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  • Romi Elnagar
    ... From: Elizabeth Allen To: FREEDOMSFORUM@yahoogroups.com Sent: Friday, May 3, 2013 1:09 PM
    Message 1 of 1 , May 3, 2013
      ----- Forwarded Message -----
      From: Elizabeth Allen <spktruthtopower200@...>
      To: "FREEDOMSFORUM@yahoogroups.com" <FREEDOMSFORUM@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Friday, May 3, 2013 1:09 PM

      ----- Forwarded Message -----
      From: Rabbi Arik Ascherman <rhr@...>
      To: spktruthtopower200@...
      Sent: Friday, May 3, 2013 12:57 PM

      אם אינך רואה ניוזלטר זה לחץ/י כאן לצפייה בגירסת אינטרנט
      If you have trouble reading this newsletter, view the web version here

      "I am certain that the world will judge the Jewish State by what it will do with the Arabs"
      Chaim Weizmann - The First President of Israel

      Dear Friends and Supporters
      I apologize in advance that this is not a calm and reasoned appeal, as you are accustomed to receive from human rights organizations. This is an emotional appeal asking you to help save the soul of our country.
      Act Now!
      I truly believe that history will judge all of us on how we act in the coming days. The enormity of the impending moral disaster is perhaps greater than any I have dealt with in the 18 years I have been working for Rabbis For Human Rights.
      I need you to take a few minutes of your time to prevent that disaster.
      Please click hereto help us to prevent Forty thousand Israeli Bedouin citizens from being forcibly removed from their homes, wrenched from their way of life and sources of income, and forced to live in artificially created townships that have become centers of unemployment, poverty, crime, poverty and despair.
      Forty Thousand.
      Please click here,to read our background information and position paper.

      Additional information from The Association For Civil Rights in Israel can be found by clicking here.

      Please click here to write a letter to Israeli government ministers Livni and Lapid urging them to pull back from the brink. Please feel free to write additional letters to Prime Minister Netanyahu, your country's Israeli Ambassador, and your nation's government officials responsible for foreign policy.
      From the moment that I first understood our government's intentions, I have not been able to get out of my head the final scene of "Fiddler on the Roof," as the Jews of Anatevka are expelled from their homes. Watch it for yourselves http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hdm2CKLiJ6Q, starting at 2 hours and 36 minutes.
      I imagine the residents of El-Araqib saying goodbye to the generations buried in their cemetery, and the residents of numerous villages giving one last longing look at their lands. I imagine the Bedouin soldier serving in the IDF returning his uniform after taking a furlough to help his family pack. At least as likely, I imagine 40,000 Bedouin battling the special police force to be created to enforce this plan, and eventually being forcibly herded into the "Pale of Settlement," where they will be allowed to live. I see the hatred in young people's eyes, rising incidents of skirmishes between Jews and Bedouin, and the headlines mourning declining investments and rising unemployment for Jew and Arab alike. As we are warned in this week's Torah portion, "If you reject My Laws and spurn "My rules,….I will wreak misery upon you…" (Leviticus 26: 15-16)
      The bottom line is that successive Israeli governments have desired for years to move the Negev Bedouin out of villages where they have lived before the creation of the state, or in some cases from villages into which Israelhad forcibly moved them during the first years of the state. The goal has also been to take over their lands. Fear mongers have told the Israeli public that the Bedouin are criminals who will take over the Negevif they are not stopped. The truth is that, if the Bedouin were granted a fair opportunity to prove their land claims, and were they to win every claim, they would hold on to 5.4% of the Negev.

      The Ministerial Committee on Legislation is scheduled to vote on Monday whether or not to send the latest plan to the Knesset to make it into law. Our ask is very simple. "Don't approve this, or any other proposal that steals land and hope. Build a better future together with the Bedouin" Beyond the enormous moral implications almost impossible to grasp, there is self interest as well. The additional tension, strife and social problems will drive away investments, and discourage people from living in the Negev.
      When Sheikh Sayekh al-Touri watched that scene of the Jews of Anatevka being expelled from their homes. He exclaimed, "They did to the Jews just what the Jews are trying to do to us!" However, I was always taught that we are a people commanded to learn from our own oppression how NOT to treat others, and how NOT to repeat history, "For you were resident aliens in the landof Egypt."
      And so, I also have an alternative vision in my head. It is one of Jews and Bedouin working together for the good of the Negev. It is one in which we will merit the blessing of this week's Torah portion,"You shall observe my laws and faithfully keep My rules, that you may live upon the land in security, the land shall yield is fruit and you shall eat your fill…"(Leviticus 23:18-19), because we will remember that even the Covenant between God and the Jewish people does not mean that the land belongs to Arab or Jew, "For the land is Mine; you are but strangers resident with me."(Leviticus 25:23) If we act fairly and justly to Jew and Bedouin alike, we will be truly living the Torah's command:
       "You shall proclaim freedom throughout the land for ALL its inhabitants." (Leviticus 25:10)
      Please act now (link). Your decision at this moment could influence whether Israelignores the moral lessons of our own history and perpetuates strife, or whether Israelacts according to the precepts of justice and fairness at the heart of our Jewish tradition, and promotes a better future for both Jews and Bedouin in the Negev.
      Shabbat Shalom,
      "Therefore beware, so runs the warning, from making human rights in your own state conditional on anything other than on the basic humanity which every human being as such bears within him/her by virtue of being human. Any suppression of these human and civil rights opens the gate to the indiscriminate use of power and abuse of human beings to the whole horror of Egyptian mishandling of human beings that was the root of abomination of Egypt." Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch on Exodus 22:20
      P.S.  Sign up today for RHR's Jewish Leadership Human Rights Tour October 2nd-9th.  You will have the opportunity to wiitness our work first hand, and improve your knowledge of the issues by participating in this unforgettable experience.   

      P.S.S.  June 5th – 19th I am planning on being in Chicago, Madison Milwaukee, D.C., Pittsburghand New York, and have time to add one or two additional communities.  I will be in Irelandin August, and back in North Americajust before or after Hannukah.  We are working on dates for additional staff and board people on the West Coast of the U.S., Minneapolis, etc.  Please contact Ela Greenberg for more information about existing plans, or to invite one of us to your community:  ela@....

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