Rabbis For Human Rights: The Annual Report 2012-2013

Rabbis For Human Rights: The Annual Report 2012-2013

Rabbis For Human Rights: The Annual Report 2012-2013


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لجا نم ينماخاح<br />

ناسنلاا قوقح<br />

- טפשמ ירמוש<br />

םדא תויוכז ןעמל םינבר<br />

<strong>Annual</strong> Activity <strong>Report</strong><br />

<strong>2012</strong>- <strong>2013</strong>

As<br />

As many of our North<br />

American friends<br />

and supporters<br />

already know, it was<br />

announced in January <strong>2013</strong> that<br />

RHR and RHR-NA were severing<br />

their fiscal relationship, and that<br />

RHR-NA would now be known as<br />

“Tru’ah.” We are therefore taking<br />

the opportunity to “reintroduce<br />

ourselves” in this report, as well<br />

as highlighting our achievements,<br />

challenges, plans and goals.<br />

<strong>The</strong> section for each department<br />

begins with a summary of what<br />

the department does and who<br />

is involved. In these opening<br />

remarks, I would like to summarize<br />

the history and mandate of RHR. I<br />

and other staff and board members<br />

are making a special effort this year<br />

to visit communities around the<br />

world. Please contact us if you<br />

are interested in inviting us. We<br />

also make every effort to provide<br />

presentations, text study and/<br />

or tours to visiting groups and<br />

individuals. Please contact us about<br />

our own Jewish Leadership <strong>Human</strong><br />

<strong>Rights</strong> Tour October 1st – 8th, timed<br />

so that you can be in the courtroom<br />

with us for a crucial High Court<br />

session on October 3rd.<br />

RHR is “Israel’s rabbinic voice of<br />

conscience.” In successes deemed<br />

impossible, we have in very<br />

concrete ways changed Israeli<br />

policy, improving the lives of both<br />

Israelis and Palestinians. An equally<br />

important mandate is to expose our<br />

fellow Israelis to an understanding<br />

of Torah and our Israeli Declaration<br />

of Independence that challenge<br />

the nationalistic/particularistic<br />

Opening Word-President and Senior Rabbi<br />

Opening Word<br />

Rabbi Rabbi Arik Arik Ascherman<br />

understanding dominant in Israel<br />

today both among religious and<br />

secular Jews. In our work with<br />

Palestinians, we help to break<br />

down stereotypes and restore hope<br />

in the possibility of a better future.<br />

RHR was founded in 1988 by a<br />

group of Orthodox, Reform and<br />

Conservative rabbis, led by Rabbi<br />

David <strong>For</strong>man z”l. Today we are<br />

approximately 120 Israeli rabbis,<br />

also including Reconstructionist,<br />

Renewal and <strong>Human</strong>istic rabbis.<br />

In the challenging days of the<br />

First Intifada, Rabbi <strong>For</strong>man wrote<br />

an open letter to Israel’s Chief<br />

Rabbinate, asking why the religious<br />

establishment focused almost solely<br />

on Shabbat observance and Kashrut.<br />

As important as these things are, he<br />

asked where were rabbis like Rabbi<br />

Abraham Joshua Heschel addressing<br />

the burning moral issues our society<br />

faced from a religious Jewish<br />

perspective. While not ignoring the<br />

very real physical dangers that we<br />

faced, he argued that these threats<br />

could not be used as an excuse to<br />

behave immorally ourselves. In<br />

the words of Hillel the Elder, “If I<br />

am not for myself, who will be for<br />

me? If I am only for myself, what<br />

am I? And if not now, when?” He<br />

loved to remind us that, according<br />

the Midrash, even justice must be<br />

pursued through just means.<br />

In those early days, we saw ourselves<br />

primarily as a “Shofar,” who by our<br />

very presence visiting the scene of a<br />

human rights abuse sent the message<br />

that this was an issue of the highest<br />

Jewish, religious and moral concern.<br />

However, in 1992 we won our first<br />

precedent-setting High Court victory.<br />

Appealing along with Muslim and<br />

Christian religious leaders, the Court<br />

ignored closed door testimony from<br />

the security forces, and revoked<br />

a curfew in Ramallah that was<br />

preventing Christians from preparing<br />

for Christmas.<br />

Quickly we were endorsed in North<br />

America by the rabbinic bodies<br />

of the Reform and Conservative<br />

movements, and in 1993 received<br />

the Speaker of the Knesset’s Prize<br />

for our contributions to Israeli<br />

society. Rabbi <strong>For</strong>man was invited<br />

to deliver a keynote address at the<br />

Nobel Institute conference parallel<br />

to the awarding of the Nobel Peace<br />

Prize to Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon<br />

Peres and Yasser Arafat. Through<br />

the years, we have received<br />

additional endorsements from the<br />

Reconstructionist and Renewal<br />

rabbinic bodies in North America,<br />

as well as the Liberal Movement<br />

in Great Britain, the prestigious<br />

Niwano Peace Prize, and numerous<br />

additional recognitions. While the<br />

North American organization we<br />

helped found in 2002 has now<br />

become independent, we continue<br />

to be grateful to British Friends of<br />

RHR, Montreal Friends of RHR<br />

(Soon to be called Canadian<br />

Friends of RHR), Trees of Hope in<br />

the San Francisco Bay Area, and<br />

the thousands of rabbis and lay<br />

people who organize, contribute<br />

and advocate for our shared vision<br />

of an Israel living up to our highest<br />

Jewish values. We are grateful for<br />

our broad interfaith support. What<br />

unites us as people of faith can<br />

transcend our differences.<br />

In 1995, Rabbi Jeremy Milgrom and<br />

I succeeded Rabbi Ehud Bandel<br />

as co-directors. We developed<br />

a grassroots component to our<br />

work, succeeding in changing<br />

national policy by having one foot<br />

on the ground and the other in the<br />

corridors of power.<br />

In 1995, 95 percent of our work<br />

concerned Palestinians. Based<br />

on the Torah’s teaching that all<br />

human beings are created in God’s<br />

Image, RHR’s general assembly<br />

resolved that we must always be<br />

advocating for the human rights<br />

of both Jews and non-Jews. Today,<br />

the OT remains our largest single<br />

commitment, but it now represents<br />

less than 50 percent of our time<br />

and resources. While we wish we<br />

could put ourselves out of business<br />

by ending human rights violations,<br />

your increased support allowed<br />

us to grow our educational and<br />

internal Israeli socioeconomic<br />

justice work without backtracking<br />

on our commitment to Palestinian<br />

human rights. When I began, the<br />

entire budget was under $30,000.<br />

Today our projected <strong>2013</strong> budget<br />

is over $1,300,000.<br />

RHR is not affiliated with any<br />

political party. We have no position<br />

on borders or final status solutions.<br />

We state clearly that the Occupation<br />

leads to human rights violations, but<br />

leave it to others to determine just<br />

what ending the Occupation will<br />

look like. In terms of socioeconomic<br />

justice inside Israel, we struggle<br />

against the changes in our society<br />

created by the move from a social<br />

welfare economy towards a neoliberal<br />

economy.<br />

We achieve change through<br />

direct field work, the Israeli legal<br />

system, lobbying our Knesset and<br />

government, public campaigns<br />

and working with the international<br />

community. As a last resort, we<br />

have occasionally engaged in acts<br />

of civil disobedience.<br />

<strong>The</strong> following report will give<br />

you a good picture of RHR’s<br />

current project areas and future<br />

plans. I reflected after leaving the<br />

directorship in the capable hands of<br />

Ayala Levy in 2010 that it is clearer<br />

than ever that we are not “Rabbi<br />

for <strong>Human</strong> <strong>Rights</strong>,” but “<strong>Rabbis</strong><br />

for <strong>Human</strong> <strong>Rights</strong>.” <strong>The</strong> fact is that,<br />

while our organization is clearly a<br />

rabbinic organization, our staff is<br />

also interfaith. I was almost moved<br />

to tears at a recent meeting with<br />

an outside evaluator listening to<br />

their passion, commitment and<br />

dedication. <strong>The</strong>re are certain things<br />

that money cannot buy, and are<br />

difficult to define, but they make<br />

all the difference when the chips<br />

are down and the call comes in<br />

after hours.<br />

Finally, I have been reflecting a great<br />

deal lately about what is the essence<br />

of Jewish-based human rights work.<br />

Clearly our first goal is to create a<br />

society which acts according to<br />

our belief that all human beings are<br />

created in God’s Image. We must<br />

develop the “Spiritual vision” that<br />

can see through all that divides<br />

us, including real conflicts, and<br />

sometimes justified anger and fear.<br />

<strong>The</strong> breastplate the High Priest’s<br />

wore when he entered the Holy<br />

of Holies contained 12 different<br />

stones representing the 12 tribes.<br />

We must go even further. We<br />

achieve holiness when there is a<br />

place for all humanity in our hearts<br />

because we recognize the essential<br />

sameness that unites us in our<br />

diversity. We must be aware of how<br />

unequal power relationships lead<br />

to human rights violations. Ibn Ezra<br />

warns us that when we wrong the<br />

widow, the orphan or the resident<br />

alien, they are all too often voiceless<br />

and powerless to protest. Rabbi<br />

Samson Raphael Hirsch taught that,<br />

even with the best of intentions,<br />

it “Borders on criminality” when<br />

those with property and power<br />

take on the “White man’s burden”<br />

of deciding how to be just towards<br />

those who do not sit at the table.<br />

Rather than saying that they are<br />

powerless, some versions of Ibn<br />

Ezra say that the widow, orphan<br />

and alien have nobody to stand by<br />

their side. We must be those who<br />

stand by their side. But we must do<br />

so as partners, empowering them<br />

to find their own voice.<br />

I look forward to better explaining<br />

what I mean when I have the<br />

opportunity to visit your community,<br />

or to welcome you here in Israel.<br />

B’Vrakha (In Blessing),<br />

Arik<br />

RHR <strong>2013</strong> 2<br />

3 RHR <strong>2013</strong>

RHR <strong>Annual</strong> <strong>Report</strong> – Chair’s Letter<br />

Opening Word<br />

Rabbi Rabbi Arik Barry Ascherman Leff<br />

As you will see from reading this report,<br />

<strong>2012</strong> was a year of notable successes for<br />

<strong>Rabbis</strong> for <strong>Human</strong> <strong>Rights</strong>. However, for every<br />

success we also have ongoing challenges.<br />

<strong>For</strong> example:<br />

After a decade of working and advocating for<br />

the right of Palestinian farmers to access their<br />

lands, the Israeli security forces are doing a<br />

better job of guaranteeing this safe access.<br />

But destruction of olive trees by radical<br />

settlers continues.<br />

We saved the tires and mud school of the<br />

Jahalin Bedouin in Khan El Akhmar from<br />

demolition. But the Jahalin Bedouin near<br />

Mishor Adumim are still threatened with<br />

relocation closer to the garbage dump.<br />

Our letter writing campaign convinced<br />

the Jewish National Fund not to evict the<br />

Sumarin family in Silwan. But the JNF has<br />

only said they are not evicting the family “for<br />

now.”<br />

A building tender that would have resulted in<br />

the eviction Kurdish immigrants in the former<br />

Arab village of Lifta was cancelled, allowing<br />

the residents to remain in their homes. But<br />

the state and the developers have not given<br />

up.<br />

Our legal department secured a victory that<br />

allowed the residents of Bir El ‘Id to return to<br />

additional caves. But the Israeli government<br />

continues to threaten the expulsion of<br />

hundreds of Palestinians from their homes to<br />

create a new “Firing Zone.”<br />

Our <strong>Rights</strong> Center in Hadera provided<br />

hundreds of Jewish and Arab residents of the<br />

area with advice and legal help regarding<br />

their socio-economic rights. But the situation<br />

of many remains desperate, as shown by the<br />

tragic suicide of Moshe Silman, one of the<br />

many people we helped.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re are many more examples. Is the<br />

“glass half-full” or is it “half-empty?” Both.<br />

Our successes and our on-going challenges<br />

represent the reality of the human rights<br />

situation in Israel and the Occupied<br />

Territories.<br />

Organizationally, the end of <strong>2012</strong> brought<br />

with it a major change: the ending of our<br />

formal affiliation with <strong>Rabbis</strong> for <strong>Human</strong><br />

<strong>Rights</strong> – North America. RHR-NA has a new<br />

name, T’ruah – the rabbinic call for human<br />

rights. Over the past several years RHR-<br />

NA has grown, and its focus has changed.<br />

We welcome them as a new member of the<br />

Jewish human rights scene. In the meanwhile,<br />

<strong>Rabbis</strong> for <strong>Human</strong> <strong>Rights</strong> is now conducting<br />

its own fundraising and advocacy campaigns<br />

in North America.<br />

It is the generous support of our members and<br />

donors that allows us to continue our mission<br />

to help insure that Israel as a nation and a<br />

community lives up to the highest ethical<br />

ideals of the Jewish tradition. <strong>The</strong> Jewish<br />

people have been called “compassionate<br />

children of a compassionate God.” <strong>The</strong>re<br />

is no greater expression of compassion than<br />

taking action to protect those whose basic<br />

human rights are being violated.<br />

Occupied Territories<br />

RHR’s Occupied Territories Field Department, led by Rabbi Yehiel Grenimann, works to protect the rights of<br />

Palestinian farmers in the West Bank to safely access and work their lands throughout the year. An annual<br />

highlight is our Fall “Olive Harvest Campaign,” during which we bring hundreds of volunteers to work side<br />

by side with Palestinian farmers. After ten years, we now see a marked improvement in the willingness of<br />

the Israeli security forces to accept their responsibility (established in a court ruling in 2006) to ensure<br />

that farmers can reach olive trees in even the most dangerous locations. However, the scourge of olive tree<br />

destruction continues. Every year, RHR plants thousands of trees to replace those destroyed or damaged by<br />

settlers, or in areas in danger of takeover. We also advocate on behalf of the rights of the Jahalin Bedouin<br />

near Ma’aleh Adumim to remain on their lands, and run language courses and summer camps for children.<br />

This year, RHR and our coalition partners orchestrated international pressure forcing the Israeli security<br />

forces to commit not to forcibly move the Jahalin without an agreed upon plan for their welfare, but the<br />

intent is still to expel them. We also work in cooperation with other organizations to defend the rights of<br />

