TIME Middle East

Israel-Palestinian Peace Deal Could Bring $173 Billion Windfall, Study Says

ISRAEL-GAZA-CONFLICT-ARMY
MENAHEM KAHANA—AFP/Getty Images Israeli soldiers drive an armored personal carriers during a training exercise near the Israel-Gaza Border, on June 7, 2015.

"There is money on the table,” says a RAND Corporation researcher

The economic reward for settling the Israel-Palestinian conflict with a two-state solution? $173 billion.

That’s according to a new analysis by the RAND Corporation, which calculates that a two-state solution would result in a $123-billion economic gain for the Israeli economy and a $50 billion boon for Palestinians. That’s an average per capita income increase of $2,200 (5%) for every Israeli and $1,000 (36%) for every Palestinian in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.

But if a two-state resolution is not reached in the next 10 years, says the study, the economic hit would be greater than the gains: gross domestic product in the West Bank and Gaza would shrink by 46%, and in Israel by 10%.

“The point is to demonstrate that there is money on the table,” Charles P. Ries, a RAND vice president told the New York Times. “There are big gains, and people don’t realize how big they are.”

RAND measured the impact of factors like trade and tourism, as well as Palestinians’ renewed ability to travel more freely and exploit mineral resources in the region.

TIME Israel

This Is Why It’s Hard to Boycott Israel

Benjamin Netanyahu cabinet meeting jerusalem
Ronen Zvulun—AP In this May 26, 2015 file photo, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem.

Israeli leftists actually began the boycott movement against settlements, but it's grown larger—and provides a cover for anti-Semitism

The drumbeat of boycott is being heard again in Israel, faint, but persistent and disquieting. On June 3 the head of the French cell phone company Orange said he would he would pull the brand from Israel “tomorrow morning” if he could escape the penalties for voiding the contract. A day earlier, the national student union of Great Britain voted to boycott Israel over its treatment of the Palestinians. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the first “a miserable statement” and the opposition leader Isaac Herzog called the rise of boycotts “a new form of terrorism.”

What’s the truth? The boycott movement was actually started by Israelis—Zionist liberals who support Israel’s existence on land it won in the 1948 war that gave birth to the country, but object to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory on the West Bank and Gaza Strip conquered in 1967. The liberals, however, wanted only to boycott goods produced by Israeli companies that operate on Jewish settlements atop Palestinian land—vast truck farms and small factories that profit from what critics call an essentially colonial arrangement.

It’s both a political and a social matter. A lot of the produce found in Israeli supermarket—and lots of the wine in liquor stores—comes from Jewish settlements on the West Bank, and Tel Aviv liberals will remind one another to avoid it, much as many Americans boycotted table grapes in the 1960s, to pressure California farmers to improve the lives of the Mexican migrants who picked them.

Over time, people outside Israel took up the cause—especially in Europe. The continent was once a great champion of the Jewish state, but as Israel became more powerful and the occupation dragged on, people grew more sympathetic to the Palestinians (far more, according to polls, than in the United States). “Solidarity,” says Stein Guldbrandsen, a board member of the huge Norwegian public employee union, Fagforbunde, which has been a major force in the boycott.

Israel exports a lot of produce to Europe, and several supermarket chains there have been labeling the bell peppers and mint grown in West Bank settlements so consumers could avoid buying them if they wish. But Fagforbunde plays at another level. Along with advocates like Norwegian People’s Aid , the union promotes boycotts against whole companies, not just product by product. Any firm that does business with Israel on the West Bank faces “disinvestment” by Norway’s $890 billion sovereign fund. Believed to be the world’s richest, its board publishes a list of shame, naming companies “excluded from the investment universe.” The list includes firms that make cluster bombs, nuclear weapons, cigarettes and (as of Friday) mine coal. The list also includes companies that help build Jewish settlements on the West Bank, deemed a “serious violation” of human rights for contravening the 4th Geneva Convention, which bars settling residents of an occupying power in occupied territory.

How do they know what companies are profiting from Israel’s occupation of the West Bank? The information is right there on WhoProfits.org, a website maintained by a handful of liberal Israelis operating out of a shabby office in downtown Tel Aviv. The activists gather photos, annual reports and other public information, confirm its veracity, and publish it for the convenience of any investor interested in avoiding companies vulnerable to being labeled part of “the Israeli occupation industry,” as the site calls it. WhoProfits provides one-stop shopping for boycott activists.

