomats and the families of terror victims, argue that not every price is worth paying. Gilad, they say, does not stand alone; his life is not worth more than the lives of others.

Bad War, Good Soldiers

I recently bumped into a mild-mannered, bookish paratrooper I know. He had come home to Jerusalem for a short weekend after spending two weeks in Gaza. I didn’t know what to expect when I asked him what he thought of the war.

CLEANING UP: In the wake of a rampage by Jewish settlers, a man sweeps the porch of a Palestinian home near Hebron defaced with graffiti of Stars of David and the Hebrew word for ?revenge.?

Profaning a Holy City

Hebron this month resembled nothing so much as Jerusalem in the summer of 70 C.E. Then, as now, Jewish extremists battled the duly constituted leadership of the people, taking the law into their own hands and throwing morality to the wind. When Jewish hatred desecrated Jerusalem that fateful summer 1,938 years ago, the Jewish people lost their Temple and were exiled from their capital for centuries.

Shut Down Army Programs for Diaspora Youth

On my last trip to the United States, I met a young man who told me that he wanted to serve in the Israeli army. I told him to go to hell. Not in such blunt terms, of course. But my response caught the guy by surprise. After all, I’m the author of a memoir about my service in the Israeli military. Don’t I think it’s the duty of all young Jews to serve in the Israeli military?