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February 4, 2009
Immigrants and religions redefine Israeli society

Israel is commonly referred to as the Jewish state, but the label may not capture Israel’s rapidly changing demographics. A wave of immigration over the past few decades has created ethnic and religious diversity. Also, some 20 percent of Israelis are Muslims, Christians and other minorities.

Worldfocus special correspondent Michael Greenspan and producers Yuval Lion and Ara Ayer explore Israel’s melting pot.

Take a walk down Tel Aviv’s most diverse street (video).

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42 comments

#42

Palestinian terrorists deliberately killing Israeli children:
May 4, 2004, near Gaza border:
After spraying the station wagon with bullets, the Palestinian terrorists walked up to the 4 terrified little girls and shot each one of them twice in the head, police said. The 8-month-old pregnant mother was shot in her belly at point blank range as she tried to cover her children
After spraying the station wagon with bullets, the Palestinian terrorists walked up to the 4 terrified little girls and shot each one of them twice in the head, police said. The 8-month-old preggetnant mother was shot in her belly at point blank range as she tried to cover her children.
March 06, 2008, Jerusalem:
Two Palestinian terrorists infiltrated Jerusalem’s Merkaz HaRav Yeshiva and murdered eight Jews children. At least six children have been wounded; three are in critical condition.
Jul 5, 2006 ,The Qassam rocket yesterday hit Ashkelon’s Ronson High School.
Jan.05, 2009, Grad rocket strikes Ashdod kindergarden.
Feb 28, 2009,A rocket fired from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip hit a school in Israel
April, 02, 2009, near Jerusalem
Deadly terror by attack by Palestinian terrorist in Bat Ayin in which 13-year-old was murdered and another boy 7y.o., was wounded.

#41

I am a former male exotic dancer and am interested in establishing a “Chippendales” type establishment in Israel. What type of assistance and tax benefits does the Israeli government provide to new businesses of olim chadashim? Are there many such entertainment facilities in Israel? I would like some idea as to how stiff the competition would be. Do Israeli women, as a rule, like to look at males dancing in skimpy G-strings? Are they generous tippers? Would they put a shekel to the shmeckel? If I hire other olim chadashim as dancers, would they have to pay any taxes on their tips? Can I employ dancers who have not had a briss ? I might want to hire one or two to add variety to the show lineup. Is a liquor license hard to obtain in Israel. Do I have to bribe any officials to receive one? To whom is it customary to pay proteksia money to start a business and keep it going and approximately how much to they ask for? Thank you for your help.

#40

Peace is a commodity. Why would the Palestinians and the Israelis make Peace today for nothing when, tomorrow, the United States might give each side billions to make nice. Obama is giving out trillions. The Palestinians and Israelis see this very clearly. It’s not like the United States has never financed Middle East peace before.

#39

What is this? So the US, Germany, France, and Great Britain, arm Israel. Does that make Israel any better. The reality here is that you are killing civilians under occupation.

#38

Gaza existed since 1948, it was under Egypt since then.
Hamas leader that seats in Syria went back and forth to Iran. It decleared in Iran a great victory over Israel. Hezbollah gets their arms from Iran and Syria same as Hamas. Yes Hezbollah is Shiite and Hamas is Sunni. Hamas military people were trained by Hezbollah in Lebanon. Hezbollah military tactics is to put the weapons around civilians, and they trained Hamas to do the same.
Hezbollah which is rearmed after the conflict with Israel, was warned by the Lebanese military not to interfere with recent Hamas Israel conflict.
Now all of these info is well known. Again ask you people in Lebanon and in Gaza. Find the thruth.
And again Iran and Syria arm Hezbollah and Hamas. Iran at the tune of 30 million dollars a year to Hamas. Heavens knows how much to Hezbollah. Ask your people in Iran and elswhere.