Palestinians to remain in their homes in East Jerusalem.<br />

“It is inspiring to work with so many good, devoted<br />

and idealistic people whose vision of peace and justice<br />

remains steady despite everything that happens. It is<br />

heartening to receive constant feedback emphasizing<br />

the importance of our presence as a religious Israeli<br />

group for human rights and to hear that we inspire<br />

hope in others, save Judaism (and humanism) for them,<br />

and break down stereotypes of both Israelis<br />

and Palestinians.<br />

RHR <strong>2013</strong> 4<br />

5 RHR <strong>2013</strong>

I often like to tell a Talmudic story to our staff and<br />

volunteers regarding the nature of our work in<br />

the territories and the appropriate attitude for<br />

this work. <strong>The</strong> story is about the famous Rabbi Akiva,<br />

an illiterate shepherd who came to Torah study<br />

relatively late in life. He fell in love with Rachel, a<br />

young woman from a rich and educated family. She<br />

agreed to marry him if he studied Torah but he found<br />

learning to read and write very hard. Once while<br />

sitting by a river in a moment of despair, he noticed<br />

water flowing through a rock in the river.He said to<br />

himself: “If water can penetrate and overcome such a<br />

hard rock, I too can succeed.” He went on to become<br />

a great scholar of Torah.<br />

This year RHR marked a decade of<br />

accompanying Palestinian farmers<br />

in their olive groves located near<br />

settlements, unauthorized outposts,<br />

or near the Separation Barrier. Over<br />

the past 10 years, we have ensured<br />

the rights of thousands of Palestinians<br />

to plant, harvest and prune their olive<br />

trees in areas where settlers and/or<br />

the Israeli security forces previously<br />

denied that right. This year we saw<br />

a marked improvement in how the<br />

Israeli security forces protected<br />

that right. In the past decade, RHR,<br />

together with the Harvest Coalition,<br />

has also brought thousands of<br />

Israelis and internationals to meet<br />

with Palestinians in their olive<br />

groves, where they learn about<br />

harsh realities on the ground as they<br />

pick side by side with one another<br />

in solidarity and friendship.<br />

Our work is not complete. Farmers<br />

still have great difficulty obtaining<br />

permits to access their land between<br />

the separation barrier and the Green<br />

Line. Despite the vast improvements<br />

resulting from our 2006 Supreme<br />

Court ruling, requiring that the army<br />

allow Palestinians to safely access<br />

their olive trees, RHR still must play a<br />

crucial role in coordinating with the<br />

army and ensuring that Palestinian<br />

villages be given a sufficient number<br />

of days to finish the harvest. <strong>The</strong>re<br />

are areas near settlements where<br />

all the trees have been poisoned,<br />

chopped down or uprooted. This<br />

year, over 450 destroyed or damaged<br />

trees were discovered at the outset<br />

of the olive harvest alone. RHR and<br />

our coalition partners are searching<br />

for ways to get the security forces<br />

to keep their court obligation to<br />

protect trees and property. While<br />

senior army officials told us they<br />

could do nothing more to stop the<br />

wave of harvest destruction, the US<br />

ambassador mentioned the problem<br />

in the UN Security Council, and<br />

the remainder of the season was<br />

relatively quiet.<br />

A key focus of our work this year<br />

was maintaining and expanding our<br />

contacts with Palestinian farmers<br />

from 50 villages in the Occupied<br />

Territories. RHR’s commitment<br />

to these villages does not end<br />

with agricultural access. Field<br />

Coordinator Zakaria Sadeh regularly<br />

visited the villages and responded<br />

to diverse problems, including<br />

settler violence, IDF inaction, illegal<br />

detentions, problems at checkpoints,<br />

IDF confiscation of equipment or<br />

vehicles, and ensuring transport to<br />

hospital for several patients. Among<br />

the Palestinians whom we help, a<br />

real trust in RHR has been created.<br />

<strong>The</strong> peak of our work with these<br />

villages is during the olive harvest,<br />

My lesson from this story is that just as the water<br />

was able to overcome the rock, so we can overcome<br />

the evils of the Israeli Occupation through our<br />

determination, however hard (and rock-hearted) it<br />

might seem to us. Water penetrates where there are<br />

cracks and openings in the rock and we too must<br />

penetrate in such a way until the system caves in and<br />

is replaced by something more humane. That is wiser<br />

than confrontational tactics that lead to sparks but no<br />

real change or improvement.”<br />

Rabbi Yehiel Grenimann,<br />

Director, Occupied Territories Field Department<br />

<strong>The</strong> Olive Tree Campaign – Agricultural Access<br />

which lasts for about one month<br />

beginning in mid-October. This past<br />

year we coordinated with the IDF<br />

to ensure army protection and safe<br />

access for farmers in at least seven<br />

villages during the harvest. As in past<br />

years, we also arranged for several<br />

hundred Israeli and international<br />

volunteers, including members of<br />

RHR, to work in the olive groves<br />

in 11 villages. Our presence in the<br />

field alongside Palestinian farmers<br />

provides protection against possible<br />

settler intimidation, enables farmers<br />

to pick within the limited number<br />

of days that they can safely do so,<br />

and has also become an act of<br />

solidarity between Israeli Jews and<br />

Palestinians. <strong>The</strong> sharing of lunches<br />

and eating together, Israelis and<br />

Palestinians, is usually the highlight<br />

of the day! By bringing together<br />

Israeli Jews and Palestinians under<br />

the shade of the olive tree, we<br />

believe that we are helping to<br />

change the minds and attitudes of<br />

Israeli Jews and Palestinians towards<br />

one another. We continue this work<br />

because we believe that it helps to<br />

change the face of the State of Israel<br />

into a more humane one.<br />

<strong>The</strong> ability of Palestinians to<br />

access their lands has improved<br />

immeasurably since our 2006 High<br />

Court victory, and in many cases<br />

we no longer need to maintain a<br />

physical presence or intervene in<br />

order to ensure that farmers can<br />

harvest their olives. In the areas<br />

where Palestinians cannot go without<br />

prior coordination (either because of<br />

closure orders, fear, or because the<br />

army has convinced the Palestinians<br />

that they cannot or should not go on<br />

their own), the number of days that<br />

the army allocates to the harvest is<br />

still inadequate. Unlike last year, this<br />

year all villages we were in touch<br />

with succeeded in completing their<br />

harvest in areas next to settlements.<br />

However, four villages were not<br />

able to complete their harvesting<br />

on their lands trapped between the<br />

Separation Barrier and the 1967<br />

border; the army did not allow them<br />

enough days to reach these areas,<br />

or any at all. In this coming year,<br />

we intend to continue working with<br />

the army to increase the number of<br />

harvest days so that so that farmers<br />

can reach all of their olive groves.<br />

Although the presence of the army<br />

as well as our presence in the fields<br />

give Palestinian farmers an increasing<br />

sense of security while harvesting<br />

their olives, <strong>2012</strong> witnessed a<br />

sharp increase in damage to trees<br />

and property, particularly before<br />

the olive harvest even started. In<br />

just one week, for example, 450<br />

trees were damaged, destroyed,<br />

or stripped of their fruit in Yanun,<br />

Krayut, Ein Abbus and Meghayer.<br />

<strong>The</strong> economic cost of the damaged<br />

trees is immense, and the emotional<br />

cost is also great. As in previous<br />

years, RHR acted on several fronts<br />

to request army protection of trees<br />

and property. Our ongoing presence<br />

in the field and immediate response<br />

to violations continues to be the<br />

most effective way to address the<br />

challenges on the ground.<br />

This report covers both the <strong>2012</strong> and<br />

<strong>2013</strong> planting seasons. Each year,<br />

RHR provides approximately 3,000<br />

olive trees to be planted in areas in<br />

danger of takeover, or where settlers<br />

have cut, uprooted and/or burned<br />

Our ongoing presence<br />

in the field and<br />

immediate response<br />

to violations continues<br />

to be the most<br />

effective way to<br />

address the challenges<br />

on the ground.<br />

trees in acts of vandalism and arson.<br />

We have reduced the number of<br />

places where we bring Israelis to<br />

plant together with farmers because,<br />

in some cases, the farmers prefer<br />

not to attract attention. However, Tu<br />

B’Shvat, the Jewish new year for trees,<br />

continues to be the day in which we<br />

organize a major pubic planting,<br />

with many volunteers. In doing so,<br />

RHR presents a different Jewish face<br />

than that of the extremists who carry<br />

out the “price tag” attacks. In <strong>2012</strong>,<br />

despite army attempts to block our<br />

arrival, 22 people joined RHR in<br />

planting in El-Jenia village in the<br />

Northern West Bank, where a “Price<br />

Tag” attack had taken place days<br />

before. <strong>The</strong> army left after forcing us to<br />

leave, and the Palestinians were able<br />

to quietly resume work. Nineteen<br />

volunteers and staff members<br />

joined us in planting 50 trees at the<br />

kindergarten in the Jabal, in solidarity<br />

with the Jahalin Bedouin, who were<br />

threatened with being relocated<br />

to the garbage dump of Abu Dis in<br />

early <strong>2012</strong> (see below).<br />

In December <strong>2012</strong>, trees were cut<br />

down on lands belonging to farmers<br />

from A-Asawiya. Two days later,<br />

RHR volunteers joined Palestinians<br />

in replanting. In January <strong>2013</strong>, we<br />

planted trees in Kusra, an increasingly<br />

tense area. Less than a week later,<br />

on the very day we were helping<br />

Fawzi Ibrahim in nearby Jalud (see<br />

below), we discovered that some of<br />

our trees had been uprooted in the<br />

middle of the night. <strong>The</strong> windows<br />

of a tractor were shattered, and<br />

hundreds of rocks were thrown at<br />

the home of an elderly couple living<br />

on the outskirts of the village. We<br />

therefore returned on Tu B’Shvat<br />

with several busloads of volunteers,<br />

and the Palestinians indicated that<br />

they would set up a system to keep<br />

watch over the trees even at night.<br />

RHR <strong>2013</strong> 6<br />

7 RHR <strong>2013</strong>

Renovating Water Cisterns in South Hebron Hills<br />

In <strong>2012</strong>, Israel destroyed at least 35 rainwater cisterns used by Palestinian communities, 20 of them in the area<br />

of Hebron and the southern Hebron Hills. Usually, the communities whose cisterns were destroyed are a short<br />

distance from settlements and unauthorized outposts that enjoy a regular water supply. While these outposts have<br />

no permits the Civil Administration almost always destroys Palestinian tents, animal pens and food storage facilities<br />

for the lack of permit. Drying up the water supply of Palestinians is an affront to our basic religious and human<br />

morals.<br />

In the summer of <strong>2012</strong>, in response to this critical situation, <strong>Rabbis</strong> for <strong>Human</strong> <strong>Rights</strong> began assisting Palestinians<br />

in renovating destroyed water cisterns in the South Hebron Hills. We coordinated with both Ta’ayush and the<br />

Palestinian NGO “EWASH,” which specializes in water rights. Twelve student volunteers from the Canadian<br />

organization “Operations Groundswell” participated in this program. <strong>The</strong> group and some of our staff members<br />

spent a week renovating a cistern at Bir El Id, near Mitzpe Yair, one of the more radical outposts. <strong>The</strong> group dug out<br />

the cistern and transformed it from an unusable source of water to one that could start operating again. A week later<br />

after we had dug out this cistern, we learned that Hajj Ismail, upon whose land the cistern is located, was severely<br />

attacked with a knife by four masked settlers. It is possible that this attack was a response to our work there.<br />

Advocating on behalf of the Jahalin Bedouin<br />

<strong>The</strong> Jahalin tribe were uprooted from<br />

their lands in Tel Arad in the Negev<br />

in the early 1950s and resettled<br />

in the West Bank. Until 1967 the<br />

Jahalin preserved their traditional<br />

Bedouin lifestyle of thousands of<br />

years, supporting themselves mainly<br />

through herding. With the onset of<br />

the Israeli occupation, the Israeli<br />

army took control of large swaths<br />

of the Jahalin tribe’s grazing areas<br />

in the Jordan Valley, closing them<br />

off to Palestinians. <strong>The</strong> Jahalin were<br />

consequently squeezed into the area<br />

of the Jerusalem-Jericho highway and<br />

forced to abandon their traditional<br />

way of life. Since the establishment<br />

of Ma’aleh Adumim in 1975, the<br />

expanding settlement has repeatedly<br />

displaced Jahalin encampments.<br />

<strong>Rabbis</strong> for <strong>Human</strong> <strong>Rights</strong> has been<br />

advocating on behalf of the rights of<br />

the Jahalin Bedouin since 1997 when<br />

an encampment was demolished,<br />

and the Jahalin were given shipping<br />

containers to live in on an exposed<br />

hilltop near the Abu Dis garbage<br />

dump.<br />

In November 2011 we learned that<br />

the Civil Administration had reached<br />

an advanced stage of planning for<br />

the forced relocation of 600 Jahalin<br />

living near Mishor Adumim to a<br />

landfill site even closer to the dump.<br />

Such a plan, if implemented, would<br />

seriously endanger the health of the<br />

Jahalin.<br />

To help change the face of Israel, and<br />

to encourage the Israeli government<br />

to act on behalf of our Jewish<br />

values, we quickly launched both<br />

international and local campaigns<br />

and protests, with the help of the<br />

Catholic Comboni Sisters and the<br />

Jahalin Association.<br />

We asked our supporters to send<br />

letters protesting the plan to move<br />

the Jahalin to the garbage dump, and<br />

many of you responded. We also<br />

initiated a campaign appealing to<br />

Jewish leaders abroad, while B’Tselem<br />

organized tours for journalists and<br />

international diplomats.<br />

Although the 18th Knesset was<br />

reluctant to intervene on behalf<br />

of Palestinians in the Occupied<br />

Territories, even in cases of gross<br />

violations of human rights, in this<br />

case the details of the developments<br />

and an outpouring of international<br />

concern permitted us to request a<br />

session to discuss the matter in a<br />

joint meeting of the Environment<br />

and Health Committees, headed<br />

by MK Dov Khenin. We asked<br />

the committee to direct the Civil<br />

Administration to reverse its decision<br />

to adopt the plan to move the Jahalin<br />

to the dump in Abu Dis.<br />

Despite the positions of MKs Arye<br />

Eldad and Uri Ariel of the National<br />

Union Party, and of Uri Maklev of<br />

United Torah Judaism, and despite<br />

the claims by the representative<br />

of the Ministry of Environment<br />

that the site was scheduled to<br />

close, in the end the Ministry of<br />

Defense representative announced<br />

that its ministry would conduct a<br />

comprehensive risk assessment to<br />

cover the environmental risks in the<br />

area slated to absorb the Jahalin;<br />

only afterwards would any plans<br />

be crystallized regarding the actual<br />

relocation – and then only through<br />

dialogue with the residents.<br />

In addition to promising to relocate<br />

the Jahalin only in dialogue with the<br />

Jahalin, the Bedouin community of<br />

Khan El Akhmar was also promised<br />

that its school, built of tires and<br />

mud, would be allowed to continue<br />

until an alternative location was<br />

agreed. This effectively cancelled<br />

the demolition order against the<br />

school until an alternative location is<br />

finalized, much to the delight of the<br />

85 children who attend the school<br />

and their parents. RHR believes<br />

that the right to education is a basic<br />

human right, as well as one rooted<br />

within our Jewish tradition.<br />

RHR welcomed these decisions,<br />

but the Israeli authorities still plan<br />

to demolish the school and to<br />

To help change the face of Israel,<br />

and to encourage the Israeli government<br />

to act on behalf of our Jewish values, we<br />

quickly launched both international and<br />

local campaigns and protests<br />

displace all the Bedouin in the area,<br />

including those in the adjacent E1<br />

corridor. Having finished their study<br />

of health and other Bedouin issues,<br />

the Civil Administration has suggested<br />

two options to the Jahalin, both of<br />

which would entail displacing other<br />

Palestinians. <strong>The</strong> Jahalin reject this,<br />

but are willing to consider options in<br />

the Jerusalem-Dead Sea corridor on<br />

land that does not belong to others.<br />

This past summer, RHR again<br />

organized English and Hebrew<br />

lessons for the children in Khan El<br />

Akhmar and al-Jabal. Together with<br />

the Catholic Comboni Sisters, three<br />

RHR volunteers, and Ibtisam Hirsh, a<br />

local Bedouin woman, we organized<br />

a summer camp for 70 children,<br />

during which we even took the kids<br />

to the beach in Tel Aviv for a day. <strong>For</strong><br />

most of the children this was the first<br />

time they had ever seen the sea.<br />

RHR <strong>2013</strong> 8<br />

9 RHR <strong>2013</strong>

East Jerusalem<br />

<strong>The</strong> Campaign against the Eviction of the<br />

Sumarin Family in Silwan<br />

In last year’s annual report, we mentioned an emerging campaign to prevent the eviction of the Sumarin family<br />

from their home in Silwan by Himnuta, a subsidiary of the Jewish National Fund. <strong>The</strong> home had originally been<br />

seized through the subsequently discredited and discontinued practice of declaring properties as abandoned,<br />

even when family members were living in them. <strong>The</strong> Custodian for Absentee Property transferred the Sumarin<br />

home to the Jewish National Fund. We knew that in similar cases the JNF transferred the properties to settler<br />

groups such as Elad as part of the broader plan to Judaize Silwan. Using lawyers who often work for Elad, the JNF<br />

had a court order that the family could be expelled as of November 28th, 2011.<br />

