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Issue 100, November/December 2006

The Conflict Cannot Wait

In January 1990, at the height of the first Intifada, a group of left-wing activists saw that a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict might at last be possible. They decided to publish a magazine directed at the international community, urging it to help bring about a resolution. That was sixteen years and ninety-nine Challenges ago. As we publish our hundredth issue, despite America's self-entrapment in Iraq and the consequent regional paralysis, our editorial asserts that the Conflict Cannot Wait.

Among those who cannot wait are Working-class Heroes of the Occupied Territories who, in quest of jobs, risk their lives each Sunday circumventing Israeli checkpoints. Encounter at Hawara tells the stories of three. Challenge has always devoted much space to a neglected population, the Arabs in Israel.

For this issue we interviewed Susan Nathan, who, after immigrating in 1999 as a Zionist, crossed the Jewish-Arab divide to live In Tamra. The interview brings into focus the issues affecting both the Arab and the Jewish populations in this country.

Apart from the gap between itself and the Arab world, Israel is now also plagued by an internal gap between rich and poor. Campaign promises during the March elections raised hopes of shrinking it. The hopes increased during the Lebanon War, when the poor of Galilee became visible, having no means to flee. The 2007 budget dashes these hopes, returning the Thatcherist spirit of the previous Finance Minister. Although Binyamin Netanyahu sits in the opposition, the budget is Netanyahu Redux.

The major piece in this 100th issue is an analysis of the recent war, Lebanon II, which seeks to present the Wider Picture .

On the cultural scene, we offer an interview with Yasmin Levy, an amazing young Israeli singer and composer, who harmonizes cultures (Christian, Islamic, Jewish and Gypsy) by doing Flamenco in Ladino. Finally, 180 Arab and Jewish artists assembled in Tel Aviv in October for a Sales Exhibit to help provide Arab women workers with Bread and Roses.

Front cover by Cheb Kammerer, Sharon Horodi and Etti Lilti.

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