#37

JGE: I am sure that factions do get arms form any source they can, but considering the embargo, I am certain that Israeli arms dealers are the ones supplying Gaza most of its weapons, but not Iran. Why do you link Hamas to Hezbollah? Totally different groups, with totally different agendas. Or just to create more fear in Israel and justify killing babies and women. So Arafat is to blame, even though he was not in Gaza in 1987-8 when Hamas was created. Great information, by a very informed individual. WOW

#36

DH: Do you really believe that the thousands of arms that Hamas and Hezbollah did not come frrom Iran and Syria, and through the tunnels in the Gaza Egypt border? Here the Bedouins have a great business, by the way. It is impossible that misguided Israeli sooldiers could transfer thousands of arms. And besides most of the arms are mide in China and refined in Iran.
Yes the creation of Hezbollah and Hamas were Israeli blunders, associated with the Arafat terrorism (Lebanon) and corrupt leadership (Gaza).

#35

Would you ever let the Palestinians live peacefully? In the seventies there was no Hamas and there was no Hezbollah, and Iran was under the Shah a great friend of Israel, and the Palestinians were not doing anything to you, but you continued to build settlements and imprison and kill them. In the 1980s Israel created Hamas to counter the PLO, and now Hamas is a Palestinian problem and an obstacle to peace, great Israeli logic, you first created it and now you want to kill it and in the process the Palestinians have to wait 20-50 years. I am sure you are going to scream about this, but I have to tell you read Zee’v Schiff, who wrote for Harretz for more than 30 years, book called the Intifada and you will see who created Hamas. I think that most of Hamas weapons come from corrupt and drug addict Israeli soldiers, who steal from their basis and sell weapons in the black markets. I red so many reports in Israeli newspapers to support that.

#34

DH: Your Palestinian accountants gave the figures. Please find out also how much it cost Iran the thousands of arms given to your Hamas and Hezbollah.
And the figure out how much it would have helped the Gazans and other poor Palestinians to live peacefully.

#33

JGE: Well, Well, Well, we all can tell who is mad now!!! I am waiting for your well informed opinion. Are you shocked because you ran out of arguments? No more shouting it seems to me. Logic got you??? All you wanted is a screamer, but you got information instead. As always Israeli bloggers begin with five sentences. The Arabs want to kill us, people are anti-Semitic, Arabs want to push us into the sea, we want defend ourselves by killing babies and using F16s and then you run out of arguments, because you have none. You do not want to admit that you are a rouge state, and you still think that you are a democracy. As always the West Bank and Gaza are not Germany, if you need a map, I will be very happy to buy one

#32

The truth is no sin but makes you not only uncomfortable but really mad.

#31

JGE: Have you forgotten that Arafat is Six feet under, or your history book still teach that he is a live and that is why the walls must be built and killing Palestinians must continue. I am sure that you will continue to kill Palestinians, and you will find apologists like Aalen Dorshiwitz to justify it. You are not bound by any morality because you have none. You have been killing with impunity and you will continue. If Arafat was a homosexual it is his choice, but I do not see you making your own choice because you are a brain washed individual. All the sudden you are concerned about the “poor Palestinians” get off their back and let them lead a free life and they will succeed, but as long as you controlling their lives, they will not. Do you work at a Swiss bank because you have accurate numbers, or are you a confidant of the MOSSAD? It is amazing that you are throwing all these numbers? What was the amount of money that Sharon took from a south African business man to run his campaign in 2001? Or that does not concern you? You like to look at other peoples problems, so you can forget yours

#30

Israeli leaders that break the law are brought to justice. Arafat stashed billions of dollars in Swiss banks. His widow has two billion dollars. Money that belong to the poor Palestinians. In total Arafat and graved 6 billion dollars from the Palestinians. Arafat is their hero. He died in a French hospital of an undisclosed blood sickness, the general conclusion is that he died of AIDS, since he was a known homosexual. We have a different standard for Palestinian leaders that are corrupt and terrorist.
But rest assured that Israel will defend itself from Muslim terrorists. And from the venomous attacks of hatters of Israel that keep distorting the thruth.

