Tag archive for "Gaza"

Education, General

Israel Wild Western tour

2 Comments 18 March 2012

“I know some will hear what I am saying as a political statement. Well, it is that – how can we be concerned about what happens in society, any society, but particularly Israeli society and not have a Jewish view on it?” | Israeli Art: Orange-2 By zeevveez cc: flickr

Just under a month ago Rabbi Colin Eimer was part of a group of nearly 20 Reform and Liberal rabbis who, together with some members from our communities, spent a week in Israel with Rabbis for Human Rights. Continue Reading


Meeting with non-Jews strengthens Judaism

2 Comments 07 February 2012

“Only after Moses listens to his father in law and absorbs his feedback and criticism, de-centralization is established, and the People of Israel can make the step that enabled them to grow and come to their constitutive event as a nation – the receiving of the 10 commandments at Mt. Sinai.” cc: flickr by RivaJethroKyrill – Name Jitro/Yitro in Hebrew

Parashat Jethro is the fifth parasha in Exodus. This parasha is full of substance, thought-provoking suggestions, and invites us to review in order to renew and build a nation Continue Reading


Compassion and mercy

1 Comment 09 August 2011

“Situation in the OPT is a reality without pity and without mercy.” Picture:  Hundreds of thousands of Israelis took part in protests held in cities across the country on Saturday night, the largest collaborative protest yet in a popular movement over social issues that has swept the country in the past two weeks.

The meaning of “and thou shalt do that which is right and good in the sight of the Lord” is  to live your life with kindness for others and, as Rashi and Ramban said, to “imply a compromise beyond the letter of the law” There is a well-known midrash which teaches us that the destruction of the second temple was a result of the heartlessness of the judges of that time who were devoted to the letter of the law but did not find room in their hearts for any generosity beyond it. Continue Reading

Parasha / E-Letter

Plowing in South Hebron Hills | Enable the Flotilla to arrive in Gaza | Destruction of El-Arakib |

No Comments 05 July 2011

Balaam and the angel. Nuremberg Chronicle (1493).

Parashat Hashavua “Balak”: What Will Be, What Was and Torah Thoughts

Dolev Rahat returns with experiences and impressions from the journey of destruction wrought by the Israeli Civil Administration at the Palestinian village of Bir El Id, located in the South Hebron Hills. Continue reading →

Since this post was written, The Civil Administration demolished more homes in Bir El Id, despite an oral understanding with local residents. We have started a letters campaign to the Defense Minister (who is in charge of the Civil Administration), asking him to protect the rights of the people of Bir El Id. You can join it on their Facebook page →

Parashat Hashavu a “Balak”

In our Parasha Rabbi Haim Shalom asks – what would Balaam say if he saw our dwelling places today? What ethical judgements might he make? If he were to see any tents at all, would they be those of the “unrecognised” Bedouin villages of the northern Negev? What would these tents say about the ethical behaviour of the children of Israel? If G-d did not let Balaam lie, what truth would he have to tell us with regard to these tents? Would they be called goodly? Continue reading →

What Will Be

Danger of eviction in Ramle – We continue to organize suppot for the El-Aju family, who have an eviction notice good through the end of July (17  Yehezkel St) We need additional volunteers starting this Thursday and next week.  As the days pass, the danger intensifies.  Come to support and strengthen them.  Contact Gill at 052-8688022, gilpor@gmail.com.

As part of the ongoing series of weekly demonstrations, Tarabut will be demonstrating Wednesday 8:00-10:30 in front of Legal Aid : Henrietta Szold 4 in Tel Aviv.

We need a list of volunteers who can be called on a moments notice if an eviction is taking place, will try to get to the location of the eviction, and will try to delay or prevent the eviction.  Experience shows that, when there are many determined people present, the dynamic with the police changes.

