Call on Ambassador Taub: Halt the demolition of Susiya

Dear Ambassador Taub

We are writing to you out of deep commitment to Israel and to Judaism.

The Torah teaches us that ‘the stranger who lives with you shall be as a native from among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt’ (Vayikra 19:34).

Today, the Palestinian residents of Susiya face the imminent destruction of their village, the place they call home. This is scheduled to take place between now and August 3rd. The courts have ruled that 37 structures in the village are due for demolition because they were built without permits, despite the fact the land on which they stand belongs to the Palestinian villagers of Susiya.

Today is Tisha be’Av, when we remember the destruction which we as the Jewish people have experienced, a day preceded by the reading from Isaiah that ‘Zion shall be redeemed though justice’. The injustice of destroying the homes of the villagers of Susiya therefore feels especially poignant.

This is heightened by the fact that the original village of Susiya, just a few hundred metres away, from which the Palestinian residents of Susiya were first removed in 1986 to make way for an archaeological site, now contains homes belonging to settlers. These have been deemed illegal by the State of Israel, yet have not been demolished.

The claim that the Palestinians of Susiya build without permits itself reflects the greater injustice in which 94% of all residential building applications are routinely denied to over 150,000 Palestinians living in Area C, while the 100 settlement outposts, judged illegal according to Israeli law, are connected to the water supply and the electricity grid.

Our greatest desire is for all the citizens of the State of Israel to live in peace and safety according to our shared Jewish values and teachings.

The proposed action in Susiya is not only in itself unjust, but reflects badly on Israel’s image in the eyes of other nations and in the view of much of the Jewish community itself.

We want to forge an unbreakable and lasting connection between the members of our congregations and the Jewish state. Actions like this make this aim harder to achieve.

We urge you, for the sake of Jewish values, Israel, and the people of Susiya, to do what you can to halt these demolitions.

Yours sincerely,

  1. Rabbi Sylvia Rothschild
  2. Rabbi Alexandra Wright
  3. Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg
  4. Student Rabbi Robyn Ashworth Steen
  5. Rabbi Barbara Borts
  6. Rabbi Cliff Cohen
  7. Rabbi Howard Cooper
  8. Rabbi Janet Darley
  9. Rabbi Warren Elf*
  10. Rabbi Paul Freedman
  11. Rabbi Helen Freeman
  12. Rabbi Ariel Friedlander
  13. Rabbi Anna Gerrard
  14. Student Rabbi Nathan Godleman*
  15. Rabbi Amanda Golby
  16. Student Rabbi Naomi Goldman
  17. Rabbi Dr Jeremy Gordon
  18. Student Rabbi Roberta Harris*
  19. Rabbi Jason Holtz
  20. Rabbi Esther Hugenholtz
  21. Rabbi Harry Jacobi
  22. Rabbi Richard Jacobi*
  23. Cantor Zoe Jacobs*
  24. Rabbi Laura Janner Klausner
  25. Rabbi Leah Jordan
  26. Rabbi Emily Jurman
  27. Rabbi Dr Deborah Kahn-Harris
  28. Rabbi Dr Jonathan Magonet
  29. Rabbi Monique Mayer
  30. Rabbi David Mitchell
  31. Rabbi Lea Mühlstein
  32. Rabbi Jeffrey Newman
  33. Rabbi Rene Pferzel
  34. Rabbi Marcia Plumb*
  35. Rabbi Rebecca Qassim Birk
  36. Rabbi Tatsiana Sakhnovich*
  37. Rabbi Fabian Sborovsky
  38. Student Rabbi Zahavit Shalev
  39. Rabbi Sybil Sheridan*
  40. Rabbi Irit Shillor
  41. Cantor Gershon Sillins*
  42. Rabbi Danny Smith
  43. Rabbi Mark Solomon
  44. Rabbi Zvi Solomons
  45. Rabbi Benji Stanley
  46. Rabbi Dr Jackie Tabick
  47. Rabbi Daniela Thau
  48. Rabbi Elizabeth Tikvah Sarah*
  49. Rabbi Pete Tobias
  50. Rabbi Roderick Young
  51. Rabbi Debbie Young Somers

*Signed on after the letter was posted to the Ambassador.