RHR, RHR-NA and additional<br />

partners launched a public letter<br />

writing campaign against the<br />

eviction, organized by Shatil<br />

Fellow Moriel Rothman and our<br />

Communications Department. Our<br />

campaign urged the JNF, as a group<br />

concerned with the well-being of the<br />

State of Israel, to stop this injustice.<br />

In parallel, we also ran an effective<br />

media campaign with dozens of<br />

media reports appearing in Ha’aretz<br />

and the American Jewish press.<br />

Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity held vigils<br />

and demonstrations in Silwan. As a<br />

result, thousands of people<br />

in the US, Israel and around<br />

the world responded, and<br />

<br />

an American board member of the<br />

JNF even resigned in protest.<br />

As Moriel Rothman recalls,<br />

“Thousands and thousands of<br />

letters were sent, dozens of op-eds<br />

and media articles were written,<br />

a number of protests, tours and<br />

solidarity vigils were held and<br />

when the December 18th eviction<br />

date was again delayed, and then<br />

the next date was delayed again,<br />

it began to become clear that the<br />

JNF did not intend to evict the<br />

Sumarin family in this round of the<br />

battle. Although the victory was<br />

not complete and the possibility<br />

of eviction still remains a reality to<br />

this day, it was a victory.<br />

We had won. <strong>The</strong> Sumarin family,<br />

the Palestinian and Israeli and<br />

international activists, the NGOs<br />

and <strong>Human</strong> <strong>Rights</strong> organizations,<br />

and RHR’s voice of a Judaism that<br />

puts justice first: we had won.”<br />

While the JNF has only said that it<br />

is not evicting the family ”for now,”<br />

Campaigning against the Slopes<br />

of Mount Scopus National Park<br />

RHR has joined with five other<br />

Israeli organizations and the<br />

Palestinian Popular Committees<br />

from A-Tur and Issawiya to<br />

oppose the proposed “Slopes of<br />

Mount Scopus” plan in which the<br />

Municipality of Jerusalem and<br />

the National Parks Authority are<br />

planning to build a “national park”<br />

Victory in Lifta<br />

RHR was also part of a small victory<br />

in the village of Lifta, just outside<br />

Jerusalem, whose Palestinian<br />

residents fled/were expelled in 1948.<br />

Afterwards, Kurdish immigrants<br />

were dumped in the neighborhood.<br />

we can proudly report over a year<br />

later that the Sumarin family is<br />

still in their home and the process<br />

remains frozen.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Ruweidi family was in a similar<br />

position, but decided to take<br />

proactive action and sue to register<br />

their land in their name. Again, RHR<br />

was part of a coalition to spread the<br />

word about the case. However, this<br />

time the Court ruled in the family’s<br />

favor, enabling them to register their<br />

property.<br />

Currently RHR is also following the<br />

cases of several families in Sheikh<br />

in this area. <strong>The</strong>re is no reason<br />

to create a national park in this<br />

location, other than to seize the<br />

last remaining land from the two<br />

adjacent villages/neighborhoods.<br />

East Jerusalem has an extremely<br />

disproportionate percentage of<br />

land designated as “parks.” <strong>The</strong>re<br />

are also threatened homes in the<br />

Jarrah. <strong>The</strong> family in the most<br />

imminent danger is the Shamasneh<br />

family, where settler agent Arieh<br />

King has apparently succeeded<br />

in locating and obtaining the<br />

cooperation of a woman claiming<br />

pre-1948 ownership. <strong>The</strong> family<br />

acknowledges that they have been<br />

renting the property, but have<br />

" We had won. <strong>The</strong> Sumarin family, the<br />

Palestinian and Israeli and international<br />

activists, the NGOs and <strong>Human</strong> <strong>Rights</strong><br />

organizations, and RHR’s voice of a Judaism<br />

that puts justice first: we had won."<br />

<strong>The</strong> Kurdish immigrants are now<br />

being threatened with eviction, and<br />

a tender was granted to demolish<br />

the village in order to construct<br />

high-end homes. RHR was the<br />

only NGO willing to join activists<br />

claimed protected tenant status.<br />

RHR acknowledges that Jews can<br />

legitimately own property in East<br />

Jerusalem, but protests the “eifa<br />

v’eifa” double standards that allow<br />

Jews to avail themselves of the<br />

courts to claim property, but not<br />

Palestinians.<br />

endangered area. Recently RHR<br />

helped to stop the demolition of<br />

three homes that actually had a<br />

restraining order preventing the<br />

demolitions.<br />

in successfully getting the tender<br />

cancelled because of the historical<br />

nature of the buildings to be<br />

destroyed. However, the State and<br />

the developers have not necessarily<br />

given up.<br />

RHR <strong>2013</strong> 10<br />

11 RHR <strong>2013</strong>

Some memories from RHR’s work this year by Yonatan Shefa<br />

Rabbinical Student Assistant in the Department of <strong>Human</strong> <strong>Rights</strong> in the Occupied Territories<br />

My favorite RHR moment this<br />

year was early one morning in<br />

the South Hebron Hills, just after<br />

sunrise. We brought a group out<br />

to dig a reservoir for a Palestinian<br />

farmer. Earlier, RHR had helped<br />

him confirm ownership of his land<br />

in the courts. <strong>The</strong> spot where we<br />

were working is surrounded by<br />

Israeli settlements on the nearby<br />

hilltops. As I was getting ready to<br />

pray Shacharit beside a nearby<br />

well, a Palestinian shepherd<br />

arrived to water his flock. <strong>The</strong>re I<br />

stood, kippah on my head, tzitzit<br />

swaying with my movements. I<br />

could have been anyone from<br />

the nearby settlements. He eyed<br />

me nervously. When he opened<br />

the well to discover that the rope<br />

had been cut and there was no<br />

bucket to draw water, he turned to<br />

leave. “Wait,” I said in a mixture<br />

of Hebrew and broken Arabic,<br />

“we’ve got a rope and bucket.” I<br />

ran back to our worksite, got what<br />

we needed, and ran back to him.<br />

<strong>The</strong>n together we drew water and<br />

poured it out for the sheep. We<br />

talked about his home, how long<br />

his family had been living in the<br />

area and relations with the nearby<br />

settlements. Just that simple act, of<br />

being openly Jewish and helping<br />

a Palestinian who didn’t know<br />

me from Adam to water his flock,<br />

helping him to be economically<br />

viable in his own homeland, felt<br />

like the essence of our work to<br />

me.<br />

So many of my cherished moments<br />

involve being openly Jewish in a<br />

context where the association<br />

with Jews is fearful, hateful, or<br />

both. Sitting in a room of about<br />

forty Arab men visiting their father<br />

and relative who had been beaten<br />

up by Jews… Going to assess the<br />

damage to a Palestinian farmer’s<br />

Just that simple act,<br />

of being openly<br />

Jewish and helping<br />

a Palestinian who<br />

didn’t know me from<br />

Adam to water his<br />

flock, helping him<br />

to be economically<br />

viable in his own<br />

homeland, felt like<br />

the essence of our<br />

work to me.<br />

trees after nearly a hundred and<br />

fifty had been cut down. So many<br />

instances of this…<br />

Taking a group of Israeli and<br />

Palestinian religious leaders on<br />

an expedition into the wilderness<br />

to break down barriers and build<br />

mutual understanding. Getting<br />

caught in the rain, finding shelter,<br />

and ending up wearing one another’s<br />

clothes. <strong>The</strong>n, after sunset, davening<br />

Aravit in a tiny room surrounded by<br />

Palestinians, followed by bearing<br />

intimate witness to their own<br />

evening prayers.<br />

Countless visits to the Jahalin<br />

Bedouin, countless cups of tea<br />

and coffee, even though I don’t<br />

drink coffee. Having a heart-toheart<br />

talk with a Palestinian pastor<br />

about the possibility for peace and<br />

co-existence, discovering how<br />

much we see things the same, and<br />

how much we feel differently. One<br />

of the most difficult and rewarding<br />

conversations I’ve had this year.<br />

Yonatan’s position with RHR is one<br />

of four in various RHR departments<br />

made possible by a generous grant<br />

from the Asia Tan Foundation to<br />

introduce rabbinic students and<br />

young rabbis to the possibility of<br />

human rights work as a part of<br />

their rabbinical functions.<br />

OT Legal Department<br />

RHR’s OT legal department, led by Adv. Quamar Mishirqi-Assad, comprises four full-time attorneys, two field<br />

workers and a legal advisor. <strong>The</strong> primary focus of our work is preventing or reversing the takeover of Palestinian<br />

lands and ensuring that Palestinian farmers can safely access those lands, Currently, two dormant or simmering<br />

issues are coming to a head and the coming year will largely determine whether the cave dwellers of the South<br />

Hebron Hills hold on to their lands. <strong>The</strong> first is a renewed attempt to expel the residents of eight Palestinian villages<br />

to create “Live Firing Zone 918,“ and the renewed attempt to wipe Susya off the map. Stemming from our longstanding<br />

goal to end administrative home demolitions, we have a twice postponed High Court appeal to return<br />

planning for Palestinian communities in Area C to Palestinian hands. Much of RHR’s work centers on the South<br />

Hebron Hills and Shilo Valley, and we have had several important successes this year returning land, winning<br />

compensation, and renewing long-denied access. Our growth plan is to find the resources allowing us to build<br />

on our experience and apply it throughout the Occupied Territories. In the past year we have begun to expand,<br />

particularly into the Bethlehem region. We work closely with Kerem Navot, which employs aerial photographs<br />

to understand the history of land takeovers. In the South Hebron Hills we enjoy a strategic partnership with<br />

Ta’ayush, whose activists accompany Palestinians accessing their lands, and with Breaking the Silence, which<br />

engages in advocacy, media work and alternative tourism. We work also with additional Israeli, Palestinian and<br />

international organizations, including Comet, JLAC, Bimkom and B’Tselem.<br />

Over the past year, RHR has<br />

steadily increased its resources<br />

and capacity to take on an<br />

unprecedented number of legal<br />

cases and to raise awareness<br />

of the plight of Palestinian land<br />

owners in the South Hebron<br />

Hills, both among Israelis and the<br />

international community. Together<br />

with our partner organizations<br />

Ta’ayush and Breaking the Silence,<br />

RHR has been able to elevate our<br />

work in the South Hebron Hills to<br />

new levels. <strong>The</strong>re and elsewhere<br />

in the Occupied Territories, we<br />

have achieved important and<br />

sometimes extraordinary reversals<br />

of the ongoing Israeli annexation<br />

of land.<br />

In this past year, RHR has had<br />

RHR <strong>2013</strong> 12<br />

13 RHR <strong>2013</strong>

several major achievements.<br />

<strong>The</strong> most notable include:<br />

Returning the residents of Bir El<br />

‘Id to additional caves. Even after<br />

RHR returned the residents of Bir<br />

El ‘Id in 2009 to their village, from<br />

which they had been expelled<br />

for almost ten years because of<br />

army backed settler intimidation,<br />

the army has continued to issue<br />

demolition orders on everything<br />

they attempt to build, and say that<br />

even some of the original caves<br />

remained off limits. RHR therefore<br />

celebrated as we returned villagers<br />

to five additional caves, a water<br />

cistern and two animal pens RHR<br />

argued that these lands were part<br />

and parcel of the lands we had<br />

already agreed on in 2009.<br />

Palestinians resumed farming<br />

in areas where they had long<br />

been denied access due to army-<br />

backed settler intimidation in the<br />

Shilo Valley. This success means<br />

that for now the unauthorized<br />

hilltop outposts of Esh Kodesh and<br />

Akhia will again be surrounded<br />

by Palestinian worked fields. RHR<br />

submitted a High Court appeal on<br />

behalf of a land owner in Jalud<br />

to return 256 dunams of land<br />

surrounding Esh Kodesh. Not only<br />

had settlers enforced an expanding<br />

“forbidden zone” year after year,<br />

but in 2011 they actually planted<br />

a vineyard on some of these<br />

lands. Most of the human rights<br />

violations RHR deals with in the<br />

Occupied Territories take place<br />

in Area C (the areas still under<br />

full Israeli control, accounting for<br />

some 60 percent of the total area<br />

of the West Bank). Incredibly the<br />

settlers even blocked access to<br />

lands in Area B (under Palestinian<br />

civil control, but Israeli military<br />

control). Under pressure from<br />

the pending appeal the Legal<br />

Advisor closed the area to Israelis<br />

and ordered that the Palestinian<br />

land owner could access his land<br />

in coordination with the Israeli<br />

army. RHR again<br />

RHR <strong>2013</strong><br />

14<br />

had to pressure the army when<br />

its procrastination almost made<br />

Fawzi Ibrahim miss the planting<br />

season for winter wheat and lose<br />

his investment in seeds. On the first<br />

day the reluctant security forces<br />

were not adequately prepared<br />

to deal with settler opposition,<br />

and ordered the Palestinians out<br />

of the fields. On the second day,<br />

despite primarily female settlers<br />

with babies doing everything they<br />

could to block the tractors, Fawzi<br />

finally plowed most of his land<br />

and sowed his wheat. He has not<br />

yet been allowed into the vineyard<br />

because of a settler appeal, and on<br />

the day he plowed, he discovered<br />

an additional vineyard. An indepth<br />

Channel 2 Television expose<br />

broke the story to the Israeli public,<br />

including the connection with<br />

the ongoing attacks on Kusra (see<br />

above in the OT Field Department<br />

report).<br />

Settlers are increasingly filing<br />

appeals against decisions by<br />

the OT Legal Advisor in order to<br />

delay justice; and accordingly<br />

the failure of such an appeal this<br />

year is particularly significant. In<br />

2006 RHR took on the case of<br />

five families (300 people) who<br />

had been forced off their own<br />

land after their livestock had been<br />

poisoned and after they could<br />

no longer endure the harassment<br />

and physical threats posed by the<br />

radical settler Yaakov Talia, who<br />

set up the unauthorized outpost<br />

he named “Lucifer’s Farm.” In<br />

early <strong>2012</strong> the army closed the<br />

area and announced that the<br />

Palestinian families could return<br />

to working their lands. Talia<br />

appealed the High Court decision<br />

but this year requested to cancel<br />

his claim because he understood<br />

that the law was not on his side.<br />

However, he reserved the right to<br />

appeal again, pointing out that if<br />

the State adopts the Edmund Levi<br />

Committee recommendations, the<br />

law will be on his side. <strong>For</strong>mer<br />

High Court justice Edmund Levi<br />

was appointed by Prime Minister<br />

Netanyahu to head a commission<br />

searching to legalize the building<br />

of settlements on land which the<br />

Israeli government recognizes as<br />

privately-owned Palestinian land.<br />

Noting the fact that there were no<br />

Palestinians on this commission<br />

and wondering whether the<br />

effect on Palestinians was at all a<br />

consideration in the deliberations,<br />

RHR submitted a position paper<br />

documenting village by village the<br />

many ways, beyond the obvious<br />

theft of land, in which the existence<br />

of outposts leads to human rights<br />

violations in the villages where<br />

we work. We also submitted an<br />

extensive section based on Jewish<br />

sources dealing with the image of<br />

God, double standards, property<br />

rights of non-Jews in the Land of<br />

Israel, and the inevitable injustice<br />

created when a group holding<br />

power appropriates for itself the<br />

“burden“ of determining how to<br />

be just towards the powerless and<br />

voiceless.<br />

Last year, we reported that we<br />

had managed to temporarily<br />

freeze the demolition of solar<br />

power installations at Imneizel<br />

village in the South Hebron Hills<br />

following our legal work and<br />

immense international pressure.<br />

Recently, the Israeli authorities<br />

requested that we withdraw our<br />

legal appeal as they decided that<br />

the demolitions were not going to<br />

take place at all.<br />

In response to an RHR petition<br />

demanding that the Israeli army<br />

protect Palestinian property<br />

and possessions, the army was<br />

ordered to pay compensation to<br />

elderly Palestinian land owners<br />

directly underneath the Bat<br />

Ayin settlement, who suffer<br />

repeated attacks and damage to<br />

their 60 year old olive trees in<br />

“Price Tag” attacks. However,<br />

the army made it clear<br />

that the compensation<br />

was not an admission of <br />

responsibility, and refused to take<br />

any additional steps to protect<br />

the farmers and their trees. With<br />

all of the positive improvements<br />

in safe agricultural access after<br />

RHR’s 2006 High Court victory,<br />

this is but one of example of<br />

how authorities have not fulfilled<br />

additional stipulations of the<br />

decision ordering security forces<br />

to protect Palestinian farmers<br />

and to bring people to justice.<br />

RHR therefore took this case to<br />

the Israeli High Court, which in<br />

February <strong>2013</strong> gave the security<br />

forces 60 days to explain why they<br />

were not doing more to protect the<br />

landowners.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Assad family from the village<br />

of El-Khader (between Alon Shvut<br />

and Elazar), has been plagued by<br />

constant settler harassment and<br />

land encroachment. <strong>The</strong> extremist<br />

settler organization Women in<br />

With our intervention, the family now is able<br />

to access lands that had been inaccessible for<br />

more than a decade.<br />

Green repeatedly has trespassed<br />

on these lands where they have<br />

planted saplings, olive trees and<br />

even erected several benches with<br />

plaques in honor of the donors.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Civil Administration in Beit<br />

