Tag archive for "Silwan"

General, Occupied Territories

Ongoing Vandalism: News from the Palestinian Rights in OT department

No Comments 22 May 2012

On Thursday, May 17th in the afternoon settlers were seen coming down to the Palestinian groves near Yitzhar settlement. The trees in this area were damaged.

Rabbi Yehiel Grienimann bring us news from the OT department

We are still following events in agricutural and settler harrasment in the West Bank. We are also very busy preparing for the Jahalin Bedouin summer camps which will be needing volunteers (Please contact us if you can assist) during late June and early August. (June 24th – July 24th in the Jable, 30th June – 10/7 in Abu Hindi). We are also working on a program of help redigging wells with Palestinian farmers in the South Hebron Hills along with a couple of groups of overseas volunteers soon to arrive. volunteers continue weekly lessons for Bedouin kids in English and Hebrew.

On the 20.5.2012 we accompanied by phone and in ongoing contact with the army the barley harvest in the village of Yanoun which has had many problems with settler neighbours and the army near Mehula, and during the week in a number of other places (Ein Abus, El Genia) where there have been similar access problems again.

All this as well as dealing with the ongoing suspected settler violence and vandalism, as was the case recently in the area near Yitzhar.

General, Occupied Territories

Victory for the Ruweidi Family and for Silwan

8 Comments 08 May 2012

Silwan | photo: Activestills

We congratulate the Ruweidi family, the Wadi Hilweh Information Center and Peace Now on this victory Continue Reading

Parasha / E-Letter

Counting Rights – Parashot Tazria Metzora Newsletter

2 Comments 17 April 2012

Worshiping the golden calf (illustration from a 1901 Bible card published by the Providence Lithograph Company)

The Weekly Report of Rabbis for Human Rights

The Counting of the Omer started and slowly we accumulate the first fruits of human rights control. Things are getting to the media and from there to the public. For example: our post on the expanding of the illegal outpost Avigail that was published last week, and this week we can read about this in Akiva Eldar’s article who quoted Rabbi Arik Ascherman in his column in Haaretz. Shabbat Shalom Continue Reading

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, Legal Work, Occupied Territories

The lands in Um El Amad, Artas and Silwa facing expropriation

No Comments 20 March 2012

A caterpillar bulldozer works in front of a tunnel that will connect the house of the Hajajleh family to the rest of the village once the Wall will be completed, Al Walaja, Tuesday, March 13, 2012. The house of this family will become isolated and will have its own fence all around it. Photo by: Anne Paq/Activestills.org. cc: flickr

What is the connection between the lands in Um El Amad, Artas and Silwan: all three are facing expropriation. But, in our daily activity we fight against powers that are willing to commit crimes in order to obtain Palestinian land. Read about a field testimony from Um El Amad lands, an article in “Haaretz” on our legal activity in Artas and the mutual fight against the building of a National Park in East Jerusalem.  Continue Reading

Parasha / E-Letter

Stop the eviction of the Jahalin Bedouin to the dump: Parashat “B’Shalach” – Our Weekly commentary

No Comments 31 January 2012

Parashat “B’Shalach”: The weekly report of Rabbis for Human Rights

In the political arena the government is increasing home demolitions in Um El Kheir, Anata, Jahalin, and in Silwan. In the social area, the coalition for attainable housing reveals that the government’s plans for public housing do not bring solutions to all the homeless. We try to expand the borders of justice so it will contain the political and the social areas. Please send an e-mail and save the Jahalin Bedouin from eviction to the dump. Shabbat Shalom. Continue Reading

Parasha / E-Letter

The Day After the Eviction: Newsletter Parashat “VaEra”

No Comments 17 January 2012

Demonstration in front of the Tel Aviv municipality, Israel, 15.01.2012 | Israeli activists protest in front of the Tel Aviv municipality following the eviction of Ha’Tikva protest camp, Tel Aviv, January 15, 2012. |Photo by: Keren Manor/Activestills.org cc: flickr

Weekly commentary by Rabbis for Human Rights: Parshat VaEra

Lately there has been a struggle between the social wing and the nationalistic wing. On the one hand, there is an escalation of social unrest that brings fraternity and solidarity with the poor, the weak and the homeless. On the other hand, there is abuse of refugees, new settlements and hatred  between different populations in Israel. In parashat hashvua you can read the ironic letter Rabbi Ascherman sent to the Minister of Education reminding him of the results of the new law against infiltrators: “Considering all this, as a rabbi and a concerned citizen, I would like to turn your attention to the present need; there is a real need to examine deeply the way that we, as a State, teach the Jewish history in our educational system. It will be a hypocrisy if we will continue to teach it as we did until now, when the main lesson was to criticize the countries that shut their doors to Jewish refugees in the dark hours of our history.” Shabbat Shalom. Continue Reading


New video release! Help stop the eviction of Palestinian Families from Silwan: A video and a call for action

No Comments 12 December 2011

Demonstration against house evictions, Silwan, East Jerusalem. 25.11.2011 | Photo by: Activestills.org

As a result of the campaign conducted by Solidarity and Rabbis for Human Rights, the Jewish National Fund (JNF) announced today that it would delay the expulsion of the Sumarin family in Silwan

In mid November, Solidarity and Rabbis for Human Rights conducted a campaign whose goal was to stop the expulsion of the Sumarin family from the house in which they have lived for over 50 years. On the 28th of November, the eviction order, signed by Himnuta, a subsidiary of the JNF, was supposed to come into force.

