Girls smiling in the school of Susya that is to be demolished. Photo by Sapir Huberman
The weekly report of RHR
On Independence Day we asked ourselves: is a discriminating Zionism possible?Rabbi Arik Ascherman reports on the appeal of “Regavim” organization to demolish the Palestinian Susya claiming that it is an illegal village (see blow). Rabbi Idit Lev reports on a positive extraordinary step taken by the National Insurance Institution (Israel’s Social security). Moriel Rothman reports on two demonstrations : One against planting trees on Bedouin’s land, the second against a new settlement in Beit Hanina. These two demonstrations are connected to the same discriminating land policy. Rabbi Kobi Weiss reports about more efforts to help the public housing residents of Beit Shean in their debts.
Rabbi Yehiel Grenimann report on one positive and one negative incident (see below)
What Comes After Independence? Parashat Emor
Parashat Emor contains three main sections: 1. The laws of wholeness, perfection and purity governing who is fit to serve as a priest and what is a fitting sacrifice. 2. The holiday cycle. 3. Lex talionis (An eye for an eye.).
To continue reading the Dvar Torah of Parashat Emor written by Rabbi Arik Acherman
Rabbi Kobbi Weise updates from Beit Shean
Update from family “A”. - RHR have been closely escorting this family.
This family has an eviction order for a long time now, but is unable to reach a payment agreement with Amidar since there are attachment orders on their bills.
The attachment orders are due to several factors – it is pretty clear that a family that reaches a situation when it cannot pay its debts, also struggles to pay other bills.
Our volunteer is tirelessly working to meet with the different organization to reexamine cancellation of the attachment orders. For example, a water debt of 90 thousand shekels came down to 15 thousand shekels due to our intervention. We contacted a lawyer who was appointed to assist the family, but did not operate at all since the family does not know how to read and did not understand the letters it received from him.
A week earlier we conducted a meeting with a large number if the family members. The general picture is extremely sad. Years of weakening created a situation where the tenants of the different houses find themselves trying to survive on the expense of one another. The father of the house is handicapped with and needs a respirator, a machine which requires electricity that he can barely pay for; therefore he does not allow for the other members of the house to use the air conditioning so that they do not cause a power cut. Another house member is transferring her debts onto her mother – while we are trying to reach consolidation of cases for the mother. Other house members that are able to work, work at best a quarter job since they do not have the motivation and the hope that hard work will rescue them from the poverty circle.
The main claim that we hear is “All families in Beit Shean live like this…” This is of course not precise, but it expresses the personal experience of many families. This is not the place to elaborate on the mental and existential complexity of the situation, but to reflect upon it with the readers. The problem is that the captains of the city, who encouraged irresponsible conduction for years (whoever had a problem has to make a scene and shout and then his specific problem was solved), do not create challenge and motivation within the citizens who are stuck in the circle of desperation.
News from the Territories’ department:
In our attempts this year to help Palestinian farmers seeking more than four army-protected plowing days we have one positive and one negative item to report. When we discovered that a farmer who lives next to one of the most extreme outposts had not been allowed to complete plowing his field due to settler interference, the army promised him one more day with protection. On the other hand another farmer nearby has given up hope of additional plowing days as the ground dries up and other urgent agricultural harvesting duties demand his attention. (The names are being withheld to protect these two farmers from further local negative pressures.)
Arik and other volunteers accompanied a barley harvest in the South Hebron Hills this last Friday. The harvest was early because of fears of destruction of the crop by unfriendly neighbours, of which there had already been some attempts. Unfortunately this crop will only be good for fodder, but not for human consumption.
We are checking out the issues in Dir Istiya where there is a threat of destruction by the DCO of 1400 trees in Wadi Kanna which was declared a “nature reserve.” There is more information on this in a piece written by our friend Aviv from the Dharma activist group.
Our field worker Yonatan Shefa has recently been active recruiting a group of young Israeli religious leaders to participate in an intensive six-month workshop with a group of Palestinian counterparts. The intention is to build a foundation of mutual cooperation in the hopes of generating joint Israeli-Palestinian projects that seek greater realization of human rights and peace in the holy land. We’ll write more on this, G-d willing, next week.
