Issue 13

April 2014
The Tower Magazine

The Myth of the Thirsty Palestinian

Outrageous attacks suggesting Israel is systematically depriving the Palestinians of their water are increasingly common—and vicious. As AKIVA BIGMAN shows, these lies are about as true as the blood libels of centuries past.

continue reading >> Water tanks in the Old City of Nablus. Photo: Michael Loadenthal / flickr

Discovering Jewish History on the Golan Heights

STEPHEN RUBIN explores the discovery of a ruined ancient synagogue with almost all its original pieces just lying on the ground, waiting to be rebuilt.

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At U. Michigan, Students Fight Back Against Madness

Jewish students at one of America's top schools have faced intimidation, ridicule, and death threats. MOLLY ROSEN, class of 2014, offers a firsthand look.

continue reading >> Photo: Corey Seeman / flickr

In Bethlehem, the Wrong Kind of Christian Festival

In the last decade, Bethlehem has lost its Christian majority to pressure from the Palestinian Authority. So why did American Christians hold a conference there to protest Israel? LUKE MOON takes us there.

continue reading >> Conference participants tour the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. Photo: Aviram Valdman / The Tower

Why is John B. Judis Giving Harry Hell?

New Republic senior editor John B. Judis tries real hard to open a whole new front in the radical-Left assault on the Jewish state. But as JOSHUA MURAVCHIK shows, his error-filled critique frequently misses its target.

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PHOTOS: Birthplace of Jesus, Hidden & Found

Long ago a bastion of Christianity, the "little town of Bethlehem" has changed dramatically under Islamic dominion. But as AVIRAM VALDMAN discovered, there is still much of its former glory on display, if you know where to look.

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Issue 12

March 2014
The Tower Magazine

Yes, We Really Can Stop the Slaughter in Syria

Rwanda, Bosnia, Darfur: The world has learned that unspeakable mass atrocities can and must be stopped—or has it? BROOKLYN MIDDLETON explores the options for intervention.

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Ideology at the Oscars

RICK RICHMAN looks at two new films with similar plot-lines, both of which speak of love and identity among Israel's Arabs—but which have been treated very differently by the Hollywood establishment.

continue reading >> A still from the film "Omar." Photo: Adopt Films

Why Liberals Should Give Boycotters the Boot

HOWARD WOHL on the New York Times, the campus boycott movement, and the dangers of letting radicalism take over the Left.

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Hammered: The Palestinian Peace Paradox

Another round of peace talks, another round of failure. BENJAMIN KERSTEIN explores the grinding psychological burden of a conflict that never ends.

continue reading >> Photo: amvrosii/123rf

Joining the Start-Up Nation Just Got a Lot Easier

A new index fund allows ordinary Americans to invest in a range of fast-growing Israeli companies. But as BEN COHEN shows, the path to massive investment is filled with challenges.

continue reading >> Photo: L.D. Heuser / wikimedia

PHOTOS: The Bedouin, Between Two Worlds

AVIRAM VALDMAN gives us a peek at the community that has benefited tremendously from the Israeli experience, yet remains very much apart.

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Issue 11

February 2014
The Tower Magazine

Do ‘Syria,’ ‘Iraq’ and ‘Lebanon’ Still Exist?

Turns out that the Arab Spring did a lot more than just overthrow long-standing regimes. In some cases, JONATHAN SPYER discovers, borders have melted away and countries have effectively vanished.

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The Woman Who Makes Jihadists Squirm

For over a decade, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner has led the charge against terrorists and their paymasters through civil litigation. As DAVID HAZONY explains, she's also changed how we think about the whole fight against terror.

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Why the Left Ought to Love the Jewish State

Once its greatest champions, radical Leftists now seek to paint Israel as racist, oppressive, and colonialist. JOSHUA MURAVCHIK exposes that hypocrisy, and offers a definitive response, grounded in the most liberal principles.

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On Feminists and Pioneers in Early Zionism

LAUREN DAVIDSON explores the complicated experience of women in the early years of the Zionist movement, and a new film that takes an unadorned look.

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The Afterworldly Imagination of Ofir Touché Gafla

One of Israel's most innovative new novelists has just landed on the American scene. BETH KISSILEFF talks to the man who will change the way we think of time, past, and future.

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PHOTOS: A Faith Under Fire

Israel's Christian Arab minority enjoys more freedom than any of their coreligionists in the Middle East. AVIRAM VALDMAN shows us how they're dealing with an increasingly Muslim region.

