|Rabbis for Human Rights-North America and New Israel Fund Call on Israeli State Attorney to Investigate Anatot Attacks|
October 5, 2011 (New York, NY)
Rabbis for Human Rights-North America and the New Israel Fund call on the Israeli State Attorney to conduct an immediate and thorough investigation of the role of police officers in the Rosh Hashanah attacks, on Friday September 30, by residents of Anatot on activists visiting a Palestinian Israeli family. Twenty Israeli activists were injured in the attacks, including six who required hospitalization and nine who received medical treatment in clinics.
According to reports by those present and several media sources, corroborated by videos and photos, settlers attacked the activists with clubs, stones, and fists, splitting one person’s head open, breaking another’s nose, and attempting to strip a woman of her clothes. Observers have reported that uniformed police officers stood by, doing nothing to stop the attacks. Off-duty police officers are reported to have been among the attackers. To date, nobody has been questioned or detained in connection with the attacks, despite the existence of video footage and photographs that clearly show the faces of the perpetrators.
“The Torah commands us to appoint shofetim and shoterim—judges and officers—who protect citizens from harm,” commented Rabbi Jill Jacobs, Executive Director of Rabbis for Human Rights-North America. “We pray for the full recovery of those injured, and hope that the Jewish state will abide by the system of fair justice that our tradition demands.”
The activists, who represented several Israeli peace and human rights organizations, initially came to Anatot to visit Yassin el Rafa’i, a Palestinian with Israeli citizenship who owns land in the area. Over the last several years, residents of Anatot have—without permits— extended the boundaries of the settlement to encompass Rafa’i’s land, and Rafa’i has been the victim of vandalism including having his trees uprooted and his well poisoned. Rafa’i has approached the local police multiple times about these actions, but his complaints have not been investigated.
“For the past two years, we and the human rights organizations we support have been vilified by extreme nationalists in Israel,” said New Israel Fund CEO Daniel Sokatch. “Their rejection of democracy, dissent, human rights and pluralism has broadened from a legislative and polemical agenda to actual violence. We call on the Israeli authorities to immediately investigate this incident and punish those responsible. Moreover, we remind every Israeli and all who love Israel that with every attack on progressive civil society, both Israel’s democracy and its international stature are increasingly at risk.”
Both NIF and Rabbis for Human Rights-North America expressed concern about the welfare of their partners in Israel. RHR-NA works in close partnership with the Israeli Rabbis for Human Rights organization, and NIF and its action arm SHATIL support more than a hundred civil society organizations working for civil and human rights, religious pluralism and social justice. “Our partners in Israel are in the field every day protecting the human rights of Jews, Palestinians, and other residents,” said Rabbi Aaron Levy of Toronto, the founder and director of Makom: Creative Downtown Judaism and a board member of Rabbis for Human Rights-North America. “This incident violates the right of citizens in a democracy to express their opinions peacefully, without threat of harm. Israel must investigate this incident and prevent such incidents from happening again. ”
For further information or to schedule an interview with Rabbi Jacobs, Daniel Sokatch or Rabbi Levy, call Joshua Bloom, RHR-NA Director of Israel Programs at 212-845-5201.
|Last Updated on Thursday, 06 October 2011 18:23|