#29

JGE: You are concerned a bout the corruption of Arafat and other Arab leaders ok, let us talk about your leaders. Sharon, was engaged in many scandals, his son went to prison, late Rabin had to resign his post in the US for a financial scandal, Olmert will leave his post to go to prison, Netanyahu was cheating on his wife, and was caught lying on tap and received many gifts when he was prime minster and was propped by the police so many times. The entire Shas establishment is under investigation and their political leader Yeshya and Derri were imprisoned and I can go on and on. In addition, Israel receives billions of Dollars from the West, and there are more than 20% of your population under poverty line, how can you explain that? You mentioned Whabbism and Talaban, the Palestinians have nothing to do with that, Muslim Brotherhood less dangerous than the teaching of Merkaz Ha Arav and the teaching of Rabi Zeev cook, they are less dangerous than the teaching of Meri Kahana and his movement that killed an Israeli prime minster and put bombs in the West Bank to kill Palestinian mayors in the 1980s and threw a missile on a Arab bus in Jerusalem and the teaching of the Settlement doctrines “Yashia Council.” It will refreshing if you remind us how did the pre-state Jewish Terror groups grabbed independence from Great Britain. Bombing the King David Hotel sounds familiar and killing more than 67 international civil servants and bombing many oil lines and destroying a railroad and many more. And may you remind us how many civilians were killed in each operation? I can write until tomorrow morning about Israeli atrocities

#28

David Hoffman: So Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah are the responsibility of Israel. The high corruption of Arafat and his partners has nothing to do with it eh! The dictators of the Arab countries has nothing to do with it eh!. The extreme Muslim groups like the Egyptian Brotherhood and the Wahabism in Saudi Arabia and the fanatic Ayatollah Khoumieni in Iran has nothing to do with that eh! Bin Laden and Taliban has nothing to do with that eh!.
Where have you been David Hoffman? You only see Israel which is open and accessible, and always defending itself from this fanatic terroristic groups, and you jump in total anger.
And you continue to have your history wrong: Hagannah, Zvei Leumi, Stern, were created to grab independence from the British and fight Arab fascists and Nazi sympathizer like the Great Mufti of Jerusalem. By golly David where were you when the Arab armies attacked the Jews in 1948.
Their shouts of we will throw the Jews to the sea were all over. Still sounds familiar? Hamas kill the Jews!. Iran we will destroy Israel!
We have the paranoia in reverse.
I knew a Hungarian Jewish scientist that survived the Holocaust and came to the USA, worked in research at a large chemical company, and felt very guilty that had survived the Holocaust. He collected guns. One day he blew his brain.
You seem to feel guilty that the Jews, to defend themselves, get into the business of killing, in this instance Arabs. Sorry. But the days when Jews went singing, although religious songs, marching into the ovens are over.

#27

Hoffman: Have you read my correction note #25. Read it carefully. The one that has distorted notions of Israeli history is you. Two conditions if you know the facts and say otherwise you are dishonest. If you do not know the facts then you are ignorant. At any rate the hatred of Israel has overtaken you, and are unable to be fair-minded. Is typical of Israel hatters to blame Israel for everything and let the Palestinians with a free pass. Just read and watch the Columbia University Arab scholars Rashid Khalidi and the late Edward W. Said.
Remember I have corrected myself, I am not an Arab hatter like you are an Israel hatter, and I am willing to tell the truth. You hate Israel so intensely that makes you totally blind to the thruth and to the facts.

#26

JGE: None of the Arab leaders that you counted was present or was in power in his country in 1948, but this shows what kind of history you have been taught in your schools and how much you were misled when you were kids. Most Israeli bloggers have no sense of history, most repeat same historical fictions, the Arabs want to kill us, we are defending ourselves, and I love “Nasser was firing at Israel in 1948” go back and check your historical facts before you blog. However, I am amazed at the agreement among Israeli bloggers of misrepresenting history all the time. Following world focus pages, all who blogged from Israel repeat same sentences and do not know their facts, as if the government has brain washed the people and school curriculums have created monsters out of human. In fact no reasonable people will justify killing children as self defense except the sick and the demoralized, and I think the Israelis are.

