Ellie Stern is a journalist based in Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel who specializes in analysis and breaking news coverage of Middle East conflict.
An analysis of the US Senate's passing of the Strengthening America's Security in the Middle East Act or S.1 and why it matters for Israel, diaspora Jewry, and US-Israel relations.
Last year, Birthright Israel, which offers subsidized trips to Israel for Jews from around the world, faced a wave of occupation walk-offs that threatened to derail the program's efficacy. Young Jews affiliated with the US-based IfNotNow organization decided to leave their free trip in order to make a statement against the organization's alleged reluctance to share the Palestinian perspective. Their decision sparked outrage from pro-Israel voices, including leaders at Birthright who called their actions disruptive, urging participants to extend their stay in the region instead of ending their trips early to tour the West Bank. As young Jews prove increasingly critical of the Israeli government, this story remains relevant to Israel's struggle to maintain connections with diaspora Jewry.
In December 2018, women in Israel reached their breaking point. Asserting that 24 murders in a year signaled an uptick in violence against women, thousands of Israelis took to the streets to demand change and express their outrage. I was able to speak with several individuals who shared their reasons for attending, including two members of Israeli parliament who showed up in support of women's rights.