Tag archive for "Bedouin"

General, Justice in Israel-Prawer, Occupied Territories, Reflections from RHR Rabbis & Staff

When Will the Messiah Come?- A Cry for our Beloved Country

1 Comment 10 July 2014

 As Israel  seems to plunge deeper into darkness, Rabbi Ascherman provides an update on a number of pressing issues in human rights in Israel and the occupied territories. Continue Reading

General, Justice in Israel-Prawer

After the Demolition: Update on Al Arakib

No Comments 24 June 2014

On Thursday, June 12th, the authorities once again destroyed the Bedouin village Al Arakib in the Negev.   Nearly everything in the village and in the cemetery was destroyed, excluding the caves. Nevertheless, the villagers remained steadfast in their determination and immediately began to rebuild. A week and a half later Rabbi Arik Ascherman, who was arrested, beaten and detained while peacefully protesting the destruction, gives an update on the situation.

Despite upwards of 65 demolitions, Al Arakib continues to hold on.

Despite upwards of 65 demolitions, Al Arakib continues to hold on.

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General, Justice in Israel-Prawer

When The Might of the State is Deployed Against the Oppressed: Thoughts on my Arrest

1 Comment 15 June 2014

On Friday June 15th 2014, Rabbi Ascherman,  RHR’s president and senior rabbi, along with seven residents (including two minors)  of Al Arakib, were arrested during a protest over the destruction of the unrecognized Bedouin village of Al Arakib. Despite protesting nonviolently, Rabbi Ascherman was beaten, punched in the jaw, during the arrest. The detainees were held for the night and released on bail the following afternoon before Shabbat. The court forbade Rabbi Ascherman from entering Al Arakib for seven days. Below was written by Rabbi Ascherman just before the start of Shabbat.


READ: More on the destruction of Al Arakib

By Rabbi Arik Ascherman

 .Firstly, I and all of RHR pray for the speedy and safe return of the three yeshiva students

On Friday I wrote the words below about my arrest, the beating we took, and most importantly about El-Araqib. I sent them abroad, but it was too close to Shabbat here, and I preferred to wait until today. I also added a few thoughts, based on my Shabbat conversations with my family.

A few words before Shabbat. Firstly “Blessed be God Who frees the captives.” However, one of those arrested in El-Araqib is unfortunately still in jail.  Furthermore, all the structure inside the cemetery structure were demolished except one, for which there was no order. (The state didn’t wait for the decision of the judge in the petition arguing that there were no valid orders for any of the buildings, but there was one that the  one the state acknowledged had no order)

WATCH: Footage of the destruction of the mosque in the cemetery of  Al Arakib

The last thing I saw as I was driven away by the police was all of the El-Araqib residents standing among the gravestones – the living with the dead.  I wasn’t there, but I understand that they started to rebuild immediately after.

I am grateful to my high school football coach and to my youth movement (NFTY).  Coach Bestwick always said that if you could survive football preseason (American football, for all those wrapped up in the World Cup),  you could survive anything. The knocks I got in football were definitely worse than the various injuries I sustained from the beating I took from the police.

I often sing when arrested.  One of the songs we sang in NFTY, that was so appropriate on Thursday, was “VaYashvu Ish takhat gafno…”  Every person shall sit under their vine and under their fig tree, and none shall make them afraid (Micah 4:4)  May it be God’s will that we can achieve a world in which every human being  can dwell safely on their land and enjoy the fruits of their labor.

IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY DONE SO, PLEASE CLICK HERE TO SIGN BEFORE SHABBAT THE EL-ARAKIB PETITION.  The cemetery structures have been demolished, but the struggle for El-Araqib and Bedouin justice throughout the Negev is far from over:

If you are in Israel, please make a special effort to get to El-Araqib during the week I am prevented from doing so.  I hope that I am allowed to join the weekly vigil at the Lehavim Junction on Sunday at 16:30.

Additional Details: Transportation from Be’er-Sheva: Michal 054-5851700, michal@dukium.org; Transportation from Tel-Aviv: Yaakov: 050-5733276,  manor12@zahav.net.il, Michal: 052-6886867, tarabut@gmail.com

 On Shabbat Shlakh Lekha, permit me to share with you what I had intended on teaching in Herzliya last night – as we think about the ten spies who brought a bad report of the Land, as opposed to Joshua and Caleb, we think about the fact that it is often said  that we malign Israel.

I think that those who carry out acts such as destroying El-Araqib are the ones who give Israel a bad name.

