Tag archive for "Jahalin"

General, Occupied Territories

A Day of Sea and Fun for Jahalin Bedouin Children

No Comments 23 June 2014

On June 11 2014, 60 Jahalin Bedouin children and teachers from the Khan El Achmar Bedouin school, which RHR has worked with for the past five years, enjoyed a day-outing to the sea at Tel Aviv. The day was organized by RHR’s Rabbi Yehiel Grenimann (Director of Human Rights in the Occupied Territories), Jonathan Shefa (Assistant Director of Human Rights in the OT) and Sister Alicia Vacas and Sister Aziza of the Catholic Comboni Sisters in conjunction with a group of Machsom Watch ladies. The group was accompanied by 9 Operation Groundswell volunteers from Canada and the USA, as well as many local Israeli volunteers concerned with the safety of these young people (many of whom had never been to the sea before and do not know how to swim).  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

Field Reports, General, Occupied Territories

Field Report: The Jahalin Bedouin After-school Education Center

1 Comment 19 February 2014

Rabbis for Human Rights has promoted the rights of the Jahalin Bedouin, located outside Maale Adumim, for a number of years through advocating against their forced relocation and supporting their community through helping to organize educational and recreational activities for their children. Rabbi Yehiel Grenimann, Director of RHR’s Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, provides an update into our current work with the Jahalin children. Continue Reading

General, Occupied Territories

The Olive Harvest is Coming: Summation of summer activities of the Rights in the Occupied Territories Department | Yehiel Grenimann

1 Comment 06 August 2013

Pictured: Upgrading Mariam’s kindergarten in Jabal for Jahalin tribe children

Rabbi Yehiel Grenimann, director of the Rights in the Occupied Territories Department, summarizes the summer activities so far.

This summer, 80 children participated in the summer camp in this neglected area, where the children of the Jahalin tribe live. The camp was very successful and we even started a children’s library. A Canadian group accompanied us for the fourth year in a row. In addition, we engaged in special education in East Jerusalem and activities with Eritrean refugees. Thanks to our activities, we received a large grant from a group of Evangelical churches in Germany.

Soon we will start the olive and almond harvest activities and need your help. To sign up, send us a message on the website.


An urgent message: 4 years after the evacuation order was signed, security forces and the Civil Administration evacuated a large group of settlers who invaded the Palestinian village of Susya this morning.  

We are concerned that extreme settlers will avenge this evacuation and warn the IDF to be prepared. To our regret the invasions to Palestinian land in the West Bank continue.



Parasha / E-Letter

Justifying the Unjustified: Newsletter on parashat Pinchas

No Comments 10 July 2012

Settlers attack in Yanun, West Bank, 07.07.2012 | Photo by: Ahmad Al-Bazz/Activestills.org

This week we learned that the Edmund Levy report in effect authorized the building of “illegal outposts.” We opposed this because the discussions of the Levy commission took place behind the backs of the Palestinians and without their participation in the committeeThis led to distortion and many failures in the committee’s conclusions. Continue Reading

General, Occupied Territories

To Open the Gates: Pictures from the Jahalin summer camp on the Jabel

No Comments 09 July 2012

Rabbi Yehiel Greniman brings us photos from this past week’s Jahalin summer camp activities on the Jabel next to Azaria. About 70 children participated in the camp organized by local very talented teacher,  Ibtisan El Hirsch, and her two sisters with our help and that of the Catholic Comboni sisters. Continue Reading

Parasha / E-Letter

First time on the beach: Newsletter for the parashat “Balak”

No Comments 03 July 2012

This world is filled with lawyers who can help us find a way to do an end run around the spirit of the law, even as we observe the letter of the law. Rabbi Arik Ascherman connects the social current affairs and the parasha and shows us the right direction. Continue Reading

General, Occupied Territories

Thier first time to an Israeli Beach

No Comments 02 July 2012

RHR accompanied a group of Bedouin to the beach Continue Reading


Today Ruth Would be Considered an Infiltrator and Forbidden from Gleaning

No Comments 24 May 2012

“Today Ruth Would be Considered an Infiltrator and Forbidden from Gleaning “| Police attempting to contain a mob on an anti-African spree after a protest against African refugees and asylum seekers in Tel Aviv’s Hatikva neighborhood on May 23, 2012. Photo by: Activestills.org

