Tag archive for "JNF"

Justice in Israel-Negev Bedouin

Israeli forces demolish Bedouin village Al Arakib for the 101st time

2 Comments 27 July 2016

This morning, on the anniversary of the first and largest full demolition of Al Arakib in 2010, government forces demolished the Bedouin village once again, for 101st time. The forces then continued south, and we are waiting to hear what else they demolished.

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Justice in Israel-Negev Bedouin

Threat to Umm al Hiran grows closer

No Comments 13 April 2016

A few days ago, JNF bulldozers went past a boundary in the direction of the village that the residents previously believed they would not cross. Yesterday, the local police station commander showed them the “new” line, a few more meters closer to the village, and promised to alert the residents of any additional changes in the direction of the village. The police gave no commitment that their would not be such changes in the future. Continue Reading

Justice in Israel-Negev Bedouin

JNF works land near Negev Bedouin village Awajan

No Comments 30 June 2015

The JNF is currently working on 300 dunams of land belonging to a family from the Negev Bedouin village of Awajan. When the JNF suddenly appeared last week, the family asked for an order or some sort of written authorization/explanation. The Yoav unit (police unit whose job it is to enforce planning and construction in the Negev) accompanying the JNF rudely told the family to “go complain to the courts.”  Continue Reading

General, Justice in Israel-Negev Bedouin

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

1 Comment 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, Parasha / E-Letter

Weekly Torah portion: On Placement and Displacement

No Comments 21 May 2014

In Parashat BaMidbar, Rabbi Gail Diamond meditates on the often overlooked human factor surrounding the placement and displacement of mass numbers of people. We read records, are told how the people are sorted into groups and alliances, and trace where they went and how many arrived,  but what about the personal story behind each individual? Continue Reading

General, Justice in Israel-Negev Bedouin

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

3 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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General, Justice in Israel-Negev Bedouin

UPDATED: JNF bulldozers at Bedouin village of Awajan

1 Comment 12 May 2014

**Scroll down for update from May 14th 2014**

JNF-KKL bulldozers began work today on the lands belonging to the Bedouin village Awajan, south of the Bedouin township (recognized) of Lakiya. We are still trying to clarify whether this work is something more innocent like a road, or if the JNF is beginning the process of preparing the lands to build their next forest, thus forcing the Bedouin out of their village. Continue Reading

General, Justice in Israel, Justice in Israel-Negev Bedouin, Press Releases

Factual Corrections To Alon Tal’s Attack on RHR Rabbi Ascherman

No Comments 08 September 2013

Many of you have been asking for a response to Alon Tal’s attack on RHR in “Haaretz” on Monday. We have preferred not to rush to respond to Alon because I have been communicating with him in the hope that he might be willing to himself publish corrections of the factual errors in his piece, and we have suggested setting up a forum to air our differences of opinion. Continue Reading

General, Justice in Israel, Justice in Israel-Negev Bedouin

The questions we grapple with on Shabbat Zachor

66 Comments 28 February 2012

“I want to connect those successes to the breastplate of the High Priest we read about in this week’s Torah portion and the questions we grapple with on Shabbat Zachor” | Breastplate (of High Priest) cc: wikipedi

Last week we celebrated two important, if partial successes, and I want to connect those successes to the breastplate of the High Priest we read about in this week’s Torah portion and the questions we grapple with on Shabbat Zachor. 

Firstly, The  JNF confirmed statements we have heard in recent weeks that they will not plant in areas in areas where there are legal disputes over land ownership.  This is only a partial success because much Bedouin land in the Negev has already been planted, it is not clear whether this is a general principle or only relates to four specific plots in El-Arakib, we aren’t sure if the commitment not to plant includes not preparing the land for planting, the Israel Lands Authority has made it clear that they still intend to plant, we can’t count on receiving justice in the Israeli court system, and the JNF/KKL has been unwilling to explain a brief but disturbing incident recently which seems to contradict this commitment.  Nevertheless, this is a significant change from their JNF/KKL Chairperson Efi Stenzler’s declaration at a meeting of the directorate this past summer that the planting on the remains of El-Arakib would take place at the end of this rainy season, even if Beer Sheva District Court Judge Nehama Netzer issued a non-binding request not to plant before the court rules on the ownership dispute.  (Unfortunately Judge Netzer recently again confirmed that her request is non binding, and that the State has a right to proceed.)  However, the right wing sees this minor victory as traitorous.