“At the end of the day, they read the same website,” says Daniel Reisner, an international law specialist in Tel Aviv, where his firm does a growing business counseling companies on the risks of investing in and around Israel. He prefers not to name those clients. “I find that companies who are accused by boycotters react quite like victims of sexual assault,” Reisner tells TIME. “A: They want to keep it quiet and don’t want to tell anyone, because they appear to be ashamed–this guilt by accusation. And B: They want the matter to be handled as discreetly as possible. They won’t tell the press. They won’t tell the government. They won’t tell the shareholders.”

And yet, none of this amounts to boycotting Israel the country. All these activists—liberal Israeli Jews and ardent Scandinavians alike—take careful aim at punishing companies only for doing business on the West Bank (Israel withdrew its settlements from Gaza in 2005). Other activists are not so restrained, however. They call for a broad boycott on all of Israel. And that’s where the issue gets difficult, and where Israel actually adds to the difficulty of taking discerning action.

For the last ten years, the most prominent voice for boycotting Israel is a group called BDS—short for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. It was begun by a Palestinian in Ramallah, Omar Barghouti, who promotes a campaign of economic isolation and opprobrium against Israel inspired by the one mounted against apartheid South Africa. The group publicizes almost every pro-boycott development around the globe, and in the process frequently appears to take credit for each—even the discreet, surgical decisions of northern European pension funds that say they want nothing to do with BDS. The pension funds, and many other groups, are wary of BDS because its agenda reaches well beyond Israel’s occupation of the West Bank. BDS calls for Israel to allow back Palestinians who in 1948 either left or were driven out of what is present-day Israel—a maximalist position that Israelis understandably say amounts to the destruction of their country.

The Zionist liberals who started all this? They don’t like the sound of that one bit. “Because right now they are boycotting not only the products of the settlements,” says Tamar Hermann, a pollster for the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv resident who has long avoided settler vegetables and wine. “They are preaching for the expansion of the boycott to all Israeli products. For me, it’s problematic.”

What’s more, a broad boycott of all things Israeli offers convenient cover for anti-Semitic feeling —both the virulent strain lately resurgent in Europe, and the latent sort that doubtless accounts for a measure of the extraordinary level of critical scrutiny directed at Israel.

But Israel’s government does nothing to clarify the situation. One of the reasons it’s so hard to enforce a “surgical” boycott on, say, bell peppers grown on a West Bank settlement is that the things are shipped abroad in boxes marked “Product of Israel.” Which is how the Israeli government sees things too. For decades, no Israeli government has chosen to observe the Green Line—the boundary separating Palestinian and Israeli territory in 1967 —as a border. A freeway runs from Tel Aviv to a settlement 10 miles inside the West Bank without a checkpoint. The speed traps are run by Israeli cops. The same big green busses that run on Israeli roads stop at bus stops outside West Bank settlements.

By every important measure—budget, voting, administration—the 200 settlements Israel has built on Palestinian land over the last 48 years are regarded, inside Israel, as part of Israel. Which may be very shrewd, or foolish, depending on how the boycott threat proceeds.

TIME Middle East

You Really Can’t Tell Your Terrorists Without a Scorecard

Shootouts between four Mideast terrorist groups reveal what the label obscures

Hopscotching the headlines of the day, we see that Hamas and Hizballah were both active on Tuesday—though not against Israel, the country each was created to oppose. Both groups, rightly listed as terrorist organizations, were going hammer and tongs against other terrorists: Hamas took out a Gaza Strip fundamentalist associated with ISIS, the extremist group in control of large swathes of Iraq and Syria, while Hizballah battled al-Qaeda’s powerful Nusra Front near Lebanon’s border with Syria. All four sides claimed victory.

What to make of all this? Maybe only that though they all wear black, and often appear delighted with the role of Bad Guy, the groups gathered under the great enveloping cloak marked “terrorist” are far from the same. And the differences are not only sectarian. Three of Monday’s four combatants—Hamas, ISIS and al-Qaeda—are Sunni Muslim groups. The exception is Hizballah, which Iran created to solidify Lebanon’s Shi’ite population and bring the fight to Israel after Israeli forces invaded Lebanon in 1982.

