After Um Nir 5th demolition
Parashat Hashavua “Pinchas” | What Will Be | What Was | Torah Thoughts
Into | Rabbi Arik Ascherman
This week’s Torah potion is very challenging. God rewards Pinkhas for, at the end of last week’s portion, literally heeding Moses’ call to kill those who are engaged in idolatry. Moses’ call is based on a command from God. Pinkhas’ act stays God’s anger, but not idolatry. In the Haftarah, Eliyahu (In the midrash, Pinkhas and Eliyahu are said to be one and the same person.) is taught by God that his dramatic slaying of the priests of Ba’al is not the answer. The physical and violent struggle with idolatry will continue, but the true power lies within the “Still small voice.” (Kings 1 19:12) and of educating the next generation (Kings 1 19:16).
The controversies swirl around “Torat HaMelekh “and the “Boycott Bill.” Passion becomes demonization. The first solution is to use the power of the State to stop those phenomenon which we believe to be threatening us. Arrest the authors and supporters of “Torat HaMelekh,” make it illegal to call for a boycott, to receive contributions from governments to challenge Israeli policy (From individuals and foundations are OK, because both the left and the right receive such funds. The right, which is dominant today, is using its power to single out those who contribute to their opposition, and not to them.) Let me make it clear, I believe that there is a world of difference between Torat HaMelekh and the support of boycotts. Whether or not Torat HaMelekh can or should be classified as criminal incitement, and no matter what was the intent of the author, it will incite to murder non-Jews, . We must continue to draw a line somewhere, so that crying “Fire” in a crowded theater does not become protected free speech. However, while the sociologist Gordon Allport said that “state ways” can change “folkways,” he said that state imposed changes could easily be reversed. The use of state power, even where it is necessary, does not free us from the obligation to educate, and to allow God’s “Still small voice” in our souls to engage the souls of those whose opinions and actions are so different from ours that we feel they challenge our very existence. The fact that “Torat HaMelekh“‘ might not be criminally prosecutable only intensifies our obligation to educate for a society that utterly rejects it as an anathema from a Jewish religious point of view. Those who think that boycotts are violence against them can of course try to do the same, and we must be able to clearly express why we believe these issues are not comparable. Both Torat HaMelekh and the Boycott Bill threaten to undermine the ground on which we stand as a society that wants to be democratic, just and live up to Jewish values.
Even as we speak, some are criticizing RHR for calling on Israel to allow the flotilla to reach Gaza (Some of them apparently thought we signed on to a letter which we hadn’t, and didn’t see our actual letter which also acknowledged the right of Israel to search ships for weapons. I don’t know if that would have made a difference.) It is legitimate to criticize us, and I can only hope that this will lead to public debate forcing us as a society to discuss the unwritten and unchallenged understandings about the blockade, and how to achieve our legitimate and shared goals to defend our citizens and bring Gilad home. Change can only come about when we are open to discuss everything, whether it be something we don’t agree with ( RHR does not engage in but supports the rights of others to do so), or whether it be something unpopular we do agree with, such as supporting the flotilla. We must maintain the prohibition of crying “Fire” in a crowded theater, but we must be able to discuss why we see Torat HaMelekh as crying “Fire” if we want to change the opinions of others who do not see it that way.
Our Torah portion also includes the bravery of the daughters of Tzlofkhad, who bring up the unthinkable and challenge all existing norms by daring to demand that they had inheritance rights. Their demands were very modest and even inadequate by today’s standards, but revolutionary at the time. Moses heard out their claims and God agreed with them, although a counter claim at the end of the book of Numbers, limits their gains. I can only imagine that there were voices that wanted to deny the right of the daughters of Tzlofkhad to challenge existing norms and said that this should not even be discussed. Jews and Judaism are better today because of them and because of a society that allowed them to be heard.
For those of us who love Israel, this is a testing time. We need a Jewish state, so we respect and admire the army who protect us, but we also yearn for an end to war and a time of peace. How should we balance our desire for peace with the need for a strong Israel? Continue reading →
What Will Be
Boycott Bill - On Monday the Knesset passed the”Boycott Bill ” making illegal any support for a boycott ofIsrael or settlements, despite sharp criticism from the Knesset’s legal advisor calling into question whether the bill is legal. HR organizations will appeal to the High Court, spontaneous demonstrations erupted, and organizations that have not previously engaged in boycotts have said they will now do so. (If Idit’s piece runs, we can put in a link) Up until now RHR has signed on to a critical letter (get from Rivka and put in link) signed jointly by organizations that support and don’t support boycotts. RHR has not yet decided on possible additional steps. We are waiting to hear whether the Committee of Ministers will support any of the various proposed bills to make contributions to HR organizations from other countries illegal and/or heavily tax such contributions. (Which would in all likelihood cause the contributors to cease the contributions.)