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Issue 10

January 2014
The Tower Magazine

The Last Lion of Judaea

Ariel Sharon embodied much of what Israelis have come to look for in a leader: Secular, bold, creative, and willing to take the world's endless abuse. BENJAMIN KERSTEIN explores his role in the Israeli psyche.

continue reading >> Ariel Sharon participates in a committee meeting in the Knesset, June 29, 2004. Photo: Sharon Perry / Flash90.

Losing American Support, the Gulf States Scramble

If American weakness in the face of the Iranian menace has victims, its the Gulf States. JONATHAN SPYER explores the feeling of abandonment and fear among our longtime allies—and the steps they're taking to find new friends.

continue reading >> Photo: the_dead_pixel / flickr

How the Weak Iran Deal Makes War More Likely

Nobody wants either an Iranian nuclear bomb or an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. So why, EMANUELE OTTOLENGHI asks, are the world’s powers trying so hard to make them happen?

continue reading >> Boeing 707 refueling F-15s, June 28, 2011, Israeli Air Force Flight Academy ranks ceremony. Photo: Oren Rozen / Wikimedia

The Bedouin’s Outrageous Claims to the Negev

AKIVA BIGMAN sets aside the emotional attraction to the protests against the Prawer plan, and puts a critical eye to the movement's real aims. The results are deeply troubling.

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A Chameleon in the Courtyard of the Divine

On the invisible frontiers between Israel and America, between Torah and
literary fiction, Ruchama King Feuerman found her muse. BETH KISSILEFF interviewed her in the office of a New Jersey psychoanalyst. Why not?

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PHOTOS: White Fire on Gold

AVIRAM VALDMAN takes his camera through the biggest snowstorm to hit Israel in over a century.

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Issue #9

December 2013
The Tower Magazine

We Really Need to Talk About Corruption

Forget about whether it's a good idea. JONATHAN SCHANZER asks if it's even possible to build a Palestinian state on profiteering, violent turf wars, and widespread hatred of elected officials. If not, then we have a very big problem.

continue reading >> Counterfeit money found in the Muqata, 2002. Photo: Israel Defense Forces / flickr

Lihi Lapid, Leaning a Different Way

The novelist, photographer, and wife of Israel's finance minister has a tough message for modern women: Don't believe in fairy tales, and know whom you can trust. BETH KISSILEFF interviews the author of 'Woman of Valor.'

continue reading >> Lihi Lapid. Photo: Vardi Kahana / The Tower

Dare We Say It? The Mullahs Must Go

Not so long ago, people on both sides of America's political divide saw democratic revolution as a serious basis for US policy in Iran. What happened? MICHAEL LEDEEN calls for reopening that conversation in the wake of the Geneva debacle.

continue reading >> Protesters marching on Tehran’s Azadi Tower during Iran’s Green Revolution, June 15, 2009. Photo: Hamed Saber / Wikimedia

Jabotinsky’s Lost Moment: June, 1940

Of all the early Zionists, nobody saw the coming Holocaust as clearly as Vladimir Jabotinsky. RICK RICHMAN explores the resonance he had with Americans, the army he almost built, and how his untimely death may have changed history.

continue reading >> Jabotinsky by Yitzhak Danziger. Photo: tamoryair/wikimedia

Oslo Proved Something About Peace, All Right

Twenty years after the dramatic handshake on the White House lawn that heralded the Oslo Accords, peacemakers are still insisting that you lose nothing by trying. As BENJAMIN KERSTEIN shows, they haven't learned a thing.

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PHOTOS: Worlds Beneath the Sacred Waters

Off the coast of the Israeli port city of Ashdod, a whole new kind of fishery has emerged, where Mediterranean sharks swim with whole schools of tuna and sea bream. AVIRAM VALDMAN went there with his camera—and a whole lot of guts.

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Issue #8

November 2013
The Tower Magazine

Ataturk, Ben-Gurion, and Turkey's Road Not Taken

Both Israel and Turkey were founded on a secular, ethnic-nationalist, modern and Western-facing vision. But as GABRIEL MITCHELL shows, little differences can mean a lot when it comes to democracy—and it's playing out before our eyes today.

continue reading >> A military parade on Turkish Victory Day. Photo: Nerostrateur / Wikimedia

Why Are There Jihadists In Minnesota?