Shavuot Thoughts for 5772 on Acting with the Solidarity of Ruth and Naomi, and Looking for Boaz

One of the most touching aspects of The Book of Ruth is the special relationship between Ruth and Naomi. They are two women who are impoverished and laden with sorrow.  Is it the fact that they share a common loss that binds them together, or something more?  Poverty and loss lead many to a space where they can only think about their own needs. This solidarity is even more remarkable when we know that these two women come from different cultures.  It is true that Naomi had been living among the Moabites, and that Israelites and Moabites were related in the distant past, but they had also been frequently in conflict with each other.  Nonetheless, both Naomi and Ruth often seem more concerned about the other than about themselves.

Ultimately, it is the solidarity between Naomi and Ruth, along with God’s Providence, that allows them to find a way out of their seemingly hopeless situation.  Something is created out of the dynamic between the two of them, and it is not clear that either one of them could have succeeded alone.  Ruth has youthful energy and the hopefulness, while Naomi feels beaten down by life and by God, “Do not call me Naomi,” (Coming from the word “Naim,” pleasant. A.A.) she replied.  Call me Mara (From the word “Mar,” bitter. A.A.), for Shaddai (The Almighty) has made my lot very bitter.  I went away full, and Adonai has brought me back empty.  How can you call me Naomi, when Adonai has dealt harshly with me, when Shaddai has brought misfortune upon me?” (Ruth 1:20-21).  However, it is Naomi that knows the ways and customs of her people, things that Ruth probably did not know.

According to the pshat (plain meaning of the text), it is Ruth who comes up with the idea of going out to glean.  However, the midrash (interpretative understanding) in my head is that as Ruth and Naomi are walking through the fields as they return to Bethlehem, as landowners are reaping fields of barley, “They arrived in Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest.” (Ruth 1:22).  Ruth is curious when she notices that the reapers are leaving the corners of their fields untouched, and not coming back to retrieve fallen sheaves.  If this isn’t obvious, she sees that the farmers are not bringing their flocks into the fields.  When we go out to protect Palestinians who are reaping, the sheep and goats are brought in after the reaping is concluded.  It is they who graze on whatever is left.  Ruth asks Naomi about what she sees, and Naomi explains her people’s customs.  Ruth than says, “I would like to go…”

Naomi entreating Ruth and Orpah to return to the land of Moab, by William Blake

Naomi entreating Ruth and Orpah to return to the land of Moab, by William Blake

Naomi perceives that Ruth’s initiative is rewarded with God’sProvidence, “Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, ‘Blessed be he of Adonai, who has not failed in God’s Kindness to the living or to the dead.” (Ruth 2:21.  She is buoyed and begins to use her knowledge to guide her daughter in law, “Naomi explained to her daughter-in-law, ‘the man is related to us; he is one of our redeeming kinsman’” (Ibid. Levirate marriage can be found in Lev. 25:25 and Deut. 25:5-6). She continues, “‘It is best, daughter, that you go out with his girls, and not be harassed in some other field.’” (Ruth 2:22).  Eventually, Naomi instructs Ruth how to appeal to Boaz to fulfill the obligation of Levirate marriage, “‘Daughter, I must seek a home for you, where you may be happy.Now thre is our kinsman Boaz… go down to the threshing floor….’” (Ruth 3:2-5) It doesn’t seem to have occurred to the despondent Naomi to try this route until Ruth’s actions rekindle hope.

Ruth and Naomi are both living in poverty, but we in RHR are attempting to act in solidarity when we ourselves are not in the same situation as those we seek to help.  Sometimes solidarity means simply being present when a Palestinian home is being demolished or an Israeli family is being evicted from their public housing apartment.  There is very little we can do, but at least people are not being left alone in their darkest hour.  Sometimes it is humanitarian intervention, doing what the state should be doing.  We build a school for the Jahalin Bedouin or act as human shields to protect Palestinian farmers.  In the case of Palestinian farmers, we eventually were able to require the army to fulfill their responsibilities.

