Tag archive for "Jerusalem"


RHR condemns the October 22 2014 terrorist attack in Jerusalem

No Comments 23 October 2014

RHR is shocked by and condemns in the strongest possible terms the terrorist attack yesterday in Jerusalem. We mourn the unimaginable loss of Chaya Zissel Braun, the 3 month old baby girl murdered in this horrific event. Our deepest prayers are with her family during this tragic time, and we wish for the refuah shelma (full recovery) of all those injured. Attacks against civilians are egregious crimes. Continue Reading

General, Justice in Israel-Negev Bedouin, 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

Education, General, Legal Work

RHR Attorney Quamar Mishirqi-Assad: Powerful Voice in Israeli Society

1 Comment 12 April 2014

Rabbi Nava Hefetz presents us with the profile of a groundbreaking woman in Israeli society: Attorney Quamar Mishirqi-Assad, Head of Rabbis for Human Rights Legal Department in the Occupied Territories.

QuamarSusya residents

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General, Petitions

STOP: Racist rabbi’s appointment as Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem

No Comments 10 February 2014

Call to action to stop the appointment of a known racist as Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem. Please let Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat know that Shmuel Eliyahu is an inappropriate choice for Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem.


“The Arab society has an agenda; they want to Islamize the world. Arab society is, generally and without generalizations, a violent society.” — Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu

Shmuel Eliyahu, currently the chief rabbi of Safed, appears to have he won the backing of Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat in his candidacy for chief rabbi of Jerusalem. Eliyahu has a very serious history of racist, inflammatory, and hateful statements against Arabs, secular Jews, women, and other minorities within Israel. In 2011, a criminal investigation was launched into Eliyahu’s comment, but was dropped due to lack of proper evidence, and in 2013 a number of government officials including Tzipi Livni and Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein made moves to prevent  Eliyahu’s from running for chief rabbi of Israel. The following media exhibit his beliefs quite clearly: Continue Reading

General, Occupied Territories

All you wanted to know about the olive harvest and did not dare to ask

No Comments 14 October 2012

Olive harvest, Burin, West Bank, 9.10.2012 | cc: flickr, Activestills

You are invited to come and harvest olives at the Palestinian villages near Nablus (and in other places) and near to settlements. The importance of an Israeli presence at the olive harvest is to demonstrate solidarity with the village inhabitants – farmers, the great majority of whom make their living from the olives and request our help and presence during the harvest season. Continue Reading

General, Occupied Territories

A visit to the boy who was lynched and the family who had a molotov thrown at them

No Comments 26 August 2012

 (“Where would the police be in the next lynch?” – activestills ©)

Thursday (22/8/2012) Rabbi Yechiel Grienimann and I went to Hadassah Hospital to visit the young man who had been attacked in Kikar Zion in the middle of Jerusalem and the Palestinian family who had been attacked. Six members of the family lie in hospital, the mother with her face burnt and her hands in bandages, two little ones of 6 and 4 of whom the boy the grandmother said he been burnt on his whole body, and three men. We only saw the one man briefly as the television crew was there but his hands and both his legs are in enormous bandages.

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General, Occupied Territories

Women solidarity at Sheikh Jarrah

No Comments 22 May 2012

cc: flickr -Photo by: JC/Activestills.org. Protest against “Jerusalem Day”, East Jerusalem, 20.05.2012

Solidarity, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is the “unity of a group that is based on common interests, objectives, and standards. ” Growing up in segregated Jerusalem, I had understood solidarity to describe my affinity to the Jewish community alone. It was only after I ventured into East Jerusalem and the West Bank that I redefined this term. For when I began organizing with Palestinians facing eviction in Sheikh Jarrah, my conception of who I could share values with radically changed. Continue Reading

General, Justice in Israel

I have to choose between medications, and food for my son and rent money

No Comments 22 April 2012

Etti Hen. Photo by Hamabara Site

This is a translation of the profile of Etti Hen, which, with the help of RHR, first appeared last summer on the website of Israel’s Channel 2.  Click here for the Channel 2 website in Hebrew.

My name is Etti Hen.  I am 23 live in the Katamonim a single mother to Avior-Haim, three years old. Today I live in the Ein Breira encampment in Gan Hair,Jerusalem. I would like to tell you, through my personal story, what is sadly going on today in our country to these who fall sick or fall into need for other reasons. This is something that can happen to anyone. I am telling my story not to tell everybody how pitiable I am, but to show a wider phenomena: How low  people inIsraelcan sink, and how much of this is due to the fact that the State is indifferent to its troubled citizens.