They traveled from Somalia to the Great Lakes in search of a better life. But now their kids are joining al-Shabab. AIDEN PINK traveled to Minneapolis, where he learned about the newest front in anti-terror.

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The Decent Marxist

When Norman Geras passed away last month, the world lost an unusually articulate, indefatigable, left-wing thinker who opposed anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism, and illiberalism in all its forms. JOHN-PAUL PAGANO shows us the way.

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The Next Cultural Superpower?

Small countries can contribute a lot to the world cultural stage. BENJAMIN KERSTEIN explores the precedents in the last half-century—and what they could mean for the future of the Jewish state.

continue reading >> Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli was painted onto a Southwest Airlines plane to promote the 2009 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Photo: Christopher Ebdon / flickr

Facebook Democracy is Good Democracy

For a country that loves its politicians accessible, down-to-earth, and above all authentic, social media have become an invaluable way to talk to your voters. LAHAV HARKOV explores the new political discourse emerging in the Jewish State.

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PHOTOS: And Wine Soothes the Soul of Man

In recent years, Israeli vintners have become a global legend. AVIRAM VALDMAN visits the deep purple world of wondrous winemaking.

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Issue #7

October 2013
The Tower Magazine

Who Is the Real Big Winner of the Arab Spring?

Could the pundits be wrong? While conventional wisdom holds Israel's strategic situation has taken a big hit across the Middle East, GABRIEL SCHEINMANN says the opposite is true.

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Of Utopian Dreamers and the Israeli Spirit

After a decade of research, Yossi Klein Halevi has produced the new Israeli epic. DAVID HAZONY profiles the author of "Like Dreamers," which tracks the paratroopers who took the Temple Mount in 1967, and whose lives mirrored the history they made.

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The Big Hamas Elephant

As Western leaders launch another round of Israel-Palestinian peace talks, there's one question ELHANAN MILLER is asking: How can there be peace when Hamas rules Gaza?

continue reading >> Chairman of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Ismail Haniyeh. Photo: Abed Rahim Khatib / Flash90

Tel Aviv: Culinary Cathedrals of the White City

ASHLEY RINDSBERG takes us to some of the top restaurants in Tel Aviv, and discovers an eating culture that is exquisite, rapidly changing, and couldn't give a fig for Michelin ratings.

continue reading >> Tel Aviv fusion hotspot Zepra. Photo: Aviram Valdman

Will Egypt’s Liberals Ever Win?

As a new military-backed regime in Cairo works to stabilize Egypt, prospects for long-term reform seem unclear at best. ARMIN ROSEN spent some time with liberal activists there, and came away with more questions than answers.

continue reading >> Down_With_The_Military_Rule(Graffiti) photo wikimedia

PHOTOS: Loving Life at the Dead Sea

With its air rich in oxygen and its minerals an ancient balm for the afflicted, nothing in the Middle East compares for otherworldliness with the Dead Sea. AVIRAM VALDMAN takes us there.

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Issue #6

September 2013
The Tower Magazine

Say It Again. Kurdish Independence Now

Syria has failed. Iraq is breaking apart. But in both countries, one region has become an island of civil order and pro-Western sentiment. JONATHAN SPYER makes the case for Kurdistan.

continue reading >> mountain kurdistan photo flickr

Why I Sometimes Don’t Fully Hate the UN

With its awful record on terror and Israel, many consider the UN a travesty. But as BEN COHEN writes, it is really two separate organizations: One tries to improve humanity; the other advances the Palestinian cause at any price.

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Iran Is *Really* Good at Evading Sanctions

Tehran's military nuclear program keeps expanding, even under the toughest sanctions yet. EMANUELE OTTOLENGHI offers a breathtaking look at the regime’s secret tactics. If Western leaders really want to stop Iran, they will have to get much more serious, fast.

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A Pitched Battle for the Only Empty Place Left

LIAM HOARE explores the Negev desert, a vast expanse that has become a battleground between Bedouin needing room for their growing families while preserving their traditions, Jews looking to build a new kind of life, and authorities just trying to impose the rule of law.

continue reading >> Photo: Aviram Valdman

Assaf Inbari Is Looking for a Home

Born on a dying kibbutz in the Galilee, a journalist decided to eternalize the rise and fall of a utopia. The result was ’Home,’ a Marquez-like epic that suddenly placed him among Israel’s literary elite. EETTA PRINCE-GIBSON paid a visit.

