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“Israel is in the midst of an ambitious mass-transit project, a new light-rail network serving the Tel Aviv metropolitan area, where 44 percent of Israelis live. The system is expected to provide half a million trips a day and save hundreds of thousands of tons of carbon emissions annually.
But the project has drawn the ire of environmentalists, who say it threatens a precious resource: Tel Aviv’s towering, glossy-leafed ficus trees. Planted decades ago along the city’s wide boulevards, these trees are an iconic part of the streetscape, central to the city’s early identity as a European-style settlement in the Middle East.
For three years, environmental groups, residents, and Tel Aviv University students rallied to save the ficus trees lining Jerusalem Boulevard in Jaffa, the mixed Jewish-Arab neighborhood of Tel Aviv. A Facebook group called “Save The Trees on Jerusalem Boulevard,” with more than 700 members, served as a hub for strategizing and communication. An online petition to “cancel the death sentence” of the trees garnered 2,172 signatures. The movement received frequent coverage in the Israeli press.
In one act of protest, activists pinned traditional Hebrew mourning notices to the trees, alerting passersby to the “untimely death of the street ficus.” (In Israel, such activism has precedent: In the 1930s Tel Aviv poet Yehuda Karni published eulogies for every tree removed by the municipality, according to a book by the late Israeli historian Natan Dunevich.)”
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
"Political leaders from all French parties, including former presidents Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy, joined Jews and non-Jews in Paris’s Place de la Republique to condemn antisemitic acts."
"Eighty years ago tonight, thousands of Americans gathered in New York to rally behind the Nazi Party and its ideals. An Oscar-nominated short documentary retrieves footage of the event, but leaves out the context that gives it meaning."
"The PM has persuaded the religious-Zionist Jewish Home to partner with the Kahanists of Otzma Yehudit. It makes cynical political sense for his interests, but what of Israel’s?"
"IFC’s series Documentary Now! began as an affectionately parodic tribute to the classics of nonfiction cinema. Its first episode, “Sandy Passage,” was a note-perfect evocation of the Maysles brothers’ Grey Gardens..."
"Making our choices count is, however, far from straightforward, and this is the subject of Martin Hägglund’s book This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom."
"Teens in the United States are coming of age at a time when digital technology is truly ubiquitous, where smartphones are all of our “constant companions.”"
"...the Smollett story, if the “trajectory” leads to evidence of fakery, would actually reveal something else modern America is about: victimhood chic."
"Cool in the humanities isn’t that different from cool in other areas of cultural life, like planking, hotdog-legs photography, mason jar rehabilitation, and novels whose main character is a city."
"It’s true that high-octane, hardworking child-rearing has some pointless excesses, and it doesn’t spark joy for parents. But done right, it works for kids..."
"Cape Town in South Africa is a foodie destination. Some people in its renowned restaurant industry are trying to spread the food wealth citywide."
"...for many “space expansionists,” escaping Earth is about much more than dodging the bullet of extinction: it’s about realizing astronomical amounts of value by exploiting the universe’s vast resources to create something resembling utopia. "
"After facing persecution in the former Soviet Union and a new wave of antisemitism in the United States, Marya Zilberberg decides to put her Jewishness on display."