Susya - Here is an invition to a very important movie that was made on the connection between Palestinian Susya residents and the Susya settlers. Continue reading
Beit Shean – On the same topic, we need volunteers to help us make contact outside the Amidar office with the public housing tenants. Our experience is that the vast majority of tenants we have spoken with are not getting the services and treatment they deserve. However, as reported last week, they see the beginning of change/
Training We want to train all those who are interested in housing rights. Those who have done the training will then help us accompany those dealing with Amidar, and ensure that their rights are honored. Sometimes simply the fact of our presence totally changes the way people are treated. email@example.com
Danger of eviction in Ramle – We continue to organize suppot for the El-Aju family, who have an eviction notice good through the end of July (17 Yehezkel St) We need additional volunteers starting this Thursday and next week. As the days pass, the danger intensifies. Come to support and strengthen them. Contact Gill at 052-8688022, firstname.lastname@example.org.
As part of the ongoing series of weekly demonstrations, Tarabut will be demonstrating Wednesday 8:00-10:30 in front of Legal Aid : Henrietta Szold 4 in Tel Aviv.
Volunteers Needed - We need a list of volunteers who can be called on a moments notice if an eviction is taking place, will try to get to the location of the eviction, and will try to delay or prevent the eviction. Experience shows that, when there are many determined people present, the dynamic with the police changes.
El Arakib - Police and Israel Land Administration have demolished all the structures of the Bedouin village El Arakib, only the cemetery was left to be witness that the “unrecognized” village was there before the State of Israel was established. Since then the residents struggle to stay on their land. 26 times we helped El Arakib residents to rebuild their tents and shacks, only to watch its destruction by the security forces. Everyone who supports justice and co-existence is asked to join the one year anniversary of the first demolition that will take place on:
- Thursday and Friday, July 21st and 22nd, there will be building days in the Bedouin village of El Arakib.
- On Thursday, the building will start at 09:00 in the morning with a break at noon due to the heat. We will continue at 4:00pm.
- On Friday, the building will resume at 09:00 until 12:00. At 12:15 there will be a joint Jewish, Muslim, and Christian prayer. For the people who are coming to the prayer, we will meet at 12:00 at Lehavim Junction. Building may continue at 4:00pm.
- On Wednesday, July 27th, at 08:00pm there will be a torchlight and candle parade. We will meet at 07:45pm on the South side of Lehavim junction.
For transportation, please call the office 02-6482757 or Rabbi Kobbi Weis 050-2345251.
The Week that Was
Um Nir 5th demolition - Occupation forces arrived Tuesday, 5.7.2011 to Om Nir (Near Susya – South Hebron Hills). They came to demolish it for the fifth time. the forces included soldiers policeman bulldozers and crane trucks. All those against a weak community elderly and poor.
Wק started a letters campaign to the Defense Minister (who is in charge of the Civil Administration), asking him to protect the rights of the people of South Hebron Hills. You can join it on their Facebook page →
Krayut - This week we returned to the court in Jerusalem in order to discuss the future of the lands of the village Krayut in the OT. The lands of Krayut are located at the entrance to the village. The case was returned to court after our appeal was accepted by the District Court. Continue reading →
RHR Media Coverage
- Mondoweiss: Rightwing militias steal land in occupied territories, with support of Israeli Gov’, 6.7.2011
- Jpost: Borderline Views: Preserving human rights of ‘the other’, 5.7.2011
- Jpost: Do not desecrate the image of God, Rabbi Barry Leff
- The Neshamah Center: A visit to Rawabi, Rabbi Barry Leff
- JC.com: Would the rabbis allow teachers to go on strike? By Rabbi Gideon Sylvester
Messeges from Other Organization
We publish these media links as a service to the community, but they are not our activities and we are not responsible for their content. The links are a mixture of English and Hebrew articles
- Solidarity Seich Jarach
- Leaders within the Arab-Bedouins of the Negev have established a Public Committee for the Rights of Arabs in the Negev, This committee includes Negev representatives of all Arab parties, leaders from the unrecognized villages, NGOs and community activists. Its aim, as its name indicates, is to protect and promote the rights of the Arab-Bedouins of the Negev.
Recognize Now will strive to receive recognition of t
he unrecognized villages,The right to resources allowing an honorable livelihood,The right to villages planned to meet the community’s economic and cultural needs,The right to their lands, and -The right to dignity as citizens with equal rights.
We will update you of the government’s policies and actions towards the Bedouin of the Negev, and of our actions to protect and promote the rights of our community. We will also inform you of any actions you can take to help us in our struggle for our rights. Recognition Now calls out to the Government of Israel to take measures concerning the integration of the Arab-Bedouin community of the Negev into the region based on the principles of partnership, equality, human rights, and a future of prosperity for all the Negev residents. Halil El-Amour and Dr. Awad Abu-Friech, Recognition Now.email@example.com