None of the groups is any one thing, but some can at least be safely approached. ISIS and quite possibly al-Nusra would arrest me, and in time perhaps saw off my head. Hizballah serves reporters Doner kebabs—said to be delicious—and Hamas issues journalist visas in Gaza. Both are essentially political organizations, which also operate what they call “military wings.” Those wings have carried out terrorist attacks, but they are calculated toward achieving a political end. Usually that end involves Israel—Hamas’s charter calls for its elimination, yet the stated goals of last summer’s Gaza war was an extra three miles of fishing rights in the Mediterranean—but the clash on Monday was about eliminating a rival: ISIS.

Hamas, which promotes both Islamist and nationalist goals—it wants a Palestinian state—and appears to crave U.S. recognition, simply is not radical enough for the extremists of ISIS, some of whom live under its rule in Gaza, the coastal enclave between Israel and Egypt. There, Hamas police stations have been bombed, and its military wing rocketed, by groups that consider the Muslim Brotherhood affiliate unworthy. In response, Hamas has set up checkpoints, trying to cull the herd. Its officials said the man killed on Tuesday, Yussef al-Hatarman, was shot after threatening to blow himself up along with the Hamas police officers who had come to arrest him. The Hamas Interior Ministry released photos of suicide belts and other arms apparently confiscated in the raid—embracing a great law enforcement tradition.

It wasn’t the first time Hamas has defended its monopoly on force in Gaza against more radical groups. In 2009, its police attacked a compound held by a fundamentalist who had just declared Gaza an “Islamic emirate.” The death toll then was 28, but officials expressed regret at the loss of life. Hamas had sent a local theology professor in to try to coax the rebels to see the error of their ways, something the professor later told me he’d been able to manage in the past. But then, as even terrorists are finding out, six years ago the radical fringe in the Middle East was still out on the fringe, and not nearly so radical.

TIME India

Narendra Modi Is Set to Become the First Indian Prime Minister to Visit Israel

Narendra Modi Indian Prime Minister
Adnan Abidi—Reuters India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves towards his supporters during a rally in Mathura, India, May 25, 2015.

Dates for the trip have not yet been announced, but it may happen this year

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to visit Israel in the near future, which will make him the first head of state from the South Asian nation to ever do so.

The announcement was made by the country’s Foreign Minister, Sushma Swaraj, in a press conference on Monday, the Times of India reported. Dates are not confirmed.

Swaraj said she will also visit Israel, the Palestinian territories and Jordan later this year, and Modi will reportedly visit the Palestinian territories and meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as well.

India and Israel have had good relations ever since the former became one of the first countries to recognize the latter in 1950, and Modi shares a personal rapport with his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu.

Sources told The Hindu newspaper that the visit may take place this year, with a high-level Indian delegation set to go to Israel for bilateral talks in July. The Israeli government welcomed the news.

“High level visits between both countries, as we have witnessed in the past months, are a natural ingredient of the tightening relationship between Israel and India,” Israel’s Ambassador to India Daniel Carmon said.

TIME Foreign Policy

Obama Restates Support of Israel in Synagogue Speech

President Barack Obama delivers remarks in celebration of Jewish American Heritage Month at Adas Israel Congregation May 22, 2015 in Washington, D.C.
Chip Somodevilla—Getty Images President Barack Obama delivers remarks in celebration of Jewish American Heritage Month at Adas Israel Congregation May 22, 2015 in Washington, D.C.

President Obama sought to reassure American Jews that he fully supports the state of Israel while reiterating the need for a two-state solution at a Northwest Washington synagogue on Friday.

“Our commitment to Israel’s security and my commitment to Israel’s security is and always will be unshakable,” Obama said, adding that not doing so would be a “moral failing.”

Obama spoke at the Adas Israel Synagogue on the inaugural “solidarity sabbath,” a holiday meant to consolidate support for Jews amid rising anti-Semitism that falls toward the end of Jewish Heritage Month. On Friday, lawmakers were slated to appear in congregations across the country to mark the day.

