Jewish Leaders Call on Knesset to Reconsider Bedouin Resettlement
Last week, Rabbi David Saperstein, on behalf of the Religious Action Center, joined with T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association to urge the Knesset to reconsider a bill that will resettle between 30,000 Bedouin in Israel’s Negev.
On June 24, the Knesset voted 43-40 to approve a first reading of the bill, known as the Begin-Prawer plan. The bill now moves on for a second reading, which could take place during the present Knesset term, which ends at the end of July.
Echoing an earlier statement on behalf of the Reform Movement, Rabbi Saperstein explained, “We urge Prime Minister Netanyahu to suspend the plan currently under discussion and allow for greater exploration of its implications and impact, particularly the displacement of existing Bedouin communities.”
“Demolishing homes, forcing people off their land, and denying basic government services contradicts the moral values central to Judaism, and on which the State of Israel was founded,” stated Rabbi Jill Jacobs, Executive Director of T’ruah.
Rabbi Jason Klein, President of the Reconrtuctionist Rabbinical Association, explained, “Israel’s own Declaration of Independence proclaimed that the State of Israel was founded on principles of ‘freedom, justice and peace as envisioned by the prophets of the Jewish people.’ The opening chapter of the Torah affirms the fundamental importance of equality as all of humanity is created in the Divine image.”
Image courtesy of Ryan Rodrick Beiler