Today (February 4 2016) Rabbis for Human Rights donated around 150 trees to the village of Duma, where the terrible arson-murders took place last summer. RHR also brought a delegation of Israeli and international volunteers, eager to get their hands dirty, make new friends, and stand up for justice, compassion and fellowship, with us to help get the majority of the trees in the ground. Continue Reading
Yesterday, January 25th, Israeli public housing activists plant trees in a low-income Beit Shean neighborhood in honour of Tu B’Shevat, the Jewish new year for trees. We had originally planned for a larger planting, but due to bad weather we could only do a small symbolic planting instead.
On Thursday, January 31st, the interreligious department of Rabbis for Human Rights (ICCI) held a panel entitled “A Light Unto Nations in the Context of the Current Conflict.” The panel featured speakers from across the political spectrum – including Rebbetzin Adina Bar Shalom, winner of the Israel Prize; Dr. Alick Isaacs of Hebrew University, author of Prophetic Peace; Rabbi Yehuda Glick of Likud and the Temple Mount Heritage Foundation; and Rabbi Arik Ascherman, of Rabbis for Human Rights. Please see below for a summary of the discussion written by Rabbi Yehiel Grenimann.
On Tuesday, December 22nd 2015, RHR Palestinian field worker Zakaria Sadah arrived on the scene at Palestinian village Luban after a farmer reported that three Israelis threatened him and his family with a gun as they were planting trees on their own land. Continue Reading
Your generous donation to Rabbis for Human Rights supports rabbis and our volunteers putting their bodies on the line for the sake of justice. Like the Macabees of old, we know that we must take risks to keep our ideals alive. Perhaps you have seen the video of Rabbi Ascherman being attacked by a masked, knife-wielding settler on October 23rd, as he was attempting to document Israelis burning Palestinian trees. If not, you can view it here.
You are supporting, however, much, much more. RHR is the Israeli rabbinic human rights organization working on the ground for concrete change in Israel. We educate Israelis and Jews around the world and mobilize the international community to create a better tomorrow. If our vision is your vision, please help us light candles of hope in the darkness. Allow us to represent you in the olive groves, the classrooms, the courts and the Knesset. We must raise $100,000 between now and the end of the year in order to make our budget, and much more to actualize programs currently on hold pending necessary funding.
Your contribution funds 13 year-long Judaism and human rights courses for 900 young Israelis in pre-army gap year programs. We take them on field tours to experience the realities on the ground we are working to change. This year we have 36 university students in two human rights yeshivas. Rabbinic students from abroad join us to pick olives, learn about Israeli poverty, hear perspectives on the Temple Mount/Haram El-Sharif from Muslim, Christian and Jewish religious leaders, tour the Negev and study our “Tractate Independence”, a creative tool they can use in their home communities for teaching about freedom, justice and peace here and everywhere.
Rabbinical, cantorial and Jewish education students from abroad harvest olives with RHR in the Occupied Territories
Your support has changed Israeli housing policy. After five years of dedicated effort, RHR and the coalition we built has reversed policies dating back to the 1990′s to eliminate public housing! Housing is a key component in helping our fellow Israelis escape poverty. At our Hadera Rights Center we assist Israelis living in poverty, uncovering unjust patterns that we work to overturn at the policy level.
Because of you, the Palestinian village of Susya is still standing, and land owners from Jenata, the Shilo Valley and more are farming their lands after being prevented from doing so for many long years. You funded 350 volunteers to accompany farmers from several villages on 35 harvest days. You enabled volunteers to teach English to the Jahalin Bedouin and funded summer camps putting smiles on children’s faces and allowing them to see the sea for the first time.
Jahalin children from Abu Nawahr with RHR volunteers at summer camp
With your help, we are fighting to prevent the Jewish community of Khiran from being built on the rubble of the Negev Bedouin community of Um El Khiran. Neither will the current government succeed in reviving plans to dispossess the Bedouin of their ancestral lands.
This year the Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel became an RHR department. With the guidance of ICCI’s founder Rabbi Ron Kronish, the voices of many faith traditions are joining our call for justice.
The work we do is noticed. At least 90 news items featuring RHR’s work and 5 op-eds were published in the Israeli press, along with numerous primetime television and radio interviews, and countless articles around the globe. The picture went viral of RHR’s Palestinian field coordinator Zakaria Sadeh endangering himself to escort to safety an Israeli police woman caught in a crossfire of stones between settlers and Palestinians. His act prevented other officers from opening fire. Our actions on the ground light additional candles of hope and determination. Despite the current wave of terror, and taking the necessary precautions, our staff and volunteers continued to accompany Palestinian olive harvesters. Many of our volunteers thanked us. They told us that doing something concrete helped them get out of bed in the morning, and look at themselves in the mirror. In the midst of swirling violence we allowed them a glimpse of the world as it could and must be.