In the wake of attack at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a string of anti-Semitic attacks across Europe, there’s been growing attention to the persecution of Jews across the world. Obama noted that the rise of anti-semitism should not be treated as “passing fad.”

“When we allow anti-Semitism to take root, our souls are destroyed,” Obama said. “It will spread.”

The statements follow a wide-ranging interview published by The Atlantic on Thursday, in which President Obama stressed his love for the Jewish state of Israel, telling commentator Jeffrey Goldberg that supporting the rights of Jews abroad is equivalent to supporting the freedom of African-Americans at home.

“There’s a direct line between supporting the right of the Jewish people to have a homeland and to feel safe and free of discrimination and persecution, and the right of African Americans to vote and have equal protection under the law,” he said. “These things are indivisible in my mind.”

On Friday, he reiterated those sentiments, reflecting on his own introduction to the Israeli community. “For a young man like me grappling with his own identity, Obama said, “the idea that you could be grounded in your history as Israel was but not be trapped by it. That idea was liberating”

Obama’s statements to Goldberg and before the congregation at Adas Israel on Friday come amid nuclear negotiations Iran that have put strain on one of the U.S.’ closest relationships. But he made clear Friday that criticism is not going to change his mind.

“I want Israel, in the same way that I want the United States, to embody the Judeo-Christian and, ultimately then, what I believe are human or universal values that have led to progress over a millennium,” he told Goldberg.

And on Friday, before a crowd in a packed synagogue where the rabbi called him a “champion of freedom,” Obama sought to reassure the congregation that he could be both a friend and a critic of Israel.

“It’s precisely because I care so deeply … that I feel a responsibility to speak out honestly about what I feel,” he said.

TIME Israel

Israel’s New Government Promises Little Progress on Peace Talks and Unstable Rule

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a press conference at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on May 6, 2015, to announce reaching a coalition deal for forming a new government.
Gali Tibbon—AFP/Getty Images Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a press conference at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on May 6, 2015, to announce reaching a coalition deal for forming a new government.

Benjamin Netanyahu has created a government in which he is one of the most moderate members

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may have managed to patch together a new coalition government 90 minutes before the deadline to present a ruling majority to the country’s President, but it is one that offers little hope for new peace talks with the Palestinians or stable government for Israel.

The resulting government commands only 61 out of the Israeli parliament’s 120 seats and is comprised of parties that are either reluctant or outright opposed to restarting peace talks aimed at creating a Palestinian state alongside Israel. With few voices in the new government in favor of a two-state solution to the conflict, which is the desired outcome of the U.S. and most of the international community, Netanyahu is likely to continue to find himself on a collision course with the international community in general and the Obama Administration in particular.

The paper-thin majority Netanyahu sets out with in his fourth term as Prime Minister looks far from the “stable and broad-based government” he confidently asked voters to allow him to establish when he dissolved his coalition last December, deeming it ungovernable.

The parties in Israel’s new government are all right-wing or religious, with the exception of Kulanu (in English-All of Us), headed by Moshe Kahlon, who defines himself as centrist and brings with him pragmatists such as Michael Oren, Netanyahu’s former ambassador to Washington. Kahlon, however, is a former member of Netanyahu’s Likud party and does not appear to have moved significantly far from that party’s conservative positions on security and defense issues. It is only if Netanyahu’s government runs so afoul of the international community that it winds up hampering Kahlon’s economic agenda as Minister of Finance that the new government could be forced to be more moderate, says Professor Reuven Hazan, a political scientist at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

“This is a government that is very cohesive ideologically on the security agenda. The hawkish parties would prefer not to give anything up and to build more settlements,” Hazan says. “Kahlon has a domestic economic agenda and he may be the most moderate in this cabinet. But he is a former Likudnik who is very comfortable with Netanyahu’s security agenda, and unless the world acts very harshly and it seems like it will affect Kahlon’s economic plan, such as with threats of boycotts, Kahlon is unlikely to interfere with Netanyahu’s stance.”