Ideally solidarity is also a partnership in which we bridge cultural divides to see each other as re’im, those who share an essential sameness binding us together.  Like Naomi and Ruth, we each contribute to that relationship.  This is not simple in an innately hierarchical system that can lead to paternalism that is a far cry from solidarity among people who treat each other as equals..  It is all too easy to see ourselves as the knights in shining armor coming to save the unfortunate ones.  And, we know best how to do that.  In RHR we do our best to plan together with Palestinians and Israeli Bedouin how best to save their lands.  We do our best to plan together with unemployed Israelis or those in need of public housing how best to change policy.   We don’t discount the value of our own knowledge and experience, but try to humbly remember that those who ultimately must live with the results of decisions must make those decisions.

I wrote earlier that redemption comes to Ruth and Naomi because of their solidarity and because of God’s Providence. However, there are actually additional factors.  The Torah’s laws create opportunities for those who seem to have no way out of their situation, at least when interpreted by a person of decency, such as Boaz. At a tikkun leyl Shavuot (Shavuot custom of learning Torah and subsequent Jewish sources until daybreak.) many years ago, I learned from one of Rabbi Ben Hollandar z”l, one of RHR’s founding rabbis, that commentators say that Boaz was a member of the Sanhedrin (Jewish Supreme Court) and knew that the Sanhedrin had determined that the Biblical prohibition against marrying a Moabite did not apply to a MoabitESS.  Therefore, despite great criticism from those around him, he did what he knew to be right and decent.

In our work, we often see how decent individuals can make the system produce justice, whereas that same system can be exploited to achieve injustice.  While we have long ago realized that there can be no “Enlightened occupation” because the realities of occupation corrupt even the best of intentions. As I recently wrote for Parashat Emor, Rabbi Shimshon Raphael Hirsch explains in his commentary to the command to leave the gleanings and corners of the field in Leviticus 23:22 that in his “Enlightened” era (Hirsch’s quotation marks) the idea that those who own property have the responsibility to decide how to use THEIR property (my emphasis) in order to help the poor “borders on criminality” גובלת עם פשע because the gleanings and the corners actually don’t belong to them to begin with.

Nevertheless, we in RHR have at least seen how decent individuals can use the system undo injustice created by the system. Justice Dorner ordered in 2000 that the expelled cave dwellers of the South Hebron Hills be returned home. The Legal Advisor for the Occupied Territories has ordered lands taken over by settlers returned to their rightful owners, and that the residents of Bir El ‘Id be allowed to return to their village in 2009.  The High Court ordered the army and police in 2006 to make sure that Palestinian farmers get to “Every last olive,” and protect them.  During the dark years of the Israeli Wisconsin Plan our staff was able to wrangle out of the Wisconsin Directorate decisions correcting some of the most egregious abuses of unemployed Israelis, and Members of Knesset who came to understand the injustice fought to end the program.  There are countless additional examples of how good and decent Israelis work within the system to create justice for both Palestinians and Israelis.

Watch: Rage vs Africans erupts

However, the opposite is also true, especially when fear and hatred of “The Other” is involved.  I see the massive and growing wave of incitement against African refugees being encouraged by politicians drowning out the voices of  Israel Police Chief Yohanan Danino and Tel Aviv Police Chief Aharon Aksel saying that much of the growing crime wave perpetrated by Africans are crimes of desperation which would cease if we allowed them to work. Please Click on links for references, and also see this editorial by Meirav Michaeli.

On the one hand, RHR is signed on an Israeli High Court appeal challenging a situation reminiscent of the midrash that the residents of Sodom would give marked coins to poor people, refuse to sell anything to them, and collect their money back after these people died of starvation.  We are part of a coalition appealing policies making it illegal for employers to hire even those refugees and asylum seekers whom Israel has granted temporary residency permits!  Politicians such as MK Danny Danon paint all of the refugees as “infiltrators,” and the press often repeats this language.

On the other hand, RHR issued a statement identifying with the fears and needs of the Israeli residents of South Tel Aviv.  We can not sit in our comfortable homes where we never see an African refugee and dismiss the concerns of South Tel Aviv residents as not politically correct. We called upon our politicians to behave responsibly.  Steps such as granting asylum to those who are truly fleeing for their lives and then allowing them to work, would help to protect South Tel Aviv residents without repeating the closed borders policy that we Jews faced in our darkest hours. We could also be searching for ways to spread out the refugee population, to find third countries who could accept some of them, to increase police presence in S, Tel Aviv, and/or create forums for refugees and Israeli residents of S. Tel Aviv to meet and interact.