JGE. Notice that Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Hezbollah, all were factions that were created to resist Israel, but were not there in 1948, 1967, or even 1985. After Israel began massacring people left and right in Lebanon and the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, these movements began addressing peoples social needs and then organizing a resistance to the occupation. Although there is a huge difference between the Jewish pre-state terror organizations ( Hagana, Stern, Ziev Ben Loumi, and others) because they were found to kill and terrorize the natives and expel them. The Arab groups came as a response to Jewish terror, the Jewish ones came to create terror and the army is continuing their mission. I

#25

I have to correct my facts. Otherwise I will be another Jimmy Carter.
In 1948 the rulers of Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Iraq were different.
Nasser (Egypt), Assad (Syria), King Hussein (Jordan) and Sadam (Iraq) came latter after the Arab armies were defeated in 1948 Israel’s War of Independence.
An added fact is that from 1948 to 1967 Jordan had control of the West Bank and Jerusalem. Jews were not allowed to come and pray at the holly Wall of the Temple destroyed by the Romans. The Jordanians also destroyed all of the synagogues that existed in the West Bank.
Israel took over Jerusalem in the 1967 War. Moslems were given control of the Temple Mount and have freedom to pray. And in Hebron, where the Patriarchs are believed buried, the Moslems have priority over their holly place.
The true facts are no sin but make you uncomfortable.

#24

This was a wonderful report about the open Israel society. It is extremely sad that there can be no peace until the Palestinians and their enablers realize the vitality and democracy inherent within Israeli society. It is a travesty to call the recent Gaza war an outrage–the outrage is the continued bombardment of over 8000 rockets that have fallen on Israeli civilian towns and cities. Finally, Israel responded to protect its citizens. The duplicity and lack of courage of Hamas by using their own citizens as human shields is truly the outrage.

#23

Is Aljazeera reporting the thousands of rockets and arms and missiles given by Iran and Syria to Hamas and Hezbollah? I doubt it. And besides Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah say they defeated Israel!!!
And we have those with hatred against Israel, that only point out what Israel does in self defense.
Nasser (Egypt), King Hussein (Jordan), Assad Sr. (Syria) and Sadam (Iraq) told the Palestinians in 1948 that were going to drive the Jews to the sea.
In 1967 again Nasser, King Hussein and Assad tried to drive the Jews to the sea. By the way Nasser kept firing Israel from Gaza (1948-1967) and Assad fired from the Golan Heights.
In 1973 Sadat (Egypt) and Assad Sr, (Syria) attacked Israel on the Yom Kippur War, King Hussein from Jordan did not join.
And in the 90’s Arafat, Hamas, Islamic Jihad used suicide bombers to kill and maimed thousands of Israelis. Hence the wall built to separate Israel from the West Bank. And now we have Iran, Syria, Hamas, Hezbollah.
So saying that Israelis want to kill Arabs out from the air and negating Nobel Peace prizes to Menahem Beguin, Shimon Peres and Itzhak Rabin,
while accepting Noble Peace prizes to Israeli enemies like Sadat, Arafat and Jimmy Carter is serious laughable dishonesty.
This is the kind of chat that haters of Israel keep saying like Arab academics Rashid Khalidi and the late Edward W. Said, both from Columbia University.
The truth and facts don’t hurt but make you unconfortable.

#22

We should all be watching Aljazera if we want to know what is happening in the Middle East. American Media has failed to inform about land grab on West Bank and the thousand killed and more thousands left homeless in Gaza.

#21

Miron: My I suggest that you go and learn English before you begin to defend a racist country like Israel. Your logic is so cheap and very twisted and applies only to Israelis like you who grew up competing who will kill more Palestinians. You ask when Palestine was used as a nationality, definitely before Israel was established and most likely before you and your family immigrated to displace a Palestinian from his farm. As for Israeli Noble winners, Peres, Rabin, and Begin must give them back, for killing more Palestinians than anybody else in history. Especially the coward Peres who still justifies Palestinians blood as self defense. The rest were given to immigrants and researchers from the US. The US paid for their training, education, and labs. Wake up Israel, without the US, you will not survive a day.

#20

It is unfortunate that Israeli society is determined to drag itself into a bottomless pit of misery via its treatment of Palestinians. It is also unfortunate that Israeli non-jewish citizens are often relegated to second-class status in Israeli society. Unless Israel can overcome it’s longstanding hostility and oppression of the Palestinian rights to self-determination, reports like this will do nothing to improve Israel’s status in the world.

