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Over 400 Rabbis call on Prime Minister Netanyahu to stop administrative home demolitions

9 Comments 05 February 2015


Over 400 Rabbis from around the world call on Prime Minister Netanyahu to stop administrative home demolitions.


Masadeh Demo10 26.5


The letter below urges Netanyahu to stop the State’s opposition to a High Court petition submitted by Rabbis for Human Rights along with partners the village council of Dirat-Rafa’aya, The Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center, The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, and The Society of Saint Yves- The Catholic Center for Human Rights, seeking to put an end to administrative demolitions by allowing Palestinian villages in Area C to participate in planning and developing their communities.


While we wait for the decision of the judges, these rabbis and cantors are asking the State, at its own initiative, to implement moral, reasonable and fair planing and zoning principles that are in-line with international law and Jewish tradition.


So far, over 400 rabbis and cantors from Israel, the USA, Canada, Britain and other countries have signed the call to Prime Minister Netanyahu to stop the practice of home demolitions. Every year, hundreds of Palestinian homes are demolished due to discriminatory administrative plans created and implemented by the Israel military without significant Palestinian influence. Palestinians are very rarely allowed to build, even on their own land.


Several prominent rabbis who signed:

Rabbi Mauricio Balter – Co-Chairperson of the Rabbinical Assembly of Israel and carries senior positions in international organizations.

Rabbi Amy Eilberg – The first woman ordained as a Conservative rabbi

Rabbi Laura Janner Klausner – Senior Rabbi of the Reform movement in Britain

Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg – Senior Rabbi of Masorti Judaism UK

The late Rabbi Zalman Schachter Shalomi z’l (signed before his passing) – Founder and leader of the Jewish Renewal movement.

Rabbi Denise Eger – president of the Central Congress of American Rabbis (CCAR)

Full text of the letters and signatures:

Dear Prime Minister Netanyahu,

In 2005, over four hundred rabbis wrote an open letter to then Prime Minister Sharon expressing concern about the administrative demolition of Palestinian homes. We are extremely disapointed that the Government of Israel is opposing a High Court petition offering a constructive solution for alleviating this issue. Please use your authority to end this opposition.

Part of the 2005 letter read:

“The homes that were demolished were not demolished for any security reason. None of the people in these homes engaged in violence or harboring terrorists. They were demolished because of a violation of zoning regulations in a context where it is almost impossible for Palestinian families in those parts of the West Bank under Israeli civilian control or in Jerusalem to legally obtain building permits… “

The context referred to was the fact that planning and zoning laws severely restrict the ability of Palestinians to build homes, even on the lands that the State recognizes as belonging to them. There has been no representation or true ability for Palestinians to determine how to properly plan for their communities since local and district planning committees were abolished in 1971. The army plans for them.

Back in the 19th century, Rabbi Shimshon Raphael Hirsch warned in his Torah commentary about the disastrous consequences when, even with the best of intentions, those with the power in their hands try to appropriate for themselves the task of determining how to be just to others. The current discriminatory planning process exemplifies this, and violates the Jewish prohibition against acting “איפה ואיפה.”

Civil Administration (Army) planning officials have acknowledged that they don’t really have the ability to adequately plan for Palestinian communities. Currently, the failure of the existing system is clear. Thousands have been forced to build without permits, and great human suffering is caused when hundreds of homes are demolished each year in Area C alone.

We are therefore disappointed that the Government of Israel has decided to oppose the High Court petition submitted by Rabbis For Human Rights and partner organizations to restore local planning committees. In the hearing on the petition on April 28th of this year, the judges said clearly that the current situation is unacceptable, and gave the State ninety days to come up with a proposal to truly involve Palestinians in planning their communities. While the judges indicated that they would not force the State to restore the local and district planning committees cancelled by military order in 1971, they indicated that there was no legal reason for the State not to do so.