Rabbi Arik Ascherman reports that:
The background to the demonstration of the Bedouin is that a few months ago the KKL/JNF floated several trial balloons indicating that they would not work in areas where there was an unresolved land dispute still in the courts. In a meeting with RHR and the KKL-JNF, Chairperson Efi Stenzler confirmed this, but it was not clear whether it only applied to four plots in El-Arakib belonging to the A-Turi family, or whether this was a broader commitment/ Approximately three weeks ago bulldozers resumed preparing the land of the Abu-Freikh family in El Arakib for planting, even though the High Court hearing regarding these lands will only take place in December.
The morning that the demonstration was to take place. El-Arakib residents reported equipment beginning to work in one of the four plots. Sheikh Sayakh called the police, some residents surrounded the equipment, and the work was stopped within a few minutes. The KKL-JNF has said that at no time was there equipment within the four plots.
On Friday activists from RHR and Ta’ayush answered a request from landowners to protect the harvesting in “Haruba” in the S. Hebron Hills. We assumed that this would be barley or other grains used as feed for the flocks. But we discovered that the landowners were harvesting wheat, although this was too early and they wouldn’t be able to make flour. Over the previous days they had detected settlers observing their fields. They knew that they couldn’t guard the wheat at night, and couldn’t rely on the army to do so. Therefore, they chose to forgo the flour in order not to risk losing food for the flocks. The day went quite peacefully. Security forces protected us and were generally pleasant, although they refused to let us use the access road closest to the forest of the Maon settlement. Nevertheless, we explained to them that this early harvest was a result of the fact that they couldn’t rely on the army to protect Palestinian property. Ta’ayush continued alone the next day, that being Shabbat. Also in the Twamin valley, which we returned to its Palestinian owners after many years, they conducted their first harvest early.
Rabbi Idit Lev reports: Social security revolution – long-term planning takes seriously the concept of insurance in the title “social security” (i.e social insurance in Hebrew)
An instructive article by Merav Arlozorov regarding social security was published in “The Marker” on Sunday. She claims that the Israeli government is making decision that will not influence on the current tenure, but only in dozens of year. And if what is written will be executed – social security pension will be guaranteed. This is the case with pensions as they are today, a situation which does not allow for a dignified existence if you examine the amounts that are being paid to people (for instance, 1418 shekels single old-age pension).
Within the article is shocking data: the excess fund is supposed to serve the social security in the future, when the relation between its expenses and its incomes will deteriorate. But its status as an excess fund is not guaranteed since today the Ministry of Finance used monies that are meant to be deposited in the fund for the regular budget. The outcome is problematic on two aspects: firstly, the fund is actually empty and has no assets that can be pulled out in time of emergency (an extremely difficult economical situation that requires payment of pensions that are much higher than expected). Secondly, the fact that the fund is a part of the state budget exposes the social security to short-term pressures of the budget.
The meaning is that monies that belong the social security and are destined to insuring all of the citizens of Israel, is being used as a petty cash for the treasury officials. Later we can also say that the state of Israel has not enough money and therefore we it needs to cut down on the pensions is order to fund other needs in the state budget (such as the security budget). No one talk about the fact that the social security institute is supposed to work as an insurance company – we are paying for different insurance components and are supposed to “get back” when needed. We do not have the ability to choose the insurance company and its conditions, and we have no influence once the state decides to unilaterally change the insurance conditions (for instance, making the conditions for receiving unemployment fees more stringent).
But the situation is Israel is that the excess of the social security are being used by the Ministry of Finance, and only now a discussion about this topic is carried.
In the Jewish sources, it is mentioned that charity is collected in pairs and distributed in triplets, when the emphasis is on the transparency with the community. When the Ministry of Finance sends its long hand towards the excess fund of the social security – it does that without transparency and ignores the fact that it has a moral duty to keep up its commitment towards the citizens of Israel, and to use the money that was charged for social security purposes, for which it was initially collected.
It is appropriate to not celebrate this change as a success, but as bringing justice to its place. And for avoiding any doubt – I really hope that this money will return to its initial designation.