#19

Thank you for showing a side of Israel not many people get to see. Israeli immigrants struggling and succeeding just as they do through out the western world. As your report show Israel is a modern country of many cultures and not just where target of violence.

#18

To#2.Did you hear use to word Palestinians before 1970th.Why arabs rejeked UN resolution and start war?Why Jordan king killed 15000 Arafat,s man and Israel rescued Jordan country when Siriy invided to Jordan?Leave Israel alone and world get more Nobel winner/now 8th without peace laur./Wich more then all muslim country with their 300millions people.That is why!!!!!!!!!!!!

#17

This is typical zionist propaganda and anyone who isn’t a zionist can see how cruel Israel is to Palestinians.The criminal zionist massacre in Gaza is just one of many crimes Isreal has committed against the Palestinians for the last 60 years.

#16

Way to go yh! Israel has such a small bit of land which is theirs anyway, and the palestinians, arabs, anybody and everybody tries to take it!! Why don’t they go for Jordan or Saudi Arabia? The 1948 nationalization of Israel is proof of God’s promise to Abraham. The Hebrews farmed that land and made it what it is today. Leave them alone! The land belongs to them not the palestinians. Read your Bible if you want to know what is going on in todays world.

#15

Question ? and ask questions is what I have learned from my American educational institutes, my American friends, my Amrican politics. Why we can’t Question Israel’s oppression against the Palestian people. remingding my jewish friend that the Palestinian people have become the Jews of Jews. Wake up People and smell the carnnage

#14

This is rediculous that people would make the argument that Israel is a terror state, or that it is taking other people’s land. If you want to go back in history why don’t we go all the way back when Israel and the jewish people were constantly kicked around by the romans and Turks. And a terror state? It’s surrounded on all sides by hostile muslim nations that have not given it rest since its creation. The day Israel was independant they were attacked and had to fight a war. And recently they were being attacked by a terrorist organization using gurilla tactics and killing innocent civilians, so they protect their people and are punnished for it. America has invaded countries without a scrap of evidence of hostility (Iraq) and said it was noble, so why when Israel does it is it wrong?

#13

Not surprising that World Focus decides to propaganize for the Israeli terror state, shortly after Bob Simon opens the door a crack on 60-minutes to bring some vestige of truth to the American public. Were you pressured, as are all US instituions and media, or was this your own decision? At any rate, your credibility suffers tremendously with this incredible reporting.

We need to stop funding the Israeli apartheid state, and end America’s support for their ally in mahem – in the MiddleEast and elsewhere. $3 billion a year (on record) to one of the richest states on the planet?! Israeli citizens (Jewish) get all the benefits Americans DON’T get at home: health care, education, housing. Boycott Israel, take back our government (from the zionist lobby).

#12

Dear World Focus,

I would like to start by mentioning the famous Stephen Hawking Quote: “The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance … It is the illusion of knowledge”.

History didn’t start in 1948; in fact history began way before earth was created. To make it short, the people living in the so called “Israel state” are occupying other people’s land, people who have been leaving there centuries and thousands of years before anyone states that it’s a Jewish ground. Light and darkness, heat and cold, a blind or a seeing person, be sure they will never be equal. I’m sure nowadays news explains it clearly. Especially after the genocide “Israel” committed recently in Gaza strip.

It’s a good website but sad to see such videos, if it continues you might lose us as others did, sorry to say that.
Thank you

#11

Dear World Focus,
I found your report on Feb. 4th on WGBH Boston outrageous and a mockery to media objectivity and responsibility.

This program was aimed at painting a mask of tolerance on Israel’s face, presenting it as a melting pot of nations, you’d think it’s NYC. There was no mention at all of the occupation, the system of apartheid in Israel and in the West Bank and Gaza, or of Israel’s racist laws which forbid its own citizens from marrying Palestinians for example, or of the recent pogroms against Arab citizens in Acre and elsewhere in this “melting pot”.

Anyone who has been watching the recent atrocities in Gaza or who understands Israel’s racist foundation, would have found this show outrageous and comic in its absurdity.