Beit Shean – On the same topic, we need volunteers to help us make contact outside the Amidar office with the public housing tenants.  Our experience is that the vast majority of tenants we have spoken with are not getting the services and treatment they deserve.  However, as reported last week, they see the beginning of change/

Training We want to train all those who are interested in housing rights.  Those who have done the training will then help us accompany those dealing with Amidar, and ensure that their rights are honored.  Sometimes simply the fact of our presence totally changes the way people are treated. gilpor@gmail.com

Activities Commemorating the First Anniversary of the Destruction of El-Arakib - On 27.7.11, Israeli police and the Israel Lands Authority demolished for the first time all of the buildings of El-Arakib and uprooted her fruit trees.  Only the cemetery compound and its graves were left to testify that this “unrecognized village” existed before the State of Israel.  Since that time the residents have fought a brave and desperate battle for survival.  Some 24 additional times simple tents and other temporary structures have been demolished.  All those who believe in justice and co-existence are asked to participate in the commemoratory events:

  • 21.7-22.7  Building
  • 22.7  Multifaith Prayer Service
  • 27.7  Torch and candle procession  20:00

Additional information will be published as we receive it, including transportation arrangements.  Please contact the office, 02-6482757 or Kobi 050-2345251 for more information or to sign up. There will also be a conference on 23.7, but RHR does not participate in Shabbat activities.

The Week that Was

Palestinian Rights Department

Success - Hushiya family succeeded on Friday to plow the land that a settler took over and the Supreme Court ordered to return it to the Palestinian family.  Continue reading →

Bir El Id - Dolev Rahat returns with experiences and impressions from the journey of destruction wrought by the Israeli Civil Administration at the Palestinian village of Bir El Id, located in the South Hebron Hills.  Continue reading →

Flotilla - We call upon the Israeli government to enable the flotilla to arrive in Gaza after having been checked by Israeli security forces for weapons and explosives. We call upon the organizers of the flotilla to enable their ships to be checked without violence.  Continue reading →

Social Justice Department

Summer Camps – Rabbi Idit Lev shows us how the summer vacation brings us back to a social problem when looking how much money has to be paid to participate. Continue reading →

RHR Media Coverage

Messeges from Other Organization

We publish these media links as a service to the community, but they are not our activities and we are not responsible for their content.  The links are a mixture of English and Hebrew articles

shabbat shalom

General, Press Releases

Enable the Flotilla to arrive in Gaza

10 Comments 04 July 2011

The Marmara Flotilla

We call upon the Israeli government to enable the flotilla to arrive in Gaza after having been checked by Israeli security forces for weapons and explosives. We call upon the organizers of the flotilla to enable their ships to be checked without violence. Continue Reading

General, Press Releases

Human beings are not bargaining chips

2 Comments 26 June 2011

by Lilachd. Gilad is still Alive. cc: flicker

`The press release below is a rare joint press release including a wide spectrum of organizations agreeing that the conditions under which Gilad Shalit is being held violate international law, but differing as to what the solution is.  Rabbis For Human Rights has called and continues to call for Gilad Shalit’s immediate release.

Human beings are not bargaining chips:

Staff Sergeant Gilad Shalit has been in captivity for five years. Those holding him have refused to allow him to communicate with his family, nor have they provided information on his well-being and the conditions in which he is being held. The organizations stress that this conduct is inhumane and a violation of international humanitarian law.

Hamas authorities in Gaza must immediately end the cruel and inhuman treatment of Gilad Shalit. Until he is released, they must enable him to communicate with his family and shouldgrant him access to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

  • B’Tselem
  • Amnesty International & the Israel Section – is this how it should read??
  • Bimkom: Planners for Planning Rights
  • Gisha
  • Human Rights Watch
  • International Federation of Human Rights
  • Palestine Center for Human Rights
  • Physicians for Human Rights-Israel
  • Public Committee Against Torture in Israel
  • Rabbis for Human Rights
  • The Association for Civil Rights in Israel
  • Yesh Din


Rewards and Punishments

1 Comment 17 May 2011


This week I have many more questions than answers.