El heeded our request that the<br />

area be closed to Israelis in order<br />

to prevent further incursions into<br />

the lands and ordered the army to<br />

remove the trees planted.<br />

Since the Second Intifada, the<br />

Hajaja-Jabarin family, whose<br />

lands are adjacent to Tekoa, has<br />

been subjected to constant land<br />

closures by the army, attacks by<br />

neighboring settlers on both person<br />

and property, and attempts to<br />

appropriate land by planting trees.<br />

RHR submitted several requests to<br />

the Civil Administration that it take<br />

action against the settlers and the<br />

army. With our intervention, the<br />

family now is able to access lands<br />

that had been inaccessible for<br />

more than a decade.<br />

RHR is appealing the decision to<br />

allow the family to access their<br />

lands only by prior coordination<br />

with the Civil Administration and<br />

is demanding free access to these<br />

lands.<br />

15 RHR <strong>2013</strong>

RHR <strong>2013</strong><br />


Quamar Misirqi-Asad, who directs RHR’s OT Legal Department, says that she needs to go the extra<br />

mile on behalf of Abu-Jabar Sleibi because she looks in his eyes and sees her own grandfather. We in<br />

RHR often speak of the need to see God’s image in every human being, and the truth is that Quamar<br />

and the rest of our staff go the extra mile for everybody whom we seek to defend. However, it<br />

would be a great start if we could all look in the eyes of human rights victims, or potential victims,<br />

and see our own grandparents, parents, siblings, partners and children.<br />

Pending Cases<br />

Defending Palestinian village of Susya against Demolition<br />

In October 2011, the army commander in the South Hebron Hills declared sections of land in the area<br />

of Susya “closed to Israelis” in response to an appeal submitted by Palestinian families requesting that<br />

they be able to reach their lands where Israeli settlers have been taking over land. This was just one of a<br />

string of successes returning lands to their rightful owners. We know that the settlers in the region held<br />

emergency meetings regarding our successes. <strong>The</strong> lands closed in 2011 represented approximately 20<br />

percent of the lands covered in a petition we submitted on army procrastination on many additional<br />

cases of settler land takeovers, denial of access, and lack of protection for Palestinians. Altogether, the<br />

petition deals with some 2,500 dunams of land. We believe that this is the reason the extreme right-wing<br />

Israeli NGO Regavim and the adjacent settlement, also called Susya, submitted a High Court Appeal in<br />

February <strong>2012</strong> challenging the “slow“ pace of demolitions in the area and requesting that Palestinian<br />

Susya be demolished. In June <strong>2012</strong>, probably due to pressure from Regavim, demolition notices were<br />

distributed, with 70 structures or 80 percent of the homes in the village targeted for demolition. <strong>The</strong><br />

remaining 20 percent of structures already had demolition orders on them. <strong>The</strong> entire village therefore is<br />

under threat of demolition, and the future of the residents, comprising 120 people (including 25 women<br />

and 70 children), is unclear. In February <strong>2013</strong>, the Court heard together both the Regavim petition and<br />

RHR’s petition. <strong>The</strong> Court accepted the State’s position that it could not demolish the homes before<br />

processing an alternative building plan submitted by RHR, and gave us an additional 90 days to submit<br />

an additional plan for some homes in the adjacent village of Wadi Khesheish, not included in the original<br />

plan because a second organization is representing them. <strong>The</strong> Court did not accept the State’s excuses for<br />

its procrastination on the cases listed in our petition and requested a progress report within 90 days.<br />

This appeal has finally given us the opportunity to go head-to-head with Regavim, who have submitted<br />

many similar appeals in the past, using misleading statistics to claim reverse discrimination against settlers.<br />

While they lose almost every time, they actually win. <strong>The</strong> Court has always accepted the State’s position<br />

that its actions are proper since it is executing demolition orders at its own pace. RHR’s goal is not only<br />

to prevent the demolition of Susya and restore Palestinian access, but also to challenge the legitimacy of<br />

demolitions when discriminatory planning makes it almost impossible for Palestinians to build legally.<br />

<strong>The</strong> case of Susya is particularly poignant because the residents were reduced to living in caves in their<br />

fields after being expelled from their nearby village. <strong>The</strong> village was declared an archeological site after<br />

the discovery of an ancient synagogue. In 2001, the army expelled the Palestinians from their caves and<br />

destroyed most of them. Israel’s High Court returned them, but the inability to get building permits meant<br />

that anything they built to replace the demolished caves was illegal.<br />

16<br />

Firing Zone 918<br />

<strong>For</strong> over a decade, the 1,800 residents of 12 Palestinian villages in the area of Masafer-Yatta in the<br />

South Hebron Hills have lived under the threat of demolition, evacuation and dispossession. In 1999,<br />

the Israel security forces declared the area a firing zone and expelled 700 men, women and children.<br />

An interim injunction issued by the Israeli High Court enabled them to return to their homes in March<br />

2000. <strong>The</strong> State postponed the case time after time, until the new president of the High Court, Justice<br />

Asher Grunis, urged the State to either drop the case or pursue it. <strong>The</strong> Ministry of Defense intensified<br />

military exercises in the area and declared that it still wanted to expel the residents of eight villages.<br />

<strong>The</strong>y also demanded stringent limitations on development for the remaining four villages. RHR is<br />

not legally representing the threatened villages against the expulsions themselves, but is part of<br />

a broad coalition seeking to organize Israeli public and international opposition to the planned<br />

expulsions. Our legal department is demanding planning for two of the threatened cave communities,<br />

Sfai’i and Majaz, as part of our opposition to planned demolitions of British development projects in<br />

these villages. <strong>The</strong> victory of March 2000 has become an albatross around the necks of the residents<br />

because of the aforementioned draconian interpretation of the status quo mandated in the interim<br />

injunction that makes development even more impossible than in the rest of the Occupied Territories.<br />

It is therefore not sufficient to merely prevent expulsion.<br />

Zoning in Area C<br />

Susya and Firing Zone 918 are but two of the many examples of how discriminatory planning by<br />

army committees without Palestinian representation lead to home demolitions and the inability of<br />

Palestinian communities in Area C to develop. RHR’s High Court petition demanding that planning<br />

in Area C be returned to Palestinian hands was twice postponed in <strong>2012</strong>, and is now scheduled to<br />

be heard on October 3rd, <strong>2013</strong>. When requesting the latest postponement in November, the State<br />

claimed that the army’s Civil Administration was working hard to make changes to the planning system<br />

and needed more time.<br />

17 RHR <strong>2013</strong>

Socioeconomic<br />

Justice Department<br />

RHR’s Socioeconomic Justice Department, led by Rabbi Idit Lev, administers our <strong>Rights</strong> Center in Hadera,<br />

which helps around 200 unemployed and under-employed Israelis from Hadera and Wadi Ara to demand their<br />

socioeconomic rights. RHR also operates an empowerment group of Jewish and Arab women from Hadera<br />

and Wadi Ara, who have begun to work on promoting better conditions for single parents, the majority of<br />

whom are women. Rabbi Idit Lev also represents RHR in several coalitions concerning poverty, the state<br />

budget, and the groups that were formed following the social justice protests during the summer of 2011. We<br />

are beginning to focus on a common denominator linking many of the people we work with: the inability of<br />

working people to support their families.<br />

Inga, a woman whom we are helping to get disability<br />

benefit, said after the last time her application was<br />

rejected: “In another few months we will reapply. You<br />

will help me, right? If you help me, I won’t give up.”<br />

We promised that we will continue to help her.<br />

When Aaron, a 24 year-old student, entered RHR’s<br />

<strong>Rights</strong> Center for the first time he was scared, as he<br />

didn’t know how he could cope with a debt of 2,000<br />

shekels that he claimed he didn’t owe. After less than<br />

a week, the debt was reduced to only 181 shekels,<br />

and Aaron (who looked much better) said to us: “I also<br />

don’t owe this. I don’t intend to pay them. I am going to<br />

argue with them!” <strong>The</strong> change from a person who was<br />

broken when he came to our office a few days earlier to<br />

a person who could stand on his own was amazing.<br />

<strong>The</strong> past year was a significant one for RHR’s<br />

Socioeconomic Justice Department. <strong>The</strong> tent protest<br />

movement which began in the summer of 2011<br />

captured the headlines in Israel and thrust social justice<br />

issues into the national spotlight. As a result of the<br />

momentum of the protest movement, our economic<br />

and social justice work was reenergized.<br />

<strong>Rights</strong> Center<br />

RHR’s <strong>Rights</strong> Center provides Jewish<br />

and Arab residents of the Hadera<br />

and Wadi Ara region with advice<br />

and legal help regarding their<br />

socioeconomic rights. In <strong>2012</strong>, the<br />

Center served about 200 people,<br />

many of whom had first turned to<br />

RHR because of the subsequently<br />

defeated Wisconsin Plan. In<br />

addition, RHR began going doorto-door<br />

in selected neighborhoods<br />

in Hadera, informing people about<br />

the <strong>Rights</strong> Center. As a result<br />

of this proactive approach, the<br />

<strong>Rights</strong> Center received numerous<br />

additional requests for help. We<br />

deal with an average of 24 new<br />

cases per month. During <strong>2012</strong>,<br />

Rabbi Sigal Asher joined us at the<br />

<strong>Rights</strong> Center, as one of the four<br />

young rabbis/rabbinical students<br />

added to on our staff through<br />

a special grant, replacing Nico<br />

Socolovsky, who left to complete<br />

his rabbinical training in the US.<br />

<strong>The</strong> major focus of the center<br />

is to assist the unemployed and<br />

Composed of 20 Arab and Jewish women from<br />

Hadera and Wadi Ara, the majority of whom are<br />

single mothers, the group is currently addressing the<br />

socioeconomic rights of single parents. This year,<br />

they began working on extending annual subsidy<br />

given at the beginning of each school year to single<br />

parents to include high-school children. RHR hopes<br />

to create additional empowerment groups focused<br />

on other issues in other parts of the country where<br />

we already have a presence.<br />

Dorit explains the influence of RHR’s empowerment<br />

group: "To be able to express yourself is important;<br />

suddenly I see that I can speak without fear and<br />

without hesitating out of worry that I am saying<br />

something wrong.”<br />

Kulthum, an Arab woman fighting for the right of<br />

her daughter Ismi’ye to ride the district school bus<br />

underemployed with issues<br />

relating to rights available from<br />

the National Insurance Institute.<br />

This includes ensuring access<br />

to unemployment benefits and<br />

ensuring that employees have<br />

access to benefits such as paid<br />

leave, sick days, and assisting lowwage<br />

earners to pull themselves<br />

out of the cycle of poverty.<br />

While helping the unemployed<br />

and underemployed in Hadera<br />

and Wadi Ara to secure their<br />

social and economic rights, RHR<br />

will also identify issues requiring<br />

policy change on the national<br />

level. Helping to improve people’s<br />

lives locally is an essential part of<br />

our strategy to change the face of<br />

Israel nationally.<br />

Currently, RHR is launching a<br />

campaign based on a common<br />

denominator uniting many of the<br />

cases we are dealing with both in<br />

Hadera and elsewhere. Statistics<br />

indicate that at least one family<br />

Jewish-Arab Women’s Empowerment Group<br />

member is working in 52.9 percent<br />

of families living below the poverty<br />

line. Behind the statistics are real<br />

human tragedies caused by the<br />

combined effect of inadequate<br />

wages, an unresponsive system,<br />

and the growing holes in Israel’s<br />

social security net during our<br />

transition from a welfare state to a<br />

neo-liberal economy.<br />

RHR’s <strong>Rights</strong> Center found itself in<br />

the spotlight following the tragic<br />

suicide of the late Moshe Silman,<br />

who sought help from our <strong>Rights</strong><br />

Center after meeting Rabbi Idit<br />

Lev at the social justice protests<br />

in Haifa (see below for Rabbi Idit<br />

Lev’s moving eulogy for Moshe<br />

Silman). Moshe’s story was a<br />

particularly tragic example of a<br />

much broader reality. With Rabbi<br />

Lev being quoted and interviewed<br />

in the Israeli media after Moshe’s<br />

death, we found ourselves<br />

inundated with calls from people<br />

in similar situations to that of<br />

Moshe Silman.<br />

said, "Suddenly, I said that I wanted to be strong<br />

like Ayesha [RHR social economic justice facilitator<br />

and field worker] and to request the right for my<br />

daughter [to bus transportation] in a loud, clear<br />

and confident voice, and to make it clear that I am<br />

requesting a right, not charity".<br />

RHR <strong>2013</strong> 18<br />

19 RHR <strong>2013</strong>

Portrait of one of our young rabbis/rabbinical students:<br />

Nico Sokolovsky<br />

<strong>For</strong> the past two years, Nico Sokolovsky managed our <strong>Rights</strong> Center in Hadera. In June <strong>2012</strong> he left in order<br />

to complete his rabbinical studies in the US. Nico offers the following thoughts on the center and on his<br />

experience in the field:<br />

“<strong>The</strong> center in Hadera is our opportunity to be present in the place where we are needed – it is no coincidence<br />

that Makom [place, in Hebrew] is one of the names of God. <strong>The</strong> center is an expression of our support for<br />

a population that does not get a hearing owing to its position and location… Indeed in this place we get an<br />

opportunity to be present! “Being present,” after two years in this position, is in my understanding a mitzvah of<br />

the highest importance – maybe it should be included in the Ten Commandments. “I am the Lord your God” is<br />

interpreted by the Rambam as a command to know God; I interpret it as an invitation to be present.<br />

My job gave me the chance to visit and to accompany the sick; to care for the poor, the widow, the orphan,<br />

the weak, and those beaten by the system; and to try to improve on the experiment of realizing the dream of<br />

a Jewish state; to feel that I am engaged in the Jewish-Zionist enterprise; to raise my voice and shout against<br />

the loss of direction that our country suffers from…To leave (if only for a minute) the small closed reality that I<br />

live in and to meet the “other” (in terms of economic status, social grouping, religion, etc.) and – through this<br />

meeting with him or her – to widen my knowledge of my God. As a result of my work for this organization,<br />

my understanding of justice has deepened. Thank you!”<br />

Special Projects<br />

Under the direction of Rabbi Arik Ascherman, RHR has developed a number of special projects. <strong>The</strong>se<br />

projects include our work with public housing tenants to ameliorate public housing; to support the African<br />

asylum seekers; and to advocate for the struggle of the unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Negev.<br />