I urge you as a media outlet to be OBJECTIVE, it is your mandate, to hold Israel accountable and to uphold Israel to its true nature.

http://worldfocus.org/blog/2009/02/04/immigrants-and-religions-redefine-israeli-society/3914/

#10

What kind of democracy is this? if you’re a non Jew or a Sephardi Jew you’re cheap labor, and you’re forced to join the Israeli occupation forces and die for a country that treats you as a second or even a third class citizen. this is racism. this is not a democracy.
The people who made this documentary are either completely naive or just plain evil.

#9

Just what we need — an Israeli fantasy travelogue while Gazan’s die under Israel’s bombs and children starve under Israel’s siege. And not the slghtest mention of the colonization and dispossession of “the Natives” which happened in 1948 and continues today in the West Bank.

And some “melting pot” — Israel is the most segregated place I have ever visited. One million Arab “citizens” are crowded into urban ghettos or separate Apartheid towns, with no possibility of expanding onto surrounding land held for the exclusive use of Jews and scant access to quality schools, jobs or social services.

Palestinians are required to salute a flag and sing a “national” anthem which reflect only Jewish symbols and history. How would Jewish Americans like to see a cross on our flag or sing “Onward Christian Soldiers” as an anthem? Or, worse, sing “Dixie” — which has the same resonance for African-Americans as Hatikva had for Israeli Palestinians?

I’d prefer my Public Television station not be the venue for overt propaganda for a racist state like Israel, thank you.

#8

Thank you both David Hoffman and Monica Tarazi!
I wish those who paint the cactus as velvet and strive to persuade Worldfocus’s viewers that paradise on Earth is Tel Aviv and its surrounding areas had watched Mr. Bob Simon’s 60 minutes:
http://action.gazajustice.org/t/4436/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=963

Or Norman Finkelstein’s interviews:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-FLIBkTg8g&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nbDMam_jGVk&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_j2XH4tOK4&NR=1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5cYaCWfWNY&NR=1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQUXuixbYdU&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NEa8JBlCnx8&feature=related
You don’t welcome your guests in somebody else’s home: not very American.

#7

Very nice report, it is so exciting to see God’s work and His promise of restoring Israel as a nation.

#6

In about 50 years or so, Israel may have more non-Jews than Jews. This is a fact that may worry to future generations of Jews in the Land of Israel.

#5

Your report is excellent. Keep up the good reporting.

#4

Thank you,worldfocus. At last I see what I know about Israel from my friends there.They are from Russia, all have good education and even if some of them do not get a job the same level which they had in Russia – they are happy and love Israel very much. Thank you.

#3

Leslie, Lesli: Israel welcomes people at the expense of the native Palestinian people. For every Jewish immigrant in Israel a Palestinian is losing, a farm, an olive tree, a school, or his share of water. While Israel welcomes Jewish immigrants it does not allow Palestinian refugees who were expelled by force in 1948 to return back to their homes. I will believe in Israel as a just and a democratic state only when it treats Palestinians the way it treats Jews. The report was not fair at all, because it did not show the Palestinian face of the suffering and presented Israel as a nation of immigrants without any racism, where in reality racism is very high in the society. There a huge gap between Ashkenazim and Sphardiem and a bigger gap between Jewish citizens and Arab Citizens

#2

This piece resembles a promotional ad for immigration to Israel far more than actual journalism.

I am truly shocked that your reporter failed to mention the more than 800,000 Palestinians ethnically cleansed from the land of historic Palestine between 1948 and 1951 in order to create a Jewish majority in what is now Israel. No mention was made of the fact that for more than six decades, Israel has prevented these Palestinian refugees from returning home – even as it has apparently accepted Darfuris fleeing Sudan. Moreover, the segment’s passing reference to the indigenous Palestinian citizens of Israel included no reference at all to the second-class status they are accorded as non-Jews an theocratic state.

Your viewers turn to World Focus for balanced reporting, not fluff. We deserve far better than this.

#1

Thank you for this wonderful report. It shows how Israelis are interested in just one thing: to be able to work and live in peace without fear of being attacked. Israelis welcome and have always welcomed peaceloving people from all over the world, just like the people of the USA. I hope this report is seen by a large audience who are constantly bombarded by negative impressions and images about Israel.

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