In a dramatic turn of events in the 48 hours before the deadline to form a government, Netanyahu’s one-time ally and now rival, Avigdor Lieberman, announced that he would not be joining the new government. Lieberman heads the hardline Israel Beitanu party, and allied himself with Netanyahu’s Likud in the 2013 election, resulting in Lieberman’s re-appointment as Foreign Minister. But Lieberman, who has a base of conservative voters who are immigrants from the former states of the Soviet Union, saw his support in the March 17 elections dwindle, giving him just six Knesset seats. Subsequently given short shrift in the coalition-building process, Lieberman decided to turn his back on Netanyahu and deprive him of six seats that would have allowed for a more comfortable governing majority.

Netanyahu was left having to give in to the demands of the last party with whom he needed to sign a coalition agreement, the Jewish Home party led by Naftali Bennett. That party’s main agenda includes expanding settlements, increasing the Jewish nature of the Israeli state, and upholding an uncompromising stance on Palestinian demands for statehood. During Israel’s war with Hamas last summer, Bennett was continually critical of Netanyahu for not hitting “hard enough” and publicly opposed Netanyahu’s decision to withdraw Israeli ground forces from the Gaza Strip, promoting instead a full re-occupation of the Palestinian territory that Israel left in 2005.

“Bennett was a relentless public critic of his own cabinet, demanding harsher action in Gaza, bemoaning the stewardship of the conflict,” Times of Israel editor David Horovitz notes in a column questioning the achievements of Netanyahu’s gambit to dissolve his last government with the intent of forming a stronger and more stable one.

In the final days of haggling over posts, Bennett took the education ministry for himself, and demanded that Ayelet Shaked, a 39-year-old politician who became a first-time legislator in 2013, be appointed Justice Minister.

“She replaces Tzipi Livni as Justice Minister, which puts her in charge of the ministerial committee for legislation, and that is the committee that has to approve every piece of legislation that comes through the Knesset,” Hazan explains. “This is a bottleneck. Laws in the Israeli parliament can only pass if the ministerial committee approves them, and this committee can block it. This committee is one that Netanyahu fought to get control of again, and with Shaked there he’s closer to doing that, but it gives her enormous power.”

Netanyahu has not appointed a new Foreign Minister, holding that portfolio for himself as he is permitted to do under Israeli law. Analysts believe this holds open the possibility that he can still convince Isaac Herzog, the leader of the Zionist Union, which includes the left-of-center Labor party, to join the government at a later point. Moshe Yaalon, who was Netanyahu’s last Defense Minister, will retain his position, making it likely that Israel’s position on local and regional defense issues — including for example Israel’s opposition to a potential Iran nuclear deal — will remain unchanged.

TIME celebrities

Natalie Portman Doesn’t Know Where Her Oscar Is

Natalie Portman arrives at the UCLA Younes Soraya Nazarian Center for Israel Studies 5th Annual Gala held at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on May 5, 2015 in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Breuel-Bild—ABB/picture-alliance/AP Natalie Portman arrives at the UCLA Younes Soraya Nazarian Center for Israel Studies 5th Annual Gala held at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on May 5, 2015 in Beverly Hills, Calif.

"It's a false idol"

Natalie Portman opened up to The Hollywood Reporter about her feelings on Israel, her thoughts on being a Jew in post-Charlie Hebdo Paris and her directorial debut of Amos Oz’s memoir, A Tale of Love and Darkness, a film shot entirely in Hebrew (Portman was born in Israel). But in between all those very serious topics, Portman also revealed that she loves Broad City, even though she doesn’t have a television (she says she watches it on her computer). And she said she doesn’t know where she put the Oscar she won for 2010’s “Black Swan.”

You can read the full interview at The Hollywood Reporter, but here are some key takeaways:

On her Oscar: “I think it’s in the safe or something. I don’t know. I haven’t seen it in a while. I was reading the story of Abraham to my child and talking about, like, not worshipping false idols. And this is literally like gold men. This is lit­er­ally worshipping gold idols—if you worship it. That’s why it’s not displayed on the wall. It’s a false idol.”

On Netanyahu’s re-election: “I’m very much against Netanyahu. Against. I am very, very upset and disappointed that he was reelected. I find his racist comments horrific.”

On whether she is nervous about being a Jew in Paris: “Yes, but I’d feel nervous being a black man in this country. I’d feel nervous being a Muslim in many places.”

