Alon Raab


Welcoming the Apocalypse at the Jerusalem Philosophy Festival

By Alon Raab

Welcoming the Apocalypse at the Jerusalem Philosophy Festival
Two
 days
 before
 the
 world
 was
 to
 end,
 as
 calculated
 by
 engineer
 and
 prophet 
Harold
 Camping,
 seemed
 as
 good
 a
 time
 as
 any
 to
 find
 answers
 to

 eternal
 questions
 about
 human
 life
 and
 meaning. Thus
 I
 joined
 “What’s
 on
 your
 Mind?
” an “International Philosophy Festival” in Jerusalem that ran from May 18 to May 20 as part of this year’s Jerusalem Season of Culture. The
 city
 where
 more
 philosophers,
 prophets and
 messiahs
 roam
 than
 on
 any
 other place
 on
 earth,
 and
 in
 which
 the
 momentous
 events 
of 
the 
Apocalypse 
will 
unfold, 
was 
the 
obvious 
locale. 
The festival 
was 
held
 in
 a 
large 
tent 
erected 
at 
the 
beautiful 
cultural
 center 
Mishkenot
 Sha’ananim,
 a 
stone’s
 throw

 from
 the
 walls
 of
 the
 ancient
 city
 and
 facing
 Mount Zion.Read More


Celebrating the Film Studio That Showed Israel's Early Days

By Alon Raab

Celebrating the Film Studio That Showed Israel's Early Days
Bronzed workers forge a winding road through the hills leading to the Dead Sea; smiling politicians cut ribbons marking the National Water Carrier, chemical factories and a gleaming submarine; proud generals lecture an adoring audience on their latest military victories; Jewish athletes march at the Maccabiah Games — these images, known as “Yomaney Geva” (“Geva Diaries”), were shown during the first three decades of the State of Israel to cinema-goers before every film screening, representing the ethos of an idealistic era and helping the process of cultural and ideological integration in the new country. Now, the celluloid on which they were printed has faded and soon the buildings they were created in will be demolished, replaced by luxury apartments.Read More


Chasamba! Chasamba! Chasamba!

By Alon Raab

Chasamba! Chasamba! Chasamba!
‘Chasamba! Chasamba! Chasamba!” This battle cry of the fictional patriotic youth group Chasamba (an acronym for “absolutely secret group”) — familiar to every Israeli child during the first decades of the state — is once again heard across the land. Resurrected from a series of novels to feature in the television show “Chasamba Generation 3,” which premiered this past fall, the program’s heroes arrive at a country radically different from the one in which they previously fought the good fight.Read More


Sidelining Conflict

By Alon Raab

Sidelining Conflict
Under a full moon in Bethlehem’s Manger Square, two lovers recite poetry — the late Palestinian national bard Mahmoud Darwish’s words of affection and longing. Shadows cast on the stones of Christ’s birthplace merge. The scene shifts to an acrimonious meeting at a sports club. Debate flares over which game to watch and over politics. One club member declares, “We should live the way we believe.”Read More


Was the Desert Supposed To Bloom?

By Alon Raab

Pollution in a Promised Land: An Environmental History of Israel By Alon Tal University of California, 546 pages, $34.95. * * *‘The swiftly flowing waters of the Yarkon River enticed us to leap into them and swim, though occasionally we had to make way for a water buffalo or a camel.” Thus enthused my father, Israel Tzvi Raab, as heRead More



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