THE DEMOCRACY PROJECT

A four-part miniseries on Israel's culture of democracy and what it means to be a "Jewish and democratic state." 

Produced with Pulitzer prize nominated journalist Ilene Prusher. Aired on TLV1 Radio in 2015. Full credits here. 

 

Israel's nation-state bill: Safeguard or threat?

The first thing you notice when you start talking with people about the nation-state bill is that almost nobody has a mild opinion about it. It seems as though both supporters and opponents of the bill foresee some existential threat: Israel as we know it — either the Jewish aspect or the democratic aspect — is in peril. So, which is it?


'Democracy is a luxury': On culture and education

What do Israelis think about when they think of democracy? Is it freedom of speech? Equality? Or is it simply free elections and majority rule? Our political beliefs seem almost visceral. Nonetheless, they are deeply shaped by the society and culture around us. We’ll take a close look at the Israeli education system in order to understand how Israeli conceptions of democracy get produced and reproduced.


STOMPING GROUNDS

A documentary miniseries on some of the grittier places in Tel Aviv and the people who go there. Aired on TLV1 Radio in 2014. 


The bright young things of Tel Aviv

Florentin assails the senses. It’s all color and noise, heat and decrepitude. If Tel Aviv leans left, Florentin does much more so; if Tel Aviv is young, Florentin’s even a bit younger; and if Tel Aviv accepts its artists, eccentrics, and the LGBT community, then Florentin is their haven. Its young, creative, often frenetic energy make it like “La Boheme” of Tel Aviv. Here are the stories of people who found their place in Florentin.

Aired on TLV1 Radio. Full credits here. 


The architecture of memory

Rabin Square is like a blank canvas, an empty box — a void in the middle of Tel Aviv. It occupies a whole city block and its vacancy is almost entirely uninterrupted. Starkness, straight lines, symmetry: this architectural style is called brutalism. Imprinted on this blankness is the memory of of the great political demonstrations that took place there — including the 1995 peace demonstration that ended in the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

Aired on TLV1 Radio. Full credits here. 


Down in the gutter of Tel Aviv

There’s a photo making the rounds on the internet. A row of schoolchildren sit cross-legged on a shady sidewalk — it looks like they’re on a field trip. And above them is a big neon sign: GoGo Girls Strip Club. As Tel Aviv tour guide Shalom Kleiman says, “People are just like any other liquid: they form at the bottom of the sink” — and those are exactly the types you’ll find on Allenby Street.

Aired on TLV1 Radio. Full credits here. 


A park like no other

In South Tel Aviv’s Levinsky Park, you’ll find a lot of the usual: a lawn and benches, a basketball court, a playground. But no one would say this is like any other park in Israel. For one thing, most of the people in the park are African asylum seekers. And many of them live here — you can tell by the mattresses and blankets that have been slung up over the benches and under the jungle gym.

Aired on TLV1 Radio. Full credits here.