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PHOTOS: Summer Before the Storm

Just before what might be an autumn of teeth-grinding battle and lost opportunities, AVIRAM VALDMAN aims his camera at the unique indulgences of what was an unseasonably cool Israeli summer.

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Issue #5

August 2013
The Tower Magazine

Deep in Africa, Tehran Spreads Its Tentacles

Despite sanctions, Iran keeps expanding its terrorist reach and making progress towards a nuclear weapon. To achieve this, it's built a vast and effective network in sub-Saharan Africa. ARMIN ROSEN explores.

continue reading >> The ship Francop, captured in 2009 as it smuggled weapons from Iran to Hezbollah. Photo: IDF

The Morocco Model: A Path to Arab Democracy?

More than two years after violent upheavals began sweeping the Arab world, observers search for another way. MICHAEL J. TOTTEN visited one country
that has been above it all—and may hold the keys to a better Arab future.

continue reading >> Rick's Cafe Casablanca

Ego Games: Erdogan’s Olympic-Sized Folly

If Istanbul wins the contest to host the 2020 Olympics, Turkey will become a magnet of global attention. But as AIDEN PINK points out, there's a much darker side to hosting the Games.

continue reading >> Turkey vs Iran. Photo: Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games / flickr

Southern Kibbutzim, Under Fire and Losing Faith

At night, they fear the terror of falling rockets. By day they wonder
about the future of Israel's most iconic way of living. LIAM HOARE met the
Kibbutzniks who live too close to the Gaza border.

continue reading >> Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak. Photo: Flash90

Coexistence Chic in Jaffa and South Tel Aviv

The southern neighborhoods of Israel's greatest city are a study in transformation and recombination: From poor to prosperous, Arab to Jewish, ancient to modern. DEBRA KAMIN explores the hopes and regrets of gentrification.

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PHOTOS: The Druze, Another People Apart

Known for their national loyalty and military service, Israel's Druze villagers live a traditional, isolated and somewhat secretive way of life. AVIRAM VALDMAN travels to the Galilee and gives us a rare look.

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Issue #4

July 2013
The Tower Magazine

Dreaming of a Lebanon Without War

MICHAEL J. TOTTEN interviews key figures in Lebanon's Christian, Sunni, and Druze communities, and discovers a country weary of war—and talking publicly of peace with Israel for the first time in a generation.

continue reading >> Photo: semmickphoto / 123RF

The Map that Ruined the Middle East

How has a century-old deal cut between European powers led to endless misery in the Middle East? GABRIEL SCHEINMANN takes a look at the Sykes-Picot agreement, and asks whether the time has come to rethink the whole thing.

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Drilldown: Is Blue-and-White Oil on the Way?

Forget about natural gas. Israel is sitting on hundreds of billions of barrels of oil—or so it is often said. DANIEL FINK filters out truth from fantasy in the quest for energy independence.

continue reading >> Oil refineries in Haifa by night. Photo: Shay Levy / Flash90

The Gezi Diaries: Erdogan's Turkey Goes Medieval

For years, pundits have sold Turkey as a modern Muslim miracle. But in the last few months, its Islamist government has revealed its true nature, authoritarian and violent. CLAIRE BERLINSKI offers a first-hand account of the mayhem.

continue reading >> Photo: Resim77 / Flickr

An Ancient Rendezvous with a Gleam in its Eye

It was once the most important port in Israel, the place Napoleon besieged but never quite conquered. NERI ZILBER visits the hotels and restaurants of Acre, a town of lost dreams and a surprisingly bright future.

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PHOTOS: City of Utter Fantasy

Nestled on Israel’s northern shore, Acre has tugged at the imagination from biblical times to Napoleon. AVIRAM VALDMAN walks us through the ancient portal.

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Issue #3

June 2013
The Tower Magazine

The Abyss: Can Anything Save Syria?

The world reels from the cruelty of the Syrian civil war. But as JONATHAN SPYER writes, a serious look at the rebels' struggle and the stakes of failure suggests that Western nations must get involved, and quickly.

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The Greatest Living Hebrew Writer Is Arab

An accomplished novelist, screenwriter, and columnist, Sayed Kashua
has taken Israel by storm. DEBRA KAMIN spoke with the man who has
adopted the classic Jewish literary pose of the outsider—and pointed it
at the Jewish state.

