On February 10th, the East Jerusalem area of Ein Aluza was victim of a ‘price tag’ . Additionally, graffiti against “assimilation” and “Arab labor” was sprayed. The Tag Meir Coalition, which acts as a voice of tolerance and respect by organizing acts of solidarity with victims and communities who have been targeted by radical extremists, was quick to respond in a show of solidarity with the residents. Continue Reading
2013 showed a serious uptick of housing demolitions and aid obstruction to the Palestinian Territories, specifically in the Jordan River Valley. In response, 25 local and international aid, faith, development and human rights organizations came together to call for an end to demolitions of Palestinian homes and obstruction of aid
For immediate release: Series of home demolitions and major tension in the East Jerusalem area
FEBRUARY 5 2014: A home in the East Jerusalem village of Umm Lison was demolished today while security forces prepare to demolish two additional homes in Jabel Mukaber, also East Jerusalem. Currently, those demolitions are on hold due to an immediate halting order. The residents are resisting and five young Palestinians have been arrested thus far. At least one home was demolished in Beit Hanina as well.
These demotions come as a result of systemic planning and land allocation discrimination in East Jerusalem, with Palestinians under-represented on planning committees. City planning attempts to preserve the city’s demographic balance by choking Palestinian construction and annexing to Jerusalem dozens of Palestinian villages which historically have not been connected to Jerusalem. This policy is no secret: the city’s master plan explicitly mentions the prevention of Palestinian building as a strategy for the preservation of “demographic balance” within the city.
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
A protest for public housing. 11.3.2012. Jerusalem. photo by: Hamaabara / Alon Sherf
Parashat “Vayakhel-Pekudey”: the weekly newsletter of “Rabbis for Human Rights”
Although Israel is in a state of war with Gaza, we have not left the social struggle of the families in public housing. We volunteered to fight for the Menashe family from Givat Shmuel and called the Prime Minister, the Housing Minister and Amidar’s director to stop the eviction of the family into the street which was due to take place March 14th. Itzik Menashe was refused the right to continue living in his parents’ Amidar apartment. Itzik and his wife are unemployed and their financial situation does not enable them to rent an apartment. Recently, after long and painful treatments they had a son. Let’s work together to prevent their eviction into the street. An Important Update: The eviction of the Menashe family will be frozen for the next half year. Thank you all for the help! Shabbat Shalom. Continue Reading
Demonstration against house evictions, Silwan, East Jerusalem. 25.11.2011 | Photo by: Activestills.org
As a result of the campaign conducted by Solidarity and Rabbis for Human Rights, the Jewish National Fund (JNF) announced today that it would delay the expulsion of the Sumarin family in Silwan
In mid November, Solidarity and Rabbis for Human Rights conducted a campaign whose goal was to stop the expulsion of the Sumarin family from the house in which they have lived for over 50 years. On the 28th of November, the eviction order, signed by Himnuta, a subsidiary of the JNF, was supposed to come into force.
As published in Haaretz , the JNF announced, following the appeals made in our public campaign, that it would postpone the expulsion in order to return to dialogue with the family. Last week the courts decided to freeze the eviction order. Himnuta-JNF was given until the 18th of December to reply the court how it intends to proceed. We already proven that a campaign targeted towards the JNF is fruitful. Help us again to pressure JNF and to make the freezing of the expulsion order permanent.
This is the time to act: spread the video and write to the JNF board of directors:
Dear ___________ (select the appropriate email addresses for JNF Board Members and International Representatives below),
My name is_____. Like many other individuals and organizations around the world, I am deeply concerned by the actions of KKL-JNF (and its subsidiary company Himanutah) in East Jerusalem.
I was happy to hear recently that KKL-JNF and Himanutah decided not to evict the Sumarin family from their house in Silwan, at least for the time being. I was both relieved for the family, and pleased that for now the family’s house will not be transferred to an extremist settler organization, as has happened in the past with properties owned by KKL-JNF/Himanutah. However, the threat of eviction, while temporarily frozen, still exists. This is still your responsibility because the Sumarin house is still controlled by the JNF-KKL via Himanutah.
The JNF-KKL is a United Nations NGO that does very important environmental and ecological work in Israel. I am hopeful that the JNF-KKL and its partners now understand that it is deeply improper for the JNF-KKL to take part in advancing a highly controversial and unjust political agenda centered around the eviction of Palestinian families from their homes in Silwan and creating “facts on the ground.” By using the “Absentee Property Law” against non-Jews only, we are guilty of eifa v’eifa, double standards. The home never should have been taken from the family, and for many years the Custodian for Absentee Property would at least award properties to family members who were living in homes taken under this law. For a brief period of time, Israel began to take inhabited properties, evict families and award them to settlers. However, following what was known as the Klugman Report (1992), a government commissioned report whose findings were sharply critical of the use of the Absentee Property Law in the East Jerusalem context, the State recognized that this policy was wrong and promised the Court to stop using it. In this case, a court has unfortunately ruled that the JNF-KKL/Himanutah may evict the family because, due to a misunderstanding, the family failed to put up a defense in 2005.
