General, Occupied Territories

Aid Organizations Perform Vital Work in the Gaza Strip

No Comments 23 August 2016

We, the undersigned human rights organizations in Israel, consider the activity of international aid organizations operating for the benefit of the Gazan residents, who live in a reality of immense distress, to be of high importance. We call upon the State of Israel to refrain from placing obstacles before these humanitarian activities and to be careful not to besmirch the critical work carried out by the community of aid organizations.
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Field Reports, General, Occupied Territories

Israeli Soldiers Leave Palestinian’s Home in Shambles After Seizing It as an Outpost

1 Comment 23 August 2016

Introduction to the Act of Kindness by Zacharia

A Palestinian farmer, whose house was seized as an IDF outpost and vandalized, will receive compensation from the IDF. The vandalism included damage to property, defecation on furniture, and desecration of a copy of the Quran.

Rabbis for Human Rights, with the aid of our investigator Zacharia Saada, reported on the incident to the IDF and, together with others, pressured the IDF to give compensation to the home owner who was victimized. We see the willingness of the IDF to pay damages and to investigate the incident as a positive and welcome step. In our view, the compensation to the home owner and the punitive measures against those responsible should express the severity of the incident not just from the perspective of the physical damage. It is appropriate that the emotional damage be recognized as well, both in the desecration of a holy book and in the act of vandalism to a private living space. The IDF should also enact deterrence measures to prevent similar incidents in the future.

The seizure of private homes for security requirements (known as the “grass widow tactic”) is widespread in the Territories.

General, Justice in Israel

The “catch-22” of poverty, bureaucracy, and vacations—and how it could easily be solved

No Comments 22 August 2016

On Sunday [August 21st, 2016], a woman arrived at our Hadera Rights Center. She works as a kindergarten aide. This month she is on vacation, not of her own choice, but because all kindergartens are closed. Since she gets paid per hour of work (known as an hourly employee), she does not get a salary for this month. She had hoped to take advantage of these vacation days in order to run some errands. However:

  • The Social Security Office is on hiatus;
  • The Welfare Office is on hiatus.

Without documents from these offices, she cannot run her other errands. After we helped her arrange a schedule for all her tasks, she said: “When they [these governmental offices] come back from their break, I will be back at work, and won’t be able to take off vacation days so as to go to them.”

Hourly employees may take off paid vacation days only under specific conditions, and if they are living in poor conditions, every vacation day without pay is problematic for them. Moreover, hourly employees have difficulty taking vacation days at the timing they require because of their weak status at their jobs. Often, they are very limited in their options. Thus, our kindergarten aide is in a “catch-22.”

A simple solution would be that the bureaucratic offices of public and governmental bodies who address the needs of the public, especially of those who live in poverty, would work in the afternoon hours at least part of the week, so that the public could reach them after their work day. In contrast to the stereotype, most of those who live in poverty are employed, and most of those employed work from the morning to the afternoon.  Opening various institutions in the afternoon would benefit us all, but for those living in poverty, this is especially crucial.

 

Rabbi Idit Lev

 

General, Occupied Territories, Press Releases

Update on Susya High Court hearing

3 Comments 18 August 2016

See below for recent updates on the renewed threat to the Palestinian village of Susya.

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General

Tisha B’Av: Fasting is not good for your health! – Prophet Zecharia edition

No Comments 11 August 2016

Saturday evening marks the start of Tisha B’Av, when Jews across the world fast to commemorate many of the tragedies befallen on the Jewish people. But is fasting truly needed in this day and age, when we have returned to the land of Israel, strong and free? Rabbi Kobi Weiss allows the Prophet Zacharia to address the question. Continue Reading

Education, General

On Jealousy, Zealotry, and the Sound of Sheer Silence: A Lesson Plan for Tisha B’Av

No Comments 11 August 2016

Saturday evening starts Tisha b’Av, the sad day when the Jews commemorate many of the tragedies that have befallen our people over the years including the destruction of the First and Second Temples. Below please find a lesson plan for use on Tisha b’Av, prepared by Rabbi Nava Hefetz of RHR’s education department.

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General, Parasha / E-Letter

Weekly parasha: This year, Numbers 31 is even harder to swallow

No Comments 26 July 2016

PLEASE NOTE: Until August, the Torah reading in the Land of Israel will be different than the Torah reading outside of the Land of Israel. This Shabbat we in Israel read Matot while abroad Pinchas, which was read last week in Israel, is read. You can find last week’s Dvar Torah on Pinchas here.

After a painful year of mass murder and brutality across the world, how must we, as Jews, respond to violent, vicious Torah passages such as the ones in Parashat Matot? 

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General

Special thank you to Dr. Shaiya Rothberg!

No Comments 13 July 2016

Rabbis for Human Rights would like to thank Dr. Shaiya Rothberg for voluntarily teaching a group of our rabbis, supporters  and staff members over a period 4 months a fortnightly class (8 classes)  on the Torah of Human Rights of Rabbi Chaim Hirschensohn. Shaiya was a wonderful teacher and the material we studied with him was inspiring and very relevant to the vision of RHR.  We plan to continue a learning process for those interested in September after a break for summer vacations.

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General

A statement of principle: human rights and terror

No Comments 13 July 2016

 

"The Creation of Adam" By Michelangelo - Public Domain

“The Creation of Adam” By Michelangelo – Public Domain

And God created man in God’s image, in the image of God created God man; male and female created God them (Genesis 1:27)

As Jews and as rabbis, we understand that human rights are indivisible. God created all people in the Divine Image and so endowed all of us with the fundamental rights that flow from our inherent worth as images of God’s Self. For this reason, acts of killing which are not strictly for self-defense – whether carried out by governments or by terrorist groups – are acts of rebellion against God. Such acts go against God’s decision to make us all in the Divine Image. No cause justifies it. No person, organization or government committed to God-given values can support it. For this reason, the law against murder is included in the Noahide Laws, the Talmudic statement on behavior that constitutes human beings’ shared a moral heritage, whatever our background and ethnicity.

We call on all parties to the national dispute afflicting the peoples who live in our Land to prioritize the recognition of the image of God even among rivals and enemies. We call on governments and religious leaders to cease the glorification of murderers, whatever the cause they sought to serve. We call on religious leaders to redouble our work of teaching the ways of peace, even when violence and conflict threaten us on a daily basis.

We call on governments, international organizations and religious leaders to take the lead in rejecting the de-legitimation of the other side’s religious traditions and sense of belonging to its Holy Places – be they Jewish, Muslim or Christian traditions. This is not the road to peace.

We see this responsibility of leadership as a personal one, whatever may be the dysfunctions of states, non-state groups, religious establishments and so on.

As Rabbi Hillel taught us:

“In a place where no one behaves like a full human, strive to be a human” (Pirkei Avot 3:5)

General

Knesset passes NGO bill (AKA “Mark of Cain” bill)

No Comments 12 July 2016

Last night the Knesset voted to pass the contentious NGO bill (AKA “Mark of Cain” bill), a new law which appears to actually be about ideological persecution of human rights and left-wing organisations in Israel. This bill might be passed, but it will not stop Rabbis for Human Rights from working to honor the Image of God in every human being.

Hebrew graphic reads: We might not have been able to stop the NGO bill, but the NGO bill will not stop us"

Hebrew reads: We might not have been able to stop the NGO bill, but the NGO bill will not stop us”

 

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