However, the State’s response was a proposal to institutionalize consultations that are already taking place in many cases. These consultations have not significantly altered the situation because the Civil Administration has no obligation to take into account what they hear. We also saw in the spring that consultations were suspended in response to moves by the Palestinian Authority.

Human rights must not be politicized. The State of Israel has an obligation to ensure that every human being under her control, each created in God’s Image, has a fair chance to build a home for him/herself and his/her family, irrespective of the current state of the peace process or differing opinions about what areas will be under Israel’s control in a future final status agreement. We urge the State of Israel to withdraw its opposition to RHR’s petition.





Rabbis and Cantors in Israel




Rabbi Yehoyada Amir


Rabbi Raphael Arzt


Rabbi Arik Ascherman


Rabbi Sigal Asher


Rabbi Mauricio Balter


Rabbi Ehud Bandel


Rabbi Simcha Daniel Burstyn


Rabbi Ze’ev Cutter


Rabbi Shelton Donnell


Rabbi Yoav Ende


Rabbi Ohad Ezrachi


Rabbi Paul Feinberg


Rabbi Rosalind Gold


Rabbi Miri Gold


Rabbi Esteban Gottfried


Rabbi Ariella Graetz


Rabbi Michael Graetz


Rabbi Yehiel Grenimann


Rabbi Nava Hefetz


Rabbi Naamah Kelman


Cantor Evan Kent


Rabbi Dean Kertesz


Rabbi Ron Kronish


Rabbi Levi Lauer


Rabbi Jim Lebeau


Rabbi Barry Leff


Rabbi Eyal Levinson


Rabbi Joel Levy


Rabbi Jonathan Matt


Rabbi Neomi Meoded


Rabbi Jeremy Milgrom


Rabbi Joel Oseran


Rabbi Mira Raz


Rabbi Uri Regev


Rabbi Ed Rettig


Rabbi Stanley Ringler


Rabbi Peretz Rodman


Rabbi Ayala Ronen Samuels

Rabbi Emma Sham-ba


Rabbi David Rosen


Rabbi Ofer Sabath-Beit-Halachmi


Rabbi Galia Sadan


Rabbi Ellie Tikvah Sarah


Rabbi Michael Schwartz


Rabbi Haim Shalom


Rabbi Gail Schuster-Bouskila


Rabbi Susan Silverman


Rabbi Anita Steiner


Rabbi Ma’ayan Turner


Rabbi Kobi Weiss


Rabbi Moshe Yehudai


Rabbi Gili Zidkiyahu


Dr Rabbi Aharon Zinger


Rabbi David Zisenwine


Rabbi Or Zohar




Rabbis and Cantors in Great Britain


Rabbi R Benjamin


Rabbi Francis Berry


Rabbi Howard Cooper


Rabbi Colin Eimer


Rabbi Warren Elf


Rabbi Mijael Even-David


Rabbi Paul Freedman


Rabbi Helen Freeman


Rabbi Amanda Golby


Rabbi Mark Goldsmith


Rabbi Aaron Goldstein


Rabbi Michael Hilton


Rabbi Jason Holtz


Cantor Zoe Jacobs


Rabbi Margaret Jacobi


Rabbi Richard Jacobi


Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner


Rabbi Leah Jordan


Rabbi Deborah Kahn-Harris


Rabbi Sandra Kviat


Rabbi Monique Mayer


Rabbi Maurice Michaels


Rabbi David Mitchel


Rabbi Lea Muehlstein


Rabbi Jeffrey Newman


Rabbi René Pfertzel


Rabbi Sylvia Rothschild


Rabbi Sybil Sheridan


