Conflict & Justice

Israeli peace activist

This rabbi is here in East Jerusalem to try to convince three elderly Palestinian farmers to stay and tend to their fields, which if left unplowed will be too hard for planting olive trees next season. Their land happens to be close to an Israeli settlement so pressure has been put on the farmers to leave from the Israeli Army and others. The rabbi switches from English to Hebrew to Arabic in dealing with the conflict. Next stop is a Palestinian family who has been given notice that their house will be demolished. They don't understand why a government would do that. The rabbi says there are plenty of awful things you can see and children have come home and found their house left in rubbles. He says that's the kind of thing you don't wish on your worst enemies. We travel to one such house which had recently been demolished. Just off to the right are some new Israeli settlements. One local Palestinian family says they want to destroy not just the house but the hearts and minds of the people. He says the Palestinians don't see the future with peace with Israel and this is history. Fighting has now started and older Palestinian men are now holding back a younger Palestinian man. Riot gear is now coming in. the Rabbi is standing in between the groups. Things eventually calm down and the rabbi keeps a collection of rubble from such houses which he will eventually give to the Mayor of Jerusalem in protest. Back on the road I ask him what he was doing when tension was peaking. He says he was positioning himself so he could slow down violence and slow down the border police if violence breaks out. He says the Palestinians do a good job of self-policing. He says he tells the border police are violating international law. He says his job is hard but important.

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