On her marriage to dancer and choreographer Benjamin Millepied: “The disappointments are always in myself, and like, when you’re faced day to day with someone looking at you, it’s like a mirror that you have to yourself, and you can see your own good behavior and bad behavior. And it’s a beautiful challenge to be the best person in the mirror that you can be. I mean, I don’t beat myself up over it, but I’m not always as generous as I feel like I could be.”

TIME Israel

Why the Latest Protest Against Police Brutality Is Happening in Israel

Demonstrators confront Israeli policemen, during a demonstration of Ethiopian Jews at RABIN Square in Tel Aviv on May 3, 2015.
Omer Messinger—AP Protesters confront Israeli policemen during a demonstration of Ethiopian Jews in Tel Aviv on May 3, 2015

Scores are hurt in weekend protests in Tel Aviv as Ethiopian Israelis rally against what they say is long-running racism

Masses of protesters gathering in the streets, some throwing rocks and bottles at the police. In full riot gear, the police respond in force, shooting tear-gas canisters, percussion bombs and water guns. By the end of the evening, 46 injured people are sent to area hospitals.

Scenes of violent protest are something that people in Israel are used to seeing periodically, though it is usually in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This time, though, the rage involves youth Israelis of Ethiopian descent who are angry at their own government.

Complaints of discrimination in all sectors of society — including housing, education and the workplace — are common from Ethiopian Israelis. But the issue of police brutality toward the group came to the forefront in the past week when a video surfaced last Thursday showing police beating a young Ethiopian-Israeli soldier in uniform. A protest against police brutality spilled over into violence in Jerusalem last Thursday night. Those protests continued over the weekend, and on Sunday evening, Rabin Square in the heart of Tel Aviv began to look like an intifada-era conflict zone.

What are Ethiopian-Israelis angry about? Since they began immigrating to Israel in the 1980s, Ethiopians have struggled to integrate into Israeli society. There are more than 135,00 Israelis of Ethiopian origin, according to the most recent figures from Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics. Some came to escape famine and persecution, and all grew up on the idea of Israel as their ultimate homeland. By now, a new generation is Israeli-born, but they still face discrimination that, in the words of one activist, “is more latent than official.” In addition, some of Israel’s Orthodox rabbinical establishment question their Jewishness, which makes it difficult for them to get married in a country where civil marriage doesn’t exist.

But what touched off the current rage, so strikingly similar to the street protests over police brutality that have taken place over the past few months in the U.S., was a CCTV video. It captured an Ethiopian-Israeli soldier being thrown to the ground and beaten by two white policemen. In the video we see the policemen accost the soldier and push him, who then pushes back, and then the two men throw him to the ground and kick him.

“After being beaten up, after being violated again and again and being discriminated against, many Ethiopians wind up in jails,” says activist Fentahun Assefa-Dawit. He notes that 40% of minors in the Israeli correction system are of Ethiopian descent. “What’s different this time is the footage. And all the youngsters who might have been through this something like this, now they have proof that it occurs.”

Assefa-Dawit is the executive director of Tebeka–Advocacy for Equality and Justice for Ethiopian Israelis, an organization that receives more than 1,000 complaints of discrimination and abuse a year. It takes up the strongest cases of Ethiopians who have suffered discrimination, some of which have gone to Israel’s Supreme Court. But for young people outraged by what they’ve experienced, change is coming far too slowly.

“When an Ethiopian applies for a job, as qualified as he might be, as impressive as his CV might be, he is not going to be invited for the interview because he has an Ethiopian name,” Assefa-Dawit told journalists on Monday in a conference call before heading to a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is conferring with Ethiopian community leaders in an effort to calm the outrage. “When a local rabbinate office refuses to register a couple who wants to get married because they’re Ethiopian, when you see a school that says we cannot take more children because they have a quota of how many Ethiopians they will enroll, you can imagine what the feeling of young people will be,” he says.

Shimon Solomon, who came to Israel from Ethiopia in 1980 at the age of 12, was a member of the Israeli parliament in the last government with the Yesh Atid party. He says that although he has repeatedly brought the issue of police brutality towards Ethiopians to the authorities for several years, nothing has been done.

