T’ruah Condemns Israeli Arrest of Human Rights Leaders

RELEASE DATE: August 31, 2018

T’ruah calls for an immediate investigation into the detention of human rights leaders from one of our closest partner organizations this morning in the South Hebron Hills.

Israeli border police arrested Avner Gvaryahu, Executive Director of Breaking the Silence and Achiya Schatz, the group’s Communications Director, and detained Attorney Michael Sfard, who serves as counsel for the group. The detentions took place during a Breaking the Silence tour of the South Hebron Hills.

Last week, settlers from Mitzpeh Yair—an outpost considered illegal even by the Israeli government — attacked and injured human rights activists from the group Tayyush. Today, Breaking the Silence brought a group of Israelis for a tour of the area, in solidarity with the injured activists. When they arrived, the military declared the area a “closed military zone,” though continued to allow settlers to enter.

No arrests have been made of the 10 settlers who carried out last week’s violent assault. Rather than harass nonviolent human rights leaders, Israeli police should investigate the settlers who routinely carry out violent attacks both against Palestinians and Palestinian property, and against Israeli human rights leaders.

T’ruah is proud of our close partnership with Breaking the Silence, an organization of military veterans who work to create a better future for their country, including by ending the occupation that violates the human rights of Palestinians and endangers Israelis. Every year, T’ruah and Breaking the Silence partner to bring dozens of American rabbis, rabbinical students, and participants in congregational trips to Israel to visit the West Bank to learn about the realities of military occupation there. We commit to continuing this crucial work, and to continuing to partner with Breaking the Silence and other Israeli human rights organizations to bring about an end to the occupation that threatens the future of both Israelis and Palestinians.

Order “A Very Brief Introduction to the Occupation,” jointly published by T’ruah and Breaking the Silence.

T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights mobilizes a network of almost 2,000 rabbis and cantors from all streams of Judaism that, together with the Jewish community, act on the Jewish imperative to respect and advance the human rights of all people. Grounded in Torah and our Jewish historical experience and guided by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we call upon Jews to assert Jewish values by raising our voices and taking concrete steps to protect and expand human rights in North America, Israel, and the occupied Palestinian territories.

To learn more or to speak with T’ruah Executive Director Rabbi Jill Jacobs, contact Julie Wiener at jwiener@truah.org