Tag archive for "Amidar"

Justice in Israel

Amidar: The public housing company that’s not building public housing

No Comments 04 May 2015

Public housing corporation Amidar has big plans to build – the problem is they won’t be building public housing! Continue Reading

Justice in Israel, Legal Work

His day in court: Legal victory marks step forward in the fight to save public housing

No Comments 06 October 2014

RHR Advocate Becky Cohen-Keshet specializes in public housing in Israel. On Thursday October 2nd, the day before the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, where Jews atone for their sins and believe their fates for the coming year to be sealed, she achieved a victory for public housing at the High Court. It is our hope that this case will act as a stepping stone in our struggle to save public housing in Israel, so that all those in need of a stable, safe home will have one.   Continue Reading

General, Justice in Israel, Legal Work, Occupied Territories, Parasha / E-Letter

Yom Kippur Thoughts 5775: Distinguishing between Masui and Ratsui

No Comments 03 October 2014

Dear Friends and Supporters,

Click here for RHR’s annual Yom Kippur vidui. The annual Assif Rukhani (Spiritual Harvest – The list of some of what is good and positive about Israel and Israelis, as well as some of RHR’s accomplishments in this past year) will be posted on our website (www.rhr.org.il/eng) on Sunday, along with beautiful ushpizin (Sukkah guests) posters featuring original artwork depicting some of those who we wish to welcome into our sukkah and into our hearts. Continue Reading

Education, General, Justice in Israel

RHR’s work in public housing in Beit She’an once again wins “Outstanding Project Award”

No Comments 03 May 2014

We are pleased and proud to announce that once again this year the practicum work of our project in public housing at Beit She’an has been recognized as outstanding by the academic staff of the Yezreel Valley College!  Continue Reading

Education, General, Justice in Israel

Giving answers to public housing residents: An RHR intern on her public housing field work

No Comments 20 April 2014

Reut Srugo interviews Natalie Levy on behalf of the Practicum newsletter of the Department of Human Services at Yezreel Valley College (In Hebrew). Natalie is participating in a practical training course for the public housing residents’ empowerment groups as a part of a project with Rabbis for Human Rights. Two years ago, the practicum project earned first prize at a Yezreel Valley College contest (link in Hebrew). In addition to greatly influencing the field itself, the project has also had a powerful impact on the students themselves.


Natalie, tell us about Rabbis for Human Rights.
The organization works to promote weak populations in various fields and exerts pressure to help defend the rights of minorities in Israel. We are working in the field of public housing to help people claim all of their social rights and deal with the bureaucracy at the Ministry of Housing and Amidar, the state-owned housing company. As part of our work, we visit with people in housing units and we conduct empowerment meetings, which is a really central component of our activity.

What are empowerment meetings and why do they matter?
In a tough neighborhood where most of the housing issues are concentrated, there’s a meeting with the residents of the apartment buildings once a week. The goal of these meetings is that by the end of a three month period, every building will have a person who is in charge of helping out with the residents’ referrals, who will direct the group and serve as their leader in the future. Rabbi Kobi Weiss, our facilitator, gives them tools for how to operate, what they need to do for themselves, instead of expecting things to be handed to them. As part of the meetings, rabbis come and run study sessions. Even the mayor came to one of the meetings. We seek to expand our project to new neighborhoods and to provide a solution to all public housing residents.

Do you feel like you got something out of participating in the practicum this year?
The internship gave me a network of contacts and I learned how to speak in front of an audience and also how to better talk to people. I gained exposure to Israel’s public housing problems and to the fact that there really are people in desperate situations. I learned how to approach people with empathy, to not attack, and in other situations to be assertive, how to listen and what to do to help them. The theoretical knowledge that I learned in class helped, obviously. One other important thing that I learned this year is not to judge people based on stereotypes.

WATCH: Our project to empower public housing residents in Beit She’an got into the top 5 at the Yezreel Valley College competition! The presentation was made by the students Tair Nassi and Natalie Levy (in Hebrew):

Do you feel that your practicum with Rabbis for Human Rights influenced your identity as a woman working in human services? If so, how did that look in practice?
Yes. On a personal level, it changed how I see the field that I want to work in. As in, not necessarily in recruiting and placement, but the social aspect – I guess I now prefer to do active work in the field rather than office work. At this organization there’s only a little bit of administrative work like entering people’s telephone information and there’s a lot more activity out in the field. This semester showed other elements that you don’t see in every organization. Last year I was in a more administrative role. This year I discovered that there is a lot of room to be creative. I’m a person interested in building creative solutions, and here I learned that it’s possible to integrate that approach into your practicum, to go beyond just doing office work. It’s important to me to bring my own voice into my work.