There are many other examples where, rather than a “Boaz,” we have a “Pharaoh” or a “Haman” who exploit fear and manipulate the law.  Countless times I hear people say apologetically, “Well, the Bedouin simply have non-Western concepts of land ownership.  They think they own the land, but the courts have ruled otherwise.”  Well, the fact is that in many cases the courts have not yet ruled, and the Bedouin actually have “Western” proofs of ownership from Turkish, British and even Israeli authorities.  If there was no “Western” proof of ownership, the government would not have needed to expropriate Bedouin lands in the 50′s.  They could have simply declared it “State land.”  But, even if it were true that Bedouin culture had a non-Western concept of land ownership, a “Boaz” would not exploit that to displace (לנשל)the Bedouin. A “Boaz” would find a way to arrive at a decision by our modern day equivalent of the Sanhedrin not to exploit or reject today’s Moabitesses.

In RHR’s Shavuot study materials, you have the opportunity to read about Ruti Kedem, and even to write a letter on her behalf.  Ruti simply needs a Boaz to cut through the red tape to do what the law allows, enabling her to finish her last semester of studies and finish with a job skill that should lift her out of poverty and dependence on the state.

This past Monday, the activists in the "Ma'abara" in Jerusalem "liberated" another building, this one owned by the Jerusalem Municipality

"This past Monday, the activists in the "Ma'abara" in Jerusalem "liberated" another building, this one owned by the Jerusalem Municipality." | photo by "Ma'abara"

This past Monday, the activists in the “Ma’abara” in Jerusalem “liberated” another building, this one owned by the Jerusalem Municipality, but left unused for several years.  (While some 40,000 wait for public housing, and the actual number of those in need is much larger than those admitted onto the list.)  Taking over buildings was not an act of first resort, but rather something that desperate families and those supporting them came to after meeting after meeting with those in government who could be a “Boaz.”  They smiled (sometimes), and did nothing.  As housing activist Vicki Vanunu says in RHR’s Shavuot study materials, she eventually came to ask, “Who is really breaking the law here? Are we, or is it the State of Israel that leaves buildings abandoned even when there are people without shelter?”  There are now some small indications that public pressure is working,  and not everybody is simply smiling paternalistically. Housing Minister Atias has started to locate funds and make proposals that are a good start, although far from sufficient.

With out a doubt, there is a slippery slope here.  Terrible crimes have been committed by those who felt that they were merely righting injustices done to them.  One of the realities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is that both Israelis and Palestinians so deeply feel themselves to be the victims that they fail to see that one can be a victim and a victimizer at the same time, the difference between the two sometimes being less than a hairbreadth.

The point is that we need the “Ruths,” Naomis” and activists of the Maabara working in solidarity to escape impossible situations. A wise Boaz understands that even an imperfect system can be used to meet human needs, honor human rights, and further justice. This does not mean that we accept the system when the system itself must be changed.

Some of us may have opportunities to be a Boaz. All of us can and must learn from Ruth and Naomi how to cross the divides and work together in solidarity.  This does not mean that we rely on good will alone, forgetting Rabbi Hirsch’s admonition.  And, we are always in need of Divine Providence. However, our current system could find a way to provide affordable housing for all.  Creative thinking could allow us to meet our obligations both to African refugees fleeing for their lives and to the residents of S. Tel Aviv.  There is room in theNegevboth for Israeli Jews and Israeli Bedouin.

One final reminder.  As I wrote on Purim, we in RHR will be standing in solidarity with the Palestinian residents of Susya on June 6th at 9:00 am, when the Israeli High Court will hear a petition by “Regavim” to enforce demolition orders against the entire village.  Regavim uses misleading statistics to claim reverse discrimination against settlers.   They ignore the difference between settlers, who fully participate in Israeli democracy, and the Palestinians who have no say regarding who makes, interprets and enforces the laws that determine their fate.  In previous Regavim cases, the Palestinian voice was barely heard. In this case, standing in solidarity means that our legal team has been working together with the residents of Susya..  AtMt.Sinai, we are taught that all were present when God’s voice echoed throughout the world.  The midrash even teaches that every person heard God’s voice in their own way.   Before earthly judges, solidarity means ensuring that every person can speak in their own voice, and ensuring that the judges hear.