You now have the ability to right the wrong that started with the use of a law which should have never been used, continued when the Custodian failed to return the land to the family, and was capped by a miscarriage of justice when you exploited the fact that the family did not defend themselves in court in 2005. Even then, the court never obligated Himanutah to evict the family. They simply permitted Himanutah to do so.
Now that the case is back in court, the JNF-KKL/Himanutah can go one step beyond freezing the eviction by acknowledging that Israel committed itself not to evict families via the Absentee Property Law, and by simply declining to fight the case further. You could even cooperate with a cancellation of the initial decision to declare the property as Absentee Property.
The choice between right and wrong is in your hands.
The effects are broader than this specific injustice: the settler organizations in East Jerusalem are acting to create an irreversible situation in the “Holy
Basin” that will eliminate any chance for co-existence in Jerusalem. In my eyes, if the Sumarin family is evicted, JNF-KKL/Himanutah, will become, de facto, an active partner to this frightening agenda.
I turn to you, in light of your influential role in the JNF, to ask you to put forward an official statement detailing the JNF’s intention to cancel all plans for the eviction of the Sumarin family, committing not to turn over the property to another body that might carry out the eviction, acknowledging the family as the rightful owners of the property, and announcing the cessation of Himanutah’s involvement in the purchasing properties over the green line and its cooperation with extremist settler organizations.
World President of the JNF-KKL in Israel, Efi Stenzler: Email: EfiS@kkl.org.il
Al-Khalayleh, Palestinian village near the settlement of Giva’at Ze’ev, outside of Jerusalem – A group of young men are swinging shovels and hammers at the walls of a house – their own house. Continue Reading
Parashat Hashavua “Naso”: What Will Be, What Was and Tora Thoughts
An extraordinary woman visited us last week – Dr. Laila Abu Rabu. Dr. Abu Rabu overcame her blindness and finished her PhD on the subject of Women’s Rights in the Shari Courts. She also became the first woman advocate in the Sharia court. May we draw strength, hope and inspiration from the struggle of a woman who overcame such obstacles and created enormous change. In this spirit of hope we are excited to tell you about the South Hebron Hills Campaign that has begun, and we hope to achieve regional change via the internet. With the cooperation of all the departments and with the agreement with Adv. Quamar Mishirqui Asad, we have decided to write an internet letter that will be sent to the highest- ranking personality in the area and with this appeal:: Minister of Defense, please return security to the South Hebron Hills. We will be grateful if you will distribute the facebook campaign in three languages to your family and friends. Please sign the letter.
Parashat Hashavua “Naso”
Rabbi Mira Raz shows how the “The festival of giving of the Torah” is the day of the covenant between God and the People of Israel, the descendants of Abraham, who promised to be God’s allies in His world. Continue reading
What Will Be
Beit Midrash – We are happy to announce the completion of the school year of the Beit Midrash in Jerusalem.
Correction – On 6 Sivan, June 7th you are invited to Tikun Leil Shavuot in Haifa (We will have a Tikun Leil Shavuot in Jerusalem also, details to follow).
Plowing problems – We still have problems with plowing in Jamal. We are trying to find out if the army will honor the understandings, so that the Awarta farmers will be able to finish their plowing near Itamar settlement and the outposts around, and also if A-Sawia farmers can finish their plowing near the settlement Rechelim.
Volunteers needed: Rabbi Kobbi Weis writes: In Parashat Hashavua we read that God differentiated the Levi tribe from the others in order to serve him. The Levi tribe is an inspiration to all generations of a special group of people who were dedicated to public activities. Please see yourselves as following this special group; people who care and are willing to pay with their time and effort in order to correct society’s injustices. We need you now in two places:
1. El Arakib – The JNF intends to start planting in the coming autumn. We are trying, in different ways, to prevent it:
a. Invite the residents’ representative to speak to your community.
c. Join, every Sunday at 16:30, the weekly demonstration at Lehavim Junction. To sign up, please call the office.
2. Beit Shean – more than a third of the town’s residents live in public housing. The number of people whose rights were violated is unbelievable, especially on the issue of regular maintenance. We need you to help in distributing civil rights pages to the residents and talking with the people who come to the Amidar offices. We would like to establish a group of activists who would be trained and will help the tenants (omitto) get their rights. To sign up please call the office.
The Week that Was
Our Beit Midrash for Human Rights spends many hours in the classroom studying sources and meeting rabbis and activists to learn about Judaism’s understanding of Human Rights and how it can be out into practice. Continue reading
How much can one woman be a role model and a symbol for the struggle for life of people that are permanently persecuted? Dr Lila Abu Rabu is this role model. Her feminine power does not give up; she must achieve her goals. Continue reading