Did you ever get the feeling that you were doing something not related to your practicum?
There were a number of situations like that – it makes sense that more situations like these will take place, like in every organization. When that happens I say to myself, if this is what my manager wants me to do then it’s fine, I don’t need to worry that they are taking advantage or wonder whether it’s ok. Instead I should go with it, do what they expect, but make sure I get explanations for what I’m doing. Also, my facilitator was always trying to make me feel good, and was considerate, calming and supportive.

What would you like to accomplish by the end of the year?
I want to win the department’s outstanding project award this year. In my opinion, every student in our program wants to earn that honor. When they consider you for the outstanding project award, it means that your work is visible, that they see that you worked for the organization. That kind of recognition would bring me satisfaction both on the inside and on an external level.

In your opinion, when you enter the job market, will you have an advantage over students who didn’t do a practicum?
Of course. Last year I was in a recruitment and placement office and I got to know people who didn’t do a practicum and lacked experience. You learn a lot from your facilitator in the field alongside guidance from lecturers in class.

From the the newsletter of the practicum for the course in social services at Yezreel Valley College (page 6 in Hebrew) | More about the empowerment groups in Beit She’an (also in Hebrew)

General, Justice in Israel, Press Releases

Press Release: Instead of Succot, building a house for one who has none. Published on the blog of Rabbis for Human Rights

No Comments 02 October 2012

Israeli police evicted on a single mother, Rachel, and her daughter, from their apartment, owned by the public housing company of “Amidar”, in the city of Yavne, January 23, 2012. The company forced the family out of the apartment and sealed the house, although they were living there since 1967, without offering them any other housing solution. Keren Manor/Activestills

Rachel Levi-Davida, a homeless woman from Yavne, who was evicted from the Amidar flat where she had grown up, intends – with the help of activists -  to build a wooden house instead of a Succa during Succot, and to make it her permanent home. 8 months after her eviction, she has no other way out.

Rachel Levi-Davida calls on other homeless men and women to follow her example and set up such social “outposts.” She hopes to slowly create a trend whereby vulnerable citizens take control of their fate and build themselves housing without government help: building a home in place of the one seized by the state. Continue Reading

General, Justice in Israel

Being poor in Israel

No Comments 31 July 2012

Protest for public housing, Jerusalem, Israel, 26.7.2012  Protesters shout slogans in front of the house of Housing Minister Ariel Atias in Jerusalem, during a protest for public housing on July 26, 2012.  Photo by: JC/Activestills.org

Rabbi Idit Lev, looking back in a moment of reflection, following the death of Moshe Silman Continue Reading

General, Justice in Israel

Stop (again) the eviction of the Al-Aju family

1 Comment 03 July 2012

Photo of Abed al-Razak and  al-Aju  from the site “Solidarity Sheikh Jarrah”

(This post was first published on the site “Solidarity Sheikh Jarrah”)

The al-Aju family’s struggle is part of the national struggle of families in public housing for their rights to decent housing and against the greed for profit of Amidar. See event on Facebook.

It’s nowover a year since the extended al-Aju family, numbering 8 nuclear families and more than 50 people, have been fighting against the eviction orders of the public housing company, Amidar.  In April2011, in July , and again last January, we succeeded in preventing the eviction of members of the al-Aju family from their homes on17 Yehezkel Street, Ramle.  The family has lived in this site for more than 50 years.  In 1948, during the war, Abed al-Razak al-Aju and his family fled from their house in Lod but, on their way toJordan, they were stopped by forces of the Israeli army.  They could not return to Lod and in 1960 they rented an old, crumbling house in Ramle and the small area around it from Amidar, which managed the assets expropriated by the state.  Today, members of the extended family are weak in resources and they are exactly the people for whom the public housing company was set up.  However, instead of helping the family, Amidar insists on throwing them out into the street in order to sell the land at a profit, and without offering alternative housing.