Nine years ago I was diagnosed as having cirrhosis, a disease for which there is currently no cure. The only solution is to take medications that will keep your liver functioning, but the medications are very expensive and I can not allow myself to buy it. I have to choose between medications, and food for my son and rent money. I chose to take care of my son. In addition to the physical pain, the fact that I am not taking this medication means that in the future I will probably need to have a liver transplant that I will not be able to finance.

Due to the disease, it was determined that I have a 60% disability. I am therefore categorized as a person who are not able to work, but I still have to work caring for the elderly for NIS 1,400 NIS in order to provide for my son. I hope to get help, but to whom will I turn? My country has turned its back to me, and shut every door in my face.

A few numbers and statistics to think about:  When I was married I received both a rent subsidy and disability payments totalingNIS3,200 per month.  After I was divorced I stopped receiving the rend subsidy, and my disability benefits were cut to IS 1,500 per month.  Finally a few hundred additional shekels were restored.  Because I am divorced the state payment I receive is onlyNIS79. This is in spite of the fact that my ex husband does not pay alimony or help in any other way to care for our son.  Through no fault of my own I found myself running up a debt because I could not pay city taxes.  A lien was put on my salary and social security payments.   The only support hat I receive from the state today is 50% of the costs for my son’s pre school.

I tried to get public housing but failed, “Prazot” the public housing company in Jerusalem helps only mothers with 75%  or more disability. In a meeting with one Prazot” representative I was told that in order to get help I need to bring three more children to the world. But if I do not have the money to provide one child, how do they want me to have three more? (The requirement is actually three children total for a single parent, but Etti wrote three more children.  A.A.)

The tension influences the child

If I would not have received a small amount of support from my parents, I would be in the street/ But it is not clear whether they will be able to continue their support. I got to the point that in order to get to work I borrow money. Every month I receive a donation of food. I try to ask for more, but I a told that there are many families and mothers like me who need help.

The pressure and the tension of such a life is impacts on Avior. He is frustrated and cries a lot in kindergarten. He wants to be with me all the time, as if to protect me.

I would like to turn to all of the people ofIsrael, including those who do not have financial or medical problems at the moment, and ask them, “In what kind of society would you like to live?” Every one of us is vulnerable.  Everyone could God forbid find themselves in my situation, something I would not wish on anybody. We must not become a society that abandons those in trouble, without any solidarity or support enabling them to live in dignity.

I call upon you to join the struggle. If I, being ill and disabled, can go out and live in an encampment, everyone can come to the decision that it is necessary to stop harming the weak people in the society.

I do not want to beg for donations and charity, I want to raise my son in dignity and on my own give him a secure life. I do not ask for much.  I don’t want a plasma television, and not a nargila or sushi. I want only that my child will have a warm home, a warm place to live. I want to be able to give him a hot meal at noon and in the evening, and the leftovers in the morning. If one has these basic things, one can again live in dignity.

Ei Chen is a resident of Ein Breira encampment inJerusalem, an encampment that is occupied mainly by single mothers who have no public housing.

This piece originally appeared last summer on the Channel 2 website.  Eti was in danger of being evicted from her home when this was written.  As a result of six month subsidies provided to those in the encampments, Eti was able to rent a new apartment.  It is not clear what will happen when these temporary subsidies run out. Activists have been able to help Eti with her medicine.  Eti continues to be active in the “Ma’abarah” group inJerusalemwhich connects between the housing needs of all.

Education, General, Justice in Israel, Legal Work, Occupied Territories

Rabbis for Human Rights Hagaddah Supplements 5772

No Comments 01 April 2012

Here is copy ready version as a Word and as a PDF


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, for we were strangers in the land of Egypt. Yet, when we are honest with ourselves, we know that we may be Pharaoh to other peoples, and to the disadvantaged among our own people. We sometimes are genuinely threatened, but our belief that “In every generation there are those who arise to destroy us” often causes us to harden our hearts, and perceive hatred where it does not exist. To be truly free we must not let our fears be our taskmasters. 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.

Even ma’asu habonim The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.” As we joyfully recite these words of Hallel, we pledge to build a homeland with a place for all those who are today rejected, ignored or oppressed. Tonight, they have a place at our table.

As with the plagues of old, our joy is diminished when we hear of those whose lives remain embittered. We know that “Hashata Avdei,” “This year we remain slaves because of their oppression ”  We remove additional drops of wine from our cup of celebration and renew our commitment to winning their freedom, thereby completing ours. We particularly remember (choose one or more):

  • Those in Need of Public Housing - Rachel and her daughter have been evicted from their public housing apartment, and are moving from couch to couch. The evictions of Ovadia and Miriam, and Lili and Itzik, were averted at the last minute. They are sleeping again at night, but the trauma remains. Zahava and so many others live in fear of their pending evictions. Forty thousand Israelis are on the waiting list for public housing, some for 10 years or more. Restrictive criteria keep others off the list. Many of those “lucky” enough to get an apartment find that these apartments are not fit for human habitation, and may even wait for years for repairs such as water running into electrical outlets. Is housing for all a basic Jewish value worthy of investment, or do we expect  public housing corporations to act like for-profit corporations?