Parashat BeKhukotai closes out the book of Leviticus.  It contains a list of the good things that will befall us if we obey God’s commandments, and the punishments that will come about if we are not faithful.  The portion continues with rules for various vows and regulations for consecrating a house to God.  There are a number of disturbing and difficult questions that arise from this portion: Continue Reading

Occupied Territories


No Comments 17 April 2011



Eloheinu v’Elohei Kadmoneinu (Avoteinu, Avoteinu vEmoteinu), our God and God of our ancestors, we are gathered around this seder table as b’nei khorin, free people commanded to remember our dark nights of oppression.  We have vowed never to become oppressors ourselves.  Yet, when we are honest with ourselves, we know that we may be Pharaoh in the liberation tales of other peoples, or even the disadvantaged among our own people, who still feel themselves to be slaves in Egypt.  Like Pharaoh, we are capable of oppressing when we feel threatened.  There are times when we are truly endangered, and times when our belief that “In every generation there are those who arise to destroy us” causes us to perceive hatred where it does not exist.  How easy it becomes to harden our hearts to those who have paid an excessive price for our people’s prosperity and security.  Our experience as victims blinds us to the possibility that we can be both victims and victimizers at the same time.  To be truly free we must banish Pharaoh from our hearts and reaffirm our commitment to honor God’s Image in every human being. Recalling the midwives of old, we know that the seeds of redemption are planted when we oppose Pharaoh’s command.


Tonight we leave a place at our table for victims of oppression.  We renew our commitment to winning their freedom, thereby insuring ours.  We particularly remember: (Choose one or more)



A. Israeli Democracy. First they attacked the courts and judges, and we didn’t protest.  We aren’t judges, and clearly the courts are an elite that doesn’t represent the people or Jewish values.  Next they attacked Israeli Arabs, “No citizenship without loyalty.” We didn’t protest because we  aren’t Arabs, and Arabs aren’t Zionists.  Next they attacked peace organizations.  We didn’t protest because, “That’s politics.” After that they came for human rights organizations, and we didn’t protest because human rights organizations called for an independent Israeli investigation into the Gaza war.  ”They collaborate with the enemy.”  With the help of the Jewish community abroad, some of the most egregious proposed laws have been defeated or emptied of  content, but some have passed and some tens of anti democratic proposals are still pending.


When this night we open the door for Elijah, who will be waiting for us on the other side?



B. Civilians in Gaza and the Western Negev, and Gilad Shalit. Another year has passed since that terrible war.  Gilad is still captive and Gazans still live blockaded. The residents of Sderot, Ashkelon and the Western Negev have again become targets.  On both sides of the border, civilians tremble in fear as the dogs of war approach.


Tonight, their fear is our fear. If are truly free this evening, we are free to choose.  May it be Your Will that we choose life, peace and human dignity for ourselves and for others.  In so doing, may we turn enemies into friends (Pirkei Avot D’Rabi Natan) Next year, may Gilad Shalit be free to celebrate Passover with his family and may civilians live free of fear.


C. Residents of Public Housing. Some 50,000 Israelis are on the waiting list for public housing, while the threat of eviction threatens to rip even this last safety net for those thankful for these oft times substandard apartments.  The Zohar family of Beit Sha’an was homeless for months after suffering eviction, the Miskani family waited six years for Amidar to stop water from dripping into electrical boxes, and countless others wait for essential repairs.  Just as the Egyptians believed their superiority allowed them to treat the Israelites however they wished (R. Samson Raphael Hirsch), so the officials of Amidar and other public housing companies feel free to ignore tenant’s rights or manufacture debts based on charges they themselves can’t explain.


As we sing Adir Hu and dream of the day when God will build God’s house, we know that neither the Temple nor our national home can be built when we harden our hearts to declare that those without means are less worthy than we. Celebrating the seder in the security of our homes, we commit ourselves this night to work in the coming year so that our National Home rests on a foundation of justice.