As published in Haaretz , the JNF announced, following the appeals made in our public campaign, that it would postpone the expulsion in order to return to dialogue with the family. Last week the courts decided to freeze the eviction order. Himnuta-JNF was given until the 18th of December to reply the court how it intends to proceed. We already proven that a campaign targeted towards the JNF is fruitful. Help us again to pressure JNF and to make the freezing of the expulsion order permanent.

This is the time to act: spread the video and write to the JNF board of directors:


Sample Letter:

Dear ___________ (select the appropriate email addresses for JNF
Board Members and International Representatives below),

My name is_____. Like many other individuals and organizations around the world, I am deeply concerned by the actions of KKL-JNF (and its subsidiary company Himanutah) in East Jerusalem.

I was happy to hear recently that KKL-JNF and Himanutah decided not to evict the Sumarin family from their house in Silwan, at least for the time being. I was both relieved for the family, and pleased that for now the family’s house will not be transferred to an extremist settler organization, as has happened in the past with properties owned by KKL-JNF/Himanutah. However, the threat of eviction, while temporarily frozen, still exists. This is still your responsibility because the Sumarin house is still controlled by the JNF-KKL via Himanutah.

The JNF-KKL is a United Nations NGO that does very important environmental and ecological work in Israel. I am hopeful that the JNF-KKL and its partners now understand that it is deeply improper for the JNF-KKL to take part in advancing a highly controversial and unjust political agenda centered around the eviction of Palestinian families from their homes in Silwan and creating “facts on the ground.” By using the “Absentee Property Law” against non-Jews only, we are guilty of eifa v’eifa, double standards.  The home never should have been taken from the family, and for many years the Custodian for Absentee Property would at least award properties to family members who were living in homes taken under this law. For a brief period of time, Israel began to take inhabited properties, evict families and award them to settlers. However, following what was known as the Klugman Report (1992), a government commissioned report whose findings were sharply critical of the use of the Absentee Property Law in the East Jerusalem context, the State recognized that this policy was wrong and promised the Court to stop using it. In this case, a court has unfortunately ruled that the JNF-KKL/Himanutah may evict the family because, due to a misunderstanding, the family failed to put up a defense in 2005.

You now have the ability to right the wrong that started with the use of a law which should have never been used, continued when the Custodian failed to return the land to the family, and was capped by a miscarriage of justice when you exploited the fact that the family did not defend themselves in court in 2005.  Even then, the court never obligated Himanutah to evict the family. They simply permitted Himanutah to do so.

Now that the case is back in court, the JNF-KKL/Himanutah can go one step beyond freezing the eviction by acknowledging that Israel committed itself not to evict families via the Absentee Property Law, and by simply declining to fight the case further. You could even cooperate with a cancellation of the initial decision to declare the property as Absentee Property.

The choice between right and wrong is in your hands.

The effects are broader than this specific injustice: the settler organizations in East Jerusalem are acting to create an irreversible situation in the “Holy
Basin” that will eliminate any chance for co-existence in Jerusalem. In my eyes, if the Sumarin family is evicted, JNF-KKL/Himanutah, will become, de facto, an active partner to this frightening agenda.

I turn to you, in light of your influential role in the JNF, to ask you to put forward an official statement detailing the JNF’s intention to cancel all plans for the eviction of the Sumarin family, committing not to turn over the property to another body that might carry out the eviction, acknowledging the family as the rightful owners of the property, and announcing the cessation of Himanutah’s involvement in the purchasing properties over the green line and its cooperation with extremist settler organizations.



This was first published on the The Solidarity Movement


What character should the JNF take on to represent you?

No Comments 07 December 2011

Waiting for the JNF bulldozers to come destroy al-Araqib. Photo by: Haya Noach

A new project by Rabbis for Human Rights’ will seek to publicize your opinions on the issue of ” What character should the JNF take on to represent you?” Continue Reading

Parasha / E-Letter

JNF for all the People of Israel: the newsletter of Parashat “Vayishlach”

1 Comment 06 December 2011

 The funeral ceremony of public housing took place last week in Jaffa

Parashat Vayishlach: The weekly report of Rabbis for Human Rights

Parashat “VaYishlach” raises for Rabbi Gideon Sylvester question on the meeting of Judaism and Africa. Israel, that is located on the edge of Africa and inside Asia, also did not decided what is the social and status identity of its residents. But we continue to act against the decrees and for a Inclusive Jewish future for all. Continue Reading

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