“What we saw in the video is nothing compared to what goes on, in fact it was less shocking that what happens to people in our community at the hands of police,” Solomon tells TIME. “When we speak to people in their neighborhoods, we hear that it’s happening all the time, that the police allow themselves to act brutally and take people aside and beat them for no reason. We turned to the police and ask them to fix this situation, but it just continued like nothing happened.”

Solomon says that the protest on Sunday started with peaceful intentions, but a small group of “anarchists — some Ethiopian and some not” wanted to push things in a more radical direction. “We wanted an aggressive demonstration, not a violent one,” says Solomon. “The point of a protest is to bring attention to a situation, not to make the situation worse.” Solomon says he was disappointed that as the anger across the Ethiopian community grew, there was silence from Israel’s leaders. “It’s too bad that he didn’t come out immediately to decry the violence and hatred.”

Netanyahu met on Monday with Ethiopian leaders in an attempt to douse the flames amid reports that there would be further protests this week. The Prime Minister is moving closer to forming a government but has still not presented one since his re-election on March 17. On Monday he decried racism and violence, and arranged a meeting with Damas Pakedeh, the soldier who was filmed being beaten by two policemen.

“I was shocked by the pictures that I saw,” Netanyahu said in comments released by his office. “We cannot accept this and the police are dealing with it. We need to change things.”

TIME portfolio

These Teenagers Are Israel’s Future Soldiers

They learn how to assemble an AK-47 assault rifle and how to react in an urban, house-to-house fighting situation

In a country where military service is mandatory (three years for men and two for women) groups of young Israeli teenagers are increasingly joining advance-training programs to prepare – physically and mentally – for duty.

“In Israel, once you join the army, you become a grown-up,” says Oded Balilty, an Associated Press photographer based in Tel Aviv. “One day, you’re a teenager, the next you’re a soldier with a gun. And so, some of them want to prepare themselves and feel more comfortable with the idea of being a soldier.”

For Israelis, conflict has become a fact of life — Israeli reservists can be called into active duty during times of crisis. “Yet, most kids will often only hear about it in the news; they don’t really live it,” says Balilty. “Of course, during wartime, they go down to shelters if necessary, but they mostly hear about it from their parents and friends around the dining table. Teenagers care about different stuff. They care about dating girls; they care about parties; they care about their iPhones and their iPads.”

For most of them, war only becomes a reality when they start their military service, and end up on the front lines.

Balilty spent six days following 400 students taking part in military combat fitness-training programs organized by Excellent Training, an independent company founded by Nir Cohen, a former Israeli paratrooper. Students meet three times a week, over a year, and are put through grueling exercises designed to strengthen them ahead of their military service. “For example, those who train to join the Navy are sent in the water when it’s cold weather,” says Balilty. “They go in and out, and at the same time the instructors are asking them questions about the history of Israel to see if they’re focused and if they are mentally stable. It’s very intense. [The instructors] want to simulate the tension and stress that soldiers are under in the military.”

The students also learn how to assemble an AK-47 assault rifle, and how to react in an urban, house-to-house fighting situation.

Excellent Training is just one of the many companies, founded by former members of the Israeli military, that have been offering these training programs in the last decade. “There are many others in each large city [in Israel],” says Balilty, who has followed several of these groups in recent months.

In the end, says Balilty, “these teenagers are definitely more ready than most of the teenagers that go straight into the army. I’ve seen 16 and 17-year-old kids that were really mature. Other kids tend to be more scared about joining the army. They can break mentally. So I think this [sort of training] is really helping them.”

Oded Balilty is an Associated Press photographer based in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Mikko Takkunen, who edited this photo essay, is an Associate Photo Editor at TIME. Follow him on Twitter @photojournalism.

Olivier Laurent is the editor of TIME LightBox. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @olivierclaurent

TIME Iran

Here’s What You Need to Know About the Iran Deal

We finally have a framework for a nuclear deal. Here's what that means.

After 18 months of drawn-out negotiations, the U.S. and its partners on Thursday arrived at an agreement on a framework for curbing Iran’s nuclear capabilities.

If that sounds tentative, that’s because it is. The two sides have until June 30 to hash out the details of a final agreement. As President Barack Obama warned following the announcement of the latest progress, “there will be no deal” if Iran backtracks.