Public Housing<br />

<strong>The</strong> initiatives described in last<br />

year’s report have blossomed into<br />

a major program area for RHR.<br />

While affordable housing was<br />

one of the main rallying cries of<br />

the 2011 protest movement, most<br />

of the demands have since been<br />

“buried” in committees. <strong>The</strong> need<br />

is great. Over 40,000 Israelis are<br />

on the official waiting list for public<br />

housing, many waiting for six years<br />

or more. However, the list does not<br />

reflect the actual need. Inappropriate<br />

criteria leave many like the late<br />

Moshe Silman ineligible for support.<br />

Many of those in need repeatedly<br />

rent apartments they cannot afford<br />

until they are evicted, while others<br />

sleep in cars, on friends’ sofas or on<br />

park benches. <strong>The</strong> trauma suffered<br />

by children is particularly tragic.<br />

Nothing is done to replenish the<br />

public housing stock, let alone to<br />

increase it. Many existing apartments<br />

are in need of serious repair and<br />

some suffer from potentially lifethreatening<br />

problems. Thousands of<br />

other government owned buildings<br />

are left empty. Money intended<br />

for public housing is diverted to<br />

other uses, while those in need<br />

face an often obtuse and insensitive<br />

bureaucracy.<br />

Last year we described how we<br />

first encountered this issue in Beit<br />

Shean and began to develop our<br />

policy recommendations together<br />

with public housing residents<br />

in the city. At the time, the local<br />

branch of Amidar, one of Israel’s<br />

semi-governmental public housing<br />

companies, seemed utterly<br />

unresponsive and sometimes even<br />

hostile. With the guidance of Rabbi<br />

Arik Ascherman, Rabbi Kobi Weiss<br />

has reversed this situation. Realizing<br />

that the root of the problems in<br />

Beit Shean is the difficulty<br />

that individuals face when<br />

standing alone against a<br />

powerful bureaucracy, Rabbi Weiss<br />

opened lines of communication<br />

with Amidar. Students from RHR’s<br />

Jezreel Valley College <strong>Human</strong><br />

<strong>Rights</strong> Yeshiva, and area volunteers,<br />

including some who live in public<br />

housing, he has helped resolve<br />

debts, avoid eviction, obtain repairs,<br />

find appropriate apartments, etc.<br />

This past June, Jezreel Valley College<br />

chose the work of human services<br />

student Rivka Yones with RHR’s<br />

public housing advocacy program<br />

in Beit Shean as one of the two<br />

outstanding projects of the year, out<br />

of 130 competing projects. Since<br />

September of 2011, we have helped<br />

85 tenants, successfully resolving 25<br />

cases and assisting in the resolution<br />

of an additional 20 cases. We are<br />

continuing to work on most of the<br />

open cases. Our challenge is that most<br />

of the tenants with open cases have<br />

problems related to policies decided<br />

at the regional or national level;<br />

we are drawing on the issues these<br />

cases raise as we move forward with<br />

efforts to change national policy (see<br />

below). It is not our goal to remain in<br />

Beit Shean indefinitely: this year we<br />

are focusing on empowering tenants<br />

and local volunteers to support each<br />

other and to resolve problems on<br />

their own.<br />

While in Beit Shean we work mainly<br />

with public housing tenants, RHR<br />

works in Jerusalem with those who are<br />

not even deemed eligible for public<br />

housing due to unrealistic criteria.<br />

<strong>The</strong> protest encampment initially<br />

sponsored and sustained by RHR<br />

in 2011 has become a collective of<br />

activists and those in need of public<br />

housing called “the Ma’abarah”<br />

(echoing the name given to transit<br />

camps for new immigrants to Israel<br />

in the 1950’s). Long after the middle<br />

class protestors folded up their tents<br />

in the fall of 2011, the Ma’abarah<br />

was one of a handful of low income<br />

groups that continued the struggle.<br />

With many members literally having<br />

nowhere to live, the collective<br />

broke into abandoned buildings (an<br />

activity not sanctioned by RHR), set<br />

up new encampment sites or lived<br />

in donated office space, until the<br />

Municipality eventually provided<br />

supplementary funds allowing those<br />

in need to rent. However, these<br />

funds have now run out, and some<br />

members of the Ma’abarah are again<br />

in danger of eviction.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Ma’abarah has been one of<br />

the groups continuing with high<br />

profile protests highlighting the<br />

unresponsiveness of municipal<br />

and national officials. <strong>For</strong> example,<br />

during the Sukkot holiday the<br />

Ma’abarah built a “Sukkah on<br />

Wheels” representing needed<br />

homes, and paraded from Jerusalem<br />

Mayor Nir Barkat’s public Sukkah<br />

to the home of Prime Minister<br />

Netanyahu to a large public gathering<br />

of Kurdish Jewry in Sacher Park.<br />

<strong>The</strong>se protests elicited a defensive<br />

reaction from outgoing Housing<br />

Minister Ariel Atias. While he didn’t<br />

change the problematic way his<br />

Ministry operated, Atias made some<br />

proposals to replenish the supply<br />

of public housing. <strong>The</strong> proposals<br />

constituted an insufficient step in<br />

the right direction, but they were<br />

not adopted by the government. In<br />

some cases demonstrations were<br />

met with police brutality and arrests.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Ma’abarah has waged several<br />

