One of the major focuses of Rabbis for Human Rights work in the Occupied Territories is ensuring Palestinian farmers are given full, safe access to their lands. This is especially relevant for farmers with land near settlements, unauthorised outposts, or near the Separation Barrier. We offer our assistance throughout the calendar, but the most concentrated time of year for this work comes in fall during the olive harvest.
During this time, we bring hundreds of volunteers to work side-by-side with Palestinian farmers. Our presence provides protection against possible settler intimidation, enables farmers to pick within the limited number of days that they can safely do so, and has also become an act of solidarity between Israeli Jews and Palestinians. In the fall of 2019, RHR brought out over 600 volunteers —both international and local — for more than thirty days of work in olive groves in the northern West Bank
In this week’s Torah portion, Ki Titzeh, there is a substantial connection between ensuring justice for the stranger (the Other), the orphan and the widow and our collective will to exploit our national memory so that we may be empathetic towards the oppressed members of our society.
Led by Rabbis Sylvia Rothschild and Alexandra Wright, Co-Chairs of the British Friends of Rabbis for Human RIghts, over 30 British Rabbis have sent a letter to the Israeli chargé d’affaires, Sharon Bar-Li, urging the Israeli Government to abandon its plans unilaterally to annex West Bank territory as a “travesty of Jewish teachings”. Read the full letter here.
Participants with signs that read “A Jewish Voice Against Annexation”. Click here for more pictures
Rabbis for Human Rights and Oz VeShalom Hold Public Protest Vigil and Prayer for Peace: A Religious Jewish Voice Against Annexation. At the Vigil Rabbis for Human Rights Releases Rabbinic Letter Against the Annexation with 140 Signatures of Israeli Rabbis from a Variety of Denominations. Continue reading →
As the holiday approaches, Rabbis for Human Rights share a special Shavuot edition of their newsletter.
The Calling of Shavuot: Standing Again at Sinai & Standing for Justice Rabbi Michael Marmur, Chairperson, Rabbis for Human Rights
Shavuot Sameach! This year the festival of Shavuot will be experienced in a different way than usual. In various stages of post-lockdown, puzzling over the cultural, institutional and economic impact of this global crisis, Continue reading →
An open letter from Rabbi Michael Marmur, Chair, Rabbi for Human Rights and an appeal for donations to help create an Israel of equals, with democracy and human rights and where all Israelis and Palestinians are treated with dignity and respect.
Avi Dabush, director of Rabbis for Human Rights, talks about life under constant rocket fire in Sderot and the need for peace with Gaza in an interview with the Jewish Chronicle on 22 March 2020: Continue reading →
With an expired “closed military zone” order the Israeli Army prohibited 200 Rabbis for Human Rights (RHR) activists from planting olive trees together with Palestinian farmers, in the Yaasuf village olive groves, some of which had previously been damaged by settlers.
RHR’s Executive Director, Avi Dabush: “It is incomprehensible why the army interprets planting olive trees and eating dried fruit as ‘an attempt to disturb the public order’. It is clear that the only “order” that has been interfered with was to plant trees in accordance with the traditions of the Jewish holiday of Tu B’Shvat.” Continue reading →
Avi Dabush, Executive Director of Rabbis for Human Rights, spoke at the British Friends of Rabbis for Human Rights AGM last December. This speech, discussing peacefully bringing together the different cultures and peoples of Israel, is reproduced here with his kind permission.
Avi also wrote a reflective piece on Human Rights, on the occasion of Tu B’Shvat this year, before RHR went out to plant olive trees in the West Bank where they had previously been burnt and uprooted. Read In the Shadow of an Uprooted Olive Treehere. Continue reading →
At the British Friends of Rabbis for Human Rights’ AGM on 9 December 2019, Rabbi Michael Marmur delivered the below speech, reproduced here with his permission.
At this time of year we read the Torah passage relating Jacob’s dream and try to interpret what it means. There are three clues as to what it is about:-
A psychological reason for the wrestling. It takes place at the Ford Yabbok, which is a word play on the consonants in Jacob’s name. It is a struggle with himself as he tries to work out how we are meant to live in this world.
A struggle with God in the guise of an angel. Jacob is trying to work out a theology and a religious response. There is an element of modernity in the struggle of the human with the divine.
Another possibility is that he is wrestling with the spirit of his brother, Esau, of whom he is afraid. It is a drama of not only encountering ourselves and God but what happens in the struggle with the other – our brother.