The attempt to evict the family is yet another of the many eviction orders hanging over the heads of many families.  The Development Authority and Amidar which manages its assets have declared war on mixed cities, with the aim of strengthening the policy of separation followed by the Israeli state.  Many Palestinian families have been turned out in an attempt to drive them from the cities and to house in their place a stable Jewish population.  Many Palestinian families have found themselves evicted for a second time.  The practice of destruction, expulsion, and making the area Jewish being carried out  today on members of the al-Aju family has also been carried out against many families in Ramle, Lod, Yafo and other mixed cities

At the beginning of July, Amidar issued a flexible eviction order for three months for the house of Abed Razak al-Aju, 84-years’ old, who today is registered as an invalid.  Another eviction order is due to be executed on 16.7 for the home of two other families Amin and Nawal al-Aju and their five children and Muhmad and Sajda al-Aju and their eight children.

Abed Razak and Ibrahim al-Aju and their family are determined to fight for their right to stay in their house and their right to housing.  We demand that Amidar rescind the eviction order and open a dialogue with the family in order to find a suitable solution.

Join us, because social justice is not just a slogan.

What can be done:

1. Join the campaign of letters to Amidar, the Housing Ministry demanding the stopping of the eviction and opening a dialogue with the family.  At the bottom there is a draft of a letter with e-mails and fax numbers.  Take a few minutes to send e-mails to the relevant offices.

.2. Join the group supporting the family (in shifts), for registration and further details: 0522211083. You can also register electronically.

3. Distribute this post and the attached links.

You can fax a letter to the authorities about Abed Razak al-Aju  free using the following site: http://www.freefax.co.il/upload-fck.php

General, Justice in Israel

A small sink tells a big story: a report from Beit Shean

No Comments 22 May 2012

The sink before the repair

Rabbi Kobbi Weis shows us how the public housing company goes about repairing a sink in one of the public housing apartments in Beit Shean.

Continue Reading

Parasha / E-Letter

Another eviction prevented – Acharei Mot – Kedoshim Newsletter

1 Comment 24 April 2012

In the picture: Lea Shemi holds a gas tank in case of being evicted from her public housing apartment. Her eviction was prevented due to the help of activists. Photo: Tamir Hajaj.

The Weekly Report of Rabbis for Human Rights

An Opening Word | Rabbi Arik Ascherman

The eve of Yom HaZikaron (Memorial Day) and Yom HaAtzmaut (Independence Day). Our Torah readings areb “Acharei Mot” (After the deaths) and “Kedoshim” (You shall be holy). Many times I have commented that Yom HaAtzmaut almost always falls during the week we read Kedoshim, or the week after. Is that just a coincidence? My college dorm mate Daniel Cheren once noted that, in Ezekiel’s vision of the dry bones that we read on Yom HaAtzmaut, the bones first need flesh and skin and sinews. Only after that do we receive God’s spirit. As Rabbi Idit Lev writes, achieving independence was one important milestone for the Jewish people. However, she explains that we must now achieve the holiness that God demands of us. That is at least as difficult. Please read Idit’s essay and tell us what you think Zionism needs to be in our day.

Rabbi Shimshon Rafael Hirsch’s commentary to Exodus 22:20 teaches us that the Torah warns us not to repeat the “Horrors of Egypt” when one day we have a state. History has taught us the dangers of powerlessness, and the Torah teaches us the dangers of power. Power makes so many things easily accessible to us. However, Rabbi Engelman teaches us that Akharei Mot/Kedoshim instructs us how to deal with those things that are temptingly accessible, but forbidden. We look around us and see all the positive ways we have used our newfound power, and we sing Hallel. However, when we read below of evictions and threatened evictions from public housing or the demolition of homes and cisterns in the Negev and OT, and when we watch the film clip Shalom Eisner, we understand in these days of counting the omer that we have left Egypt, but still need Mt. Sinai.

With the help of “Liberated Beer Sheva” activists and our own attorney Becky Keshet, Lea Shemi’s eviction was prevented. Now starts Lea’s real fight for her home. Please follow us on Facebook where we will update all our activities to prevent evictions from public housing (the next activity is to stop the Eviction of Rivka, 61 yeas old). Shabbat Shalom. Continue Reading

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