Happy Holiday, and May We Each Hear the Voice From Sinai,


Parasha / E-Letter

To Break the Cycle of poverty : Newsletter of Parashat “B’Hukotai”

No Comments 15 May 2012

 The beautiful wheat of Um El Chir. Um El Chir is threatened by demolition orders and is included in huge new fire range in South Hebron Hills.

The weekly report of “Rabbis for Human rights”

Last week we witnessed the opening of the summer protest events. All over the country people got out to protest and repeated the demand for social justice. Here is a video from the protest of “Hamaabara” movement for public housing and social justice in JerusalemWe continue to support the protest for example with Ruti Kedem’s struggle with the social welfare services in Israel, in order to have economic freedom and get out of poverty. Help us and distribute her call.

The parasha of the blessings and curses speaks in a religious language that sees sometimes to be far and strange for us. But if we will “translate” it to our world, we will see that it teaches the meaning of our life in the world. Rabbi PhD. Dalia Marx wrote the Dvar Torah of parashat B’Hukotai.

A request for volunteers for summer camp activity with the Jahalin this coming summer (30 June -10 July). More details to follow next week”. Also if anyone has a car to donate for our fieldwork we would be very grateful, as Rabbi Yehiel’s died!

Palestinians from the village of Hirbat A Tawani in the South Hebron Hills claim that on Sunday morning settlers destroyed olive trees, belonging to residents of  the village. An army contingent and representatives of the DCO arrived on the spot on the same day and discovered that indeed 19 trees have been damaged. The landowners lodged a complaint with the Israeli police and they are investigating. An army tracker found footprints leading back into the nearby outpost. Our independent investigation confirmed this report. The damaged trees were discovered close to the illegal outpost “Havat Maon”. This is part of a recent wave of vandalism to trees in the area in which 58 trees have been damaged. Also new vandalism to tress in Sapa – Beit Omar.

A description of a human rights activist journey to the heart of the darkness that Israel leads in th occupied territories. In this journey you will meet demolition orders (without alternative building), a new fire range on land of 13 villages that is a threat to school children in Janiba etc. The letter sent by ACRI to the State attorney on the issue of violation of the interim order – the training of the army on land that was worked on belonging to the residents of Chirbet Jinba in South Hebron Hills. This fire range threatens 13 villages in the area and the area of the school of Jinba.

In the last months the Rights Centre of Rabbis for Human Rights (that helps citizens to realize their rights) adopted a new method: representatives of the centre come to people’s homes, As it is written: “But from thence ye will seek the LORD thy God” (Deuteronomy Chapter 4, sentence 29). Nico Socolovsky writes about his experiences with the residents of Hadera. Rabbi IditLev and her family return from the Haifa Demonstration with positive energies. Read about the Knesset members’ from the lobby for public housing in Shechunat Hatikva on Sunday May 13th (in Hebrew only). The ministers’ meeting focused for the first time on homeless women who do not get help from the States because they do not meet the criteria. They told that in order to meet the criteria they have to have more children.

Say no to the stopping of the guaranteed minimal income Ruti receives. It was stopped because she started to study in order to have a profession. Ask the ministers not to block Ruti’s future and to change the law or to have correct regulations so it will enable her and many others in her situation to get out of poverty and dependence on welfare, by helping them to acquire a profession and economic independence. A letter example. Please write to:

  • Moshe Kachlon – Minister of Welfare, Tel: 02-6752523, fax: 02-5666385, e-mail: sar@molsa.gov.il
  • Nahum Itzkovich – he Director of the Welfare office: mankal@molsa.gov.il
  • Prof. Mor Yosef – Director of the National Insurance Office, fax: 02-6519122
  • Boaz Hirsh– Director of the Government Employment Agency – through the office manager: hava@taasuka.gov.il

We published in the Main Protest Site a call to help Ruti Kedem to break the poverty cycle.

We congratulate the Ruwadi family, Hilwa information center and Peace Now, for their victory in the case of the house in Silwan. The institutional racism knows how to properly fight against the incitement of a religious Muslim leader, but remains hushed. By remaining silent, it supports the incitement of Jewish Rabbis at ideological settlements – Rabbi Yehiel Grenimann reminds how the authors of “Torat Hamelch” were dealt with.

Here is a video from the protest of “Hamaabara” movement for public housing and social justice in Jerusalem

Messages from Other Organization:

Shabbath Shalom

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