Ruth Margalit at The New Yorker:
Political debate in Israel is vigorous, if not always elegant, often summoning the old Hebrew phrase that describes “a dialogue between deaf people.” But it has been dampened in recent years by a series of government-sponsored bills: one demanding that non-Jewish Israelis take loyalty oaths; another authorizing the finance ministry to withhold funds from organizations deemed—however vaguely—to be violating Israel’s foundational tenet of a “Jewish and democratic” state. Kashua, like other Arab Israelis in the public eye, was used to having his words scrutinized. But the summer’s events felt different. As the conflict in Gaza escalated into war, the première of a movie based on his memoir “Dancing Arabs” was hastily scrapped. Flag-draped extremists in Tel Aviv brandished metal rods at antiwar demonstrators. The atmosphere of intimidation became so intense that Ayman Odeh, the youthful leader of the Joint List, an alliance of Arab-backed parties that represent Palestinian aspirations in Israel, announced that an “age of ostracism” had taken hold.
Within the Green Line that separates Israel proper from Gaza and the West Bank, Arab Israelis make up twenty per cent of the population. For liberal Israelis, and for Arabs who hope to be accepted as equals, Kashua embodied the country’s stated ideal of coexistence—of Arab Israelis’ full legal and civil integration. For a decade, he had lived with his wife, Najat, in Ramat Denya, a Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem, and their children attended the city’s only bilingual school.