It was so wonderful to hear Ovadia say that he was again sleeping at night, and to celebrate with him on the very day he was to have been evicted

“It was so wonderful to hear Ovadia say that he was again sleeping at night, and to celebrate with him on the very day he was to have been evicted”. Photo: Hamabara

Secondly, Amidar cancelled the eviction of Ovadia and Miriam Ben-Avraham scheduled for this past Monday.  It was so wonderful to hear Ovadia say that he was again sleeping at night, and to celebrate with him on the very day he was to have been evicted.  In the words of The Book of Esther, the day was “Transformed for them from one of grief and mourning to one of festive joy.”  (Esther 9:22) .  Again, this was a partial success.  We have yet to deal with Ovadia and Miriam’s alleged debt, and many more evictions were scheduled this month in Jerusalem alone.   However, as we are taught in the Mishna, “One who saves a single life, it is as if one has saved an entire world.” (Sanhedrin 4)

As I reflect on these two events, I not only think about the importance of making a difference for a single family or saving a single dunam of land.  I also think about the breastplate to be worn by the High Priest, set with 12 stones. In this week’s Torah portion, Moses is commanded to make the breastplate as part of the vestments to be worn by Aaron in the  Miskhan, the portable Tabernacle housing the tablets with the ten commandments,  where Moses will speak with God, and where Aaron and his sons will serve God,  “The stones shall correspond to the names of the sons of Israel: twelve, corresponding to their names. (Exodus 28:21)

I have always thought how wonderful it is that the High Priest serves God with all the tribes of Israel close to his heart.  Yes, Biblical scholars have made careers out of analyzing the blessings and the rebuke for each of the tribes which Jacob and Moses each utter before their deaths, and how they reflect the power struggles between the tribes.  However, in those most sacred moments when the High Priest would go into the inner sanctum of the desert Mishkan or the Holy of Holies in the Temple in Jerusalem, each tribe had a place, and each was equally important.

In our world, we not only the twelve tribes must be close to our hearts.

The Bedouin of the unrecognized villages and those dependent on public housing are two of our forgotten tribes.  Sometimes these Israeli citizens are demonized and blamed for societies ills, but often they are simply ignored.  Who knows or cares that 30-45,000 Bedouin could be evicted from their homes if the Praver recommendations are adapted by the KnessetHow many people know or care that at least 40,000 people are on waiting lists for public housing and thousands in need are not even deemed eligible to be on the lists, while others dwell in homes in life threatening states of disrepair and hundreds are evicted every year?

In our Holy of Holies, every person counts, from Jerusalem to El-Arakib; from Tel Aviv to the South Hebron Hills.  From Hadera to Silwan; From the Azrieli towers to the fields of Jalud.

When I quote from the Book of Esther, I also reflect on the fact that exactly a year ago my daughter became a Bat Mitzvah on Parashat Zachor and Purim, bringing up for me all the difficulties of celebrating the mass killing of even our enemies, and the challenge presented by the idea that the Jewish people must wipe out the seed of Amalek in every generation.  I have always connected to the idea that we must battle, “Amelekiut,” the characteristics of attacking the weakest and most helpless members of our society and the use of eifah v’eifah (double standards). The Torah tells us that Amalek attacked the weak stragglers (Deut. 25:18). Because the verses from which the sages derive the prohibition against acting eifah v’eifah appears immediately before the mention of Amalek, Rashi teaches that  when we act eifah v’eifah, Amalek attacks. I see “Amalekiut” in how we treated the El-Arakib’s and the Ovadiahs in our society.  However, we know that the massacre by Barukh Goldstein on Purim is but one example of how our texts and our history can lead us to justify lashing out at real or perceived enemies, “Sweeping away the innocent with along with the guilty,” (Genesis 18:23), not to mention the fact that perhaps even the guilty could do teshuvah. We pray in the “Aleinu” prayer every day, we ask God to, “Turn to You all the evildoers of the earth.”

Stay tuned                                                                               

In the days leading up to Purim we will be asking both on our website and facebook how we honor our textual tradition and acknowledge our history of oppression without feeding an “Us against the world” mentality and the exploitation of our legitimate desire for security that justify the Baruch Goldsteins, Jewish exceptionalism and human rights violations.

On this Shabbat Tetzaveh and Zakhor, may we focus on purging the persecution of the weak and discriminatory double standards from our midst, thus rededicating ourselves to the building of a national Tabernacle of justice, and remembering to bring every human being into our “Mikdash Me’at”  the Holy of Holies in our hearts.

Shabbat Shalom,


Parasha / E-Letter

In the absence of public housing, Ovadia is on a hunger strike: – Newsletter of Parashat ‘Teruma’

No Comments 21 February 2012

Ovadia Ben Avraham in protesting his impending eviction in front of Amidar. photo by Hamaabara

Parashat “Teruma”: The weekly report of Rabbis for Human Rights

Again demolitions in South Hebron Hills, another Rabbi is against trees uprootings in the territories and “K”‘s brave speech in the Knesset on the International Day for Defeating Poverty. We will not stop fighting for social justice and human rights. Shabbat Shalom. Continue Reading

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