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Hatred Begins in the Classroom

Everyone knows that for peace to prevail, schools need to preach coexistence between Arab and Jew. But as ADI SCHWARTZ discovered, a recent report comparing Palestinian and Israeli textbooks only made matters worse.

continue reading >> Palestinian schoolchildren in Gaza City. Photo: Wissam Nassar/Flash90

My Jerusalem, Forever Divided, Forever One

One day, writes peace activist GERSHON BASKIN, Israel will share its capital with a Palestinian state. The city will have to find a new way to live, its beautiful mosaic of neighborhoods working together under multiple authorities, weaving together a very possible dream.

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If Peace Never Comes, This Will Be the Reason

DEBORAH DANAN has organized co-existence dialogue for Israelis and Palestinians for years. But one big problem has always gotten in the way—
and understanding it may give us the key to peace at last.

continue reading >> Photo: Aviram Valdman

PHOTOS: City of Gold and Dreams and Blood

Sometimes the most ancient sites offer the most stirring personal moments. AVIRAM VALDMAN aims his camera at the unfathomable human experience
that is Jerusalem.

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Issue #2

May 2013
The Tower Magazine

Has Turkey Betrayed the West?

Once a secular, modernizing country, Turkey's ruthless assault on journalists raises serious doubts about its future. JAMES KIRCHICK takes a look at the most oppressive regime in NATO.

continue reading >> Photo: Ali Gemal Ergelen / Fotopedia

Europe Has a Serious Hezbollah Problem

For the first time in decades, the Lebanese terror group has begun launching attacks on European soil. BENJAMIN WEINTHAL explores the new reality—and what EU leaders can do about it.

continue reading >> Europe has a Hezbollah problem. Photo: buchachon/123RF Stock

Downfall of a Great Newspaper

Israel's most venerable daily has become a cautionary tale about how not to keep a newspaper afloat. EREZ TADMOR spoke with employees at Haaretz about where all this is going.

continue reading >> Headquarters of Haaretz, Israel's once-venerable newpaper. Photo: The Tower/Aviram Valdman

Styles of Belief

After decades as an importer of style, Israel has suddenly gotten the attention of the world's leading designers. ELIANNA BAR-EL took to the streets of Tel Aviv, trying to fathom the deepest currents of its fashion scene.

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I am a British, Liberal Zionist. Deal with It.

LIAM HOARE reflects on the Jewish state, anti-Semitism, and the kibbutz.

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PHOTOS: Christian Secrets of the Judean Desert

From hidden monasteries dug out of the cliff-side to baptismal waters of the Jordan, The Tower's AVIRAM VALDMAN took his camera places where few tourists ever go.

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Issue #1

April 2013
The Tower Magazine

The Only Country Left Standing

Foreign policy "realists" have long argued that America's interests lie in supporting the oil sheikhs and putting pressure on Israel. With the region in turmoil, has the calculus shifted? DAVID HAZONY asks what happens when the only country left standing is the one that some people never wanted to see.

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Rationalized Violence in the Land of Children

For DAHLIA LITHWICK, raising children in America meant keeping them safe from terrifying random violence. Now in Israel, things have started to make more sense.

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For Israeli Gays, It’s Not About the Ring

In a child-affirming culture, the struggle for equality focuses less on marriage and more on adoption, surrogacy, and parenthood. ZVIKA KRIEGER takes a look.

continue reading >> Gay pride in Jerusalem. Photo by Miriam Alster/FLASh90

Discovering Israel’s Lost Cities

Far away from the hustle of Tel Aviv and the ideological intensity of Jerusalem, there is a third Israel—places like Lod and Shfaram and Ramle—where Arabs and Jews relate to each other in a totally different way. ASHLEY RINDSBERG takes us there. Photos: Aviram Valdman

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Who Is Yair Lapid, and Why Should We Care?

Yair Lapid is Israel's hottest political phenomenon. But as WILLIAM KOLBRENER shows, his new book reveals a far more fascinating tale—of a son embodying his father's own voice, and a father who haunts not only his son but an entire country.

continue reading >> Yair Lapid, chairman of the Yesh Atid party. Photo: Flash 90

PHOTOS: Golan Heights Like a Crazy Dream

Just a few miles from the Syrian tempest, AVIRAM VALDMAN took his camera for a trek to the northern Golan Heights, and discovered a world unlike any other.

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