D. Residents of East Jerusalem. The Ghawi,  Hanoun and El-Kurd families of Sheikh Jarakh remain homeless, the Israeli court has ruled that all the residents of Um El Arun can be expelled, and additional families are in the midst of court proceedings.  They have been expelled “legally” by court order because of alleged pre-1948 Jewish ownership, but no court will send them back to their pre-1948 homes.  In Issawiyah, rather than approving zoning plans to ease the housing shortage, a new plan has been approved to take land for a “national park.” In Silwan, police regularly fire tear gas at worshipers reciting the Friday prayers in the tent protesting the threatened demolition of 86 homes to make way for an archaeological park.  As tensions rise, hundreds of children have been rounded up and arrested indiscriminately because the police can’t identify those throwing stones at them or the settlers living in armed enclaves in the midst of the neighborhood. Even when their cause was just, the Israelites were enjoined to stay in their homes when the angel of death passed over Egypt because even one’s cause is just, contact with violence corrupts (R. Tammarat)  The violence brewing in  East Jerusalem threatens to engulf us all.

“Our ancestor was a wandering Aramean.”  This night we remember that all have the right to a home.


E.     Villages Bordering the Settlements and Outposts of the Nablus Region. This month, Abu-Wael of Farata discovered another 143 of his olive trees chopped down next to the Khavat Gilad outpost, and another trailer home placed on his land.  This after he was detained and left without water for hours in the sun on October 15th because he asked soldiers to stop the Israelis who were burning down hundreds of trees in front of his eyes.  Israelis regularly descend from the Har Brakha and Yitzhar settlements to stone homes, set fire to fields and trees, and to sew fear in the surrounding villages.  Legitimately trying to catch the perpetrators of the murderers of the Fogel family in their beds, the army has crossed red line between legitimate investigation and collective punishment in Awarta.  Women are torn from their children in the middle of the night and houses are left in shambles.

This night, we recall that the one who stood with our ancestors  in our trials of oppression stands with all who are oppressed. We recommit to being God’s partners to protect, replant, and again make the olive tree a symbol of peace.


F. Sudanese Refugees.  “No Ammonite or Moabite shall be admitted into the congregation of the Lord…because they did not meet you with food and water on your journey after you left Egypt…”(Deuteronomy 23:4) Fleeing the carnage of Darfur and unwelcome in Egypt, Sudanese refugees come to Israel’s borders assuming that they will find refuge among those who have known too often the terror of being refused asylum .  However, they are turned back from closed borders.    The lucky ones who have made it across have been imprisoned for months and longer, some of them eventually released.  Samuel (not real name) saw much of his family murdered in Southern Sudan and was himself imprisoned.  Helped to escape before he too was murdered, he became a translator in Egypt.  However, his life was again in danger because Egyptians thought he “knew to much.”  At first imprisoned in Israel, he now helps fellow refugees.

G.    El Arakib. Their homes demolished some 22 times, as JNF/KKL forests close in from all directions, even though courts have not yet made a final determination who owns the land.  The cemetery of this “unrecognized” Bedouin village in the Negev offers silent testimony as to who has lived on this land for generations.

As we open the door this night in remembrance of how generations lived in fear of who might be waiting outside, our hearts are with those who live in terror of the bulldozers that can arrive again at any moment.


Opening our doors to invite all who are hungry to come and eat, we remember the many doors closed to us over long years of persecution.   This night we open our hearts to refugees and commit to opening our borders.










The Four Children at the Seder Table:  Which Child Am I?


As we celebrate this Holiday of Freedom, the ending of slavery, we ask, “Who am I, when I hear of human rights abuses? Who will I choose to be when I know that others are suffering?”


Will I be one who does not ask? Will I close the newspaper or turn off the television so that I do not hear? Will I turn my head and heart away?


Will I ask only simple questions? “What is this?”  Will I ask what, but never why?


Will I let the evil impulse, my yetzer hara ask: “What has this to do with me?” Will I let the problem belong only to the victims and the do-gooders? Will I distance myself from those in need?


Or will I strive to act in wisdom, to ask: “What are the underlying causes of the problem and what needs to be done to stop the abuse and free the oppressed? What are the laws and what does Gd expect of me?”


May God open the eyes of those who do not see, the mouths of those who do not ask, and the hearts of those who do not care, and grant us the wisdom to open our hands to our fellow humans when they are in need  - the hand of generosity, the hand of support, the hand of peace and friendship.


April 28: RHR Planning Appeal against housing demolitions!

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