Rabbi Irit Shillor


Rabbi Amnon Daniel Smith


Rabbi Mark Solomon


Rabbi Zvi Solomons


Rabbi Jackie Tabick


Rabbi Larry Tabick


Rabbi Charles Wallach


Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg


Rabbi Alexandra Wright


Rabbi Cheryl Wunch


Rabbi Roderick Young


Rabbi Debbie Young-Somers




Rabbis and Cantors in Europe


Rabbi Ruven Bar Ephraim


Rabbi Tamarah Benima


Rabbi Clary Rooda


Rabbi Anna de Voogt


Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp




Rabbis and Cantors in North America


Rabbi Susan Abramson


Rabbi Howard Avruhm Addison


Rabbi David Adelson


Rabbi Ron Aigen


Rabbi Thomas M. Alpert


Rabbi Steve Altarescu


Rabbi Renni Altman


Rabbi Camille Shira Angel


Rabbi David Ariel-Joel


Rabbi Stephen A Arnold


Rabbi Melanie Aron


Rabbi Daniel H Aronson


Rabbi Raphael W. Asher


Rabbi Aryeh Azriel


Rabbi Andy Bachman


Rabbinical student Benjamin Barer


Rabbi Lewis M Barth


Rabbinical student David Basior


Rabbi Rachel Bat-Or


Rabbi Marc Belgrad


Rabbi Haim Dov Beliak


Rabbi Marci Bellows


Rabbi Allen B Bennett


Rabbi Marc Berkson

Rabbi Donna Berman


Rabbi Joseph Berman


Rabbi Phyllis Berman


Rabbi Jonathan Biatch


Rabbi Binyamin Biber


Rabbi Yossie Bloch


Rabbi Barry Block


Rabbi Herman J. Blumberg


Rabbi Lewis Bogage


Rabbi Liz Bolton


Rabbi Barbara Borts


Rabbi Bradd Boxman


Rabbi Barnett Brickner


Rabbi Herbert Brockman


Rabbi Caryn Broitman


Rabbi Herbert Bronstein


Rabbi Jonathan Brumberg-Kraus


Rabbi Susan Bulba Carvutto


Rabbi Meredith Cahn


Rabbi Debra Cantor


Rabbi Steven Cardonick


Rabbi Reba Carmel


Rabbi Steven Carr Reuben


Rabbi Ari Carton


Rabbi Douglas Charing


Rabbi Joshua Chasan


Rabbinical student Misha Clebaner


Rabbi Debrah Cohen


Rabbi Howard Cohen


Rabbi Michael Tevya Cohen


Rabbi Tamara Cohen


Rabbi Hillel Cohn


Rabbi Neil Comess-Daniels


Rabbi Michael Conforti


Rabbi David J Copper


Rabbi Laurie Coskey


Rabbi Susan Cowchock


Rabbi Meryl Crean


Rabbi Matt Cutler


Rabbi Robin Damsky


Rabbi Janet Darley


Rabbinical student Nathan DeGroot


Rabbi Geoffrey Dennis


Rabbi Lucy Dinner


Rabbi Fred Dobb


Rabbi Robert Dobrusin


Rabbi Art Donsky


Rabbi Billy Dreskin


Cantor Ellen Dreskin


Rabbi Ellen W Dreyfus


Rabbi George B Driesen


Rabbi David Dunn Bauer


Rabbi Shoshana Dworsky


Rabbi Renee Edelman


Rabbi Judith Edelstein


Rabbi Laurence Edwards


Rabbi Lisa Edwards

Rabbi Denise Eger


Rabbi H.Bruce Ehrmann


Rabbi Amy Eilberg


Rabbi Barat Ellman


Rabbi Cindy Enger


Rabbi Rachel Esserman


Rabbi Susan Falk


Rabbi Elyse Feishman


Rabbi Edward Feld


Cantor Devorah Felder-Levy


Rabbi Fern Feldman


Rabbi Ted Feldman


Rabbi Zev Hayyim Feyer


Rabbi Brian Field


Rabbi Brian Fink


Rabbi Tirzah Firestone


