Newsletter of October 4th, 2020
Updated: Oct 27, 2020
Internal and External Current Events
And they don’t stop coming.
Mere weeks after the signing of the peace deals between the UAE, Bahrain and Israel, yet more Arab nations were supposedly seeking peace with Israel (Newman, 2020). While speculation abounded over Morocco, Saudi Arabia and most promisingly Oman, the latest move has come from Lebanon (“Oman”, 2020).
Lebanon and Israel’s dispute mostly centers around natural resource reserves that lie between their territorial waters, where either could extract the fuels before the other gets a chance to set up (Francis & Ayyub, 2020). While the development may seem small, the fact that these are some of the first diplomatic talks that the two nations have had in some 30-odd years – and especially so soon after the end of the Israel-Lebanon War – speaks volumes to how relations in the MENA region have been flipped on their head in recent years.
Live, Love, Lebanon, as the tourism slogan says. If the relations continue to warm, and so long as the flow of new Arab diplomacy does not slow down in the wake of whatever new elections, governmental changes or new Coronavirus developments, we might be able to see a day, once again, where movement between these two nations is as free and open as it was in many Israeli and Lebanese citizens’ youths.
Francis, E. & Ayyub, R. (2020, Oct 1). Lebanon and Israel agree to talks to end sea border dispute. Reuters. https://www.reuters.com/article/lebanon-crisis-israel-int/lebanon-and-israel-agree-to-talks-to-end-sea-border-dispute-idUSKBN26M63Z
Newman, M. (2020, Sept 15). After UAE, Bahrain deals signed, Trump says 7-9 countries seek peace with Israel. The Times of Israel. https://www.timesofisrael.com/liveblog-september-15-2020/
Oman preparing for peace agreement with Israel. (2020, Sept 14). The Arab Weekly.
Back in July, Dr. Ronni Gamzu was appointed as Israel’s virus czar due to his status as a veteran Tel Aviv hospital administrator. Gamzu gave the military the job of contact tracing and asked for Israeli citizens to take the virus seriously. In September, Gamzu got approval from the cabinet to go forward with his traffic light-themed plan. This plan meant that “red” cities with the worst number of outbreaks would be in strict lockdowns while “green” cities would be seeing an easing of restrictions due to their low outbreak numbers. Gamzu created this plan to hopefully avoid another economically strangling lockdown for all of Israel. However, after a few days Gamzu already was feeling pushback from Israeli citizens. The leaders of the Ultra-Orthodox community voiced their concern that they felt like they were being stigmatized. The Ultra-Orthodox community brought their concern straight to Prime Minister Netanyahu. This caused Netanyahu to cave in on the targeted tragic light-themed lockdown plan. In its place, a nighttime curfew was enacted that was a watered-down version compared to the traffic light-themed plan. Although his plan did get shot down, Gamzu is determined to continue with trying to control COVID-19.
Halbfinger, D. M., & Kershner, I. (2020). Israel's Virus Czar Was Making Headway. Then He Tangled With a Key Netanyahu Ally. Retrieved 2020, from https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/08/world/middleeast/israel-coronavirus-ronni-gamzu-netanyahu.html
With her enchanting voice and significant contributions to Israeli culture, Yehudit Ravitz is one of the most successful Israeli music artists. After her service in the IDF, Ravitz participated with Nurit Galron in a radio broadcast which grabbed the attention of Arik Einstein, where he insisted Ravitz be featured on his album “Good Old Israel Part II”.
Following soon after, Yehudit joined the rock band ‘Sheshet’ in 1977. While although it was a short-lived band it was also quite successful. It wasn’t until the 80s when Ravitz truly became a trailblazer in the Israeli rock and pop music industry and among greater Israeli culture. Her singer/song writer skills and talents really broke through during this decade, where she had one of the most best-selling albums “Comes from Love” in 1987.
If you love groovy music that speaks to the soul, Yehudit Ravitz and Shehet are definitely worth the listen.
A Wider Bridge. (n.d.). Yehudit Ravitz. Retrieved October 25, 2020, from https://awiderbridge.org/yehudit-ravitz/
If you’re a foodie then you no doubt have heard of Zahav, the Israeli restaurant based in Philadelphia that’s gained recognition across the nation and around the world.
Owned by Michael Solomonov, whom is the top chef alongside Steve Cook; together they bring exceptional Israeli dishes to all their patrons.
Michael Solomonov was born in Israel but was raised in the states until he was 18. His coming of age moment was when he packed up all his things and moved back to Israel- with absolutely no Hebrew speaking skills. It was in Israel where he found his journey into the food industry and got a job working at a bakery.
Since then, Michael has had an incredibly successful career; with several cookbooks published and many other restaurants including: “K’far” (Israeli Bakery), “Merkaz” (Israeli Pita Sandwich Restaurant) and the latest opening in 2020 “Laser Wolf” (Israeli Skewer House). It’s no surprise that Solomonov has also been the winner of numerous awards such as the 2019 James Beard Award in recognition of Zahav, of which has won the award for the last three years. If you want to get a chair at this prestigious restaurant, be prepared to make a reservation two weeks in advance. Remember, good things come to those who wait!
Vigoda, R. (2019, May 07). Zahav Is the Best Restaurant in the Country at the 2019 James Beard Awards. Retrieved October 25, 2020, from https://philly.eater.com/2019/5/6/18527352/james-beard-awards-philadelphia-winners-2019-zahav
Zahav. (2020). Cookbooks. Retrieved October 25, 2020, from http://www.zahavrestaurant.com/cookbooks.html
Zahav. (2020). Chefs: Michael Solomonov. Retrieved October 25, 2020, from http://www.zahavrestaurant.com/chef.html