campaigns on behalf of individuals<br />

faced with eviction, most notably<br />

waging a successful campaign<br />

against Amidar to prevent the<br />

eviction of Ovadia and Miriam Ben<br />

Avraham. In a very powerful Tisha<br />

B’Av Mincha service and program,<br />

RHR and the Ma’abarah drew links<br />

between the loss of our national<br />

home mourned on Tisha B’Av and<br />

the housing insecurity facing many<br />

Israelis. We also built on the theme of<br />

emerging hope which characterizes<br />

the Tisha B’Av Mincha.<br />

In May <strong>2012</strong>, the Ma’abarah entered<br />

a former kindergarten abandoned<br />

for three years in the low income<br />

Katamonim neighborhood, where<br />

the need for public housing<br />

is particularly acute. It<br />

turned out that this property<br />

<br />

RHR <strong>2013</strong> 20<br />

21 RHR <strong>2013</strong>

was owned by Na’amat,<br />

the women’s organization<br />

affiliated with the Histadrut,<br />

Israel’s largest labor organization.<br />

Rather than evict the Ma’abarah,<br />

Na’amat recognized that we had<br />

common goals and began negotiating<br />

with the Ma’abarah to allow them to<br />

use the building as a neighborhood<br />

community center and a base for<br />

education and advocacy.<br />

Because the Ma’abarah is not a<br />

legal entity, RHR agreed to sign a<br />

contract on its behalf. However,<br />

around Rosh Hashana, Na’amat<br />

broke off negotiations and initiated<br />

court action to evict the Ma’abarah.<br />

We suspect that Mayor Barkat and<br />

others applied financial pressure on<br />

Na’amat. Just as we were waiting<br />

for a court ruling, Na’amat agreed<br />

to mediation. Noting their deep<br />

awareness of campaigns such<br />

as RHR’s request that overseas<br />

supporters contact their local<br />

Na’amat affiliates, Na’amat agreed<br />

to rent the premises to the Ma’abarah<br />

RHR <strong>2013</strong><br />

22<br />

through the end of <strong>2013</strong>, giving<br />

us an important base to galvanize<br />

support for public housing policy<br />

change. We ask all those who<br />

contacted Na’amat on this issue to<br />

thank the organization for resisting<br />

financial extortion and staying true<br />

to its own values.<br />

With the help of Attorney Becky<br />

Cohen-Keshet, RHR has successfully<br />

defended several other families<br />

facing eviction around the country.<br />

In the case of Rachel Levy from<br />

Yavneh, who was evicted from<br />

her apartment, we are working to<br />

reestablish her and her daughter’s<br />

right to public housing.<br />

RHR’s initiated the Public Housing<br />

<strong>For</strong>um to translate the lessons<br />

learned at the grass roots level into<br />

policy change. <strong>The</strong> forum unites<br />

veteran policy groups and grass roots<br />

organizations. As part of the Public<br />

Housing <strong>For</strong>um, together with the<br />

organizations Community Advocacy,<br />

the Eastern Democratic Rainbow,<br />

Shatil, Tarabut, the Periphery <strong>For</strong>um,<br />

and the Social Welfare Department<br />

of the Jerusalem Municipality, RHR<br />

developed a position paper focusing<br />

on such issues as: Investment in<br />

public housing; Revising criteria to<br />

ensure that all those who are in need<br />

are deemed eligible; Transparency;<br />

Changing the often demeaning<br />

treatment of tenants by public<br />

housing officials; A total freeze on<br />

evictions.<br />

As reported last year, the <strong>For</strong>um<br />

created a broad-based Knesset<br />

Public Housing Caucus to<br />

translate the passion of the protest<br />

movement into concrete public<br />

housing gains. In <strong>2012</strong>, the<br />

caucus hosted a public hearing in<br />

the Knesset and a Public Housing<br />

Day, including another Knesset<br />

hearing and discussions in several<br />

Knesset committees. <strong>The</strong> <strong>For</strong>um<br />

has prepared proposed legislation<br />

to address each of our policy<br />

demands, and will be introducing<br />

this into the Knesset in <strong>2013</strong>.<br />

<strong>The</strong> shocking and tragic selfimmolation<br />

of the late Moshe Silman<br />

(see Rabbi Idit Lev’s moving eulogy<br />

below) during a demonstration in<br />

June <strong>2012</strong> powerfully highlighted<br />

the closed doors many Israelis face<br />

in dealing with the public housing<br />

bureaucracy. Moshe Silman’s state<br />

of desperation was expressed in a<br />

note he left blaming the government<br />

and welfare authorities for bringing<br />

him to the brink of homelessness.<br />

While Silman’s act reflected a<br />

personal state of severe depression,<br />

it also served as a warning call<br />

regarding the human toll resulting<br />

Moshe, we met last year at the tent<br />

encampment, where we took part in<br />

many late-night discussions. Only after<br />

we had dismantled our tents did I learn<br />

that you needed help in exercising your<br />

rights. At a meeting about the future of<br />

the social protest movement, you told<br />

me, in between cigarettes, that you<br />

were not hopeful about your future.<br />

You added that you would not live on<br />

the street. I do not recall my answer<br />

at that moment, but I remember that<br />

I was optimistic, as I am with every<br />

person who enters through the door of<br />

our <strong>Rights</strong> Center, with the hope that<br />

this time we will win. I knew that we<br />

had ten months to prevent you from<br />

being thrown out on the street. We<br />

immediately set to work.<br />

As the months passed and doors were<br />

slammed in our faces, your despair<br />

grew. In May, RHR’s <strong>Rights</strong> Center, with<br />

assistance from other friends in Haifa,<br />

succeeded in reinstating your disability<br />

benefit, but not in obtaining any rental<br />

assistance. Neither letters nor lawyers<br />

nor the appeal of Knesset member Orly<br />

Levy-Abekasis helped. We tried every<br />

approach, and in the last weeks of your<br />

life, we tried to change your fate, but<br />

from Israel’s move from a social<br />

welfare system to a neo-liberal<br />

philosophy. It was also a sobering<br />

reminder of our own limitations.<br />

<strong>For</strong> almost a year, several RHR staff<br />

members dealt with this case.<br />

Rabbi Idit Lev accompanied him<br />

on a daily basis, while Rabbi Arik<br />

Ascherman also helped when Rabbi<br />

Idit Lev was not available. Attorney<br />

Becky Cohen-Keshet dealt with the<br />

legal aspects of his situation. In<br />

cooperation with RHR, MK Orly<br />

Levy-Abekasis, chairperson of the<br />

Knesset Lobby for Public Housing,<br />

also tried to negotiate with the<br />

A Eulogy for Moshe Silman z”l<br />

by Rabbi Idit Lev<br />

Ministry of Housing on Moshe’s<br />

behalf, but all was in vain. <strong>The</strong><br />

Amidar official made it clear to<br />

Moshe that he was not entitled to<br />

rental assistance because he did<br />

not meet the strict criteria. Moshe<br />

appealed again and again, and<br />

refused to accept the decision that a<br />

man in his condition was not entitled<br />

to the state assistance he required in<br />

order to live with dignity. In June,<br />

the Housing Ministry rejected his<br />

appeal. With a little more time, we<br />

believe that we had a decent chance<br />

to at least obtain a rent subsidy.<br />

Sadly, in his depressed state, Moshe<br />

had lost all hope.<br />

were unable to. At the beginning of June,<br />

I told friends at RHR’s <strong>Rights</strong> Center that<br />

your case was our greatest failure in<br />

realizing rights, as you were deserving<br />

of them, but we could not manage to<br />

make the authorities understand this.<br />

On Friday, Moshe, you said to me:<br />

“I shall make my protest alone,” and<br />

you did, carrying us all away in the<br />

whirlpool.<br />

You presented Israeli society with a<br />

mirror, and an ugly image of poverty in<br />

the State of Israel <strong>2012</strong>; a poverty that is<br />

shaming and humiliating; a poverty that<br />

cannot navigate an unbelievable maze<br />

of bureaucracy; a poverty that in even<br />

after receiving state assistance forces a<br />

person to collect handouts in order to<br />

survive.<br />

Every day since we established RHR’s<br />

<strong>Rights</strong> Center in Hadera, where I<br />

encounter daily stories of people like<br />

you, I am reminded of a sentence from<br />

the Jewish prayer after meals:<br />

“May the Lord, our Father, tend and<br />

nourish us, sustain and maintain us,<br />

and speedily grant us relief from<br />

all our troubles. Make the Lord<br />

make us dependent not on the<br />

<br />

23 RHR <strong>2013</strong>

handouts or loans of others, but<br />

rather on God’s full, open and<br />

generous hand, so that we may<br />

never be humiliated or put to shame.”<br />

How wise our rabbis once were, because<br />

now, in the State of Israel, matnat basar<br />

vedam (receiving help) involves shame<br />

and humiliation.<br />

Today in Israel more than 20,000 families<br />

and individuals live in Kafkaesque<br />

situations similar to that of Moshe<br />

Silman, a step away from living on the<br />

street, hungry, with not enough money<br />

to go to the doctor or to buy medicines,<br />

unable to cover expenses of the<br />

deteriorating educational system, and<br />

without any right to receive sufficient<br />

assistance from the State.<br />

Moshe, the mirror you set before us<br />

says “Enough!” You told us it was time<br />

to demand from the State to solve this<br />

national crisis. Contrary to what the<br />

Prime Minister of Israel said, this is<br />

not a personal tragedy – it is a national<br />

tragedy.<br />

<strong>The</strong> time has come for the citizens of<br />

the State of Israel to have suitable public<br />

housing, a good public healthcare<br />

system, an excellent public education<br />

system, and a welfare system which<br />

helps those who need assistance.<br />

Rabbi Heschel said: “In a democratic<br />

society, some are guilty, all are<br />

responsible.” We, as longtime social<br />

activists and the multitudes who have<br />

joined the social protest movement<br />

in the last year, have assumed our<br />

democratic responsibility of changing<br />

the State in which we live, of turning<br />

it into a place where the Rambam’s<br />

highest level of justice prevails:<br />

“You shall thou uphold him: he live<br />

with you as a resident alien” (Leviticus,<br />

25:35). That is, strengthen him so that<br />

he does not fall and be in need.<br />

<strong>The</strong> government of Israel does not take<br />

responsibility for its actions, and it is at<br />

fault that Moshe died in vain.<br />

To the ministers in the Israeli<br />

government– you are happy to be<br />

given the honor of being a minister,<br />

but you flagrantly ignore the grave<br />

responsibility that comes with the post,<br />

the responsibility for all the citizens of<br />

the State of Israel. We will not let you<br />

forget your role, and we will not let you<br />

continue to conduct a greedy economic<br />

policy on our backs. You are guilty of<br />

Moshe’s death. You are responsible for<br />

the plight of the homeless and those<br />

sleeping on sofas in Israel, for the hungry<br />

and the sick and those struggling with<br />

poverty.<br />

We demand that you listen to the words<br />

of the Supreme Court: “Personal dignity<br />

includes… Guaranteeing the minimum<br />

required for human sustenance…A<br />

man living on the street who has no<br />

home, is a man whose dignity has been<br />

compromised; a man who is hungry<br />

is a man whose dignity has been<br />

compromised; a man who has no access<br />

to basic medical care is a man whose<br />

dignity has been compromised; a man<br />

forced to live in humiliating material<br />

conditions is a man whose dignity has<br />

been compromised.”<br />

We demand that Moshe be the last<br />

victim. We demand that you will never<br />

again compromise anybody’s dignity,<br />

and that you will never endanger<br />

anyone’s the life.<br />

I pray that Moshe will be the last<br />

victim.<br />

In these days, bayn hametzarim (the<br />

3 weeks between the fast day of 17<br />

Tammuz, marking the breach of the<br />

walls of Jerusalem, and Tisha’ B’Av, the<br />

fast day commemorating the destruction<br />

of the Second Temple) are difficult days,<br />

I ask all those who are in terrible need,<br />

please look after your souls and bodies.<br />

“Guard your souls well”<br />

(Deuteronomy, 4:15).<br />

Israel’s Unrecognized Bedouin Villages of the Negev<br />

As we write this report, Israel has<br />

intensified its efforts to eliminate<br />

the “unrecognized” Bedouin<br />

villages in the Negev, which either<br />

existed before Israel was founded<br />

or were created in locations to<br />

which the Israeli army itself moved<br />

Bedouin in the early years of the<br />

State. Being unrecognized, they<br />

receive no services, their homes are<br />

automatically “illegal” and subject<br />

to demolition, and their crops are<br />

sprayed and killed. RHR and our<br />

coalition partners are working to<br />

prevent the forceful transfer of some<br />

40,000 additional Bedouin into<br />

artificially created cities, and the<br />

theft of their land.<br />

Throughout <strong>2012</strong>, RHR continued<br />

to take action to publicize the<br />

plight of El-Arakib, which has been<br />

demolished over 40 times since the<br />

first and most traumatic demolition<br />

in July 2010. Rabbi Ascherman has<br />

been the driving force in RHR behind<br />

the support of this community. RHR,<br />

along with RHR-NA (now T’ruah)<br />

and the Jewish Alliance for Change,<br />

successfully pressured the JNF-KKL<br />

to agree to freeze the planting of<br />

forests closing in and threatening to<br />

erase the memory of El-Arakib. <strong>The</strong>y<br />

have agreed to do so on four plots<br />

until the court rules on competing<br />

state and Bedouin land ownership<br />

claims. We asked the JNF to focus<br />

on their admirable work in the<br />

fields of forestry and ecology, and<br />

to leave behind that part of their<br />

history which has been complicit in<br />

unjustly creating facts on the ground<br />

and discriminating against Israel’s<br />

Arab citizens. In December, the<br />

High Court ordered that the District<br />

Court hear these claims, despite<br />

state contentions that all Bedouin<br />

proof of ownership is irrelevant<br />

because the state expropriated the<br />

lands in 1953. RHR is now urging<br />

the JNF to freeze the forestation on<br />

all of the El-Arakib lands, which will<br />

be discussed before the Court, and<br />

not just the four plots.<br />

El-Arakib is but one poignant<br />

reminder of the forced evictions<br />

that some 30,000-45,000 Bedouin<br />

in the Negev may face. Ignoring<br />

the government-sponsored<br />

recommendation of the Goldberg<br />

Committee to legalize most of<br />

the “unrecognized” villages, the<br />

government sought to implement the<br />

Prawer recommendations, calling<br />

for additional mass expulsions and<br />

forced relocation into seven artificial<br />

cities, which have become magnets<br />

for crime, poverty, drugs and despair<br />

and threaten the Bedouin way of<br />

life. In January <strong>2013</strong>, the outgoing<br />

government adopted Minister Benny<br />

Begin’s report, which combined the<br />

understanding language of Goldberg<br />

with the cruel recommendations<br />

of Prawer. Because right-wing<br />

extremists have expressed that<br />

the planned expulsions and land<br />

theft don’t go far enough, Begin<br />

apparently felt that this is the best<br />

deal the Bedouin could get.<br />

RHR now faces the very difficult<br />

task of ensuring justice for the<br />

Bedouin in light of the Begin report.<br />

As a part of the Coexistence <strong>For</strong>um,<br />

and along with the Negev Bedouin<br />

leadership, RHR will continue with<br />

a public campaign and lobbying<br />

strategy to prevent the passage of<br />

legislation implementing the Begin<br />

report. <strong>The</strong> JNF-KKL also shares<br />

some of the responsibility for the<br />

Prawer/Begin plan. <strong>The</strong> CEO of<br />

JNF-USA proudly proclaimed in a<br />

meeting with Rabbi Ascherman that<br />

he lobbied the Knesset to adopt the<br />

Negev Development Plan, which<br />

the Prawer/Begin plan serves. <strong>The</strong><br />

JNF-KKL will be asked to create a<br />

green belt on much of the land.<br />

RHR <strong>2013</strong> 24<br />

25 RHR <strong>2013</strong>

African Asylum Seekers in Israel<br />

RHR has been increasingly active<br />

regarding the plight of African asylum<br />

seekers fleeing from the killing<br />

fields of Sudan and Eritrea. Sadly,<br />

we are ignoring our own history by<br />

closing our borders. A new law now<br />

theoretically makes it a crime to<br />

help the some 60,000 refugees and<br />

asylum seekers in Israel, and we have<br />

one of the lowest rates in the world<br />

for granting refugee status. Current<br />

policy pits disadvantaged veteran<br />

residents of South Tel Aviv against<br />

the asylum seekers. Attacks and<br />

other manifestations of hatred and<br />

anger have become more frequent.<br />

In addition to our longstanding<br />

participation in High Court appeals<br />

seeking to allow them to work,<br />

prevent geographical restrictions<br />

on where they are allowed to live,<br />

etc., we did our best to publicize<br />

the plight of the South Sudanese<br />

who were ultimately deported<br />

in <strong>2012</strong> after losing the group<br />

protection still given to Eritreans<br />

and those from North Sudan. Our<br />

Education Department now brings<br />

Israeli young people to South Tel<br />

Aviv, and during the “Aseret Yamei<br />

Teshuvah” between Rosh Hashanah<br />

and Yom Kippur, RHR co-sponsored<br />

a series of vigils outside the homes<br />

of Interior Minister Yishai, Prime<br />

Minister Netanyahu and Defense<br />

Minister Barak. RHR recently asked<br />

our supporters around the world<br />

to write letters to the Ministry of<br />

Interior because refugees were<br />

being told they either face at least<br />

three years of detention or must<br />

“voluntarily” leave. That policy<br />

has been cancelled, but growing<br />

numbers of asylum seekers are<br />

being incarcerated. We have been<br />

working increasingly closely with<br />

the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society<br />

(HIAS), and hope to: 1. Ensure that<br />

Israel implements fair policies for<br />

granting refugee status and accepts<br />

our fair share. 2. Look for creative<br />

solutions such as getting third<br />

countries to allow Israel to act as<br />

a way station, and ask Jewish and<br />

other communities in host countries<br />

to make this easier by sponsoring<br />

refugee families. We need your<br />

help to make this happen. In<br />

December, at the invitation of HIAS,<br />

Education Director Rabbi Nava<br />

Hefetz addressed a U.N interfaith<br />

conference on the plight of refugees<br />

around the world. Her remarks<br />

can be found on RHR’s website.<br />

Since the conference, Rabbi Hefetz<br />

has been working with <strong>Rabbis</strong><br />

Ascherman and Yehudai to help<br />

establish international interfaith<br />

standards on this issue.<br />

Portrait of one of our young rabbis/rabbinical students:<br />

Rabbi Kobi Weiss<br />

Kobi comes from an ultra-Orthodox background, and was ordained within that world. He later<br />

left religion entirely, but did not find himself in the secular hi-tech world. Judaism was in his<br />

soul, and he began to teach in pre-army academies and to lead worship services for secular<br />

Israelis. Although he would put on a kippah and serve as an army rabbi when called up for<br />

reserve duty, he still had difficulty calling himself a rabbi.<br />

Working with RHR has reconnected Kobi with the purpose of Judaism. He says that it has<br />

helped him define what it truly means to be a rabbi, “<strong>The</strong> work has sharpened my philosophy of social justice<br />

from a Jewish perspective – what are goals are. Working for human rights is an integral part of the responsibility<br />

of the Jewish people in our generation, each from his/her own place. This realization doesn’t just impact on my<br />

work for RHR, but everything else I teach, how I teach, how I structure my day…It isn’t about politics and it hasn’t<br />

changed how I vote. It is much deeper than that. It is about what it means to be called ‘rabbi.’… My work in Beit<br />

Shean has crystallized my thoughts about poverty and work. I have been teaching for two years in a program for<br />

discharged soldiers. I teach them that the essence of being a leader is not averting one’s eyes and turning away.”<br />

Kobi’s community work in Beit Shean has led him to understand and to teach that you can’t simply talk about issues<br />

such as poverty via theory and statistics. You need to experience them at the grassroots level. He learned that we<br />

must be careful not to patronize those with whom we work. Our goal must be to help people overcome all of the<br />

forces that lead us not to take action to help ourselves or others.<br />

Kobi writes, “This work challenges me. RHR is a reference group. I am not Reform, Conservative or Orthodox. I<br />

come home and my family doesn’t fully understand that I am not in any particular movement. But I never had a<br />

support group. Now I have people around me whom I can speak with.”<br />

Education Department<br />

HR’s Education Department, directed by Rabbi Nava Hefetz, teaches<br />

the connection between Judaism and human rights to young people<br />

in 13 pre-military academies. We engage university students at our<br />

<strong>Human</strong> <strong>Rights</strong> Yeshiva at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and have<br />

opened a new yeshiva at Jezreel Valley College. In addition to study,<br />

the yeshiva students also participate in a human rights project with<br />

RHR or another human rights organization. RHR works with Jewish<br />

and Bedouin women students at Sapir College, who learn about<br />

each other and about our faith traditions regarding human rights<br />

and the status of women. We give the women tools to be activists<br />

and they conduct shared social change projects. In partnership with<br />

the San Francisco Jewish Learning Initiative (formerly the Bureau<br />

of Jewish Education) we have produced an English version of RHR’s<br />

Tractate Independence, and developed a middle school curriculum<br />

for American Jews.<br />

“We’re ending the year not only more aware of our<br />

rights, but also more involved in the whole issue of<br />

the rights of everyone in Israel. You’ve shown us the<br />

meaning of tolerance and pluralism, the importance<br />

of looking deeper into things, conveying criticism and<br />

reinterpretation of things on the spot instead of taking<br />

what’s written as the only correct interpretation.”<br />

Nachshon Junior College, Metzudat Yoav<br />

RHR <strong>2013</strong> 26<br />

27 RHR <strong>2013</strong>

Teaching <strong>Human</strong> <strong>Rights</strong> in Israel’s Pre-Military Academies<br />

RHR’s Education Department was particularly busy<br />

this past year. In October <strong>2012</strong>, we increased the<br />

number of pre-military academies in which we work<br />

from 11 to 13, and we hope to continue to meet<br />

the growing demand for this program in the coming<br />

years. Some 600 young people, the majority of whom<br />

will become army officers, are exposed to our human<br />

rights teachings in these 13 pre-military academies.<br />

<strong>The</strong> students all use the same text, “Tractate<br />

Independence” – RHR’s rabbinical interpretation of<br />

the Declaration of Independence of the State of Israel.<br />

We encourage the students to engage with the values<br />

in the Declaration and to compare them to Jewish<br />

worldviews found in the Jewish tradition through the<br />

generations.<br />

<strong>The</strong> goal of this course is to educate the participants<br />

and to encourage them to ask questions and challenge<br />

their views and prejudices, exploring the concept of<br />

“the other” in Israeli society. We examine the roots of<br />

the approach to “the other” in Jewish sources and using<br />

different philosophical approaches. As future soldiers,<br />

commanders and leaders, it is our hope that when<br />

fulfilling their duties at checkpoints or commanding<br />

groups of soldiers, these young people will be influenced<br />

and deeply affected by the rights of the “other.”<br />

Students in RHR’s <strong>Human</strong> <strong>Rights</strong> courses in the<br />

pre-military academies are also exposed to human<br />

rights issues outside the classroom. In the 2011-<br />

<strong>2012</strong> academic year, all the academies participated<br />

in a tour of the Separation Barrier in Jerusalem, and<br />

several took pilot tours examining the situation of<br />

African refugees and asylum seekers in South Tel Aviv<br />

and the unrecognized Bedouin villages of the Negev.<br />

In the <strong>2012</strong>-<strong>2013</strong> academic year, our goal is that each<br />

academy will take four tours: the Separation Barrier,<br />

South Tel Aviv, the unrecognized villages, and the<br />

South Hebron Hills.<br />

Last year, several groups of students joined RHR staff<br />

and members at meetings with Sudanese and Eritrean<br />

refugees in South Tel Aviv, hearing firsthand about<br />

their experiences in Israel. We also met with a Jewish<br />

resident of the Shapira neighborhood, as well as with<br />

the director of the Levinsky Garden Library.<br />

One student who participated in the tour commented:<br />

“<strong>The</strong> refugee problem is a humanitarian one; the<br />

situation is in flux and it is difficult to deport them back<br />

to their original countries. <strong>The</strong>y feel like citizens of the<br />

land, joining youth groups such as the Scouts, and they<br />

learn Hebrew.” Upon meeting with Margaret, one of<br />

the social activists from the Shapira neighborhood,<br />

the student wrote that, “<strong>The</strong> situation is insane.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re is a lack of preschools, a lack of space, a lack<br />

of solutions to the distress of the foreign workers’<br />

children. Educationally, the problem is even more<br />

severe – there are not enough schools, and there is no<br />

capacity to absorb such a large population. <strong>The</strong>re is<br />

no investment in infrastructure, in lighting, and there<br />

is no secular elementary school – parents are forced<br />

to send their children farther away. Margaret lives<br />

on a relatively middle-class street. She contends that<br />

the boundary between the building and the street has<br />

blurred, and the situation is chaotic and untenable.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re are alcohol and drugs everywhere, to the point<br />

of public nuisance. <strong>The</strong> Shapira neighborhood is a<br />

microcosm of the whole migration issue. <strong>The</strong> place<br />

feels like a garbage dump.”<br />

We also took each pre-military academy on a tour of<br />

the Separation Barrier in Jerusalem, contrasting Israeli<br />

security concerns with the challenge of upholding the<br />

<strong>Human</strong> <strong>Rights</strong> Yeshivas<br />

rights of Palestinians residents of East Jerusalem. <strong>The</strong><br />

tour includes meetings with local Palestinian residents<br />

who tell the students first-hand about the challenges<br />

that they face; for many young Israelis, this is their first<br />

time meeting Palestinians. Students from the Ami-Chai<br />

Junior College wrote to Rabbi Nava Hefetz, “We the<br />

students at the Ami-Chai Junior College wish to thank<br />

you for the tour along the separation barrier in Jerusalem.<br />

<strong>The</strong> junior college students were not familiar with the<br />

reality of the fence. <strong>The</strong> tour enriched our knowledge<br />

and opinions. <strong>The</strong> way in which the content was given<br />

over was inspiring. Most people are too closed off to<br />

others’ opinions and speak rudely. You conveyed things<br />

pleasantly and calmly, and in a very positive way.”<br />

In addition to the tours, many of the pre-military<br />

academies engage in human rights projects with<br />

marginalized communities within Israel. By working<br />

within these pre-military academies, <strong>Rabbis</strong> for<br />

<strong>Human</strong> <strong>Rights</strong> is helping the next generation of Israeli<br />

leaders to change the face of Israel.<br />

We have high hopes for these young people, many<br />

of whom were involved in the social protests of the<br />

Summer of 2011 and continue to work for social<br />

change within Israel. We see our former students<br />

involved in many organizations and initiatives, and<br />

sometimes in key positions as Knesset aides, in the<br />

prosecutor’s office, etc. We need many more initiatives<br />

like this, because others who do not share our values<br />

also have been investing in education for many years<br />

quietly and out of the spotlight.<br />

RHR’s <strong>Human</strong> <strong>Rights</strong> Yeshivas also continued to flourish this past year. In 2011-12, we ran two <strong>Human</strong> <strong>Rights</strong> Batei<br />