As we sing Adir Hu this Passover night, and dream of the day when God’s house will be built, we know that we must first build homes for all of our fellow citizens.

  • Residents of East Jerusalem - The Ghawi, Hanoun and El-Kurd families of Sheikh Jarakh remain homeless, and additional families are in the midst of eviction proceedings. They have been expelled “legally” by court order because of alleged pre-1948 Jewish ownership, but no court will allow them to reclaim their pre-1948 homes. Families in Silwan risk eviction because their homes were declared abandoned, and ownership transferred to a KKL-JNF subsidiary. Rather than easing the  desperate housing shortage in Issawyiay and A Tur, a new plan threatens to take most of their not yet expropriated lands for a “national park.” As tensions rise, hundreds of children have been rounded up and arrested indiscriminately because the police can’t identify those throwing stones

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

  • Farmers of El-Jenya - Eight years ago the villagers of El-Jenya put aside scepticism and distrust, and joined RHR to petitionIsrael’s High Court for justice. They simply wanted to safely harvest their olives and tend to their trees, and Court ruled in their favour. Throughout the land, farmers harvested and pruned and plowed. However, years passed and new officers arose who knew not the rulings of the past, or sought to cancel them. In El-Jenya, tens of trees were left unpicked this year on lands coveted by settlers.   On Tu B’Shvat farmers were forcibly prevented from planting, while Israelis seeking to join them had to circumvent roadblocks barring their entry. Many Palestinian farmers look to El-Jenya, and wonder whether their new found access will last.

V’He Sh’Amda” This night, we recall that the One who stood with our ancestors 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.

  • African 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…You shall not turn over to his/her master a slave who seeks refuge with you.  He shall live with you in any plae he may choose…you must not ill-treat him /her”(Deuteronomy 23:4, 16-17) Fleeing from killing fields in their homelands, African refugees have found closed Israeli borders. Demonized as “infiltrators,” refugees and asylum seekers allowed in are forbidden to work. They are free, to starve.  Some coming to renew their permits are taken out and beaten. The joy of independence has turned to fear for Southern Sudanese refugees told they must return. But, the reign of terror continues, and some of those who have returned have already met their deaths.

As we open 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 Passover, may we open our hearts and our borders to those fleeing for their lives. For, we were strangers in the land of Egypt.

  • Al Arakib - Their homes have been demolished almost 40 times in less than two years. KKL-JNF forests close in from all directions, even though courts have yet to determine who owns the land. The cemetery of this “unrecognized” Bedouin village may soon stand alone in the heart of a forest, offering silent testimony that families lived here for generations,. The families of Al Arakib are but some of the 30,000-45,000 Bedouin in danger of being forced from their homes if government plans are approved by the Knesset.

Celebrating the seder in the security of our homes, we commit ourselves this night to guaranteeing a home for all.  May we work in the coming year so that our national home rests on a foundation of justice.

  • The Palestinian Villagers of Susya - They moved into nearby caves after being expelled from their homes, only to see the army demolish their caves and try to expel them again. Israel’s High Court returned them to their lands, but they were told that everything built to replace their caves was illegal. Now “Regavim” claims that the State discriminates against settlers, and demands the demolition of their homes and new school. In other communities, even solar panels are threatened with demolition.

Our ancestors were at least allowed to dwell in the land of Goshen. This night we invite to our table those who are told they can have no place to call home.



Last year we prayed that Gilad Shalit would spend this seder with his family, and our prayes have been answered. The KKL-JNF has temporarily frozen the planned eviction of the Sumarin family from Silwan and agreed not to plant over Al Arakib before a court decision on land ownership. The army has committed to not demolishing the school of the Jahalin Bedouin between Jerusalem and Jericho, nor to moving them yet again without consultation. The Hushiya family is working their land again after four years. Some Israeli families in public housing have been spared eviction and have had their homes repaired. After eight years on the waiting list, Maya now has a home. Last summer’s protest movement showed us that the demand for justice yet burns in the hearts of most Israelis.



Seder plate with symbolic foods

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 , the computer or the mobile device so that I do not hear or see?? 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 Gd 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.

General, Occupied Territories

In East Jerusalem, only Palestinian property seized as ‘Absentee’

4 Comments 07 March 2012

1950 law enabling transfer of Palestinian property to state continues to be basis for J’lem evictions (Photo: Activestills)

To this day, Palestinians are being legally evacuated from their properties in East Jerusalem due to the application of a racist 1950 Israeli law. Continue Reading

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