Rabbi Frank A Fischer


Rabbi Ellen Flax


Rabbi David L. Freeman


Rabbi Susan Freeman


Rabbi Gershon Freidlin

Rabbi Jonathan Freirich


Rabbi Dayle Friedman


Rabbi Joan S Friedman


Rabbi John Friedman


Rabbinical student Lev Friedman


Rabbi Pam Frydman


Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl


Rabbi Stephen Fuchs


Rabbi Nancy Fuchs Kreimer


Rabbi Roy Furman


Rabbi Joyce Galaski


Rabbi Hillel Gamoran


Rabbi Hillel Gamoran


Rabbi Rachel Gartner


Rabbi Jonah Geffen


Rabbi Laura Geller


Rabbi Everett Gendler


Rabbi Gary Gerson


Rabbinical student Joseph Gindi


Rabbi Miriyam Glazer


Rabbi Arnold S Gluck


Rabbi Bob Gluck


Rabbi Andrew Gold


Rabbi Neal Gold


Rabbi Barbara Goldman-Wartell


Rabbi Debra E Goldstein


Rabbi Seth Goldstein


Rabbi Seth Goldstein


Rabbi Jeffrey Goldwasser


Rabbi David Gordis


Rabbi Julie Gordon


Rabbi Maralee Gordon


Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb


Rabbi Lauren Grabelle Herrmann


Rabbi Roberto D Graetz


Rabbi Joshua Grater


Rabbi Gary Greene


Rabbi David Greenstein


Rabbi Hannah Greenstein


Rabbi Suzanne Griffel


Rabbi Susan Grossman


Rabbi Joshua Gutoff


Rabbi Debra R Hachen


Rabbi Moshe Halfon


Rabbi Richard Hammerman


Rabbi Howard Handler


Rabbi Maurice Harris


Rabbi Vered L. Harris


Rabbi Jill Hausman


Rabbi Abraham Havivi


Rabbi Linda Henry Goodman


Rabbi Floyd Herman


Rabbi Victor Hoffman


Rabbi Linda Holtzman


Rabbi Margaret Holub


Rabbi Daniel Horwitz


Rabbi Mark Hurvitz


Rabbi Me’irah Iliinsky


Rabbi Debbie Israel


Rabbi Daria Jacobs-Velde


Rabbi Josh Jacobs-Velde


Rabbi Rachel Kahn-Troster


Rabbi Cassi Kail

Rabbi Steven Kane


Rabbi Peter E Kasdan


Rabbi Nancy Kasten


Rabbi Joanna Katz


Rabbi Reuben M Katz


Rabbi Hillel Katzir


Rabbi Peg Kershenbaum


Rabbi Noah Kitty


Rabbi Amy Klein


Rabbi Jason Klein


Rabbi Joe Klein


Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum


Rabbi David L. Kline


Rabbi Janeen Kobrinsky


Rabbi Debra Kolodny


Rabbi Ira Korinow


Rabbi Raquel S Kosovske


Rabbi Chava Koster


Rabbinical student Ilana Krakowski


Rabbi Michael L Kramer


Rabbi Douglas E Krantz


Rabbi Marc Adam Kraus


Rabbi Dr Yaacov Kravitz


Rabbi Leah Kroll


Rabbi Charles Kroloff


Rabbi Jonathan Kuptetz


Rabbi Susan Laemmle


Rabbi Karen Landy


Rabbi Gilah Langner


Rabbi Anson Laytner


Rabbi Darby Leigh


Rabbi Michele Lenke


Rabbi Michael Lerner


Cantor Janet Leuchter


Rabbi Eli-Yoel Levin


Rabbi Mark H Levin


Rabbi Richard N Levy


Rabbi Sue E Levy


Rabbi Yael Levy


Rabbi Sheldon Lewis


Rabbi Mordechai Liebling


Rabbi Janet B. Liss


Rabbi Jane Rachel Litman


Rabbi Richard Litvak


Rabbi Andrea London


Rabbi Michael Luckens


Rabbi Sarah Mack


Rabbi Mark Mahler


Rabbi Nina Mandel


Rabbi Shana Margolin