Midrash: one at Hebrew University, operating since 2003, and the other at the Open University in Ra’anana. At<br />

the end of the academic year, we decided to close the program in Ra’anana, as the university tends to attract older,<br />

more mature students who are returning to study after being in the workforce, while we seek to reach out to Israel’s<br />

young generation. In October <strong>2012</strong>, we again launched the <strong>Human</strong> <strong>Rights</strong> Yeshiva at Hebrew University for 20<br />

students, with Debbie Shoua-Haim, one of RHR’s four rabbinical students/young rabbis/prospective next generation<br />

rabbis, appointed as coordinator. Our new program at Jezreel Valley College in the North, run by Rabbi Kobi Weiss<br />

and Rabbi Tlalit Shavit, attracted 80 applicants for just 20 places! Students who participate in the <strong>Human</strong> <strong>Rights</strong><br />

Yeshivas receive a stipend and are expected to intern in a human rights or social change organization. While Jezreel<br />

Valley College has agreed to pay the stipends for the students, RHR covers this cost at the Hebrew University. In<br />

the coming year, we hope that rabbis around the world will help support our <strong>Human</strong> <strong>Rights</strong> Yeshivas, including the<br />

sponsorship of students.<br />

Over the past year, RHR also worked on the English version of our Tractate Independence (RHR’s commentary on<br />

Israel’s Declaration of Independence, teaching democracy and human rights as Jewish values in a Talmudic style).<br />

<strong>For</strong> the past year, Debbie Shoua-Haim and long-standing board member Rabbi Amy Klein have worked toward<br />

completing this task, focusing on creating a middle school curriculum suitable for Jewish day schools, supplementary<br />

schools and youth groups. Several Bay Area Jewish schools have committed to running pilot programs in the <strong>2013</strong>-<br />

2014 academic year, and we would be happy to conduct pilots in additional cities.<br />

RHR <strong>2013</strong> 28<br />

29 RHR <strong>2013</strong>

Citizens for Equality<br />

This year marks the third and final year of the first cohort of RHR’s Citizens for Equality program, engaging Jewish<br />

and Bedouin women students at Sapir College. <strong>The</strong> three-year program has been demanding and difficult. At the<br />

beginning, the participants had difficulties finding common ground, as they came from vastly different social and<br />

religious backgrounds. Students also faced difficulties in continuing the program, with some revolting against the<br />

traditions of their own societies, and standing by their resolve to participate in the program, and to improve their<br />

own lives and those of their communities. Coordinators Amal El-Sanah and Leah Shakdiel worked hard to create<br />

cohesion amongst the participants.<br />

At the beginning of <strong>2012</strong>, Citizens for Equality participants held a study day in Jaffa, touring the city in order to<br />

understand the often opposing Jewish and Arab narratives. We met the rabbi of the Torah-centered settlement group<br />

in Jaffa and with Tel Aviv-Jaffa City Councilor Sami Abu Shehadeh. We also toured South Tel Aviv in order to learn<br />

more about the plight of the African refugees and their Jewish neighbors.<br />

In this third and final year, the students are embarking on small, community-based projects devoted to human<br />

rights and social change. <strong>The</strong> aim of these projects is to encourage leadership skills and create social change in<br />

communities in the Negev area. Projects planned include building a park in the presently neglected area of Tel<br />

Sheva; using music as a tool for communication between different ethnic and religious groups; and running an<br />

advisory center for women who lack the knowledge to apply for social benefits. Although these projects are small<br />

in scale, they enable the students to apply their knowledge gained throughout the past two years, and in doing so,<br />

empower themselves as they help others.<br />

Interfaith<br />

Portrait of one of our young rabbis/rabbinical students:<br />

Debbie Shoua-Haim<br />

I was born and raised in Jerusalem. I’m married to Alon and I live in Jerusalem. Prior<br />

to working at RHR, I was trained as a Jewish studies teacher and taught in various<br />

Jerusalem high schools. I’m finishing my MA in Bible Studies and am planning to<br />

study for the rabbinate over the coming years.<br />

My work at RHR (in the Education Department) has opened up my eyes to see more<br />

and more wrongs in our society and has opened my heart to feel the suffering of others. I learn from<br />

RHR’s more experienced rabbis and employees about justice, morality and fighting for worthy causes.<br />

In my work I truly feel that I have a chance to make a difference in the way that young people, high<br />

school and university students perceive the importance of human rights, their connection to the Jewish<br />

tradition, and the duty we all have to fight for them.<br />

RHR’s Interfaith work is mainly led by Rabbi Yehiel Grenimann, and we work in a variety of interfaith<br />

capacities. We are part of the “Tag Meir” (light tag) coalition of organizations (see below), and we also<br />

have several interfaith projects involving young religious students and leaders.<br />

Tag Meir<br />

RHR organized and participated in several<br />

activities of "Tag Meir" (light tag), a coalition<br />

of organizations that respond to so-called “Tag<br />

Mekhir” (price tag) Jewish terror and violence<br />

against Palestinians, refugees and migrants,<br />

and others in Israel and the West Bank. In June<br />

<strong>2012</strong>, we participated in a Tag Meir event at<br />

Neve Shalom, at which RHR board member<br />

Rabbi Gil Nativ spoke. In September <strong>2012</strong>,<br />

in response to the desecration and attempted<br />

arson of Latrun Monastery, we joined in an<br />

interfaith prayer held at the monastery. Earlier,<br />

at the end of 2011, RHR organized solidarity visits to the villages of Asira al-Qibliya and al-Burka. In<br />

Asira al-Qibliya we visited with a family who had been subjected to many violent attacks by settlers from<br />

the nearby outpost of Yitzhar. In addition to words of support and commitment to peace and justice,<br />

we donated a barbed-wire fence to help protect them from the ongoing violence from their neighbors.<br />

In al-Burka we visited the mosque, which had been subject to arson only a week before. We brought<br />

them new books of the Qur’an, replacing those destroyed in the fire and again both sides spoke of their<br />

commitment to peace and coexistence. It was most heartening to see many young people participating<br />

and the warm reception from our Palestinian hosts.<br />

RHR <strong>2013</strong> 30<br />

31 RHR <strong>2013</strong>

Seminary Students Environment Project<br />

Yonatan Shefa, who holds one of our four rabbinical student/young rabbi positions, devoted part of his<br />

time in the second half of <strong>2012</strong> to facilitating groups of Jewish, Christian and Muslim seminary students<br />

who engaged in joint study about the overlap between human rights and the environment. This project<br />

comprises a series of intensive seminars that to date have focused on the subjects of water, the desert, and<br />

olive trees. <strong>The</strong> project is being run in partnership with the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development<br />

and will continue through <strong>2013</strong>.<br />

Emerging Religious Leaders Project<br />

In May <strong>2012</strong>, Yonatan Shefa also began co-facilitating a project that brings together emerging Palestinian<br />

and Israeli religious leadership to develop mutual understanding and trust, with the aim of creating<br />

collaborative projects promoting peace and human rights. This yearlong project is sponsored by Search<br />

for Common Ground and the Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land.<br />

RHR in the News<br />

During <strong>2012</strong>, RHR continued to implement the strategic decision taken during 2010 to promote our unique<br />

voice to the Israeli public. After Yariv Mohar began to work as our spokesperson during 2011, RHR began to<br />

enjoy increased exposure in the Israeli media and diversified coverage in the internet media as well as in the<br />

more traditional print media, television, and radio during <strong>2012</strong>.<br />

In <strong>2012</strong>, RHR was mentioned in 149 media items, including three items on Channel 2, the leading and most<br />

selective television station in Israel; 17 items on Kol Israel, the leading Israeli radio network; 11 items on<br />

YNET, the country’s most popular internet news site and nine on MAKO, the internet site of Channel 2; as<br />

well as 30 items in Ha’aretz, which appeals to Israel’s elite and decision makers. In addition, we were cited<br />

numerous times in both the general and Jewish press abroad. RHR also contributed hundreds of op-eds to<br />

local newspapers and internet news sites.<br />

With the dedication and knowledge of Matti Shmueloff, our Social Media Director, our online presence has<br />

also increased. Our near daily posts on Facebook in English and Hebrew are widely and increasingly read<br />

and reposted. In the beginning of <strong>2012</strong> alone, 46,688 unique visitors accessed RHR’s Hebrew and English<br />

language websites; 30 percent are regular readers and follow our activities on an ongoing basis.<br />

During <strong>2012</strong>, our Communications Department also completed a video diary presenting the daily life and<br />

hardships of a 13-year-old Palestinian girl from the South Hebron Hills. <strong>The</strong> first two clips of this diary were<br />

launched at the end of December in an internet-based campaign designed to raise awareness of human rights<br />

abuses in this area. <strong>The</strong> diary seeks to reach the generally apathetic Israeli public: most Israelis are unaware of<br />

the existence of and hardships faced by the people of the South Hebron Hills. <strong>The</strong> story of this young woman<br />

will lend a human element to the issues in this area.<br />

Staff and Board<br />

RHR would like to thank Nico Sokolovsky, who left RHR’s staff after serving as the director of our Hadera<br />

office. Nico was one of the four rabbinical students/young rabbis whom we hired with a special grant.<br />

We wish him good luck in his rabbinical studies in the US. We also thank Shatil/New Israel Social Justice<br />

Fellow Moriel Rothberg for his contribution to RHR over the past year, as well as the outgoing <strong>Human</strong><br />

<strong>Rights</strong> Yeshiva director, Rabbi Gideon Sylvester.<br />

In <strong>2012</strong>, RHR welcomed Advocate Miya Keren to RHR’s Legal Department; Rabbi Sigal Asher, as our<br />

new manager of the Hadera office; Rabbi Tlalit Shavit as co-coordinator of the <strong>Human</strong> <strong>Rights</strong> Beit<br />

Midrash in Jezreel Valley College; civilian service intern Aviv Nesher; Everett Fellow for Social Justice,<br />

Vicky Liderman; and volunteers Ilana Sabu, Maria Gavrilova and Katie Deutsch.<br />

<strong>Rabbis</strong> Susan Silverman and Michael Klein-Katz, Rabbi Professor Yehoyada Amir and rabbinical student<br />

Josh Weinberg all joined our Board in <strong>2012</strong>. Stepping down from our board this year were <strong>Rabbis</strong><br />

Gil Nativ, Miri Gold, Galia Sadan, Yehoshua Engelman and Ehud Bandel, who has joined our Audit<br />

Committee. We welcome Rabbi Amy Klein back to our board.<br />

Contributors<br />

RHR’s work would not be possible without you. We value each and every one of you, regardless of the<br />

amount of your contribution. We are blessed with far more contributors than we can possibly list here. <strong>The</strong> list<br />

that follows acknowledges contributions of $360 or more received between November 2011 and December<br />

<strong>2012</strong> If we have inadvertently omitted your name, please let us know and we will correct it in future copies<br />