However, we also should remember that we can choose how to portray any reality that we see. I pray that, like Moses, we will continue to uncompromisingly fight anything that is wrong and unjust in Israel, while still being able to see all that is good in our country and in our people. And, may we never see ourselves as grasshoppers. As the midrash teaches, the giants saw us as grasshoppers because we saw ourselves as grasshoppers. We musn’t lose faith in our ability to improve our society from within.

Shabbat Shalom,



IMAGE: Rabbi Ascherman with residents of Al Arakib after his release

P.S. Just before saying Sh’ma in bed, my son asked me why I put myself in these situations. I gave him a longer answer, but the immediate answer was, “When one sees the entire might of the State deployed to oppress the weak and helpless, it is forbidden to turn away and not act.”

What hasn’t the State done to destroy El-Araqib. In recent days minister’s assistants didn’t return calls, and the head of the Israel Land Authority fooled an MK into thinking that he had a promise to hold off. However, the State was not willing to wait until a judge decided whether or not there were valid demolition/eviction orders. Tens of police, a helicopter , horses and much heavy equipment was deployed. The desire to destroy El-Araqib once and forever was so strong….

However, the story is not over.

We will not turn away or cease to act.


General, Justice in Israel-Prawer

Developing the Negev? Nearly, but not quite: The State’s Real Plans for Negev

No Comments 09 June 2014

Time and time again, we have heard the old refrain of “making the desert bloom.” But with little interest from the general public in relocating to the Negev, what is the state really planning with all that land?

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General, Justice in Israel, Justice in Israel-Prawer

High Court offers conciliation process in Bedouin land rights case

No Comments 08 June 2014

PRESS RELEASE | June 5 2014 Israeli Supreme Court offers a conciliation process to achieve a fair solution on Bedouin lands case; state must answer in two weeks whether it agrees to conciliation on Arakib lands.

AlArakiblaywersIMAGE: Members of the al-Ukbi Tribe with attorney Michael Sfard (Credit: Negev Coexistence Forum)

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General, Justice in Israel-Prawer

Save Al-Arakib: Sign the Petition Today!

1 Comment 08 June 2014

The Coalition for Al Arakib of the Negev Coexistence Forum and the Recognition Forum asks you to please sign this petition against the expulsion of the residents from Al Arakib from their lands. Below is the text; please click here to sign the petition.


IMAGE: Cemetery at Al Arakib being surveyed by Israeli authorities

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General, Justice in Israel-Prawer

Rabbinical Assembly: Bedouin must be equal partners in new plan for unrecognized villages

No Comments 29 May 2014

RHR welcomes the decision of the Rabbinical Assembly of the Conservative/Masorti Movement worldwide to adopt a resolution at their May convention congratulating Israel for freezing the Begin/Prawer bill, wishing Minister Shamir success in taking on this issue, calling on the State of Israel to involve the Bedouin leadership as equal partners in the resolution of disputes, and urging the government to recognize and develop Negev Bedouin communities in the Negev, as it has in the Galilee. The RA has now joined the rabbinic bodies of the Reconstructionist and Renewal movements, as well as the rabbinic and lay organizations of the Reform Movement and sixty British rabbis as being on record on this issue. Continue Reading

Field Reports, General, Occupied Territories

Field Report: Update on the Jahalin Bedouin

No Comments 27 May 2014

Rabbi Yehiel Grenimann, RHR’s Director of the Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, and Jonathan Shefa, RHR’s Assistant Director of Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, recently visited a number of the Jahalin Bedouin encampments which have a suffered a wave of demolitions over the last month. The camps are located in the Occupied Territories, on the outskirts of Jerusalem. Continue Reading

General, Justice in Israel-Prawer

Despite frozen legislation, plans to dispossess the Negev Bedouin being implemented

No Comments 22 May 2014

Despite the fact that legislation is currently frozen,  there are growing indications suggesting the government has decided legislation is not necessary in order to implement its plans of dispossessing the Negev Bedouin. Demolition rates continue to be high, and plans for Jewish communities in the Negev continue to move forward. Following is a summary of the current situation in a number of Bedouin villages in the Negev facing threats of demolition, dispossession, and relocation. Continue Reading

General, Justice in Israel-Prawer

Get the facts: The bizarre claim that the Bedouin “invaded” the Negev

No Comments 20 May 2014

Yariv Mohar, RHR spokesperson, uses primary source quotations and findings to respond to claims that the Bedouin somehow “invaded” the Negev and therefore have no right to the land.

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