A Jewish Year and Its Curses: Holding Up a Mirror to Israel in 5778

As we celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, a look at the year that was

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A file photo showing Benjamin Netanyahu holding up a glass of wine as he makes a toast.
A file photo showing Benjamin Netanyahu holding up a glass of wine as he makes a toast. Credit: Nir Keidar
Ori Mark
Ori Mark


A court decision allows the community of Kochav Ya’ir to restrict entry of Arabs to its swimming pool * Education Ministry initiative: Religious body to instruct secular people about how to bring about behavioral changes in children * Israel imposes exceptionally long closure of a week and a half on the West Bank * Aides to Education Minister Naftali Bennett lift the ban on writing racist replies to matriculation-exam questions


It is reported that Israel sent weapons to Myanmar during the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya there * Soldiers shoot to death a Palestinian who was in a car with his sister, explaining that he didn’t stop at their request * Taglit-Birthright stops offering encounters with Arabs during participants’ trips to Israel * Israel doubles waiting time for receiving an exit permit from the Gaza Strip * It’s learned that the state is operating a secret unit abroad against BDS activists * Israel Defense Forces demands that hundreds of Palestinians in the Jordan Rift Valley vacate their homes * Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit legitimizes expropriation of private Palestinian land


Zionist Union supports deportation of asylum seekers * Testimonies of asylum seekers deported from Israel show some of them fell into ISIS hands and others were extradited to Eritrea * Ministry of Culture censors nudity in dance performances * Kulanu party members call for seven-year jail terms for activists in movements that advocate the boycott of Israeli products * State prosecution seeks to jail lawyer for writing a poem against a police officer * Education Ministry torpedoes meeting between Israeli and Palestinian bereaved parents * State demands that lesbians who become mothers declare that they are not sex offenders


Member of Palestinian parliament jailed for year without a trial * Bennett presents plan to intensify ties between IDF and schools * Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu orders examination of possible forcible deportation of asylum seekers * Steep rise in number of requests from police to get personal information about Israeli citizens from media companies * Modesty supervisors enforce dress code at Ono Academic College


Police announce that asylum seekers hid in attic during arrest operation in Ashdod * Comprehensive survey in U.S. shows plunge in support for Israel among Democrats * Deputy Minister Michael Oren initiates Knesset discussion to clarify whether Tamimi family from West Bank is real or a group of actors * Council for Higher Education censors criticism of gender separation in academia



Ministers decide to advance legislation to deprive High Court of Justice of power to deliberate petitions by Palestinians * Police jail man who spray-painted words “Shameful police” * IDF sets up checkpoints to collect personal details about Palestinians * IDF establishes “consciousness department” to influence opinion abroad * State violates High Court ruling demanding expanded living space for prisoners


Kfar Vradim local council stops land sales because half the winners of bids were Arabs * Interior Ministry toughens policy and refuses to register lesbians as mothers for months * Defense establishment demands that left-wing organizations provide information about activists * State gives Ahed Tamimi, the Palestinian teen who slapped a soldier, an eight-month prison term * Chabadniks instruct pupils at secular primary school about advent of Messiah * State orders Eritrean grandfather of 59 to prove he isn’t 32


IDF uses live ammunition against thousands of demonstrators on Gaza-Israel border * Netanyahu and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon agree to discuss abridging High Court’s authority * IDF calls for bids to erect “modern” fences to separate men and women on army bases * Government promotes legislation to make Diaspora Jews subject to authority of rabbinical courts in Israel * Principal reprimanded for inviting New Israel Fund representative to school, because “he should have known that Bennett is against them” * Female high-school students forced to sit in back rows of Kfar Sava auditorium because of presence of religious students


Police falsely arrest 21 Israeli Arab demonstrators against IDF shootings in Gaza; court releases them, not before one of them breaks his leg during incarceration * Kfar Sava police demand that organizers of Gay Pride parade erect two-meter-high fences and choose a route bypassing Chabad House * Tel Aviv University prevents pro-peace activity for bureaucratic reasons * With Labor Party support, Knesset prohibits even discussion of the concept of Israel being a “state of all its citizens” * Housing Minister Yoav Galant draws up plan against “hostile Bedouin construction” and presents distorted data


Afula residents protest sale of home to Arab family * Public pool in south segregates Jews and Arabs * Science Minister Akunis thwarts appointment of academic to committee because she signed a petition years ago against army service in territories * Israel restricts fishing zone for Palestinians in waters off Gaza Strip


Coalition passes nation-state law, which weakens status of Arabic and asserts that state will prioritize communities for Jews * IDF toughens modesty regulations, ranging from gender separation in smoking areas to ban on women’s short clothes * Police detain Conservative rabbi for allegedly officiating at illegal wedding ceremony * Shin Bet security service grills Israeli author at Ben-Gurion International Airport for supporting Breaking the Silence, warns him that although the organization “is not outlawed, it’s a slippery slope” * Israeli Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour jailed for five months * Left-wing activists detained at Taba border crossing with Egypt and interrogated about their opinions on Netanyahu


American journalist Peter Beinart detained at Ben-Gurion airport, asked about his ties with left-wing organizations * Education Ministry decides to fund evangelical-run project that “will deepen students’ ties to God” * Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz suspends construction work on bridge over Tel Aviv freeway, to forestall desecration of Sabbath * Young Jews attack Israeli Arabs on beach; settlers attack left-wing activists in Southern Mount Hebron area.

That was the year that was.

A Happy New Year to all.

Ori Mark is the editor of Haaretz Magazine.

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