But the agreement sets the stage for a comprehensive deal that the U.S. and its allies believe could prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons in the near future, while providing relief to Iran’s limp economy. Here’s what you need to know about the ongoing talks:

What does the U.S. and its partners want?

The U.S. side consists of U.N. Security Council members Britain, China, France and Russia as well as Germany (dubbed the P5+1). They are pressing for restrictions that will extend the amount of time it will take Iran to build a nuclear weapon — the so-called “breakout time” — from the current 2-3 months to a year. To do that, the P5+1 are pushing to reduce the number of centrifuges Tehran can use to enrich uranium into fuel for a nuclear weapon, as well as cut its stockpiles of enriched uranium. Meanwhile, the U.S. and its partners are demanding monitors to continuously inspect Iran’s nuclear program.

What does Iran want?

Iran is keen to see the removal of sanctions to ease pressure on its struggling economy and gain access to the international market. But it insists that it has the right to nuclear capabilities for energy and medical purposes and is unwilling to scrap its nuclear resources altogether.

So what does the framework agreement say?

According to the framework agreement, Iran agreed to cut by two-thirds its supply of centrifuges, from roughly 19,000 to about 6,000, and retain only its earliest generation centrifuges. It said it would keep continuing enrichment far below levels necessary for a nuclear weapon and also agreed to reduce its stockpile of enriched uranium by 97%.

But exactly how it plans to scrap its extra centrifuges and enriched uranium is the kind of question negotiators will be answering over the next three months. Finally, Tehran pledged to give the International Atomic Energy Agency access to all of its nuclear facilities and to its nuclear supply chain. “If Iran cheats, the world will know,” Obama said.

The U.S., the United Nations and the European Union will lift nuclear-related sanctions once Iran is deemed to have complied with its side of the bargain; American sanctions related to terrorism, human rights abuses and non-nuclear weapons will remain in place. Meanwhile, the U.S. will be poised to “snap-back” nuclear sanctions if Iran backpedals.

What do opponents of a deal say?

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been a staunch critic of the negotiations, came out swinging after the framework agreement was reached. “The proposed agreement would constitute a real danger to the region and the world, and it would threaten the existence of Israel,” said Netanyahu, who was re-elected last month. An official close to his office went even further, saying the framework agreement “kowtows to Iranian dictates.”

Opponents say in part that a one-year breakout time is insufficient, giving the U.S. and its allies too little time to react if Iran does race to build a nuclear weapon. They also raise concerns that no matter what access Iran gives IAEA inspectors, they could still attempt to build a weapon without inspectors or U.S. intelligence finding out. “We are all concerned that the Iranians will circumvent the deal,” said Israeli politician Yair Lapid, a leading Netanyahu opponent who still says the deal is troubling to all Israelis.

In the U.S., Republicans, with some support from Democrats, have lined up a bill that will effectively require Congressional approval for a nuclear deal by giving legislators the power to reject lifting sanctions on Iran. The White House opposes the perceived interference from Congress and has said it would veto such a bill. “If Congress kills this deal, not based on expert analysis, and without offering any reasonable alternative, then it’s the United States that will be blamed for the failure of diplomacy, international unity will collapse, and the path to conflict will widen,” Obama said.

Other lawmakers appear willing to hear out the administration when the negotiators reconvene on April 13, albeit with a heavy dose of skepticism:

What do the Iranians Say?

In Iran, people took to the streets to celebrate news of the framework agreement. In a sign that the deal has the support of supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei, Friday prayer leaders throughout the country praised the negotiations, calling the talks a success. President Hassan Rouhani, who has spearheaded the talks since he took office in 2013, was scheduled to speak Friday afternoon.

What happens now?

Now the hard work begins, as both sides determine the details and logistics of a deal. The White House will have to contend with a skeptical Congress that wants more of a say in the details of a final deal, as well as with potential schisms with its negotiating partners, which include rival Russia. Meanwhile, the talks will continue even as Iran engages in proxy and increasingly overt wars with U.S. Sunni allies in the region. There’s always the chance that the June 30 deadline will be extended, but as TIME’s Massimo Calabresi notes, “keeping Congress onside, the sanctions coalition together and the Iranians at the table may be impossible after the next deadline.”

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