of the report.<br />

Osei Tesdakha,<br />

$5,000 +<br />

<strong>The</strong> Ada G. and Stanley I.<br />

Halbreich Foundation<br />

AECID<br />

Alan Sussman<br />

Alexander S. Preker<br />

Alfred Bader<br />

Anonymous<br />

Caritus Belgium<br />

Church of Sweden<br />

European Commission<br />

Firedoll Foundation<br />

Foundation for Middle East<br />

Peace<br />

George and Bella Savran<br />

Google Matching Gifts Program<br />

<strong>Human</strong> <strong>Rights</strong> Defenders Fund<br />

Iris O’Brien Foundation<br />

<strong>The</strong> Social Justice Fund<br />

Karl Kahane Foundation<br />

Kerk in Actie<br />

Liberal Judaism- <strong>The</strong> Montagu<br />

Center<br />

Lois Q. Whitman<br />

Lois and Richard England<br />

Foundation<br />

Luis Lainer<br />

Michael J. Hirschhorn<br />

Michael Ratner<br />

Misereor<br />

<strong>The</strong> Moriah Fund<br />

New Israel Fund<br />

NGO Development Center<br />

Norwegian Church<br />

Overseas Resources<br />

Foundation Ltd.<br />

Quail Roost Foundation<br />

Robert L and Edith Zinn<br />

<strong>The</strong> Samuels Foundation<br />

Topol Family Fund<br />

Sparkplug Foundation<br />

Stein Sharpe Family Fund<br />

Tal Pritzker<br />

Tom and Gail Kaneb<br />

Trocaire<br />

Vivian and Paul Olum<br />

Charitable Foundation<br />

Winograd-Hunter Fund<br />

Shomrei Mishpat,<br />

$1,000-$4,999<br />

Almoney Fund<br />

Amcha <strong>For</strong> Tsedakah<br />

Rabbi Amy E. Eilberg<br />

Rabbi Amy Schwartzman<br />

Rabbi Andrea C. London<br />

Asia Connection, Inc.<br />

Barbara Dobkin<br />

Rabbi Barbara J. Zacky<br />

Susan & Benjamin Baxt<br />

Beth El Synagogue, St. Louis<br />

Park, MN<br />

Bureau of Jewish Education<br />

Catherine S. England<br />

Rabbi Charles M. Feinberg<br />

Coggeshall Restoration, Inc<br />

Congregation Beth El of Sudbury,<br />

MA<br />

Craig M. Oettinger<br />

Daniel Bogard<br />

David Smiley<br />

David Berkal<br />

Rabbi David Stern<br />

Rabbi David A. Teutsch<br />

David and Rabbi Jacqueline<br />

Koch Ellenson<br />

Edward Witten<br />

Eleanor Friedman<br />

Elizabeth Lehman and Ruben<br />

Kraiem<br />

Ellen Grobman<br />

Rabbi Ellen Lippmann<br />

Rabbi Elliott Tepperman<br />

Rabbi Elyse D. Frishman<br />

Enid Shapiro<br />

Evely L. Shlensky<br />

Freeman Family Foundation<br />

Gail Tomberg<br />

Glickenhaus Foundation<br />

Google Matching Gifts<br />

Program<br />

Rabbi Gordon Tucker<br />

Harriet & Richard Orkand<br />

Family Educational &<br />

Charitable Fdn<br />

Howard J. Wial<br />

Daniel Rice and Ilise S.<br />

Cohen<br />

Rabbi Isaac D. Serotta<br />

Jeanne Blaustein<br />

Jeffrey Justin<br />

Dr. Jeremiah P. and Alicia<br />

Ostriker<br />

Joan M. Karlin<br />

Rabbi Joel Sisenwine<br />

Rabbi Jonathan Kligler<br />

Rabbi John L. Rosove<br />

Rabbi Jonathan P. Slater<br />

Rabbi Joseph Wolf<br />

Joshua Newman<br />

Judith A. Jarashow<br />

Judith Orloff<br />

Judith Scheuer & Joseph<br />

Mellicker<br />

Jules Bernstein<br />

Rabbi Kenneth M. Chasen<br />

Kit Colbert<br />

RHR <strong>2013</strong> 32<br />

33 RHR <strong>2013</strong>

Larry Buck<br />

Larry K. Keefer<br />

Laurel E. Friedman<br />

Rabbi Lester Bronstein<br />

Louise D. & Morton J. Macks Family<br />

Foundation, Inc.<br />

Rabbi Marcia Prager<br />

Marianne Udow-Phillips<br />

Marion Fredman<br />

Rabbi Mark H. Levin<br />

Marlene Booth<br />

Marvin Naiman and Margery Goldman<br />

Family<br />

Maxine A. Goldblum<br />

Michael J. Skloff & Marta Kaufman<br />

Michael Kieschnick<br />

Michael Radwin<br />

Michael Schecter<br />

Rabbi Michael Strassfeld<br />

Michael J. Zigmond<br />

Michelle H. Green<br />

Michelle A. Ores Schorin<br />

Microsoft Matching Gifts Program<br />

Milton Viorst<br />

Nancy Bernstein<br />

Rabbi Nancy Flam and Neil Kudler<br />

Nancy Meyer<br />

Rabbi Nancy H. Wiener<br />

Oz Benamram & Gali Freedman<br />

Paul S. Grobman<br />

Rabbi Paula F. Marcus<br />

Rabbi Peter J. Rubinstein<br />

Rabbi Rachel Goldenberg<br />

Rachel B. Tiven<br />

Rachel S. Bearman<br />

Rabbi Richard J. Jacobs<br />

Richard Tavan<br />

Robert L. Zinn<br />

Rabbi Rolando J. Matalon<br />

Ronnie Williams<br />

Rubin Family Foundation<br />

Russell Pearce<br />

Rabbi Sally J. Priesand<br />

Sameer Y. Merchant<br />

Sarah Perman<br />

Scott & Jasmine Roseman<br />

Rabbi Sheila P. Weinberg<br />

Stephanie Barbe Hammer<br />

Stephen Marglin<br />

Rabbi Steven C. Reuben<br />

Stanley Eisenberg<br />

Rabbi Sue Levi Elwell<br />

Rabbi Susan A. Talve<br />

Suzanne J. Marks<br />

Sybil and Steve Wolin<br />

Temple Beth Emeth, Ann Arbor, MI<br />

Vivian and Paul Olum Charitable<br />

Foundation<br />

William Resnick<br />

William E. Rose<br />

Dorshei Mishpat<br />

$360 to $999<br />

Rabbi Aaron B. Bisno<br />

Rabbi Aaron Spiegel<br />

Rabbi Adam Zeff<br />

Adas Israel Congregation, Washington<br />

DC<br />

Alan Altschuler<br />

Alan Green<br />

Alexandra Wall<br />

Alfred E. Marks Charitable Trust<br />

Allen H. Mushinsky<br />

Amy L. Lansky<br />

Amy R. Harrington<br />

Rabbi Andrea C. London<br />

Andrea L. Turner<br />

Andrew Shugerman<br />

Rabbi Andrew Vogel<br />

Cantor Angela Buchdahl<br />

Ann Sprayregen<br />

Anne E. Belford<br />

Rabbi Ariel Stone<br />

Arlene Alpert<br />

Rabbi Arthur O. Waskow and Rabbi<br />

Phyllis Berman<br />

Aryeh Cohen<br />

Avi M. Schulman<br />

Rabbi Avi Winokur<br />

Barrett S. Litt<br />

Benita Kaimowitz<br />

Rabbi Bernard Barsky<br />

Rabbi Bernard H. Mehlman<br />

Beth E. Burrows<br />

Beth Israel Congregation, Ann Arbor, MI<br />

Bettyruth Walter<br />

Bill Harford<br />

Bonni Schiff<br />

Boris Kofman<br />

Rabbi Bruce Elder<br />

Carol J. and Sidney Hurlburt<br />

Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller<br />

Rabbi Charles K. Briskin<br />

Claudia Little<br />

Community Health Charities of New<br />

England, Inc.<br />

Community House Church, Washington<br />

DC<br />

Community Synagogue, Port<br />

Washington, NY<br />

Craig M. Oettinger<br />

Cynthia McClintock<br />

Daniel Goldrich<br />

Daniel G. Zemel<br />

Rabbi Daniel J. Isaak<br />

Rabbi Daniel Levin<br />

Rabbi Daniel M. Bronstein<br />

Rabbi David A. Teutsch<br />

Rabbi David Adelson<br />

David Grubin<br />

Rabbi David Posner<br />

Rabbi David Mersky<br />

David Weiser<br />

Deana Katz<br />

Deanna Love Rutman<br />

Rabbi Deborah Bronstein<br />

Deborah D. Moore<br />

Deborah H. Warden<br />

Rabbi Debra L. Rappaport<br />

Diana R. Engel<br />

Diane R. Baer<br />

Rabbi Douglas Heifetz<br />

Douglas S. Kerr<br />

Rabbi Edwin Harris<br />

Elaine Reuben<br />

Elinor Sashse<br />

Ellen Farmer<br />

Rabbi Elliot Strom<br />

Elsbeth Reisen<br />

Enid Shapiro<br />

Ephraim Pelcovits<br />

Eric M. Meyers<br />

Ernestine S. Elster<br />

Eve M. Wider<br />

Ezra A. Amsterdam<br />

Evelyn Hutt<br />

Rabbi Felicia L. Sol<br />

Rabbi Floyd L. Herman<br />

Francis Schrag<br />

Frank Bamberger<br />

Frederick A. Horowitz<br />

Rabbi Frederick H. Reeves<br />

Rabbi Geoffrey A. Mitelman<br />

George Kennedy<br />

Rabbi Gilah Lagner<br />

Gregory Rapp<br />

Rabbi Gregory Wolfe<br />

Rabbi Haim D. Beliak<br />

Harriet A. Feinberg<br />

Harriet J. Korim<br />

Rabbi Hector Epelbaum<br />

Rabbi Herbert Brockman<br />

Howard J. Wial<br />

Ilana R. Schatz<br />

Irwin Tauben<br />

Rabbi Irwin Zeplowitz<br />

Jacques L. Zakin<br />

Janet Kolodner<br />

Janet R. Newman<br />

Rabbi Jeffrey Brown<br />

Rabbi Jeffrey S. Saxe<br />

Jeffry S. Abrams<br />

Jennie E. Roitman<br />

Joan Blum<br />

Rabbi Joel Schwab<br />

John Washburn<br />

Rabbi John S. Friedman<br />

Jonathan W. Malino<br />

Rabbi Joshua Davidson<br />

Rabbi Joshua Lesser<br />

Joshua M. Levin<br />

Judith Kunofsky<br />

Judith Plaskow and Martha<br />

Ackelsberg<br />

Judith Ruderman<br />

Judith L. Tharp<br />

Rabbi Julie L. Roth<br />

June H. Nadle<br />

Katz-Lapides Family Fund<br />

Kehilla Community Synagogue,<br />

Piedmont, CA<br />

Key Foundation<br />

Rabbi Laura J. Geller<br />

Laurence Zuckerman<br />

Leola Lapides<br />

Les Rothschild<br />

Leslie Lomas<br />

Lili Perski<br />

Rabbi Linda J. Holtzman<br />

Linda Novick<br />

Liza Shtromberg<br />

Lois Fingerhut<br />

Lori Koffman<br />

Lucile Rosenberg<br />

Madeline Hirschland<br />

Rabbi Marc J. Margolius<br />

Marc Waldor<br />

Rabbi Marc Soloway<br />

Mark C. Levy<br />

Marsha D. Perman<br />

Mary K. Losman<br />

Max Samson<br />

Rabbi Melissa Klein<br />

Mervin N. Cherrin<br />

Mia Buckwald Gelles<br />

Rabbi Michael Goldman<br />

Michael Lezack<br />

Michael Marcus<br />

Michael Schechter<br />

Rabbi Michael Weinberg<br />

Rabbi Michael A. White<br />

Mira Wasserman<br />

Miriam J. Foss<br />

Mitchell Silverman<br />

Mitchell Udell<br />

Rabbi Mordechai E. Liebling<br />

Rabbi Nancy Wiener<br />

Rabbi Nancy F. Fuchs Kreimer<br />

Nancy Sherman<br />

Nathan Cogan<br />

Norbert Goldfield<br />

Paul Fitzpatrick<br />

Rabbi Paul J. Golomb<br />

Paula M. Jacobs<br />

Peter R. Olson<br />

Rabbi Peter Rigler<br />

Rabbi Peter S. Berg<br />

Rachel Evnine<br />

Richard Rosen<br />

Richard Soble<br />

Rabbi Richard S. Ugelow<br />

Robert B. Lifton<br />

Robert Factor<br />

Rabbi Robert H. Loewy<br />

Robert J. Schloss<br />

Rabbi Robert M. Dobrusin<br />

Rabbi Rosalind A. Gold<br />

Professors Ruth Anna and Hilary<br />

Putnam<br />

Rabbi Ruth H. Sohn<br />

Ruth L. Kraut<br />

Rabbi Ruth Zlotnick<br />

Sabina Harris<br />

Samuel Fleischacker<br />

Rabbi Samuel Gordon<br />

Samuel H. Neff<br />

Sander Mendelson<br />

Sandra C. Savett<br />

Rabbi Sara O’Donnell Adler<br />

Rabbi Sheldon J. Lewis<br />

Rabbi Sidney Schwarz<br />

Stefan F. Tucker<br />

Stephen O. Lesser<br />

Sterling Clarren<br />

Steven M. Cohen<br />

Steven Marcus<br />

Susan Swartz<br />

Rabbi Suzanne Griffel<br />

Rabbi Suzanne Singer<br />

Temple Israel, Minneapolis, MN<br />

Rabbi Terry Bookman<br />

Rabbi Toba E. Spitzer<br />

Todd Chanko<br />

Tom Schwab<br />

Rabbi Wendi Geffen<br />

Rabbi Yocheved Mintz<br />

Rabbi Yoel H. Kahn<br />

Victor A. Kovner<br />

Victor Honig<br />

William O. Sweeney<br />

Yossi Zaira<br />

RHR <strong>2013</strong> 34<br />

35 RHR <strong>2013</strong>

Board: Chairperson: Rabbi Barry Leff; Treasurer: Rabbi Ma’ayan Turner; Steering Committee: <strong>Rabbis</strong> Yehoyada Amir, Yonatan<br />

Chipman, Yehoshua Engelman, Shaul Feinberg, Miri Gold, Amy Klein, Michael Klein-Katz, Uri Regev, Galia Sadan, Ofer<br />

Shabbat-Bet Halachmi, Susan Silverman, Anita Steiner, Levi Weiman-Kelman, Zvi Weinberg, Moshe Yehudai. Student<br />

Representative: Josh Weinberg<br />

Staff: Executive Director: Ayala Levy President and Senior Rabbi and Special Projects: Rabbi Arik W. Ascherman; Special<br />

Projects Assistant: Rabbi Kobi Weiss; Educational Department Director: Rabbi Nava Hefetz; Educational Assistant: Debi<br />

Shoua-Haim; Economic Justice Department Director: Rabbi Idit Lev; <strong>Rights</strong> Center in Hadera: Adv. Becky Keshet, Aisha<br />

Sidawi, Rabbi Sigal Asher; Lobbyist: Nitzan Tenami; Legal Department Director: Adv. Quamar Mishirqi-Asaad; Lawyers:<br />

Avital Sharon, Keren Knafo, Miya Keren; Legal Assistant: Muhammad Abu-Sneineh; Legal Advisor: Adv. Netta Amar; Field<br />

Coordinator: Guy Butavia; Legal Secretary: Tiferet Kedmi; Occupied Territories Department Director: Rabbi Yehiel Grenimann<br />

Field Researcher: Zacharia Sadeh; Occupied Territories Assistant: Jonathan Shefa, Director of Resource Development: Ela<br />

Greenberg; Grants Director: Adena Ben-Reuven Spokesperson: Yariv Mohar; New Media Director: Mati Shemoelof; Office<br />

Secretary: Rivka Shochat<br />

Visiting Israel/Palestine: If you are organizing a group tour to Israel/Palestine or traveling on your own, <strong>Rabbis</strong> for <strong>Human</strong><br />

<strong>Rights</strong> would be happy to meet with you! If you are bringing a group to Israel/Palestine, please contact info@rhr.israel.net to<br />

arrange for a staff or board member to meet your tour group while you are here. In addition to meeting with your group, we<br />

also offer tours of East Jerusalem to learn about human rights issues and the Separation Wall; South Tel Aviv to learn about<br />

African refugees in Israel; to the unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Negev, and to South Hebron Hills, where Palestinian<br />

villages are being threatened by displacement<br />

Graphic Design: Rachel Ramon-Nofech [racheli.nf@gmail.com]<br />


Online: We are pleased to accept online donations in U.S. dollars, Euros, pound sterling, and Israeli shekels, made possible<br />

through our partnership with Israel Gives, an Israeli non-profit organization committed to furthering Israeli philanthropy.<br />

Israel Gives has partnered with American Support for Israel, Inc., an American 501(c)(3) public charity, and UK Toremet in<br />

the UK, so that donations from the U.S. and U.K. are tax deductible.<br />

To make an online donation, go to https://israelgives.org/custom/rhr/cart<br />

By check: We accept U.S. tax-deductible donations through American Support for Israel, a 501(c)(3) public charity that<br />

encourages philanthropy to Israel.<br />

Please make the donation out to “American Support for Israel” and write:<br />

“<strong>Rabbis</strong> for <strong>Human</strong> <strong>Rights</strong>, ID # 580151967” in the “<strong>For</strong>” or “Memo” column of the check.<br />

You are also invited to attach a letter to your contribution in which you indicate the organization you recommend the<br />

donation be used for.<br />

Please mail your contribution to:<br />

American Support for Israel<br />

PO Box 3263<br />

Washington, DC 20010<br />

We accept U.S. tax-deductible donations through the New Israel Fund.<br />

Checks (minimum $100), made out to the New Israel Fund, and marked as “donor advised to <strong>Rabbis</strong> for <strong>Human</strong> <strong>Rights</strong>”<br />

in the memo line, may be sent to:<br />

New Israel Fund<br />

2100 M Street NW<br />

Suite 619<br />

Washington DC 20037<br />

Please let us know that you sent a donation to us via American Support for Israel or via the New Israel Fund by sending<br />

an email to Adena Ben-Reuven, Grants Director, at adena@rhr.israel.net<br />

Direct deposits in any currency:<br />

Bank HaPoalim| Branch 782| 38 Aza St. | Jerusalem, 92384, ISRAEL| Account No. 153380<br />

Please let us know if you have made a direct deposit: adena@rhr.israel.net | +972-2-648 2757<br />

Canadian Donors:<br />

Please contact us directly about tax-deductible donations: ela@rhr.israel.net<br />

Please note: After many years of fruitful partnership since RHR helped create RHR-North America in 2002, our organizations<br />

announced on January 15th, <strong>2013</strong> that RHR-NA was changing its name to T’ruah, and will no longer be receiving donations<br />

on behalf of RHR. We wish T’ruah well in its work.<br />

RHR contact details: www.rhr.org.co.il<br />

9 Harechavim St. Jerusalem Israel 93462 Tel. 972-2-648-2757 info@rhr.israel.net

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