Rabbi Marc Margolius


Rabbi Jeff Marker


Rabbi Dr Susan Marks


Rabbi Nathan Martin


Cantor Jacqueline Marx


Rabbi Michael Mellen


Cantor Hazzan Harold Messinger


Rabbi Rachel Mikva


Rabbi Heather Ellen Miller


Cantor Annice Miller Benamy


Rabbi Jordan Millstein


Rabbi Joshua Minkin


Rabbi Michelle Missaghieh


Rabbi David Mitchel


Rabbi David Mivasair


Rabbi Linda Motzkin


Cantor Julie Newman


Rabbi Dev Noily


Rabbinical student Salem Pearce


Rabbi Barbara Penzner


Rabbi Helen Plotkin


Rabbinical student Louis Polisson


Rabbi Charles P Rabinowitz


Rabbi Arnie Rachlis


Rabbi Debra Rappaport


Rabbi Yaakov Reef


Rabbi Frederick Reeves


Rabbi Paula Reimers


Rabbi Victor H Reinstein


Rabbi Yair D Robinson


Rabbi Brant Rosen


Rabbi Aaron Rosenberg


Rabbi James B Rosenberg


Rabbinical student Ken Rosenstein


Rabbi Marc Rosenstein


Rabbi John Rosove


Rabbi Michael Ross


Rabbi Jeff Roth


Rabbi Jonathan Rubenstein


Rabbi Elissa Sachs-Kohen


Rabbi Andrew Sacks


Rabbi Amy Sapowith


Rabbi Jeffery Saxe


Rabbi Zalman Hiyyah Schachter-Shalomi, z’l

Cantor Jodi Schechtman


Rabbi Howard Schneider


Rabbi Elhanan Sunny Schnitzer


Rabbi Joel Schwab


Rabbi Jeremy Schwartz


Rabbi Sidney Schwarz


Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller


Rabbi Gerald Serotta


Rabbi Isaac Serotta


Rabbi Judy Shanks


Cantor Linda Shivers


Rabbi Becky Silverstein


Rabbi Jonathan Singer


Rabbi Suzanne Singer


Cantor Raini Siroty


Rabbi Hank Skirball


Rabbi Jonathan Slater


Rabbinical student Stephen Slater


Rabbi Amy Joy Small


Rabbi Uriel Smith


Rabbi Joel Soffin


Rabbi Ruth H Sohn


Rabbi Eric Solomon


Cantor Kerith Spencer-Shapiro


Rabbi Scott Sperling


Rabbi Toba Spitzer


Rabbi Sonya Starr


Rabbi David Steinberg


Rabbi Jeffrey Stiffman


Rabbi Adam Stock Spiker


Rabbi Ariel Stone


Rabbi Andrew Straus


Rabbi Joshua Strom


Rabbi Alvin M Sugarman

Rabbi Alana Suskin


Rabbi Robert Tabak


Rabbi Reuven Taff


Rabbi Susan Talve


Rabbi Elliott Tepperman


Rabbi David Teutsch


Rabbi Andrew Vogel


Rabbi Heidi Waldmann


Rabbi Brian Walt


Rabbi Arthur Waskow


Rabbi Pamela Wax


Rabbi Elye Wechterman


Rabbi Sheila Weinberg


Cantor Alan Weiner


Rabbi Cheryl Weiner


Rabbi Simkha Y Weintraub


Rabbi Cory Weiss


Rabbi Max Weiss


Rabbinical student Ora Weiss


Rabbi Rachel Weiss


Rabbi Zari Weiss


Rabbi Shifra Weiss-Penzias


Rabbi Nancy H Wiener


Rabbi Shohama Wiener


Rabbi Paula Jayne Winnig


Rabbi Greg Wolfe


Rabbi Paul Yedwab


Rabbi Shawn Zevit


Rabbi Laurie Zimmerman


Rabbi Michael Zimmerman


Rabbi David J Zucker



To view the petition online:

An online list of the rabbis who signed:

More on the High Court petition:


Your Comments

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